Author Topic: EP260: The Speed of Dreams  (Read 25920 times)

pvillegeek

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Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 10:57:43 PM
I really liked this story, though the ending was a little dark.  Great job with the narration Mur!



PieceOrutt

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Reply #26 on: October 06, 2010, 01:28:17 PM
I always find that the scrunch fator of time in my draems varies depending on if im ment to be alseep, If I am at work or on the train and nod off then then it feels like I have been asleep for ages (which is loverly) but while at home tucked up in bed it seems as if as soon as my head hits the pillow my alarm is going off!!

Anyway loved the story but I was sligthly shocked that after a good humoured start it all took a turn for the depressing at the end. Overall great story very well read :)

Dan



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Reply #27 on: October 06, 2010, 03:56:41 PM
I can imagine an experimentally-minded kid not understanding the danger of taking Nana's sleeping pills, once she's gotten wrapped up in the idea that she can live *more* by going to sleep.

That bothered me about the story.  Sure, a younger kid might not understand the danger of Nana's pills, but this was a 13 year old girl.  Not only was she an older kid, she sounded very smart.  I could buy a 9 or 10 year old making that mistake, maybe, but I have a 12 year old girl who listened to the story with me, and she remarked how stupid that was.  Also, this girl was helping take care of her Nana.  She had to know what the drugs were and how they affect someone.

If that one line was different, if it said "Take a couple of Nana's pills" instead of implying that she grabbed a handful and gobbed them down, then this story would be perfect.  But I suppose taking away that ambiguous ending (did she die or didn't she?  Is the whole story what her parents are reading after they find her?) would make the story have less of an impact.

I loved the style of a science journal/diary, and I always love when Mur reads us a story.  Her voice is terrific, very soothing.

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blueeyeddevil

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Reply #28 on: October 07, 2010, 04:11:20 PM
Was this hard SF? No. This story used a form of narrative framing that precluded it from engaging in what is currently clinically known about oneirology.
Was this soft SF? No. Talking about dreams, even in conjunction with numbers and science projects, doesn't actually make something SF.
Was this any sort of Speculative Fiction?
Only to the degree in which all fiction is speculative. Nothing fantastic happened in this story; reality was in no way altered. The speculative aspect of this story consisted entirely of the mental wanderings of a thirteen-year-old.
 I don't mind this sort of story, but for those who complain that they tune into SF podcasts for SF (whether for hard or soft SF): I think their complaints are well-founded.
As for this story on its own merits...
This story was really a hinged vignette about two beloved figures from the author's own history (and wonderful figures they do indeed seem to be), and to the degree that this story intended to honor these figures, the story was good.
On the other hand, this story, in my opinion, made the mistake of conflating an immature narrator with incomplete narrative fulfillment. While the narrative voice of the piece is indeed one which cannot be relied on for a complete and rational plot. Nevertheless within the meanderings and twists of the telling there needs to be foreshadowing and clues whether apparent or apophastic for the mental condition of the girl.
This narrator never came off as either stupid or suicidal, nor so disassociated from reality as to attempt something so foolish as what happened in the end, which gives the whole thing a bit of a cheap feeling. 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 04:13:08 PM by blueeyeddevil »



Unblinking

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Reply #29 on: October 07, 2010, 05:40:52 PM
I don't want to participate in a "what is SF?" debate (because once you've seen a few, you've seen them all) but one other thing to consider:  When there is a fiction magazine with a particular genre of choice, there might also be some boundary areas which may not be in the strict confines of the genre, but which are likely to APPEAL to fans of that genre.

Take "Stepfathers" on Pseudopod, as an example, a comedic tale featuring Yog Sothoth.  I don't think that many people would say that that story inspires terror, or even unease in them.  It's silly, and funny, and doesn't try to be anything but.  I would generally define the horror genre as one which is defined by the feelings it evokes, varying degrees of unease or fear.  Stepfathers doesn't inspire any of these, yet I'd say it fits perfectly well at Pseudopod.  Why?  Because fans of horror, are more likely to be familiar with Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos than the general population.  Much of the humor derives from familiarity with the source material.

I'd say that, even if one argues that this story is not SF itself,  something similar goes for it as for Stepfathers.  Fans of SF are more likely to be interested in this story than the general population because it's about a child attempting to evoke the scientific method on something she doesn't understand in order to gain a greater understanding of it.

So, even if it's not SF, I'd still say it fits perfectly well in here because of the focus of its subject material.





zoanon

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Reply #30 on: October 07, 2010, 08:43:03 PM
whoa. I liked the concept of this one.  the end was a bit of a surprise, but I have definitely been in the same head space as Paige, where you just want to never wake up.



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Reply #31 on: October 08, 2010, 03:53:51 AM
No! Don't take Nana's pills. Come be in my science class! I promise you I'll give you an A+ for your self-driven experiment. Don't do it, narrator. You have so much to live for!

Seriously, though, part of what I liked best about this story is the fact that the main character's crazy-ass experiment was actually pretty good science. Not perfect science, mind you, as it showed a certain lack of comprehension of the basics, but good science, following the rules and progressing methodically. If her assumptions were correct, she'd have discovered something.

If.

This was a very creepy story. With a slightly different bend, it could have been horror. Is Escape Pod doing an October/Halloween theme month, too?

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Skimble

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Reply #32 on: October 08, 2010, 04:14:44 PM
I really enjoyed this story. The slow development from a science experiment to a reflection on dreams and death was very nicely done. The end when it came wasn't so much dark as bittersweet to me.

The story reminded me of when I was a child, and had finally dealt with a long series of recurring nightmares. For a while I lived more fully in my dreams than I did while I was awake, and for a week or so I had a dream that I can only describe as being like serial fiction. I was actually eager to go to sleep each night, and went to bed early to maximise the time I had to dream.

In some ways the story evokes themes similar to those in the Matrix. What is reality? Is 'reality' inherently superior as an experience because it's real? Why live 60, 70, 80 years in reality when one can live four times that in dreams?



stePH

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Reply #33 on: October 08, 2010, 05:25:12 PM
In some ways the story evokes themes similar to those in the Matrix. What is reality? Is 'reality' inherently superior as an experience because it's real?

Not-really-on-topic: ever seen a low-budget SF film called Mindwarp starring Bruce Campbell?

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Reply #34 on: October 08, 2010, 07:02:45 PM
For a while I lived more fully in my dreams than I did while I was awake, and for a week or so I had a dream that I can only describe as being like serial fiction.

I had something like this for a while.  It wasn't within a week, it was just something that would happen periodically; every few months, when I woke up I would realize that I'd dreamt the next 'episode' of a kids' adventure story.  I think it took a few episodes before I even realized - while awake - that it was happening.  Could never remember much of the story after waking, but I always thought the serialization was both weird and cool.

Haven't had a episode of that story (that I remember) in a while, though.

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Reply #35 on: October 08, 2010, 07:12:36 PM
I once dreamed of a book I had read - a beautiful literary fantasy adventure novel - with such reality that I woke up with tears on my cheeks. The dream was so compelling... I can remember events, themes, locations, and character. I've spent days looking for it, but I think this book never really existed. The book - the fact that I read it - was just a dream.

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El Barto

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Reply #36 on: October 09, 2010, 10:48:53 PM
I, for one, find it healthy (and relatively enjoyable) to have the occasional discussion about whether something is science fiction or not.

(I disagree with Unblinking who said because once you've seen that debate a few times, you've seen them all, as I think it can be productive for a group of readers to discuss whether a story is science fiction or not.)

So, while I am pleased to see that many people enjoyed this story, I have to say that I did not, and I did not enjoy it because as the story progressed I kept waiting for something to happen relating to science or the unknown possible future.   (This story had zero SF components, thus making the argument about whether it is SF not very interesting.)

On the other hand, the fact that so many people liked the story proves that Unblinking was right in saying "When there is a fiction magazine with a particular genre of choice, there might also be some boundary areas which may not be in the strict confines of the genre, but which are likely to APPEAL to fans of that genre."   It is clear that many other listeners liked it.

Perhaps it is because there are precious few reliably high-quality sources of SF that I so cherish the stories they bring me -- and am so frustrated when a completely non-SF young adult story like this is served up on one of my favorite SF podcasts.

So, put me in the category of listener that blueeyeddevil described -- those who tune into SF podcasts wanting to hear SF.  











stePH

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Reply #37 on: October 09, 2010, 10:56:01 PM
I once dreamed of a book I had read - a beautiful literary fantasy adventure novel - with such reality that I woke up with tears on my cheeks. The dream was so compelling... I can remember events, themes, locations, and character. I've spent days looking for it, but I think this book never really existed. The book - the fact that I read it - was just a dream.

I'm sure there's a copy in Lucien's library  ;)

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Loz

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Reply #38 on: October 10, 2010, 08:58:24 AM

So, put me in the category of listener that blueeyeddevil described -- those who tune into SF podcasts wanting to hear SF.  


DEFINE YOUR TERMS!  :)

The story was fiction, it was about science and it posited an idea that wouldn't get much shrift in consensus reality. That you didn't like the story is fine but I would respectfully suggest that calling it 'not SF' in this case is not correct.



Bill

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Reply #39 on: October 10, 2010, 12:32:01 PM

So, put me in the category of listener that blueeyeddevil described -- those who tune into SF podcasts wanting to hear SF.  


DEFINE YOUR TERMS!  :)

The story was fiction, it was about science and it posited an idea that wouldn't get much shrift in consensus reality. That you didn't like the story is fine but I would respectfully suggest that calling it 'not SF' in this case is not correct.
First I have to note shrift. Either word of the day calender or Aurthur Conan Doyle is posting on this forum, a prospect I'm very excited about. (Though what is consensus reality, what type of sin would it commit that it would need to confess and what type of priest would hear its shriving?)
I have to completely  disagree with you Loz, There is no need to "define ones terms" in order to defend this piece as not being science fiction. While the story had a scientific element but that scientific element had no speculative slant to it. I thought there was a nice listing of writer's definitions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_science_fiction.
Speed of Dreams was a fine story, it could have appeared in any number literary journals if had been submitted to, but I agree with the corner of this argument that felt that this piece missed in the genre it was presented in.



slic

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Reply #40 on: October 10, 2010, 09:24:22 PM

So, put me in the category of listener that blueeyeddevil described -- those who tune into SF podcasts wanting to hear SF.  


DEFINE YOUR TERMS!  :)

The story was fiction, it was about science and it posited an idea that wouldn't get much shrift in consensus reality. That you didn't like the story is fine but I would respectfully suggest that calling it 'not SF' in this case is not correct.
First I have to note shrift. Either word of the day calender or Aurthur Conan Doyle is posting on this forum, a prospect I'm very excited about. (Though what is consensus reality, what type of sin would it commit that it would need to confess and what type of priest would hear its shriving?)
I have to completely  disagree with you Loz, There is no need to "define ones terms" in order to defend this piece as not being science fiction. While the story had a scientific element but that scientific element had no speculative slant to it. I thought there was a nice listing of writer's definitions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_science_fiction.
Speed of Dreams was a fine story, it could have appeared in any number literary journals if had been submitted to, but I agree with the corner of this argument that felt that this piece missed in the genre it was presented in.
For me, definition and catagorization is subjective and can't be an arguement that anyone can "win" (clearly the editor considered this sci fi, what ho :)), but the best way I can put it is this:
If I'm looking for an outfit for my daughter's American Doll, I go to the toy/doll section, not the clothing section.  It could be argued to put all the "clothes" together, (the store manager makes that call), but I expect it in the toy section because of past experience - it's not wrong that they are somewhere else, just not what I expect.  If you organized a store, where would you put the hallowe'en costumes?

This story doesn't match my definition of sci-fi.  It's a strech no matter how you look at it. 
It was a nifty story, well written, the ending dark, but believeable to me (some times my teens say or do the most unlogical things (yes unlogical, not illogical - they are so out there they are the antithesis of logic :))) though I would have preferred something more in line with my def'n of sci fi.



Scattercat

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Reply #41 on: October 12, 2010, 03:20:57 AM
I think MCWagner hit the nail on the head for why I didn't like the ending; Mur's (generally excellent) reading was just a bit too peppy and light-hearted, making me dismiss the hinted-at disappointments as minor disappointments.  Thinking back, I can see a lot of foreshadowing of the narrator's fragile state of mind (such as having to take "slow science" this year due to some unspecified breakdown when she pushed herself too hard academically the year before.)  However, because Mur gave the narrator such a chipper tone, she didn't seem suicidal; I suspect I'd have been less taken aback had I read this story in text rather than heard it in audio.

I loved the implied story effect, but the suicide was just a bit too unexpected to make for a satisfying ending. 



Unblinking

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Reply #42 on: October 12, 2010, 02:12:55 PM
I once dreamed of a book I had read - a beautiful literary fantasy adventure novel - with such reality that I woke up with tears on my cheeks. The dream was so compelling... I can remember events, themes, locations, and character. I've spent days looking for it, but I think this book never really existed. The book - the fact that I read it - was just a dream.

I often dream in terms of media, but the media never stays consistent throughout.  A single story will shift between being an interactive game, to a movie, to a book. The experience actually works very well in the dreams despite the shifting because sometimes there are times when you just want to watch the action and other times when you want to influence it, but I don't think it would translate well to a real life interpretation of it.

I had a single standalone dream once that was so vivid and so amazing that I've longed to try to transfer it into a story format.  It was very sad, reminding me strongly of... what was it... the Nun's Tale in The Canterbury Tales, about the martyr child?  It was sort of a longer expansion of that one, with more characters added in.  Betrayal, deceit, family ties, martyrdom, with hints at the supernatural.  Thank goodness I was keeping a dream journal at the time so I have it recorded, now I just need to develop the skill to pen it properly!



Loz

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Reply #43 on: October 12, 2010, 08:39:19 PM
I think MCWagner hit the nail on the head for why I didn't like the ending; Mur's (generally excellent) reading was just a bit too peppy and light-hearted, making me dismiss the hinted-at disappointments as minor disappointments.  Thinking back, I can see a lot of foreshadowing of the narrator's fragile state of mind (such as having to take "slow science" this year due to some unspecified breakdown when she pushed herself too hard academically the year before.)  However, because Mur gave the narrator such a chipper tone, she didn't seem suicidal; I suspect I'd have been less taken aback had I read this story in text rather than heard it in audio.

I loved the implied story effect, but the suicide was just a bit too unexpected to make for a satisfying ending. 

But it wasn't an intentional suicide on Paige's part, she just thought she'd be sleeping her pain away.



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Reply #44 on: October 12, 2010, 09:00:51 PM

So, put me in the category of listener that blueeyeddevil described -- those who tune into SF podcasts wanting to hear SF.  


DEFINE YOUR TERMS!  :)

The story was fiction, it was about science and it posited an idea that wouldn't get much shrift in consensus reality. That you didn't like the story is fine but I would respectfully suggest that calling it 'not SF' in this case is not correct.
First I have to note shrift. Either word of the day calender or Aurthur Conan Doyle is posting on this forum, a prospect I'm very excited about. (Though what is consensus reality, what type of sin would it commit that it would need to confess and what type of priest would hear its shriving?)
I have to completely  disagree with you Loz, There is no need to "define ones terms" in order to defend this piece as not being science fiction. While the story had a scientific element but that scientific element had no speculative slant to it. I thought there was a nice listing of writer's definitions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_science_fiction.
Speed of Dreams was a fine story, it could have appeared in any number literary journals if had been submitted to, but I agree with the corner of this argument that felt that this piece missed in the genre it was presented in.
For me, definition and catagorization is subjective and can't be an arguement that anyone can "win" (clearly the editor considered this sci fi, what ho :)), but the best way I can put it is this:
If I'm looking for an outfit for my daughter's American Doll, I go to the toy/doll section, not the clothing section.  It could be argued to put all the "clothes" together, (the store manager makes that call), but I expect it in the toy section because of past experience - it's not wrong that they are somewhere else, just not what I expect.  If you organized a store, where would you put the hallowe'en costumes?

This story doesn't match my definition of sci-fi.  It's a strech no matter how you look at it. 
It was a nifty story, well written, the ending dark, but believeable to me (some times my teens say or do the most unlogical things (yes unlogical, not illogical - they are so out there they are the antithesis of logic :))) though I would have preferred something more in line with my def'n of sci fi.

Not a ton to add to this discussion, but FWIW: in addition to EP considering it a SF story, so did Sheila Williams, who originally published it at Asimov's Science Fiction.

This was a story about someone who was frustrated with life, wanted to escape (into a dream reality), and have four times the amount of adventures she could have in reality.

I hope she wakes up, and I would've told her not to do it (especially over whatshisname), but I gotta say I do understand the desire. Not to get all meta, but that's at least part of the reason I tune in every week. 

Still working on multiplying my time by four, though  ;)


Dave

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Reply #45 on: October 12, 2010, 10:34:26 PM
Cute, clever, evil story.

Not SF, even by loose standards, but clever and enjoyable.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


Maplesugar

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Reply #46 on: October 13, 2010, 08:33:42 PM
While I realize the story is a one-shot, I found myself wondering about Paige long after the story ended. I want to know more about *her*, about her life, if she submitted her experiment to her teacher, what his reactions were, and what kind of future this girl has.




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Reply #47 on: October 25, 2010, 08:12:53 PM
I think MCWagner hit the nail on the head for why I didn't like the ending; Mur's (generally excellent) reading was just a bit too peppy and light-hearted, making me dismiss the hinted-at disappointments as minor disappointments.  Thinking back, I can see a lot of foreshadowing of the narrator's fragile state of mind (such as having to take "slow science" this year due to some unspecified breakdown when she pushed herself too hard academically the year before.)  However, because Mur gave the narrator such a chipper tone, she didn't seem suicidal; I suspect I'd have been less taken aback had I read this story in text rather than heard it in audio.

I loved the implied story effect, but the suicide was just a bit too unexpected to make for a satisfying ending. 

But it wasn't an intentional suicide on Paige's part, she just thought she'd be sleeping her pain away.

I'm afraid I'd disagree... though it's up to interpretation.  The kid may be a little disturbed, but I didn't feel that she's so far out of it as to misinterpret what she was doing as anything other than a suicide attempt.  This isn't a ten-year-old, but a mid-to-late teen who'd taken some manner of advanced science classes... she's not going to be fooling herself into thinking she'll be able to knock herself into a coma by taking grannie's meds.  From that angle, all her talk about "sleeping away her life" becomes a poetic angsty teen melodrama version of killing herself... a "woe is me" diary entry found after the fact.  I think we were all misdirected from this interpretation by the upbeat reading.  (On the other hand, I can see how it would be read the other way... it's just that, for me, the story gave her too much intelligence for that to seem a plausible outcome.)

I'm enormously puzzled by the "this isn't SF" argument, but that's more hair-splitting than I really want to engage in.



yicheng

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Reply #48 on: October 26, 2010, 04:43:59 PM
The premise of the story was interesting, although I was going "Holy crap kid overdosing on meds!!!" for the last few minutes of the story.  Ultimately, the story seemed lacking in action.  There was only one character in the whole story and she didn't carry it well enough for me.  Maybe it was supposed to be some sort of Young Adult fiction, but overdosing on prescription meds doesn't sound like something you'd want your teenage daughter to read about.

As for the discussion on whether something is sci-fi or not, I personally find it tiresome and self-masturbatory, which is why I tend to just skip to the end whenever I see people start in on it.  Nothing personal to those of you that enjoy talking about it, mind you, I just think it adds absolutely nothing in the way of describing the quality of the story, giving constructive feedback to the author, nor giving a clue to a potential reader whether they may enjoy the story or not.  It's akin to people arguing whether a particular pair of pants are charcoal or grey, when they could just try the damn things on and see how they fit.



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Reply #49 on: October 28, 2010, 05:44:34 PM
It's akin to people arguing whether a particular pair of pants are charcoal or grey, when they could just try the damn things on and see how they fit.

Well said.