Author Topic: EP211: Carthago Delenda Est  (Read 17571 times)


  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #25 on: August 22, 2009, 03:10:23 PM
Okay story.  It would have been nice to have some more conflict or action.  Perhaps something more with the race that was stockpiling weapons and someone working against them or seeing their bad ideas spread.

I have to disagree. I'm pretty sure either of those things would have destroyed or damaged the point of the story, which mainly seemed to be having this idyllic, wonderful thing, held afar, kept everyone at peace - barely. But having it actually arrive, it seemed, the implication was could herald disaster, as the one "bad" race (I still think of them as "humans..") seemed ready to spaz out.

I think the point was to have little conflict - its the hope of the future dream (wow that makes little sense) that keeps the conflict at bay.


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #26 on: August 22, 2009, 04:11:37 PM
I just listened to this a day or so ago, and I found it intriguing.

There wasn't a lot of action, and an awful lot of waiting, but I was left with the impression that there was so much more going on that we never saw.  Part of that, I think, is getting the perspective of the tech who was outside of what was really going on, but I don't think that was the only reason.  A large part of it is the short fiction aspect of it, because it feels almost as though you could spread out the details to novel (or novella) form, and still not get all of what's going on.

400 years without war, with all the varying dynamics that were going on.  That had to be some message, and it seemed almost as though the message loomed larger exactly because even they didn't even know what it was.

This was a universe I think I could fall into and come out still trying to process all the intricacies of it.

Brave Space Monkey

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #27 on: August 22, 2009, 09:54:46 PM
I really liked this story. I felt is was a "trailer" for novel...  I'd really like an expanded addition. But Maybe the real things wouldn't live up to the hype in my mind. Such is the way of life...

As for the complaint of lack of action... It was traded in for tension. If this story was a movie it would have kept me at the edge of my seat and my heart racing. Unlike the modern action movie, which are now just loud and stupid...

« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 09:57:13 PM by Brave Space Monkey »

i see the world through the scope but i gain no insight with it
when i get introspective i put the safety on


  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Reply #28 on: August 23, 2009, 08:34:45 AM
I don't think I could get excited by a movie in which a bunch of people waited for something that never happened.  Sounds like a video tape of the waiting room from the worst doctor's office ever.


  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #29 on: August 26, 2009, 12:39:20 AM
I didn't deliberately stop listening to this story.  But I got home and had to shut the iPod off.  When I left the next day I didn't have it in me to pick this one up again.  I like being thrown in the deep end, and the idea sounds pretty interesting, but the dull, cynical, world-weary, and slightly bitchy and gossipy tone really put me off.  I understand that someone sitting in space for 400 year might feel this way, but I doesn't mean I want to feel this way. 


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Reply #30 on: August 26, 2009, 04:26:24 PM
I was pretty lukewarm on this story. As other commenters stated, the inital section of the story was very confusing. And ultimately, the ending and the message that, despite the apprehension of Cathage's arrival, everyone was better off without them, was rather predictable.


  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Reply #31 on: August 29, 2009, 04:45:56 PM
This was a good story for me to read on returning to EP after a month or so.  I liked the glimpse into a political future, and I like the theme of hope overcoming war and differences.  A strange little story, but I enjoyed it.

I don't, however, get the relevance of the title quotation to the story.  The only way I can understand it is as ironic: a reference to a genocidal conflict in a story about planets setting aside war to wait for the future?  Or did I miss something?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 05:15:23 PM by Corydon »


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #32 on: September 02, 2009, 08:35:49 PM
I loved this one. I listened to it the day it came out and haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'm really interested in the idea of waiting - in "The Dreaming Wind," waiting for something unwanted but expected drives everyone crazy, but in this story, waiting for some great unknown forces everyone to be nice to each other. The peacetime in this story would be way too kumbaya if it weren't for the completely realistic hidden conflicts and petty selfishness broiling just beneath the surface.  Really well done, although yes - it was hard to understand at first. Like many, I had to listen to the first five or ten minutes twice.


  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 772
  • Fun will now commence.
Reply #33 on: October 01, 2009, 04:53:55 AM
I thought the reading fit.  There was no great excitement in the story and the reader didn't try to make you feel there was.
Whut he said. That part, at least, worked for me. She sounded like the character was just marking time along with everybody else. I liked the reading.

This was a real slog.  I often enjoy being thrown in the deep end, without knowing the basics of the universe or what is going on.  But with this one I just never felt anything to connect to, or any reason to care... at all.
Yup. I almost skipped it after 15 minutes or so, but I like to give the author a chance. I rewound to the beginning again and stuck it out until the end, but it didn't help.
It was like watching an unfamiliar daytime soap opera, and starting 17 minutes into the 48 episode of the 23 season. Compound that with (me) not being able to figure out whether the various proper nouns were referring to characters, species, or planets, or what.

I think I would have preferred this story in written form, since then I could have gone back to re-read bits near the beginning that didn't fully register the first time. 
Methinks you have the right of it, although just going back a few lines at a time would probably do it.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2009, 04:57:45 AM by Planish »

I feed The Pod.
("planish" rhymes with "vanish")


  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Reply #34 on: November 18, 2009, 11:19:41 PM
I listened to this story for the second time last night, and it definitely made more sense.  I really love the narrator's "voice" - slightly bored, but also totally committed to this journey started by her grandparents (?).  The reading was just perfect, especially as you could tell the different characters apart and their inflection was well-done.   

This isn't really an action story, as some posters have already mentioned.  It's a great character piece, full of dramatic tension and things to think about afterward. 


  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #35 on: November 19, 2009, 06:04:23 AM
I listened to this fairly recently, having worked my way through the archives at a gradual pace.  (Almost caught up!)  I have to just say, given the relatively middling response, that I loved this story. 

I am, as those who've paid enough attention to me to register my comments as something besides random forum noise, exceedingly fond of strong theme and layered meanings, and this story delivered in spades.  On the surface, a slightly confusing glimpse of alien politics and a series of amusing answers to the question, "How do you send a diplomat to the future?"  Beneath that, however, was a fascinating examination of the nature of anticipation and, I think, religious faith.  The diplomats, with all their varying approaches and attitudes and means, all shared faith in the idea of Carthage - that "too beautiful" message whose half-understood power brought them all to the place - and strove in their various ways to be ready for it when it came.  The echoes of Christian anticipation of the Second Coming were very loud, in my opinion, right down to the half-vocalized idea that the whole POINT of the Second Coming is that it doesn't come, but is always ABOUT to come.  The important thing, as in this story, is to attempt to be ready for it, to aim for perfecting yourself.  The desire and actions to improve is the true purpose, not the nebulous future paradise.

The alien diplomats all conform to the seemingly arbitrary rules - with varying levels of literalism in the interpretation, ranging from embracing the spirit of cooperation to communicating only the bare minimum information required.  When everyone acts in good faith, however, great strides of diplomacy and understanding can take place.  (I'm hardly surprised at the idea that Carthage became a hub of diplomacy; a gathering of high-level representatives in an enforced peace and required to share information freely?  It's like Babylon 5...)

I was particularly entranced by the hints of growing danger in the near future, as the waiting grows stale and the hidden weapons are amassed.  The title hints obliquely at what might come, when Carthage fails to arrive for long enough and at last someone "loses faith" and violates the laws.  (Alternately: The title refers itself to the idea of Carthage, suggesting that this sort of heavy-handed, artificial manipulation of entire races and belief systems "for their own good" is inevitably unstable and will self-destruct.)  Perhaps the attackers will even interpret their doctrine to suit, believing that Carthage called everyone there for the sole purpose of enabling the Noble Warriors to defeat their enemies in a single fell swoop...  (On the other hand, the story does leave open the idea that things can still be salvaged.  I like the sensation of closing the story just before the powder keg explodes and leaving it to the reader to picture the outcomes.)

Basically, I could write an entire scholarly paper on the title alone, and I like that in a story.  Five out of five shredded armchairs for this one!


  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #36 on: April 28, 2010, 05:05:09 PM
I try to give every story 15 minutes, and I didn't get any further with this.

Starting a story in media res can be really effective, but I spent most of that 15 minutes just trying to figure out what the hell the narrator was talking about.  I can enjoy a story that challenges me to keep up with it, but this one started out a mile ahead and was thumbing it's nose at me as I tried to catch up.

By the end of that 15 minutes I started getting a picture of what was going on, with the different races, some of them populated mostly by clones, hanging around to find out what this big mysterious message was.  Clone races tend to drop my interest level because the characters are so homogenous and this was no exception.  I got the impression that the rest of the story would be about just sitting around and waiting for something to happen, and it sounds like I was right on that count.  That's not my idea of compelling.

I didn't care for the title, mostly because I'd never heard the phrase.  Maybe I would've liked it better if I'd read it at a computer where I could look it up on the net, but I was listening during my commute so that wasn't an option.

Adam Grey

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Reply #37 on: April 29, 2010, 07:43:53 PM
Most likely my favorite podcast. Why? First off, I love the feeling of being dropped into and immersed in a new reality. Second, the complex emotions - how would you respond to the clone of your lover? Third, because of the Godot-type questions the story begs.

What is the "Carthage" in your life?