Author Topic: PC Miniature 36: To-Do List  (Read 10329 times)


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on: July 25, 2009, 04:05:12 AM
PC Miniature 36: To-Do List

by Nick Mamatas.
Read by Jake Squid.

1. Go to your local public library. Find a copy of _The Undiscovered Self_ by Carl Jung. Take a $50 bill from your pocket, fold it half, and insert it between pages 122 and 123. You will not return to that library until you have completed the rest of the tasks on this list.

Rated R. for language.

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Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 09:28:05 AM
I've been waiting for someone else to comment on this story first, in hopes that they'd say something that would click with me. Because I'm not sure I really understood the story. Since everybody else is keeping quiet, too, now I'm wondering if others are in the same boat as me, hoping help will come along without being requested first. So ... I'll step out on a limb and chance looking the fool:

I don't get it... Can someone explain what I'm missing?



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Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 04:51:35 PM
Well, it seemed like instructions for destabalising society through seemingly random, yet escalating, anarchic actions (a' la fight club), mixed in with supernatural undertones. However, I could not figure out how it all fit together - the supernatural didn't seem to work with the pseduo-political, but just co-exist with it, and I got the feeling that I'm getting two different manifestos mashed into one than any sort of cohesive piece.

Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 02:47:29 PM
Hi MacBean:

I read it as fairly similar to this:

Structurally, at least, they're operating the same way.


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Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 07:37:34 PM
I just enjoyed it as a silly bit of surrealism.  It was fun seeing which bits of the instructions payed off in the later instructions, and which didn't.  I got a good laugh out of the instruction to go to another city, visit libraries, and take every else's fifties.  Did it make sense or really lead anywhere?  Not at all.  I think that's part of the point.

I did have a problem with the reading sometimes.  Sounded like the reader was holding some marbles in his cheeks occasionally.


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Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 10:36:21 PM
I loved how I kept getting swept up into the little vignettes of stories that were different items on the to do list and then re-remembering the framing of the story.

This one wins the prize for the most whimsical vanguardist movement ever.

Portrait in Flesh

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Reply #6 on: July 27, 2009, 10:57:36 PM
This probably wasn't the best thing to listen to first thing on a Monday morning. 

After the workaholic boss has been in all weekend.

Leaving a list of things to do so that I'm practically a day behind when the week's just started.

At any rate....just couldn't really get into the story.  I'm usually pretty good about following rather tangential or non-linear stuff, but this one never really pulled me in.

"Boys from the city.  Not yet caught by the whirlwind of Progress.  Feed soda pop to the thirsty pigs." --The Beast of Yucca Flats


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Reply #7 on: July 30, 2009, 05:29:57 AM
Fun. Kind of like an anarchist's version of Wear Sunscreen. Except more coherent? Or maybe less? I don't know.

It did remind me of the Directions miniature. Kind of a happy little distraction.


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Reply #8 on: July 30, 2009, 06:43:16 AM
I liked it, except for the song bit. Could have done without that.


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Reply #9 on: July 30, 2009, 12:17:03 PM
I've got to be on the side who enjoyed this.

For me, I figured it was a "destabilizing society" thing (ala underground activities and forming groups) but was more fascinated by the growing -and, later, outright blatant- supernatural nature of it all.

Rachel points out the common points with "Directions", and that's a good parallel.  It wasn't as good as "Directions", to me, but it was still really cool in that it kept me wondering and piecing together the various elements in my mind looking for a pattern.  At times, I could see one but then -poof- it would vanish.

Listening to it was sufficient for me to think about going to the library to find a copy of "The Undiscovered Self" by Carl Jung.   ;)

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Reply #10 on: July 30, 2009, 09:20:03 PM
I liked this one only slightly better than "Directions".

Those with keen memory will recall that I did not like "Directions".

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Reply #11 on: July 31, 2009, 07:40:57 PM
Not great. The premise was passable, but WAY too surreal. Hard to follow. Didn't like it.

The reading was slurred in places, which was distracting.

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Reply #12 on: August 01, 2009, 10:29:09 AM
Well, judging by everyone's comments (and a re-listen), I guess I did get it and just didn't like it.   :-\



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Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 08:14:04 PM
I want my 14 minutes back.  I had hopes in the begining but was left with no payoff at the end.  If I'm out fifty bucks at the end, civil society ends, and if I still have my money, I wasted my time.  No this was not a good story.


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Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 08:53:54 AM
Very odd, indeed.


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Reply #15 on: August 26, 2009, 04:35:05 PM
A fun little surreal jaunt. The ending did seem a little abrupt, though.


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Reply #16 on: September 03, 2009, 03:19:38 PM
I think I would've enjoyed it more reading it than listening to it. It was hard to follow, and the song just went on and on.

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Reply #17 on: November 09, 2009, 09:14:41 PM
This one had some interesting ideas, but in the end it fell flat.  It was kind of the tale of a person who is anarchist with OCD and paranoid tendencies.  I thought it was interesting how the seemingly random early steps tied into the later steps.  I especially liked the first step where you listen to the WB cartoons to find all the city names.

But the things I didn't like:
1.  It went on too long.  When each of the steps is essentially meaningless, it just got a little dull by the end.  It was fun in the beginning when the steps were so weird and unheard of, and fun in the middle when I realized the early steps tied into the later steps, but in the last part, it was just more of the same.
2.  It claims to be a To Do list, and is structured mostly as if it were so.  It's apparently not even a to-do list for a specific person, since one step hinges on the sex of the reader.  but then there are other things which are clearly NOT fitting in a to-do list such as "you know an old woman you see when you run errands".  No I don't, and how would an apparently random recipient of this note get this.  And then later it refers that the old woman has died, and that there will be pictures of fireballs on the news.  At that point the story is telling what is happening around the reader, and so the story was trying to break out of its own To Do list structure and weakened its own foundation.  If you're going to write a story structured as a To Do list, then if you don't stick to it throughout the whole thing falls apart.