Classics 19 (EP 149) - So You're Going to Die

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Classics 19 (EP 149) - So You're Going to Die

Post by Kevin Anderson » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:24 pm

Update (Tuesday, March 31st, 2015): Drabbleclassics 19 - So You're Going to Die
Feature: So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed
Drabble: Smoking Robots(Scroll to the last "Planet Z") by Laurence Simon(Scroll to "WHO AM I?")
Genres: Drabbleclassics Drama Horror Sci-Fi
Original Episode: 149
Warning: Violence and cursing of a graphic nature

Image

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
The energy and personality of a person can get stuck before it evaporates from our world. Wood is a fair dumping ground. Something about its pore size and how cellulose vibrates. A person can get himself pasted inside the wall or the floorboards. The body and brain quit, but the rest of the bastard lingers, and that's the weird quantum trickery that for thousands of years people have called a ghost...

Music by: Norm Sherman, David Gosnell, and Pete Anthony
Episode Art: Abbie Hilton
Additional credits: 100 word stories podcast (Name has now been changed)
Guild of the Cowry Catchers

This story is a Drabblecast original.

Twabble: “ When bin Laden released his new tape we felt jaded, we'd seen it before.
It turned out to be a sex tape. We knew true terror. ” by Munsi
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: It's now a classic!

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by strawman » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:57 pm

Kinda hard for me to follow why he killed the woman. I've got to listen again. So I'm going to say that's a story weakness.This is one of those stories in which the author has an idea (technology to store people's souls inside quantum space) and adds a complex of plot and motive that, while it is probably clear to him, he needs to make it clear to us.
Second, Although the production/narration were top notch, I noticed a big difference between this week and last due to this week being a single POV narrator, and last week being a script with multiple characters. Generally, I now realize, I prefer the multiple voice episodes because Norm is good at it, but also because it adds variety.
Third, after the long episode last week, this seemed short. Good job with the Intro/Outro Howl work-in. I saw Ginsberg once. They should never have released him from the institution.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by dreamrock » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:32 am

The concepts behind this story were absolutely phenomenal. The "physics" of ghosts actually made sense in a "Oh, so that's why they stick around creepy houses" way. The narcissism that the subjects must have to enjoy that sort of afterlife really amused me. There were some really great little side jokes too. The implication that the ghosts feed off heat, and would go out in space and theoretically last until the heat death of the universe blows my mind in a really good way Also, can you imagine what it would be like if those assholes made first contact? Absolutely loved it.

The only quibble I have is that there's a lot of implication that the protagonist wants lots of money, but no real clue what he wants it for since he's already bought a rocket and theoretically has enough money to live more than comfortably until he does die.

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by HPHovercraft » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:14 am

OK, first candidate for People's Choice 2010, in my opinion.

In answer to dreamrock's question - he wants the money because he's a sociopath. Just because he got an official pardon doesn't mean isn't still the kind of person who would kill for money. Now he gets to do it legally. But if you're going to kill for money, you may as well kill for as much money as you can get.

But there's also a bit of normal anti-snobbery in there too. Oh, so you think you're important enough that you should be allowed to cheat death, you arsehole? Well in that case lets just see how important you really think you are... Hmmm, important enough to screw over your surviving wife and children? Even if I refuse to guarantee success? Yes? Wow, nice one.

Could only have been improved by allowing us to realise that the vault and the rocket were lies, and that he continues to really kill for keeps.

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by HPHovercraft » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:18 am

strawman wrote:Kinda hard for me to follow why he killed the woman.
He killed the woman because someone paid him to. He was a hit man.

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by strawman » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:54 am

HPHovercraft wrote:
strawman wrote:Kinda hard for me to follow why he killed the woman.
He killed the woman because someone paid him to. He was a hit man.
Yes, he was a hit man, but then when he discovered the soul-trapper and ensured it worked by terrifying her, it seemed like she had arranged for the hit herself. But then he destroys the soul. Did a hitman arrange for that too? Why?
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by HPHovercraft » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:09 am

strawman wrote: Yes, he was a hit man, but then when he discovered the soul-trapper and ensured it worked by terrifying her, it seemed like she had arranged for the hit herself.
Hmmm, didn't feel like that to me. More like he was curious to see what would happen, as it was stated that it was the first time he had seen a real soul-trapper, since he was going to be killing her anyway.
strawman wrote: But then he destroys the soul. Did a hitman arrange for that too? Why?
He destroys the soul because he was paid to kill the woman. If your soul still exists, you're not really dead: job not completed. Also, if your soul still exists, you are a living witness to your own murder. (Teehee!)

Having done these things, he later reflects on the theory about high-stress deaths seeming to provide a better success rate for the soul-trapper thingies. This becomes the basis of his idea for a new, legal line of work. One that still involves his favourite pastime - violently executing people for money.

Maybe I'm wrong; maybe he did turn altruistic, or at least not really give a crap - but I think it would have been kind of cool to find out he was later killing all other souls too.

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by themorg » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:01 am

HPHovercraft wrote: Maybe I'm wrong; maybe he did turn altruistic, or at least not really give a crap - but I think it would have been kind of cool to find out he was later killing all other souls too.
i think he never was altruistic but giving in fully to his killing obsession and honestly telling someone what to expect if they had the money for it. :arrow:

loved the imagery and first person telling the story. made me feel like i was inquiring about the process.

"Just kicking tires about how i might kick the bucket and live forever."

the problem with the story was it was just awesome enough. the climax never hit me in the belly and made me deliver my (metaphorical)squid babies. Rocket ship so you can hang out with others for eons and that is how aliens communicate...well i think so. It was a really good solid story for me but not my vote for next years fan favorite unless there were no more drabblecast this year.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by tbaker2500 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:32 pm

That was a Good Story. It wasn't about a punchline, it was about believable SF. The writing was solid form the start to the finish.

In the outro, I laughed about you saying Abbie was like homeless. According to her last twitter, she IS homeless. :-)
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by strawman » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:20 pm

Yeah, that was funny. "She's not homeless, she's a nurse. So she still smells like pee."
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:09 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:That was a Good Story. It wasn't about a punchline, it was about believable SF. The writing was solid form the start to the finish.

In the outro, I laughed about you saying Abbie was like homeless. According to her last twitter, she IS homeless. :-)
No, she's just between homes... oh wait, that's the definition of most of the homeless... Nvm.

Agree. This was a very good story (as one might expect from a writer with Mr.Reeds credentials.) I mean, Dabblecast people's choice winner, is there any higher literary honor out there? The Hugo is nice too, I guess. ;-)

Very good, as I said, but boy was the protagonist thoroughly reprehensible. Talk about a slick salesman. Very diabolical the way he preyed on peoples fears of death in his oh so smooth way, selling them tickets to what, for me, sounds like a technological hell. This isn't a negative criticism of the story, quite the contrary.

Someone was wondering why he "killed" the first ghost after murdering the rich old lady. For me the answer was simple. Hitmen don't like to leave any witnesses behind.

Norm in "beat-poet" mode was groovy baby, yeah, groovy...

Hopefully the donations this week will be good. It would be nice to have an extra year after 2012.

All in all. A big thumbs up on this weeks episode, even if it did leave me feeling a bit sick to my stomach.

Maybe if I go inhale some robot souls that will help take the edge off.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by alhilton » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:22 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:In the outro, I laughed about you saying Abbie was like homeless. According to her last twitter, she IS homeless. :-)
:lol: As of this afternoon, I have a deposit down on a rental, so will be homed very shortly. That outro did make me laugh, though, because it was a true statement (well, not the part about the pee; I mean, not usually...). New house has a good place to record. :D

The story - Maybe it's because I read this one in text when I was doing the art, but it seemed clear to me that he kills the old lady because her husband ordered and paid for the hit. She did not arrange it. She just happened to own a ghost box, and he's telling the story of the coincidence that got him into the ghost box business. He finished the job he was hired for after "trying his hand at science." But she was never the client.

Protag was definitely a sociopath - utterly concrete, no capacity for empathy or guilt, but that didn't mean he wasn't smart. His aspiration to live among the stars did not seem to fit with this type of pathology, but it did make a wonderful story.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by moonowl » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:48 am

Mostly awesome, with minor quibbles and a major heebeejeebee factor.

It's a great story, besides a few plot leaps I just to accept. I didn't really 'enjoy' it. Yet the concepts were fantastic, the scifi element perfect, and the main character was eerily wonderful. You can say he was a bad guy, of course he was, but his clients went into it with full disclosure, didn't they? Not much sympathy there.

The trouble I had with the plot are things like:

1) why would someone risk put a hit on his wife when she is just about to kick it anyway?
2) why did the judge let a mass murderer and hitman off with such a light sentence? Hitman didn't have his business running yet, so it couldn't have been motivated by future favors.

The ghost box concept made me think 'don't cross the streams!' and Stay Puft. In a distracted way.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by munsi » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:08 am

this is chilling, i liked it very well. interesting sci-fi, premise about a very basic human failing. one of my favorite in a very long time.

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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by themorg » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:19 am

moonowl wrote:The trouble I had with the plot are things like:

1) why would someone risk put a hit on his wife when she is just about to kick it anyway?
2) why did the judge let a mass murderer and hitman off with such a light sentence? Hitman didn't have his business running yet, so it couldn't have been motivated by future favors.
#1. I think it was an allegory of the ant and the grasshopper. The killer is the ant because he is always hard at work (killing and later soul ensnarement.) and the wife is the grasshopper trying to get off easy.

#2 Completely agree. Could not think of way to say what you did so well.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by dreamrock » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:57 am

moonowl wrote:1) why would someone risk put a hit on his wife when she is just about to kick it anyway?
I was under the impression that she wasn't about to die, she just had the ghost box around as insurance should she happen to die in her sleep.
moonowl wrote:2) why did the judge let a mass murderer and hitman off with such a light sentence? Hitman didn't have his business running yet, so it couldn't have been motivated by future favors.
I had to think about that one a few times, but after mulling, I feel like the possibility of future favors may well have had something to do with it. The line in the story is that he was able to implicate a bunch of really powerful people and that basically turning state's witness is what got him off the hook.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by StalinSays » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:00 am

Loved, loved, loved the reading. Drabblecast is on one fantastic roll right now - this could seriously be the best five story stretch the show has ever had.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:36 am

StalinSays wrote:Loved, loved, loved the reading. Drabblecast is on one fantastic roll right now - this could seriously be the best five story stretch the show has ever had.
Ya this one did rock the house. It still made me queezy, but only because he did such a good job of creating such an awful main character operating within a nightmarish future.

Pretty sure that's what the author was going for. At least I hope so.

It wasn't just that the society was choosing to die, but that they were willingly choosing an intentionally terrifying death.

Truly horrific. I'd rather live in the world of Teddy Bear Tea Parties than this nasty vision.

Very well crafted.
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Phenopath » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:16 pm

Hmm, I think that I am with Strawman on this one (what is wrong with me?). This story focused on a description of the mechanics of ghost capturing and this guys ghastly profession; there was no element of 'what's going to happen next?'.

That said I think that the protagonists actions in the old lady's bedroom were consistent. He woke her before killing her out of scientific curiosity (and sadism), but destroyed the ghost box out of professionalism (as a hit man).
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Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by eric_marsh » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:21 pm

I thought the story was quite good. It held my attention even while multitasking. While the protagonist might be a sociopath he was also intelligent, imaginative and had a good sense for business. Given the right opportunities I think he would have done quite well in corporate America.
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