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Author Topic: EP117: Reggie vs. Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf  (Read 14603 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: August 03, 2007, 02:05:31 AM »

EP117: Reggie vs. Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf

By Matthew Wayne Selznick.
Read by Scott Sigler (of Earthcore, Ancestor, Infected, The Rookie).

Yarborough led them through the impromptu village of broad white tents, rows of outhouses, sensor towers, and heavy weapons installations that had obliterated the turf of the athletic field. They stopped at the fence on the edge of the hilltop.

“You can get a pretty good look at the swath, here.”

On a day without monsters, it would have been a nice view. You could see most of the town center, and all the way to Pacific Coast Highway the misty ocean beyond. A wide, flat, smoking scar of ruin cut from the water to a shopping center half a mile inland.


Rated.R Contains profanity and giant monster violence.


Referenced Sites:
Knitwitch’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Zone on Talkshoe



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Chodon
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2007, 06:19:22 AM »

I can't say I was that impressed with this story.  I was just confused.  Let me see if I get this right: a giant wolf-octopus-fish monster was going to destroy Reggie because he went to Berlin rather than comforting his girlfriend during her father's death?  You mean that was the worst thing someone in the LA area had done?  Or was it somehow related to the fact he was in Berlin?  Or was the Kiaju the same Kaiju as was in Berlin, Fenris, but with a fish-octopus body?  Or is it Fenris' brother, and told him about Reggie's smell and what he did, or...so confused...  Am I just missing something that makes this story make sense?

And was Reggie in the military?  Why did he get a call to respond to the monster attack?  He didn't seem to have any real power besides all-consuming angst for a girlfriend from 10 years ago.   Huh
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2007, 07:20:08 AM »

I was taken in by the story up until the end -- that is, the part where Reggie woke up in the hospital.  I wanted some sort of explanation, something more than "Ben thinks you were Touched by the monster."  That's really what killed it for me.  I thought the story itself was a nice treatment of the Godzilla kind of plot, where a monster comes from the sea for pretty much no reason we can suss out, destroys a bunch of stuff, then is beaten back by the military.  The references to military hardware and the thought that there might be something like a giant robot laying in wait, just in case, were cool.  Also, the matter-of-fact treatment of these monsters helped draw me in, and the Berlin Wall reference was a nice touch.

But like I said, the ending made me feel less good about the story as a whole.  I didn't feel like there was any resolution, not really.  I mean, sure, there was resolution with Reggie admitting his guilt and apologizing to Gwen, but... well... then what?

I did think the reading was over the top, as if the reader tried to give everyone such a distinct voice that it almost took away from the story itself.  Not to disparage his talents, but perhaps quite so many different voices might not have been necessary.  Also, Ben's voice was a little too deep-and-slow to, IMO, accurately convey his emotions in the climactic scene (on the lawn).  But the narration was well-done and kept me drawn in, and it helped me to see the images of the text more clearly.

Overall, I'd say this story was 90% three-star (out of four) and 10% one-star (again out of four).  Good, but not until the last drop.
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Dex
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 07:34:00 AM »

The plot concept appears to have been taken from the movie "Forbidden Planet"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_Planet
A monster that can not be controlled by the conscience mind is controlled by the sub conscience mind.

The characters appeared to me to be one dimensional but, I'm not sure if it was the reading or the way they were written.

To paraphrase a character in "Rodger Rabbit" I'm not bad, I'm just read that way."
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ajames
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2007, 07:38:12 AM »

I heard an old radio broadcast of The Forbidden Planet and liked it quite a bit.  But this story fails where The Forbidden Planet succeeded.  TFP gave the audience a lot more information on the connection of the monster to the subconscious, and did a much better job at creating suspense, intrigue, and audience interest in the story, at least IMO.

This story just didn't do much for me. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 07:54:20 AM by ajames » Logged
Jason Creighton
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2007, 12:46:03 PM »

Nitpick: The Sidewinder is an air-to-air missile.
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Chodon
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2007, 01:49:03 PM »

Nitpick: The Sidewinder is an air-to-air missile.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that caught that.  The only thing I could think of was that this monster was giving off enough heat to engage it with a heat-seeking AA missile.  Although I doubt it would have done anything to a giant monster.
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2007, 03:13:24 PM »

That was my first thought too!

Anyway...as far as concept and subject matter goes, I really liked this story.  Giant Japanese style monsters destroying towns is an awesome topic.  And a lot of the mental images and references to all the basic monster concepts that we probably all recognized and for whatever reason accept as being the way "it should be" really made me smile.

However,  I also wanted something more at the end.  Without any explanation for having your mind "touched" by a monster, it just seemed like a way to end the story in a "science fictiony way" that everyone would be familiar with.  We found out a little about Reggie's history, mabe if we'd found out more about Ben and why his telepathy was so special, we'd have gotten a better picture as to just what was going on...maybe even a little explaination for why we're just supposed to accept that these monster exist.  There must be some story behind that...

What I was expecting to happen was some possible family connection.  Reggie's grandfather encountered and probably helped battle Fenris....so...Fenris could have had an heir looking to settle some kind of score?  That could theoretically lead him back to Reggie's home town.....

 
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Fred M
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2007, 03:20:35 PM »

Worst escape pod story to date. Nothing in it really appealed to me. Neither the humans nor the monster where gone into in enough depth to be be interesting, even the seemingly main concept (that the monsters where either manifestations of peoples emotions or relationship problems or some such) wasn't even explored much. It seemed almost like a cardboard cutout of a story.
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Jim Crow
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2007, 04:16:42 PM »

Hate is a strong word, but I really, really didn't like this story. 

Here's my main issue.  This is a story where a lot of crazy things are happening, but the emphasis and the meaning behind the story lies in the everyday issues - in the regular interaction between people and their personal relationships.  Except that here, the interaction and relationships are forced, clunky, clichéd, and probably worst of all, boring.  You've got this massive horrific terror threatening citywide destruction, and the literary narrative focuses intensely in on a hackneyed relationship quirk that occurred twenty plus years ago between two paper-thin, one-dimensional characters.  Maybe Reggie defeated the Kaiju Storm Chimera Wolf by boring it to death. 

All of the potentially interesting parts of this story are glossed over in favor of the uninteresting.  I was rolling my eyes throughout the story. 
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2007, 05:03:57 PM »

I would really like to post here to defend a great author like Matthew Wayne Selznick.  I loved Brave Man Run!  Unfortunately, I have to say that I did not care for this story myself.  Maybe I was misled by the title that this would be an exciting action-packed story with a cool monster.  But the monster was kind of...I don't know...undefined, I guess, with an undetermined, sketchy connection to a lame protagonist.  (I was more interested in Ben than Reggie.) 

I expected explosions and destruction and some ultra weapon to defeat the monster, but any action that occurred seemed to happen offstage and never directly involved the main characters.  Toward the end it got close.  I was getting into the suspense of its approach, but then a quick "I'm sorry", the world goes black, and then wake up to find it's all over.

If the billboard says Monster, we go to the movie to see the Monster.  Yes the characters are needed to move the plot along and provide a human viewpoint, but we really came to see the monster.  This story was about the humans (that weren't interesting); the monster was practically just part of the setting.  (Compare how you felt about the Hulk movie a few years back and how you felt about the Transformoers movie.)

It's not just that we want to see the monster (we did get a physical description), but we want to learn about it: its origins, etc.  This story almost made a point to say there's no reason for them, they just come and destroy.  Even the so-called experts didn't have a clue.

I guess this just proves what somebody told me once: The greatest source of unhappiness is unrealized expectations.  Whether that is my fault for having the wrong expectations, or the author's for not meeting them, I'll leave that up to you.

Sorry, Matthew.  I loved Brave Men Run.  I think you are awesome, just not this story.

P.S. I've also learned that I only like Scott Sigler's narration style for certain stories.  I liked it for his podcast novel Ancestor, and it was OK for Psuedopod's Last Respects, but for this story and some others, it does more harm than good.  Mostly for the female voices.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 05:28:42 PM by kmmrlatham » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2007, 05:37:51 PM »

I thought this was a fun story and it really doesn't surprise me that it was written by Matthew Wayne Selznick, the same dude who brought us Brave Men Run.  Like kmmrlatham, I loved Brave Men Run and this story felt similiar to me, like the universes they were set in could have been second cousins or something.  I've heard lots of people say Brave Men Run is like a John Hughes superhero movie.  This story felt like a romantic comedy directed by Ed Wood.  It had some crazy Japanese-style movie monster in it, but the monster was as much of a metaphor about the rift and heartbreak that spread over ten years between two old flames as Godzilla was about atomic energy.  Okay, maybe in this story it was more literal than a metaphor.  But still. 

As far as the ending, I took it to mean that some part of Fenris tapped into that heartache back in Berlin and when it found Reggie and Gwen it went right at them.  I could bet totally wrong, though.
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Leon Kensington
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2007, 10:56:43 PM »

Great read by the Sigler and a pretty good story.

It was very Selznicky (if that is even a word) and that I like.  But, the whole monster controlled by something's emotions seems a little overdone to me, though it could just be that I happen to read a lot of that.  Also, some part of it somewhat reminded me of Neil Gaiman, I don't know why.  Good EP though.
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Jason Creighton
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2007, 02:51:38 PM »

Nitpick: The Sidewinder is an air-to-air missile.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that caught that.  The only thing I could think of was that this monster was giving off enough heat to engage it with a heat-seeking AA missile.  Although I doubt it would have done anything to a giant monster.

Exactly. I could believe that a sidewinder could track the heat signature, but with only about 20 pounds of explosive, the sidewinder is something that's designed to make something that's flying and hot stop flying, not kill monsters 30 meters tall.

Which makes me wonder, given today's military hardware (ie, if we don't have handy experimental aircraft handy with "100mm" guns on them), what *would* you want to attack a giant monster with?

I think a couple of A-10s with 30mm cannons and air-to-surface missiles would be about as good as it gets from the air. For any sort of missile or bomb, I imagine you'd want something that penetrates and then explodes to inflict the most damage. So a bunker-buster seems like a good idea, except I don't know if there are any that are designed to track a moving target.

I don't have any idea of what sort of weapons you'd want on the ground. Or even if you'd want anybody on the ground: If the monster is something like 70 meters long, and moving maybe a third of its length with each step (I'm totally making this up) with "stepquakes" 2-3 seconds apart, we're looking at 70 / 3 / 2.5 = 9.2 meters/sec, or about 20 MPH. Would it be worthwhile to try to bring anything heavy to bear on the ground against something that moves that fast? I know 20 MPH doesn't seem like much, but tanks don't move very fast (Wikipedia says the M1 tops out at about 30 MPH off-road, 42 on-road) and remember that if you're in a city you can't take the most direct route.

In the end, the easiest thing to do might be to tell everybody to get out of the way, and then drop a nuke with the smallest possible yield to still guarantee a kill.
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Chodon
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2007, 05:18:07 PM »

Which makes me wonder, given today's military hardware (ie, if we don't have handy experimental aircraft handy with "100mm" guns on them), what *would* you want to attack a giant monster with?

The GBU-28 is a 5,000 lb bomb that can penetrate 6 meters of solid concrete.  It is also laser guided (as opposed to GPS) so it could either be guided by the aircraft that dropped it or by a ground team with a portable laser.  I would imagine that would be the best bet, and I don't think any monster only 30 meters tall would survive an explosion that large, that deep in their body.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-28

Also, the AC-130E and U models have a 105MM howitzer strapped to the side.  That would be an excellent, if less accurate alternative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC-130

Nuclear seems like a bad alternative.  Even with a direct hit there's all that messy fallout and residual radiation to deal with. 

Maybe Napalm?  I'm not sure if they're fireproof, but if they aren't napalm would make a nice Kaiju bar-b-q.  I imagine it would be pretty stinky though.

The only other thing I could think of would be an airborne laser.  They're in development right now, and are planned to be used for shooting down outgoing nuclear missiles.  Their targeting systems would need some work, but they vaporize the skin of nuclear missiles, so I would imagine they would work on a Kaiju.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_laser
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goatkeeper
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2007, 06:46:07 PM »

I was bored listening to a story about a giant Wolftapuss...
Not since Alien vs Predator have I been so devastated...
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Jason Creighton
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2007, 02:15:49 AM »

The GBU-28 is a 5,000 lb bomb that can penetrate 6 meters of solid concrete.  It is also laser guided (as opposed to GPS) so it could either be guided by the aircraft that dropped it or by a ground team with a portable laser.  I would imagine that would be the best bet, and I don't think any monster only 30 meters tall would survive an explosion that large, that deep in their body.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-28

Hmm. I was initially thinking the laser-guided bomb idea wouldn't work because you have to deal with a moving target, but if you only have to hit once, maybe you can afford a little lower accuracy.

And "only 30 meters tall"? ONLY? Man, I'd hate to see the size of the cockroaches where you come from. Smiley

Also, the AC-130E and U models have a 105MM howitzer strapped to the side.  That would be an excellent, if less accurate alternative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC-130

Oh, cool, I didn't know there were aircraft mounted guns that big.

Nuclear seems like a bad alternative.  Even with a direct hit there's all that messy fallout and residual radiation to deal with.

Well, obviously it would be the last resort.
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mwsmedia
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2007, 03:14:27 AM »

The discussion of real world military hardware vs. absurd megafauna is rocking my world... keep it coming!  It's going to be very useful for future stories in this world... though the possibility might make some of you cringe..!   Grin

Matthew Wayne Selznick
http://www.mattselznick.com
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Matthew Wayne Selznick
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jrderego
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2007, 07:20:07 AM »

The discussion of real world military hardware vs. absurd megafauna is rocking my world... keep it coming!  It's going to be very useful for future stories in this world... though the possibility might make some of you cringe..!   Grin

Matthew Wayne Selznick
http://www.mattselznick.com

I like the MASER Cannons in the Godzilla movies.



However, I think being assigned to one might have been a punishment job in the Japanese Defense Forces because everytime they were fired on Godzilla, he walked over and stomped them flat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markalite
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 07:22:25 AM by jrderego » Logged

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Fred M
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2007, 01:26:33 AM »

It's not real world, but I loved the Hammer of Dawn in Gears of War. Orbital lasers are all around awesome, as is its name.
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