Author Topic: EP397: A Gun for Dinosaur  (Read 25470 times)

silber

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Reply #25 on: May 28, 2013, 06:38:20 PM
I really liked this story. What's not to like about a story about time travel, dinosaur hunting, jerks getting their come-uppance, and the little guy being the hero?


I'm with you, this was a lot of fun, and the vintage feel of it made it even more so.  I appreciate getting stories like this in the feed now and again because I admit I have not read a whole lot of Golden Age Sf aside from Asimov and a little Heinlein and there are SO many authors and great works out there.  It's cool when Escapepod puts new legs on them.


I never understand the criticism Nathan reads out about stories. I'm always grateful to get a free new story every week, and even when one isn't my cup of tea, I don't think to say that it's a problem with the story, more that it's just not for me.

 I also find myself usually not having the same issues as the HARUMPH crowd round here regarding stories.  Didn't have a problem with the reading, in fact, I thought the voice was perfect for it; I totally pictured an Indian/British guide in a khaki get-up.  Also the length of this story didn't bug me, but I had a looooong Memorial Day car ride and knocked out about 10 episodes of podcasts this weekend.



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Reply #26 on: May 29, 2013, 01:09:15 PM
1956, eh? Well that explains the acceptability of a gung-ho, caricatured, post-Empire (British, not galactic), hackneyed tale about idiots shooting things. It doesn't explain why anyone should think it's any good now. I don't think it stands up to scrutiny and, without the name tag, I doubt it would have got past first base. Nice effort reproducing the era, narrator, but I gave up to just read it through as quickly as possible to see if anything interesting actually happened. It didn't. Where's sentient time when you need it to strangle a daft plot at birth?

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langly

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Reply #27 on: May 29, 2013, 01:15:29 PM
Just listened to the piece and while I like the story, both the presentation and production values left me cold. There were 2 incidences where the reader deliberately stopped and re-read a line and that was never edited. Sorry, I come from the ancient days of editing magnetic tape and wouldn't have let that slide. I think the reader or producer just didn't want to bother listening to the piece again. I have heard this several times on the escape artists productions and it saddens me.

Then yes, the accent. A good try but just didn't work. Entire paragraphs just were extremely difficult to understand and I am pretty good hearing through British accents.

A 60 out of 100 for presentation. Sorry.



matweller

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Reply #28 on: May 29, 2013, 01:30:38 PM
Just listened to the piece and while I like the story, both the presentation and production values left me cold. There were 2 incidences where the reader deliberately stopped and re-read a line and that was never edited. Sorry, I come from the ancient days of editing magnetic tape and wouldn't have let that slide. I think the reader or producer just didn't want to bother listening to the piece again. I have heard this several times on the escape artists productions and it saddens me.

Then yes, the accent. A good try but just didn't work. Entire paragraphs just were extremely difficult to understand and I am pretty good hearing through British accents.

A 60 out of 100 for presentation. Sorry.
If you read through the previous comments, you would have seen that an apology was made and a revised file was loaded. I'm sorry that your download came from before the revision.

I apologize that the narrator didn't agree with you. That's going to happen sometimes. Some of the narrations I've liked the least ended up being fan favorites and some that I thought were stellar received little notice. Were this a controlled studio production, there are some segments we probably would have tried differently. As it is, I was satisfied that it was worthy of use on the show, and the majority of the response thus far seems to concur.



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Reply #29 on: May 29, 2013, 02:10:04 PM
Just listened to the piece and while I like the story, both the presentation and production values left me cold. There were 2 incidences where the reader deliberately stopped and re-read a line and that was never edited. Sorry, I come from the ancient days of editing magnetic tape and wouldn't have let that slide. I think the reader or producer just didn't want to bother listening to the piece again. I have heard this several times on the escape artists productions and it saddens me.

Then yes, the accent. A good try but just didn't work. Entire paragraphs just were extremely difficult to understand and I am pretty good hearing through British accents.

A 60 out of 100 for presentation. Sorry.

If you look up thread you'll see an explanation for the issues with the narration, likewise, in Mat's reply, the sentiments of which I'd like to echo. These things happen and when they do, we do our best to correct them.

However I take serious issue with what you imply about us not being 'bothered' to fix mistakes. We're a volunteer army, and we do this out of love for it. If we couldn't be bothered, we'd all have a lot more evenings, late nights and early mornings free. The mistakes you heard were human error and it saddens me that you don't think it's worth considering that before criticizing our work ethic.




chemistryguy

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Reply #30 on: May 29, 2013, 06:11:37 PM
1956, eh? Well that explains the acceptability of a gung-ho, caricatured, post-Empire (British, not galactic), hackneyed tale about idiots shooting things. It doesn't explain why anyone should think it's any good now. I don't think it stands up to scrutiny and, without the name tag, I doubt it would have got past first base. Nice effort reproducing the era, narrator, but I gave up to just read it through as quickly as possible to see if anything interesting actually happened. It didn't. Where's sentient time when you need it to strangle a daft plot at birth?

I had similar feelings about a story run on Podcastle last year.  The Terror of Blue John Gap .  I couldn't fathom why anyone could possibly enjoy the story outside of poking fun of it (which I did).  The fact remained that some did.
   
   
Quote
I'm kind of shocked that these two stories were written by the same author.  I adored "Run, Bakri says."  "Dead Merchandise", in comparison, just didn't grab me by the heart.

And for me - completely the reverse. That's the talent of diversity  :)

Yeah - life would be pretty boring if we all liked the same things!

Nothing to explain why I liked the story other than it's a fun little romp in time that takes me to the past as well.


Sgarre1

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Reply #31 on: May 29, 2013, 07:39:53 PM
Quote
I had similar feelings about a story run on Podcastle last year.  The Terror of Blue John Gap .  I couldn't fathom why anyone could possibly enjoy the story outside of poking fun of it (which I did).  The fact remained that some did.

Given the choice, I'll almost always pick older  genre fiction over current genre fiction, myself - not that it's inherently better (it isn't - but neither is current genre fiction) but just inherently more interesting to me.



flintknapper

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Reply #32 on: May 29, 2013, 10:27:49 PM
Quote
I had similar feelings about a story run on Podcastle last year.  The Terror of Blue John Gap .  I couldn't fathom why anyone could possibly enjoy the story outside of poking fun of it (which I did).  The fact remained that some did.

Given the choice, I'll almost always pick older  genre fiction over current genre fiction, myself - not that it's inherently better (it isn't - but neither is current genre fiction) but just inherently more interesting to me.

oh man... I am exactly the opposite. I love the new stuff. Just when you think it has all been done before, someone runs out of left field and hits you with something you didnt see coming.



langly

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Reply #33 on: May 30, 2013, 01:34:33 PM
To Mattweller and Alasdair5000;

Sorry, as you say human error occurs. Mine was to send a very cranky message without re-reading it to realize how harsh it was. Is there anywhere on the forums where people discuss how they record for you? Mics, production techniques, etc? Thanks for the good work.



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Reply #34 on: May 30, 2013, 02:34:28 PM
I enjoy a piece of SF from bygone era from time to time, partly to see how the writing style has changed, and people's perspectives. This was reasonably enjoyable, though I did think it unreasonably long for the framing story it was put into. He's going into an awful lot of ridiculously detailed explanation to justify his statement that he doesn't want to take a smallish man to certain eras.

Other than that, it was a pretty entertaining if somewhat fluffy dinosaur action story.

It's funny, I'd never heard the idea of "sentient time" until recently and I actually like it better than mutiverses or butterfly effects, mostly because its one of the only ways to return to your world, and really, what's the point of traveling if you can't return to the same place? Sure, it adds a bit of mysticism, but that's true of almost any branch of science that you research far enough.

I've got a story upcoming in Stupefying Stories based around a similar concept, though it's from the time-custodian's point of view, who is in charge of keeping space-time from tearing.  :)

Funny. My issue with the aging had nothing to do with dinosaur science, and everything to do with the treatment of the girlfriends at the start.  The blowhard's girlfriend can't come because she's not hearty enough* (despite engaging such masculine pursuits as skiing and piloting boats!), but the small man who admits to never doing anything exciting in his life gets a pass because hey, it's his choice.

For what it's worth, I didn't read the narrator's rejection of the woman on the expedition as misogyny, but as an aversion to mixing romantic entanglements with his expeditions.  I think he would've been fine with taking the woman, or taking the man, but not taking both, because he is worried that bringing a pair of lovers will cause oafish behavior on behalf of the man to act the alpha male to impress her.  It turns out that this particular fellow didn't need a woman to act oafish, so the prevention didn't do much good.

In any case, told as it was, any misogyny can be reasonably cast on the narrator rather than the writer, IMO. 



matweller

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Reply #35 on: May 30, 2013, 03:32:31 PM
Funny. My issue with the aging had nothing to do with dinosaur science, and everything to do with the treatment of the girlfriends at the start.  The blowhard's girlfriend can't come because she's not hearty enough* (despite engaging such masculine pursuits as skiing and piloting boats!), but the small man who admits to never doing anything exciting in his life gets a pass because hey, it's his choice.

For what it's worth, I didn't read the narrator's rejection of the woman on the expedition as misogyny, but as an aversion to mixing romantic entanglements with his expeditions.  I think he would've been fine with taking the woman, or taking the man, but not taking both, because he is worried that bringing a pair of lovers will cause oafish behavior on behalf of the man to act the alpha male to impress her.  It turns out that this particular fellow didn't need a woman to act oafish, so the prevention didn't do much good.

In any case, told as it was, any misogyny can be reasonably cast on the narrator rather than the writer, IMO. 


Totally agreed. While it would be totally stereotypical for such an man of that occupation, of that time to be sexist, I don't think that was overtly stated in the story (which may make the reader/listener who believes the stereotype themselves sexist by definition; I'm not suggesting it, just saying it's possible). The main character was much more of a pragmatist than a chauvinist. He wanted to come back with as many people alive as possible, himself being priority 1, and anything that reduces the chance of that happening should be considered for elimination. A person who cannot handle the required weaponry while at the same time being a distraction to someone carrying around a portable cannon is a HUGE liability to the entire enterprise.



Alasdair5000

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Reply #36 on: May 30, 2013, 03:49:37 PM
To Mattweller and Alasdair5000;

Sorry, as you say human error occurs. Mine was to send a very cranky message without re-reading it to realize how harsh it was. Is there anywhere on the forums where people discuss how they record for you? Mics, production techniques, etc? Thanks for the good work.

Happens to all of us, don't worry:) That's a really good idea actually and one I'll discuss with the powers that be. I know there's been some tech discussion in the Gallimaufry sub forum but none for a while.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #37 on: May 30, 2013, 04:13:05 PM
Funny. My issue with the aging had nothing to do with dinosaur science, and everything to do with the treatment of the girlfriends at the start.  The blowhard's girlfriend can't come because she's not hearty enough* (despite engaging such masculine pursuits as skiing and piloting boats!), but the small man who admits to never doing anything exciting in his life gets a pass because hey, it's his choice.

For what it's worth, I didn't read the narrator's rejection of the woman on the expedition as misogyny, but as an aversion to mixing romantic entanglements with his expeditions.  I think he would've been fine with taking the woman, or taking the man, but not taking both, because he is worried that bringing a pair of lovers will cause oafish behavior on behalf of the man to act the alpha male to impress her.  It turns out that this particular fellow didn't need a woman to act oafish, so the prevention didn't do much good.

In any case, told as it was, any misogyny can be reasonably cast on the narrator rather than the writer, IMO. 


Totally agreed. While it would be totally stereotypical for such an man of that occupation, of that time to be sexist, I don't think that was overtly stated in the story (which may make the reader/listener who believes the stereotype themselves sexist by definition; I'm not suggesting it, just saying it's possible). The main character was much more of a pragmatist than a chauvinist. He wanted to come back with as many people alive as possible, himself being priority 1, and anything that reduces the chance of that happening should be considered for elimination. A person who cannot handle the required weaponry while at the same time being a distraction to someone carrying around a portable cannon is a HUGE liability to the entire enterprise.

I'm not sure I meant the comment as a criticism of the story, exactly, its reality or the degree of misogyny of the author.  I guess it's more just that (especially as a woman myself?), I don't enjoy spending an hour in a world where men are the de facto money holders and make the decisions about what women do and don't get to do.  Add that to big game trophy hunting, which doesn't appeal to me either, and it just wasn't that fun for me.

The other thing, I guess, is that right from the start you know that the blowhard is going to F the whole thing up, and it's highly likely that the nice guy (nice guy or milquetoast?  I had trouble believing or understanding this character - he's presented as never having done anything remotely meaningful in his life, then somehow latches onto a trophy head as a must-have, and then acts coolly under pressure like a vet) is going to pay for it.  If it had been my expedition, and I'm pretty sure any well-run adventure expedition, there would have been no multiple chances.  The situation is simply too dangerous to allow a loose cannon along.  He would have been disarmed and kept out of the way after that very first shot the first day.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a lot of adventure guide acquaintances, and I just can't see them risking the entire party's lives (but now I want to ask them whether they've had similar experiences, and how they handled it).




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Reply #38 on: May 31, 2013, 01:50:26 PM
I'm not sure I meant the comment as a criticism of the story, exactly, its reality or the degree of misogyny of the author.  I guess it's more just that (especially as a woman myself?), I don't enjoy spending an hour in a world where men are the de facto money holders and make the decisions about what women do and don't get to do.  Add that to big game trophy hunting, which doesn't appeal to me either, and it just wasn't that fun for me.

You're entitled to your opinion either way.  In any case, I don't think we're really in disagreement, or at least not much.  The man was clearly a risk to any expedition regardless of the other members.  I suspect the guide'd have been better off in every way to invite her along instead.

The situation is simply too dangerous to allow a loose cannon along.  He would have been disarmed and kept out of the way after that very first shot the first day.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a lot of adventure guide acquaintances, and I just can't see them risking the entire party's lives (but now I want to ask them whether they've had similar experiences, and how they handled it).

You're right, it was a terrible idea to allow the loose cannon along.  That seemed fairly clear even before the expedition started, so bad judgment on the character's part to even take the contract.  If I were the guide, I'd be concerned about the prat shooting me if I tried to disarm him, but since the idiot blows both barrels at the slightest opportunity (essentially disarming himself for a short time) all you'd have to do would be to strike when the opportunity arises.



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Reply #39 on: May 31, 2013, 06:29:09 PM
I can't tell you how many times I've read this story, and hearing it was nice. I, too, had an issue with "8.5 million years" until I realized he HAD to have said "eighty-five" and I just misheard.

Good to hear an old classic.

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Reply #40 on: June 01, 2013, 08:49:17 AM
I really enjoy hearing older stories like this one. It's not just because of the different style of narration or language that they used (although that itself is worth a listen). No, what I really like about these kinds of classic stories is that they serve as a piece of history for the period they were written itself. You could take out all the dinosaurs and time travel, and you would be left with a solid story that could be from a real safari in Africa. For me, that makes the story extremely fun, sort of like getting a history lesson on old safari hunting culture in a much more lively way than reading a history book or watching  a documentary. Perhaps the contents seem a bit barbaric to modern eyes, but the same could be said for most of history.

I think I was lucky enough to download my episode a few days after it was out, and got the fixed version. No real trouble understanding on my end. Thanks for another neat episode.



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Reply #41 on: June 02, 2013, 10:14:42 AM
Sorry to say I must add my voice to the ones complaining about the narrator. I'm a brit and I had no trouble understanding, but it grated on me all the way through. The narrator must surely know he can't do the accent he's aiming for. Steven Fry could do it no problems.

And doesn't this show how far the genre has come in the years? Not just the sexist stuff but the story itself was by modern standards a bit blah. Sentient time could have been so much more FUN.



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Reply #42 on: June 03, 2013, 07:00:07 PM
I should start this comment by letting you all know that I was biased in the beginning to not really enjoy this story. I am not much of a fan of dinosaurs or hunting, so the combination of the two weren't really very interesting to me. However, as a fan of the great old ones of genre fiction, I felt obligated to at least give it a try. I wish I could say I was pleased with that decision, but really, it still wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't enjoy the set up, which I viewed as unnecessary, and the story did go on a bit long. In addition, as a non-dinosaur person, I found myself getting quite confused by the fancy jargon for dinosaur names and kept having to turn to good ole Internets to see just which dinosaur the author was talking about. Good news, I saw lots of neat pictures and learned me some science, but as a whole, it did distract me from the story.

On the plus side, I did rather enjoy the ending sequence and felt the karmic retribution brought down against the big brute in the story to be quite satisfying. It was quite a commitment to get there though, and I think I'll probably just stick to Wells or Lovecraft if I'm in the mood for literature of earlier days.

Onto the narrating, I'm on the dissenter's side as well. It was not my cup of tea. There were several instances of hurried, muffled words, and his accent was not pulled off well. With a story as long and as detailed as this piece was, I feel like the narrator really had to a great weight to bear, and I think he was crushed underneath it. It was especially disappointing when I heard him in the piece at the end of the episode, which was so much better. It almost didn't sound like the same person to me. As far as the accent goes, which was his downfall, I believe, would it really have been so bad to have this piece with his natural accent, I wonder? I think it would've been a better choice.



matweller

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Reply #43 on: June 03, 2013, 07:50:23 PM
I asked Ayoub to play it how he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, my American ear doesn't discern English accents well enough to know between all of them, so I trusted the Brit to know better. If you say he didn't, then I apologize to you, but I doubt the accent itself was an issue for the wider body of listeners. Regardless, I can assure you it was 100x closer to correct than if I had tried to do it*.

*see also "The Phantastic and Wondrous Adventures of Mr. Jonathan Darby" :P



Dem

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Reply #44 on: June 04, 2013, 08:31:05 AM
I asked Ayoub to play it how he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, my American ear doesn't discern English accents well enough to know between all of them,

Isn't that sad? Brits are familiar with so many nuances of US dialect and speech patterns because of the wealth of films and TV we receive. But you miss out on our Brummies, Geordies, Scousers, Estuaries, Scots, Welsh, Irish (northern, Eire, Dublin, Belfast), Sussex (they have 'chickings' and 'kitchings') and West country drawlers, and Cumbrian yollerers and farm yakkers. Probably you get the Eastenders though :)

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Dem

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Reply #45 on: June 04, 2013, 08:38:31 AM
And on the matter of the narration: I think this was a problem not so much of the British accent but of the era. 1950s BBC pronunciation is a tricky blighter that very few people really pull off - here's a spoof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQWPR9TM0Gk. And, er, the bloke on the right is spoofing the working class accent, guv.

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Kaa

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Reply #46 on: June 04, 2013, 12:56:19 PM
So the UK had its own version of the Mid-Atlantic accent? Interesting.

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matweller

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Reply #47 on: June 04, 2013, 01:03:44 PM
I asked Ayoub to play it how he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, my American ear doesn't discern English accents well enough to know between all of them,

Isn't that sad? Brits are familiar with so many nuances of US dialect and speech patterns because of the wealth of films and TV we receive. But you miss out on our Brummies, Geordies, Scousers, Estuaries, Scots, Welsh, Irish (northern, Eire, Dublin, Belfast), Sussex (they have 'chickings' and 'kitchings') and West country drawlers, and Cumbrian yollerers and farm yakkers. Probably you get the Eastenders though :)
Not so sad. We have dialects in every state that you've never heard. My home state of Pennsylvania has four or five that I know of and probably a couple that I don't. I'll read for you sometimes in Pittsburghese, then we can watch the hate comments roll in by the millions!



matweller

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Reply #48 on: June 04, 2013, 01:08:57 PM
And on the matter of the narration: I think this was a problem not so much of the British accent but of the era. 1950s BBC pronunciation is a tricky blighter that very few people really pull off - here's a spoof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQWPR9TM0Gk. And, er, the bloke on the right is spoofing the working class accent, guv.



Kaa

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Reply #49 on: June 04, 2013, 01:40:05 PM
Not so sad. We have dialects in every state that you've never heard. My home state of Pennsylvania has four or five that I know of and probably a couple that I don't. I'll read for you sometimes in Pittsburghese, then we can watch the hate comments roll in by the millions!

Yeah, we CAN hear the difference between, say, a Geordie accent and a Sussex one. But would we know which was which? Probably not. Just like I can hear the difference when my Chinese friend says a word in Mandarin with different intonations on each syllable. I can HEAR it, but could I reproduce it? No.

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