Escape Artists

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Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: EP419: Expediter  (Read 13857 times)

CryptoMe

  • Hipparch
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Reply #50 on: March 29, 2014, 04:37:22 PM
I'm surprised that no one talked about parallels to EP417: Southpaw.

I too didn't grasp the vintage nature of this story until the outro. As a result, I listened to the absolutely wonderful narration thinking this was an alternate history piece. Coming so close on the heals of another alternate history piece, it just seemed like more of the same thing to me.

Edited to correct the Southpaw episode number.



hardware

  • Matross
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Reply #51 on: April 08, 2014, 01:35:15 PM
Yeah, I read this as alternate history as well, although in 1963 I guesss it would have read as just set in a fictional country. Anyway, I appreciated it in the way that our dear host did, as something that revealed more about the authors worldview than the world. Today, there is no way an unregulated industry run by engineers would be portrayed as a utopian endpoint. But his observations of the fallacies of socialist systems were pretty sharp. In my cynical 21st century mind, I also expected the expediter to slowly get corrupted by the power and that he would be the one that knocks, to pull in an contemporary reference. Of course, there is basically no emotional resonance here, but that's fine, because the story wasn't trying to achieve that.



MichaelFoster

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Reply #52 on: April 15, 2014, 09:35:15 PM
When I made this account I swore to myself I would only post positive responses to stories I enjoyed.

I'm breaking this rule for this story.

I found myself so annoyed and irritated at this horribly written cliche-fest that it actually put me in a bad mood for hours after listening. I know I should have turned it off after 10 minutes, but I stubbornly waited for a payoff that never came. Here are my problems:

1. This isn't science fiction (to those who say all speculative fiction is science fiction, I say nonsense. All fiction is by definition speculative; science fiction is a limited subset of speculative fiction, which is really just a pleonasm).

2. This is rife with awful clich├ęs (the mean tyrant, the socially awkward technocrat, the Eastern corruption) from several decades ago.

3. This is completely irrelevant to modern day social ills.

4. It's just a libertarian circlejerk. The ending solution of a technocratic utopia without political interests is as naive as it is unreliastic (everyone is political, even the scientists and intellectuals the story fawns over).

5. It's verbose and poorly written. I could forgive it being dated, or ideologically simplistic, if it was written well. It's not.

This story actually offended me in its badness.