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Author Topic: EP277: Rejiggering the Thingamajig  (Read 21262 times)

eytanz

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on: January 28, 2011, 07:38:39 AM
EP277: Rejiggering the Thingamajig

By Eric James Stone
Read by Kij Johnson

First appeared in Analog, 2010

---

The teleport terminal had not been built with tyrannosaurus sapiens in mind.

Resisting the urge to knock human-sized chairs about with her tail, Bokeerk squatted on the tile floor, folded the claws of her forelimbs together, and concentrated on her breathing. Meditation would calm her nerves. What should have been a two-minute waystop as she switched to a different teleport line had stretched to three hours, and being the only passenger in the terminal creeped her out.

The cheerful voice of the customer service AI roused Bokeerk from her trance. “It is my pleasure to inform you that the cause of the technical difficulties in the galactic teleport network has been found.”

Bokeerk perked up and rose on her hind legs, remembering just in time to duck her head so it wouldn’t bang the ceiling lamps. “Please send me to Krawlak,” she said. It was unlikely that any of her eggs would hatch for another few days yet, but she was anxious to get home.

“It is with the utmost regret that I must tell you that will not be possible at this time,” said the AI, with a tone of such abysmal sorrow that Bokeerk’s eyes could not help but moisten with sympathetic tears. “I require assistance in repairing the problem.”

Bokeerk lowered herself into a squat again. “When will help get here?” She looked at the time display on the digital assistant strapped to her left forelimb. She had now been stranded for three hours and fifty-two minutes.

“I estimate a spaceship carrying a repair crew could be here within twelve years,” said the AI. Its voice seemed to have lost the customer service aspect.


Rated PG For violence

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 269: Élan Vital
  • Next week… Linguistics… in space.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 07:23:19 PM by eytanz »



Scattercat

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Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 08:16:02 AM
Awesome concepts, but it felt like all the early promise was squandered a bit in the simple resolution of the problem.  (We'll just give the magic teleport dragon a day off for weekends and everything is fine!)  I think the overdose of cool stuff (Gene-engineered dinosaurs!  Cheerfully psychopathic guns!  Nanite clouds!  Tentacle-tongue monsters!) meant that the pat ending came off as a let-down.  I could have enjoyed this story a lot if it were a bit longer and more complex; as it was, it felt like a rapid upspike of rising action that ended in a nearly sheer cliff of a denouement, as though we hit some kind of wordcount limit and had to wrap everything up in five hundred words or less.

I'm also a trifle leery of any plot that revolves around a religion magically fixing everything.  I feel that any religion would really have done the job of giving the teleport-critter a reason to continue working; this is its first contact with any sentient and apparently the factor that gives it sufficient definition to make personal decisions, so any ethos with a basic understanding of tit-for-tat would have managed it.  Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Shinto...  Hell, even Satanism could have managed it, if you squint.  However, the story seems to imply that the teleporter acts as it does because it "truly understands" Buddhism, and that makes me uncomfortable.

It was fun, and it was cool, but I came away hungry and slightly unsatisfied. 



Void Munashii

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Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 03:53:24 PM
  A story about a Buddhist T-Rex with an artificially intelligent gun-arm and a nano-swarm who crosses a hostile world to save the universe's public transportation system; how could I not enjoy this?

  The only complaint I have is that the actual journey seemed sort of short; even with the two attacks it seemed like it should have been more epic than it was. It didn't feel like she went the distance the teleport AI said she would have to (and yes, I am taking into account the fact that her strides would cover more ground than a human's).

  I ultimately have to agree with Scattercat, although for different reasons. It was fun, and it was cool, but it doesn't feel quite like a full meal to me.

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matweller

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Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 08:19:41 PM
While I concur that longer would have made it better, I feel that way about almost all of the stories presented by Escape Artists, Clarksworld and others. 30 minutes (give or take) isn't long enough to cover everything. For me -- and I'm not preaching that my path is the enlightened one, I'm just stating -- I consider the missing details as cool things to ponder on my own. There are some stories that leave rather gaping holes, but I don't think this was in that category.

I enjoyed it very much, and I am 100% behind what Norm said about it being nice to sometimes just absorb and enjoy a fun story. This was a fun story. :)



Talia

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Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 03:47:06 AM
I thought this was a delightful little romp. The talking gun amused me a good deal, and I enjoyed the idea of a Buddhist dinosaur. :) Fun.

Only thing I would have liked to know more about was The Janitor (or whatever the nanobot cloud was called). That was kind of mysterious. :)



Rain

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Reply #5 on: January 29, 2011, 04:58:45 PM
A cool story, i liked it.

I have to say i continue to love Norm Sherman as guest host, his intros and endings are so incredibly funny and awesome that i find myself relistening to those parts several times. With all due respect to Mur i kinda wish Norm was the host all the time  ;D



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Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 06:43:34 PM
Big fat "meh". Can't see one good thing about this one.



Talia

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Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 07:06:42 PM
A cool story, i liked it.

I have to say i continue to love Norm Sherman as guest host, his intros and endings are so incredibly funny and awesome that i find myself relistening to those parts several times. With all due respect to Mur i kinda wish Norm was the host all the time  ;D


You should check out The Drabblecast. The host there has a very similar style :P



Scattercat

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Reply #8 on: January 29, 2011, 09:27:30 PM
A cool story, i liked it.

I have to say i continue to love Norm Sherman as guest host, his intros and endings are so incredibly funny and awesome that i find myself relistening to those parts several times. With all due respect to Mur i kinda wish Norm was the host all the time  ;D


You should check out The Drabblecast. The host there has a very similar style :P

And will, in fact, sometimes go on for over half the show.  :-D

He reminds me a bit of Groucho Marx, in terms of the rapid-fire patter and the quick-step linkage of and inversion of ideas.  ("You could leave in a taxi.  If you can't find a taxi, you can leave in a huff.  If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff.")



Dem

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Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 01:49:15 PM
Oh dear, out of step again. From the cuddly children's illustrator dinosaur (with those feet?), through Annie Get Ya Talkin' Gun (Yihaa!), to the empty but benign thingamajig that becomes suddenly philosophically astute without going bonkers at its awakening, I just found myself thinking no, no, no oh NO!
But there you have it, diversity of taste. Now if I could just borrow the thingamijig and explore the impact of its origins, entrapment, empty unknowing existence, and sudden stark epiphany... Back in a bit. :D

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Nobilis

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Reply #10 on: January 30, 2011, 03:13:12 PM
Thunder lizards aside, I liked this story better when the hero was a teddy bear.

The ending was, as others have pointed out, a bit too facile.



Loz

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Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 04:16:53 PM
Honestly, are people forgetting it's a frickin' T-Rex with a frickin' gun? Honestly, young people today with their badgers with semi-automatics and their panthers with grenades for kneecaps. Spoilt is what they are.
I enjoyed the story and give a shout out to Kij Johnson for a fun reading.



Dem

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Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 04:47:33 PM
a shout out to Kij Johnson for a fun reading.
Yes, actually. Proper good reading.  :)

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 08:18:02 PM
Well. I kinda got mixed feelings about this one.
On the one hand you have a genetically engineered T-Rex mama who illustrates children's books to pay the bills and has moral objections to eating non-engineered meat. That is just a whole heaping pile of awesome. Add to that a maniacal talking gun who sounds like Yosemite Sam (great reading Kij!) and a cute little nanoswarm with the apparent IQ and vocabulary of a 3 year old and you don't really need a good plot to carry this on.
On the other hand, you had a great plot.
A pan-dimensional intelligent singularity being press-armed into service as a galaxy wide mass transit system by self-centered condescending AIs who finally breaks free. That is just a recipe for a great story. Lots of good characters, a great conflict and no simple solution in sight.
And then we got a simple solution.
It's sort of a letdown.
So, great reading, a very interesting cast of characters and a good plot line, but the ending was anticlimactic. I would like to hear more about this singularity creature, where/when it came from, how the AIs found it and manipulated it, and what exactly it would do with its day off.
Also, this story reminded me of my favorite comic growing up (which has been canceled these past 15 years). When I was 5 I cut this panel out of the Sunday paper and stuck it on my wall. A little Google magic allows me to relive and share those moments of innocent, childlike delight.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 08:19:45 PM by Max e^{i pi} »

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SanguineV

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Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 11:23:03 PM
I found this story disappointing in many ways, it seemed that some interesting possibilities were created all to be thrown away. Ultimately it felt like a story from a children's adventure game that you can't really do anything wrong in.

The main character starts out with an interesting internal conflict to explore: how does a genetically engineered intelligent predator that is a pacifist handle having to possibly hunt/kill for survival? Sadly this isn't a problem - apparently pacifism is just a convenient choice for fun and real starvation never sets in.

But wait, our pacifist still has to use a gun! Surely they are at least in some kind of quandary about using it? No, the gun is grafted to them so they have no choice and it shoots based on its own intelligence so they can avoid responsibility! Better yet, pacifism is only a choice so killing/maiming things is just inconvenient (and only in self defence anyway).

That's ok, we still have the conflict between the gun's intelligence and Buddhism to occupy some deeper thoughts. Or not... it seems the gun (whose entire purpose is to maim and kill) just happily goes along with this philosophy that is anathema to its entire reason for being.

Ok, so all the characters have their potentially interesting conflicts resolved for free, what about the main plot. Well, that was kind of like a childish adventure story where the choices are dictated and everything solves itself:

AI: You must go on a quest to save the peoples of the universe or you will die. Here take this gun.
Tyrannosaurus(TY): Ok, I'll do the quest but I don't like guns.
AI: You must or you will die.
Gun is melded to TY, cannot be separated.
AI: Also take this companion Swarm.
TY: I'm not happy but ok, lets go.

Monster1 is attacking you!
TY uses gun, Monster1 is defeated.

Monster2 is attacking you!
TY uses gun, it does nothing.
TY uses Swarm, Monster2 is defeated.

TY reaches Thingamajig.
*insert dialogue of expose where TY's nature is the solution*

Congratulations, you have saved the peoples of the universe!


So in the end I was left disappointed by the story. I think there were some interesting ideas and some wonderful potential, but it seems all the ways it could have been speculative were thrown away. Perhaps this story is targeted at a much younger audience?

Good job on the reading, the gun especially was entertainingly presented and good to listen to.



Swamp

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Reply #15 on: January 31, 2011, 01:07:08 AM
I have to say i continue to love Norm Sherman as guest host

Sorry to nitpick, but Norm is a regular co-host.  He hosts 50% of the time.  I like the back and forth between them.  I do think it's funny that Norm gets all of the giant lizard stories.  Too funny.

Thunder lizards aside, I liked this story better when the hero was a teddy bear.

 :D  I also thought of Edward Bear as I was listening to this.

However, I think I liked this story more than you did, Nobilis.  It was fun and not meant to be taken too seriously.

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tinygaia

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Reply #16 on: January 31, 2011, 01:55:22 AM
First, to echo everyone else: Buddhist children's book illustrator T-rex? Heck, yeah! And great reading by Kij. My biggest problem with this story is not that it ended too abruptly but that it didn't have enough of that talking gun. Where do I get one of those?

I also enjoyed the monsters in this story. When the AI suggested that the monsters outside the dome were bigger and faster than a t-rex, my feeble little imagination summoned up, I don't know, Mega-T-rex, or something equally unoriginal. The giant-tongue-thing with hundreds of eyes was better.



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Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 04:57:19 AM
I have to say i continue to love Norm Sherman as guest host

Sorry to nitpick, but Norm is a regular co-host.  He hosts 50% of the time.  I like the back and forth between them.  I do think it's funny that Norm gets all of the giant lizard stories.  Too funny.


Hehe, you know, I just saw someone twittering about me as the 'guest host' and thought jeez, I've been doing this well over a year now, when can a brotha finally take off and hang his coat?
I'm very much enjoying being on the monthly seesaw with Mur.  As long as I get stories with parasites and dinosaurs and she gets stories that involve tact and wherewithal.



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Reply #18 on: January 31, 2011, 02:04:25 PM
Wow, this one was fun! Thank you Escape Pod! Not much deep to say about this, but if I may, this was like Jurassic Park meets Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with a little bit of Portal thrown in for flavor  ;D



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Reply #19 on: January 31, 2011, 10:27:21 PM
I really loved this story.  I liked that the lizard was thrust into an adventure with a talking gun and creepy nano storm.  It has all the makings to be a much longer story than it actually is.   

The transport network being manipulated by the AIs remind me much of the Hyperion series. 



kibitzer

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Reply #20 on: February 01, 2011, 01:45:52 AM
When I heard Norm's intro I thought, "Oh no, not another giant lizard story!! What is it with EP and giant lizards?? Enough already!"

Then I listened to the story. Ha. Pure pleasure!! Loved its lighthearted nature and the juxtaposition of T-Rex / Bhuddist / vegetarian / illustrator. Outrageous!

Kij read well but I thought she could have gone a bit more hyper with the gun -- felt like she was being restrained. :-)


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #21 on: February 01, 2011, 02:43:37 AM
This was wonderful. Completely ridiculous, and completely wonderful. I'm going to be dwelling on it for a long time. I haven't got anything terribly deep to say about it, but that's ok. It was wonderful just the way it was.

Ok, I lied. Actually, I thought the gradual spread of Buddhism through the story's characters - the dinosaur, the gun, the thingamajig... it was hillarious. I kept on cracking up and slapping the steering while. Priceless.

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Mercurywaxing

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Reply #22 on: February 01, 2011, 05:18:22 AM
As a former religion major in college, I loved the spiritual dimension of this story.  The dinosaur had to violate man of her deeply held beliefs.  Then she can only save the system by reconnecting and spreading her ideas was also very subtly well done.

Also, what kind of jaded jerk can't smile at the idea of the entire galaxy only being able to have interstellar travel due to a genetically engineered dinosaur teaching a non corporal pan-dimensional slave being the philosophy of selflessness as taught by Gautama Buddha?



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Reply #23 on: February 01, 2011, 06:31:32 AM
I'm not one to post just to repeat what has been said, but in this case I need to make an exception.   What the heck is not to like about a Buddhist/T-rex/Children's illustrator/pacifist/vegetarian with a sentient gun tromping through a jungle full of big baddies to save the universe?  From the word go, this had me hooked as a light romp and after that I just went with it.  Zerotkatama mentioned the Douglas Adams flavor this had, and I have to agree - it took the absurdity to the nth degree and I actually snickered out loud a few of times.  Thank you Kij for a great reading and thank you Escape Pod for giving me my daily smile.  I look forward to many more.

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kibitzer

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Reply #24 on: February 01, 2011, 07:07:08 AM
Also, what kind of jaded jerk can't smile at the idea of the entire galaxy only being able to have interstellar travel due to a genetically engineered dinosaur teaching a non corporal pan-dimensional slave being the philosophy of selflessness as taught by Gautama Buddha?

Some of us have bad days. Or are grumpy old men. Or both.

NOTE: I am OF COURSE referring only to myself.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 01:56:34 AM by kibitzer »



Devoted135

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Reply #25 on: February 01, 2011, 02:18:27 PM
haha, all she needed was a towel (since the nanocloud took care of the babelfish for her)!

though I think my favorite part was how the AI described her task to her: you're going to find a.... thingamajig. ...and you need to... jigger it. yeah. let's go with that.  :D



tinygaia

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Reply #26 on: February 01, 2011, 02:23:29 PM
though I think my favorite part was how the AI described her task to her: you're going to find a.... thingamajig. ...and you need to... jigger it. yeah. let's go with that.  :D

I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan so I'm always in favor of any opportunity to use the phrase "meta-syntactic variable" in conversation.



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Reply #27 on: February 01, 2011, 03:24:56 PM
I'm very much enjoying being on the monthly seesaw with Mur.  As long as I get stories with parasites and dinosaurs and she gets stories that involve tact and wherewithal.

Hehe, now I am picturing Norm and Mur on a seesaw (or teeter-totter if you prefer) on a children playground.  Sharing Norm's side is this intelligent dino-mama with cowboy gun, which probably has had its tongue replaced by a creepy parasite.  And on Mur's side, she is sharing it with Tact and Wherewithal, who I imagine to be Pratchettian anthropomorphic personifications.  Tact has a waxed mustache, and Wherewithal is wearing a powdered wig.  :)



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Reply #28 on: February 01, 2011, 03:30:16 PM
Thank you, Escape Pod, for restoring my confidence in anthromorphic dinosaur stories!!   :D

This one was hilarious all around, beginning with the AI's condescending tone, and applying "thingamajig" and "rejiggering" to words that the t-rex could not possibly understand (although it turned out to be pretty easy to understand, the AI's assumption of non-comprehension was hilarious).  The Yosemite Sam gun was equally hilarious "I wouldn't be a very smart gun if I couldn't talk!", and this revealed even more the conniving nature of the AI--specifically, referring her to the only gun, waiting for it to attach permanently and then saying something along the lines of "regrettably, it is also insane", twould have been a good thing to know before it grafted on.

Hilarious and awesome fun!  I can understand why some think the ending is a bit of a letdown, but this did not even cross my mind because I was so thoroughly entertained by the rest.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #29 on: February 01, 2011, 05:38:04 PM
I'm very much enjoying being on the monthly seesaw with Mur.  As long as I get stories with parasites and dinosaurs and she gets stories that involve tact and wherewithal.

Hehe, now I am picturing Norm and Mur on a seesaw (or teeter-totter if you prefer) on a children playground.  Sharing Norm's side is this intelligent dino-mama with cowboy gun, which probably has had its tongue replaced by a creepy parasite.  And on Mur's side, she is sharing it with Tact and Wherewithal, who I imagine to be Pratchettian anthropomorphic personifications.  Tact has a waxed mustache, and Wherewithal is wearing a powdered wig.  :)
Pratchettian is an awesome word and I will try to use it in the next conversation I have.
"Two tickets for the movie please."
"Here you go Sir, have a good time."
"I wouldn't bother Time just for this, unless you didn't mean the Pratchettian anthropomorphic personification but instead were merely wishing me Enjoyment, who happens to be quite a good sport and a fun gal to hang with."
" ???  ??? "

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Reply #30 on: February 01, 2011, 07:45:29 PM
I really enjoyed this story, at least while I was immersed in it.  Any questionable science that might have gotten my goat, as it sometimes has in previous stories, was quickly negated by the joyously silly framework.

Reading Scattercat's and others' points about Buddhism-as-McGuffin gave me some pause for thought, though in my (admittedly less than thorough) understanding of various belief systems, Buddhism has a stronger ideal of 'do no harm' than most religions, and that was the point on which the Thingamajig's actions were based.

That being said, I think, on further reflection, that I would have preferred that the Thingamajig learn about the precepts of Buddhism and then reject them in favour of its own moral code (possibly overlapping with and even being influenced by the Buddhism).  Having had harm done to it, it could certainly have sympathy for harm done to others and wish to avoid causing it for that reason alone, without any need to buy into an ancient, Earth-biased creed.

Unlike most here, I'm afraid I found that Ms. Johnson's reading detracted from the story.  As I have (I believe) enjoyed her readings in the past, I found that disappointing.

I kept being distracted by the fact that the characters didn't sound like they were depicted.  For me,  "‘Yee-haw!’ shouted the gun," is not as effective as, " ‘YEEEE-HAAWW!’ shouted the gun."  And, when it should have, the AI didn't have "a tone of such abysmal sorrow."  There are many stories where an understated, descriptive style is appropriate.  I don't feel that this is one of them.  The nature of this story called for a performance, not just a reading.

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Talia

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Reply #31 on: February 01, 2011, 09:07:29 PM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.



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Reply #32 on: February 01, 2011, 09:46:41 PM
I really enjoyed the setting and the story for most of it, but the ending fell flat for me. It's not quite that everything hinged on the thingamajig adopting Buddhism, but rather on how easily it came. I would have much preferred it if the dinosaur had in some way had to demonstrate why Buddhism is important, especially as the journey there involved her having to betray her own beliefs.

Also, she ended up stranded in the wilderness, wounded, with no food (and it was already established she was very hungry) and with predators all around. She may have helped the AIs reach an amiable compromise with the thingamajig, but the story made it seem like her problems are over, but really she's in quite a pickle.



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Reply #33 on: February 02, 2011, 12:41:58 AM
Actually, I thought the gradual spread of Buddhism through the story's characters - the dinosaur, the gun, the thingamajig... it was hillarious. I kept on cracking up and slapping the steering while. Priceless.

Yeah, that was genius. The gun actually started to remind me of a Buddhist duck hunter I once knew (honest!)

The reading was great too. I was toying with the idea of auditioning as a narrator, but not after this.



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Reply #34 on: February 02, 2011, 01:57:38 AM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.

But that's just it... the gun was meant to be irritating.


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Reply #35 on: February 02, 2011, 01:39:40 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.



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Reply #36 on: February 02, 2011, 02:45:50 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.

Norm is ALWAYS serious.  Hadn't you noticed?




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Reply #37 on: February 02, 2011, 05:20:25 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.
Steve is still in the cloud. I follow his general movements on Twitter (http://twitter.com/sfeley), but we can probably kidnap him and make him read something if you need. I say that with Norm-level seriousness, of course.



tinygaia

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Reply #38 on: February 02, 2011, 07:47:16 PM
we can probably kidnap him and make him read something if you need.

I vote yes.



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Reply #39 on: February 02, 2011, 08:50:17 PM
And the EA forum's criminal element is born! :p



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #40 on: February 02, 2011, 09:35:59 PM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.

I didn't (necessarily) mean amplifying the gun's personality.  Just not dampening it, either, which, like Kibitzer, is the effect I got.

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iamafish

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Reply #41 on: February 04, 2011, 10:36:55 AM
And the EA forum's criminal element is born! :p

born? Ha.

There are some problems with this story, as many have pointed out, and I'd love to list them, but my mind cannot move past sentient, Buddhist, passivist, vegetarian, fucking dinosaurs with sentient, smart-arse, insane, fucking guns. seriously.


Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #42 on: February 04, 2011, 10:03:08 PM
There are some problems with this story, as many have pointed out, and I'd love to list them, but my mind cannot move past sentient, Buddhist, passivist, vegetarian, fucking dinosaurs with sentient, smart-arse, insane, fucking guns. seriously.

Wait, when were the dinosaurs or gun fucking?

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


yicheng

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Reply #43 on: February 07, 2011, 05:58:13 PM
Awesome story!  I'll also jump on the bandwagon and say that between the Buddhist T-Rex, AI Machine gun, and trans-dimensional singularity aliens, there was nothing I disliked about it.  The Buddhist/Pacifist T-Rex was humorous to say the least, but as a semi-practicing Buddhist I feel that I should clear up some things:

1) Contrary to popular belief, some Buddhists are not vegetarians.  There is some historical evidence that Guatama Buddha himself was not vegetarian.  The earliest monks begged for food, and if that food was meat, it was better to eat it (as long as the animal wasn't explicitly killed to feed the monks) rather than let it go to waste.

2) Not all Buddhists are pacifists.  It was considered perfectly acceptable to use violence or even to kill in order to defend one-self or to prevent suffering.  As a shaolin creed goes:

Build rather than destroy
avoid rather than check
check rather than maim
maim rather than kill
for all life is precious and none can be replaced.



wakela

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Reply #44 on: February 08, 2011, 07:03:23 AM
But but but, you didn't really have a Buddhist, pacifist Tyrannosaur author of children's books.  Not really.  You had a protagonist who brought a magic thing to another magic thing.  The end.  Yeah, the idea of the Buddhist, pacifist Tyrannosaur author of children's books is cute and sort of clever, but the character doesn't do anything Buddhisty, Tyrannosaury, or authory.   Terry Pratchet and Douglas Adams are funny because they play with the absurdity, take it to the next, unexpected absurd level.

I found it difficult to accept that the the galactic transporter authorities had no contingency plan other than wait 12 years.

But I did like the story.  I chuckled in spots and I cared what happened.  I actually thought the Buddhism was well set up in that it was necessary at the end, but it didn't feel like a Chekov's religion.




wakela

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Reply #45 on: February 08, 2011, 07:07:03 AM
I'm wondering how many creatures humanity had to uplift before they got to the Tyrannosaurus freakin Rex.   I'm guessing all of them.  Because isn't the thing that, without even seeing one, we call a "tyrant lizard king" the absolute last thing you want to make smart?



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #46 on: February 08, 2011, 08:03:30 AM
I'm wondering how many creatures humanity had to uplift before they got to the Tyrannosaurus freakin Rex.   I'm guessing all of them.  Because isn't the thing that, without even seeing one, we call a "tyrant lizard king" the absolute last thing you want to make smart?
I think it was last week, or perhaps the week before last, when scientists in Japan announced that they would clone a mammoth. Something to do with new techniques in repairing damaged chromosomes and gestating the baby mammoth in an elephant for two and a half years. One radio personality said "Well, we have finally found the only scientists on the planet who have not seen Jurassic Park."
So, how many creatures? I dunno, but it starts with mammoths.

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Gamercow

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Reply #47 on: February 08, 2011, 05:05:59 PM
I agree with the Douglas Adams comparisons, because both the writer of this story and DNA have the ability to present a place, people, and actions that, when looked at strenuously and individually, make no sense.  However, if you put together all these people, places, and actions, they add up to something that makes sense.  They transcend the "silly barrier", where there is so much nonsense going on(in a good way) that your brain says "Okay, I'm not going to try to compare this to reality", and just goes with it.  Funnily enough, this was experienced by the MC in the Schroedinger's Cat Lady story a couple weeks ago.  Things got so bizarre, her brain gave up and accepted what it was seeing. 

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CryptoMe

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Reply #48 on: February 18, 2011, 07:19:24 PM
I found it difficult to accept that the the galactic transporter authorities had no contingency plan other than wait 12 years.

Why so? Our current Climate Change contingency plan is wait 1000 or so years... ;)
My point being that it is very normal to not think about bad things that you don't want to happen, and then be taken by surprise when they do.

Anyway, back to the story. I enjoyed this story. It was fun fluff. But, like many people, I thought the ending was a major weak point. It ended too quickly (resolution was too pat) and in the wrong place (dinosaur still in a dangerous situation). Fix that, and you have a really great piece of fun!



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Reply #49 on: February 22, 2011, 04:24:03 AM
Loved this one. A lot.

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Reply #50 on: February 28, 2011, 03:15:55 AM

Calvin and Hobbes FTW!

Quibbles aside (40 miles? Try 40 yards. Same story no changes.) Awesome offering. Just not every week, okay?



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Reply #51 on: March 18, 2011, 03:40:46 PM
My entire week so far has been filled with awesome dinosaur goodness. First this and now this. I feel like my whole week has been filled with one big win! Thanks for this funny hilarious story.

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