Author Topic: EP384: The Tamarisk Hunter  (Read 20641 times)

Cutter McKay

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Reply #25 on: February 28, 2013, 10:04:53 PM
The end of the story would've made a good inciting incident because it's much more interesting to me what he does NOW, rather than the attempt at a status quo he has been aiming for previously.

That's exactly how I'm feeling about it. I want to know what Lolo's going to do. Does he go and join the Eco-Terrorists, as Mat suggested? Or does he join his friend in the Guard? Or do they move north and start over? So many possibilities that are much more interesting than this overly complex set-up.

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Reply #26 on: February 28, 2013, 10:40:24 PM
Made me feel thirsty!


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Reply #27 on: February 28, 2013, 11:32:50 PM
A perfect story for our times. The mood in this country right now perfectly matches all the characters. Lolo, scamming and dodging trying to keep what little he has. His wife, trying to get over her trauma and loss. Lolo's "pal" who is giving up and pulling out. The NatGuard goon who isn't really sadistically evil himself, but does the dirty work for those that are. Life in 2013 America symbolically represented by a decent author.


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Reply #28 on: March 01, 2013, 04:16:09 PM
I thought this story was an intersting better-than-average read.  I liked the interal dialog, as well as the pleasant surprise in finding out that the charcters outside the main character have redeeming traits to them.  Turning the blind eye to what the water ticks are doing just to survive, in truth trying to give them as much of a wide birth to operate and get by as they can without blatently not doing what they've been charged to do.

I would have liked to have heard more of the story.  So, here we are, not in trouble for having been gaming the system...but, life is about to be turned upside down, not likely for the better.  Oh, and that's the end.  I would have liked to have heard the rest of the story.

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Reply #29 on: March 05, 2013, 04:19:26 AM
Having read Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl", this story didn't come as a surprise to me. This and Shipbreaker fit right into his ecologically bleak view of the future; probably part of that same "universe". And I listened because I know Bacigalupi's a good writer, and I was not disappointed. There is no "good-vs-evil" struggle here, it's just the Darwinian struggle for survival, and those whom "chance" has favored will survive better. In this case, "chance" favors the side with more power. Gun power or law power. Works out to the same. The Californians are no more evil then than now. They've just taken measures to make sure they don't get overrun.

Is this a fun happy future? Hell no. Is it plausible? Have you seen the way differences are resolved - or NOT resolved - in our society (esp. our government) these days? It's very plausible. Wish that it weren't, but....

Must confess I didn't know just what destructive things tamarisks were before I heard this.

And Alasdair, brother, I wish I could come up with an example of that which you seek -- all I can think of is "Earth Abides" and a weird little film, "Ever Since the World Ended"; but I don't think that's what you want.


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Reply #30 on: March 10, 2013, 07:50:39 PM
I like KenK's summary of the essence of the story. Most SF is political or social commentary wrapped in  not-real, yet highly plausible world. This story is a fine example. The author's warning shows that the "Haves" will always take from the "Have-Nots". We must have a back up plan because we can't always count on the people or organizations we elect to protect us and have our best interest at heart. You must always have a back up plan. You never know when Plan A will be yanked out from beneath you.



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Reply #31 on: March 29, 2013, 05:46:11 AM
Well, the story must have been good, because of the meatiness of the discussion it precipitated.

I'll join in to say that, while I do sympathize with Lolo, I think he is struggling with a problem of his own making. As was pointed out in the story, he can always go north. His dilemma stems from the fact that he just can't let his "stuff" go.  Yes, it sucks when everything you have worked for is now worthless, but that is life. It happens (war, banking crisis, dot-com bubble, etc.). Stop your whining and deal with it. Move to where things are better.

And on that topic, I really wonder why east is never mentioned in this story. The east coast regions of North America rarely experience major droughts. Why was east not presented as an option?


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Reply #32 on: March 30, 2013, 01:54:17 AM
Damn good story. Vivid, realistic; just enough future to transport you and enough reality to allow true immersion.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Reply #33 on: April 23, 2013, 02:41:12 PM
I found this story to be a bit dull. I was not compelled to root for Lolo, nor was I compelled to dislike the Calis. If Lolo was experiencing a hardship, it was not evident to me from the story. It seemed he was surviving just fine. It seems most of his fear of the law was over exaggerated fear that welled up from within him, not from the reality of what actually happened. They knew about his taking water from the river, they knew he had an illegal cistern, and for all we know they knew he was replanting tamarisk. Clearly it was a drought ravaged land, but I imagine Lolo was a "black helicopters" personality before the drought ever happened.


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Reply #34 on: May 10, 2013, 01:35:37 AM
I don't agree with the "Calies are evil" viewpoint.  The only people we get that from are Lolo and his fellow fringedweller.  There are indications elsewhere in the story that the situation in California is not as Lolo resentfully imagines it. 

I think that is undoubtedly true, but this doens;t alleviate the issue that California bought up water rights, which is a thing, right now generally the western states have a first access rule to water, so if the upstream folks use it all up before the downstream folks see it, out of luck. This reverses it with the downstream people buying rights, and then for some reason the military getting involved in protecting those rights, I suppose because its a state-state conflict.

I found the story interesting, and unfortunately plausible to a degree, I'm not so sure about the miltary as a state police force, but it has happened elsewhere.

Looking up the the Tamarisk, that's actually pretty insane, that it draws salt from the ground and then laces the soil with it to eliminate competition!


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Reply #35 on: August 28, 2013, 09:03:33 PM
It's almost always a pleasure to read something from a writer that can create real, living characters and a world that can all too easily be believed. We got all that here, but the story itself was not quite tight enough to become great, so I'd settle for calling it a good story


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Reply #36 on: February 02, 2015, 07:45:30 PM
These episodes of Star Talk provide an extra layer of believability to this story, especially Part 2.

NDT: you think World War III would be fought over water?
ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR: You know, the Pentagon's done two assessments and over the last decade and in both of those assessments they said that global warming and particularly water shortages are the principal threat to America's national security...