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Author Topic: EP541: As Travelers in Sky Boats  (Read 4418 times)

eytanz

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on: September 13, 2016, 02:42:08 PM



MementoHero

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Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 09:59:21 PM
I thought this was a lovely short story. And a lot of the reason is for what it didn't say, opposed to what it did.

The first person narrative was well done, and it obviously tried to lead you to come to your own conclusions, exactly as the narrator was left to do, thus creating a bond between the listener/reader and the character.

The story really impressed me for a number of reasons, and I felt a number of influences coming from it. Listening to it I got a mental image of Gene Roddenberry having a bull-session with Franz Kafka - a sort of Star Trek meets philosophical existentialism.

It also immediately reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders" except we know all along that the travelers are earthlings. What may be the twist though is that the narrator is too.

Let me explain that. To me it seems as though perhaps the travelers were actually finally home - they themselves, their generation, from a different planet but they found their "ancestor" planet, after their ancestors traveled the stars both usurping and absorbing other earth-like planet's cultures, terraforming and gentrifying more environmentally harsh and culturally primitive planets, and eventually somehow losing their own identity as humans, or at least becoming anxious to rediscover their roots.

This idea also explains why Jared (or Jaret? Sometimes it sounded like a d, sometimes a t - but otherwise the reading of the story was superb) appeared upset at the lack of the narrator's ability to give an encompassing history of the world she lives in.

The focus on the hand movements also had me intrigued. Perhaps because of the technology to adapt to other planets and alien languages, they became deaf along the way through evolution - that would explain the hand movements and the ear pieces.

A great story overall, one with a lot of thought put into it. There is much more going on here than what appears on the surface. And I felt a bit of darkness to it, suggestion we are all doomed to repeat a large and endless cycle.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 10:43:32 PM by MementoHero »



hwaffle

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Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 03:15:32 PM
This was so lovely and complex. It relied heavily on an adept listener, but I appreciated that. I loved the voice of the MC and the ending. I kept expecting a reveal - like we would learn the truth of the story, but I loved that it turned that trope around and that the travelers chose not to interfere, and instead the people chose to change their own world.



Jethro's belt

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Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 07:25:26 PM
You can take your Prime Directive and..........well this was fresh and different and it didn't over-do anything; well done!
I like the selection for narration too, she gets the mood right.  

« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 07:31:00 PM by Jethro's belt »



Frank Evans

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Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 01:09:34 PM
This should be required reading at Starfleet Academy ;). I thought this was excellent. It was a well written and insightful glimpse of what can happen when two cultures that are at different levels of development come in contact with each other. I found the ending both sad and hopeful. Sad that this culture had been irrevocably changed, but hopeful given the MC's view that being human is about change. Hopefully that means that this is just the next step in that society's development, not the end of it.

The only slight criticism I have is that I found the repeated use of "my sister's husband" distracting. Generally, if a character is referred to by a descriptor instead of by their name, I would expect them to play a minor part and maybe be mentioned once or twice. But the husband plays a fairly significant role in this story and comes up quite a lot. To me that felt unnatural, as I would expect the MC to think of her brother in law by name not just as "my sister's husband" over and over. The author didn't use names when discussing any of the non-travelers, so I'm guessing this was a deliberate decision. Still, it felt a bit clunky. 



Not-a-Robot

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Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 02:50:48 PM
The author didn't use names when discussing any of the non-travelers, so I'm guessing this was a deliberate decision. Still, it felt a bit clunky. 

This is an astute observation Frank. I'm going to go back and listen again more closely. There has to be a good reason for this.



TrishEM

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Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 01:45:37 AM
The author didn't use names when discussing any of the non-travelers, so I'm guessing this was a deliberate decision. Still, it felt a bit clunky. 

This is an astute observation Frank. I'm going to go back and listen again more closely. There has to be a good reason for this.

It might be a cultural thing, customarily avoiding adultery by keeping the brother-in-law off limits to yourself by continually referring to his status, deliberately, rather than using his name as an individual.



TrishEM

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Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 02:19:00 AM
I thought this was a lovely short story. And a lot of the reason is for what it didn't say, opposed to what it did.
...
The focus on the hand movements also had me intrigued. Perhaps because of the technology to adapt to other planets and alien languages, they became deaf along the way through evolution - that would explain the hand movements and the ear pieces.
...

I was assuming that the hand movements were controller gestures, like you can use hand motions to control smartphones. So they were gesturing to control their translator/PDA wristbands, maybe even bringing up virtual keyboards that were holographically displayed at an angle only they could see.

But anyway, I loved this story and all the assumptions that were displayed but unexplored.



davidthygod

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Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 03:40:42 PM
Really interesting and very well done story.  It left me wanting more, but I am glad it didn't give it to me.  It really is world that leaves the past, present and future largely in the hands of the reader. 

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


acpracht

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Reply #9 on: September 20, 2016, 04:57:34 PM

I was assuming that the hand movements were controller gestures, like you can use hand motions to control smartphones. So they were gesturing to control their translator/PDA wristbands, maybe even bringing up virtual keyboards that were holographically displayed at an angle only they could see.

But anyway, I loved this story and all the assumptions that were displayed but unexplored.

I also took the hand gestures as some sort of holographic UI, though the alternate explanation is intriguing.



Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 03:04:43 PM
Ooh, really loved this one. 

A  lot of interesting elements that it touched on.

Discussion of the Prime Directive from the point of view of the culture being visited, and who this is actually there for, and the visiting culture viewing it as a gift even though it's a crappy gift.

Metaphor of hopping from island to island as you anger the gods standing in for hopping from planet to planet as you destroy the ecosystems and heading off into space again to find a new planet. 

My interpretation was that the people on this planet are neither non-humans, nor is this Earth.  My interpretation is that this is a long lost human colony.  Their technology broke down, perhaps due to lack of local resources to repair it, and eventually became forgotten relics and they learned to continue on in this ecosystem.  So if you could go back far enough in their island hopping there would be some planet hopping and then maybe also some island-hopping before that back on earth.




ElectricPaladin

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Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 06:33:23 PM
I rather liked this one. It was a great story about unintended consequences. You could see how the mealy-mouthed words of the Travelers - their forced tolerance and refusal to pass on technology - was based in some past tragedy. It humanized the Travelers. You could see how they wanted to be helpful and didn't really think anything was wrong with the islanders... but didn't want to repeat some past mistake. Of course, from the point of view of the islanders, it came off as distant, arrogant, and uncaring.

Really, an excellent example of how sometimes you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

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Fenrix

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Reply #12 on: September 29, 2016, 08:10:13 PM
Nicely constructed story and impressive for how much it pulls off in such a compact space.


The story really impressed me for a number of reasons, and I felt a number of influences coming from it. Listening to it I got a mental image of Gene Roddenberry having a bull-session with Franz Kafka - a sort of Star Trek meets philosophical existentialism.



You can take your Prime Directive and..........well this was fresh and different and it didn't over-do anything; well done!


Yeah! Fuck your Prime Directive!

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

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Reply #13 on: January 25, 2017, 08:15:15 PM
This was so good! The Prime Directive is all well and good until you start actually interacting with the people groups you find. Then it becomes a cruel tease and comes off as quite arrogant. I also appreciated how the locals were portrayed as having a complex and functioning culture, not just "primitives."



CryptoMe

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Reply #14 on: November 29, 2017, 08:39:52 PM
I agree with everything everyone has said, and yet this story felt somewhat bland for me. I don't know why. Maybe the standofishness of the travelers translated to the narrator and left me un-engaged?