Author Topic: EP474: In Coppelius’s Toyshop  (Read 13047 times)

Unblinking

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Reply #25 on: January 08, 2015, 08:45:09 PM
I chose to believe that the young boy was not her son (because no one remarked on his existence before then) and that he was a participant in the deception rather than a victim.

I assumed the boy wasn't mentioned because:
1.  He's a dillhole who doesn't actually talk to women in the office unless he's hitting on them.
2.  When he asks the co-worker, why should she answer anything in particular?  Not really her place to answer that question.
3.  When he asks if she lives alone, even though I knew he was asking about kids, I imagine that from her point of view it sounded more like he was asking about her relationship status--whether she had a live-in boyfriend.

Even if the boy wasn't her son, I don't see how that changes anything.  Instead of sending her own son into a highly questionable situation, she sends someone else's son into a highly questionable situation. That sounds worse.



FireTurtle

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Reply #26 on: January 09, 2015, 04:05:40 AM


Even if the boy wasn't her son, I don't see how that changes anything.  Instead of sending her own son into a highly questionable situation, she sends someone else's son into a highly questionable situation. That sounds worse.

Since we are arguing about the fictional morality and possible morality of a fiction within a fiction I'll happily call a draw. I guess the more pertinent question is does either interpretation change the theme of the story. I'd have to say no, the motivations of all the characters seem to be predetermined by their role in getting the MC to his comeuppance, however distasteful and excessive it may seem to be.

I enjoyed that sort of roller-coaster (the bar comes down, and no matter if you scream from excitement or fear, or yawn from ennui, the tracks on go one way) experience in this story. I would get bored pretty quickly with that level of "puppetry" in all my fiction, but once in a while, good fun. And really, the punishment is not any worse than a Grimm tale. Probably milder as no one gets eaten.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


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Reply #27 on: January 09, 2015, 03:14:37 PM
Since we are arguing about the fictional morality and possible morality of a fiction within a fiction I'll happily call a draw.

Sounds good to me.  I wasn't particularly interested in trying to convince you, but you raised a different interpretation that could cast a different light on the story, and I wanted to respond to that. :)

And really, the punishment is not any worse than a Grimm tale. Probably milder as no one gets eaten.

Or Hans Christian Anderson i.e. The Red Shoes.  Don't wear pretty shoes to church or you will be tortured with an inability to rest while your feet dance eternally, and dismemberment will eventually become your preferred option, and when you finally feel bad for the horrible thing you've done (you know, the wearing pretty shoes thing) then God will kill you.


« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 03:20:15 PM by Unblinking »



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #28 on: January 09, 2015, 06:07:30 PM
I liked this story. I always knew that Connie Willis had a mean streak.

For myself, I don't think that the punishment had to be justified. This wasn't a morality play - it was a faerie tale. In faerie, bad things happen to people who kind of vaguely deserve it, usually because of fairly abstract violations like trespassing or breaking their word or being unkind and snappish to strangers and children...

Oh, yeah.

The moral is not that you deserve to die if you commit these minor infractions; the moral is that social niceties like property, integrity, and kindness are the grease that keeps the big iron machine of our world churning. If you let the machine get grimy, it breaks down, and... things... from the outside can get in. It's a metaphor for things like nature and the atavistic side of the human character, of course, but in stories, that metaphor is often realized as strange and inexplicable violations of the natural laws we know.

In other words, the lesson isn't "if you're a selfish jerk you're going to die and be trapped in a toystore forever." The lesson is "behave in a prosocial way or we're all going to starve together, you schmuck."

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zoanon

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Reply #29 on: January 09, 2015, 06:31:29 PM
it was ok.
I think the ending would have had more of an emotional impact if the guy was a bit less of a one dimensional douche canoe. perhaps I am a psycho, but I couldn't give a damn that he gets trapped in the tower.

 
I wonder if anyone else was trapped in the toy shop against his will?  Or if all of the other people working there were doing so of their own volition.

like the little girl, I am worried about what Rapunzel did to "deserve" it.



tpi

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Reply #30 on: January 16, 2015, 05:48:48 PM
Very typical story for Connie Willis: Extremely stupid and irritating characters and little happens.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 05:59:16 PM by tpi »



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Reply #31 on: January 27, 2015, 04:14:14 PM
Very typical story for Connie Willis: Extremely stupid and irritating characters and little happens.

So you're a big fan, I take it?   :D



davidthygod

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Reply #32 on: January 27, 2015, 09:26:58 PM
I am surprised by all of the debate about character motivation here.  It seemed like the author just quickly sketched out a shallow, flawed protagonist that would be a fitting target for some magical comeuppance.  Its a short story, I don't need their life histories.  I thought this hit the right buttons for me.  This was good and I was entertained.

Also, great narration.  The voice and lilt were perfect for this story.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.


UnfulredJohnson

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Reply #33 on: February 13, 2015, 01:07:46 AM
Great 'voice' in this one. And just great character. The guy bitching about all his girlfriends hidden babies was hilarious and so well done. I must read more of this person.



scottums

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Reply #34 on: February 22, 2015, 05:53:25 AM
The one thing that caught my attention in the story is how self - absorbed he is.  You get that when he shows no sympathy for a woman whose mother is in the hospital and a young kid who needs the bathroom.  It is so bad that he never sees that the toy store is warping space around him or that decades are going by instead is days.  I bet Coppelius is wondering when the guy is going to freak out and beg for mercy.



CryptoMe

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Reply #35 on: August 26, 2015, 02:26:30 AM
Okay, I just have to say that this story really didn't work for me. It was mostly the Twilight Zone thing that was my problem - which is to say the whole story. Twilight Zone has been done so many times, in so many ways that this just seemed derivative and old. There was nothing fresh for me. And that was a surprise, since I consider Connie Willis to be one of the freshest writers out there. So, epic fail and disappointment for me.