Drabblecast 155 - The Second Conquest of Earth

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Drabblecast 155 - The Second Conquest of Earth

Post by Kevin Anderson » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:05 pm

Drabble- Victory
by Conan Campbell

The Second Conquest of Earth
by L.J. Daly

I barely recall how it used to be, before the Kus slashed open our sky—before their ships descended, battering the clouds with hurricanes and lightning. I remember the thunder and the majesty. And I remember the weeks of fire that followed...

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by strawman » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:16 pm

Oh those crafty humans. This is probably the real story about the extinction of the dinosaurs. And kids' fascination with them is really an ancient racial memory.

I had a chance to read the drabble before I heard it. It took a minute to figure out, and then I really liked it. When I heard it I wondered how listening rather than reading would affect the minute it took me to figure out what was going on. If it would take too long, Norm might be on to the story intro before the 'aha' picture emerged, and so it might lose some people. That would be a shame, because it's a good picture. Well, maybe not from the lizard alien civilization's perspective.

But may I suggest that this drabble might have legs if Conservatives ever need a "Theme Drabble". Here this civilization is, and it has a leader who believes he has the right to play games to see who lives and who dies. They are powerless. Remind anyone of anyone?

The main story was very good. It can't be a simple exercise to construct the thought process of a talented fortune teller with such high stakes. (It's been done once before. This is runner up to 'Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin', but divine inspiration is hard to beat.) The reasoning was very plausible. Which greatly enhanced the listener's ability to accept the premises, and that's what makes the story engrossing.

The smacking of the Kus' lips (if that's what that was) sound effect was so great, because it made you want to imagine the creature that could produce that sound. Narrator was excellent. I always feel disappointment when it's not Norm reading. Not today. She did a great job, good voice. Way to go.

I ended up wondering if imprinting might be related to gestating in an eggshell.

Or wondering if the human race might be the vector for SENTIMENTALITY, a deadly virus, set loose on an unsuspecting universe. Yes, their bond, and the soothsayer's sacrificial love, would be not only what saved them, but what made them worth saving!

I love stories that make you wonder.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by seani » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:03 pm

I thought it was exemplary, fitting a novel sized gallon into a flash-fiction pint pot.

The reading was very satisfying, the background music and effects very, er, effective. If I had to make an observation on that score, I thought the ominous strings were a bit prominent, and the Kus' dialogue seemed to be "bracketed" like a tape recorder being switched on and off, Ferris Bueller style.

I was never 100% certain where it was going to end up or how it was going to get there, but I enjoyed the journey and found the destination satisfying and subtle. A great feeling of tension and the impression of a racing mind when the narrator realises she's going to have to cold-read or end up as homo sapiens tartare.

For once I didn't find the conceit that, ultimately and over the course of many generations, love would win out to be hackneyed and misty-eyed.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by ChicagoMike » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:20 am

This episode was amazing, all the way through. Giant prehistoric snakes eating giant prehistoric reptiles--does it get any more awesome!? "Victory" was a quintessential drabble with an ominous opening leading to an absurd twist. "The Second Conquest" was eerily compelling. I especially liked how Daly used repetition ("what has he told me?") to structure the story. Kudos to Norm for some great audio editing as well.

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by Phenopath » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:22 pm

I really enjoyed this story. I particularly liked the detailed descriptions of peculiar tarot cards and the tension as the human desperately tries to talk her way out of a sticky situation. I think that I had a gripe with the plot but I cannot remember it so it could not have been important.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by swamp » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:42 pm

This story was great! I like how three different stories were told in one narrraitve, the card reader's past story, the Kus' past story, and their present encounter. Daly pulled it all together at the perfect pace and flow. I didn't recognize the story by title alone, but I realized when the reading started that I read this back in Strange Horizons based on the recommendation of a friend. I loved it then and I love it now. Great to hear it here.

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by dreamrock » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:52 pm

"Hey, hey, hey!" :lol:

The story was good, just not one of my favorites. I don't have any specific complaints. It just didn't do it for me.

Kind of surprised my twabble won. :D I blame ASID for the win. It totally sucked before he caught the length issue.

EDIT: Ugh, twabble =/= drabble. Fixed.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by strawman » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:36 pm

Image

Speaks for itself, Rocky.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:57 am

Into- great!
Drabble- really great work.
Twabble- awesome!

Main story? I have to admit I fast-forwarded through about half of it. Good writing? Sure. Depressing? Hell yea!
It reminded me of the stories I was forced to read as a kid. If assigned reading was an Award Winner, I knew it was going to be depressing. Since then I've avoided Award Winning books like the plague.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by moonowl » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:25 am

I have a nerdy point of order with the intro. I realize know-it-all geeky corrections are frickin obnoxious, but keep with me here if you like dinosaur paleontology...

It's pronounced Edwin Coal-bert. Sorry to nitpick, you did good Norm on the crazy reptile names. Just I think Edwin was one of the most important scientists of our time, and mostly unsung. So I shall sing him a bit.

Edwin proved once and for all a little theory we call continental drift. Before Edwin, people just assumed because the plates all looked like puzzle pieces that they must have fit together (plus some other stuff, like the mid-Atlantic ridge, location of mountain ranges, etc). Some scientists still debated if this was indeed true, right up to the 1970s!! Anywho Edwin was able to cement this all together once and for all when he found a pig-like fossil mammal-like reptile ( or Theraspid) called a Lystrosaurus. He found them in Antarctica, Africa and China all in the same time period. The only way for that to happen of course, is if all those places had been one big Lystosaurus pad back in the Triassic that had separated and broke apart over time.

I worked my way through college doing fossil preparation and public education at a Natural History Museum. I got to meet Edwin before he passed away. He is one of the few people I honestly have been star-struck over meeting. While I was stammering , he pulled up a chair and chatted away while I worked. I was a no one lab tech and he treated me like a colleague, and I went on to publish and coauthor a couple papers with that confidence.

I should also mention Edwin's most famous student is John Ostrom, who discovered Deinonychus (think a smaller Jurassic park style Velocriptator) and pretty much is the father of the 'dinosaurs are related to birds' theory. (I almost peed myself when I met him too, about 2 hours later in the day.) Robert Bakker, the most famous illustrator and proponent of warm blooded feathered dinosaurs (I met him the day after) is Ostrom's student. Of course now we even have fossils of feathered dinosaurs. Bakker was just guessing early on. I'm sure if you ever saw a discovery channel episode you've seen Bob. He's a wingnut!

So anyway, if you are still with me, Edwin proved a theory we just assume as common knowledge, inspired generations and two genius students who pretty much turned dinosaurs from the slow, dumb things on the Sinclair signs to active, running and jumping Spielberg nightmares.

/Cliff Claven Mode off

Fossilize in peace, old chap.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:02 am

I suppose your going to try and convince us that the "T" in Report isn't silent either?

;-)

Drift, shmift. I choose to believe that it's one big jig-jaw puzzle that was left unfinished by the hyper-lords roaming in space above us.

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by moonowl » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:17 am

Meh, he can make as many letters as silent as he wants. :)

Oh, I listened to the rest of the podcast. I loved the main story. It had fantastic drama and pacing. I love me a slow build up. Hungry reptiles and false religions via fortune telling concepts were pretty neat too.

(I always get a kick when I get quoted int he feedback too- happy my blathering contributes).
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by andyd273 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:38 pm

I don't normally like the downer type of story, but the ending just made it all work.
I really like the idea of humans spreading our good qualities like a virus to alien visitors.

On a side note, is it sad that I had to look up the rules for Hot Potato before I understood the drabble?

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by swamp » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:14 pm

andyd273 wrote:I don't normally like the downer type of story, but the ending just made it all work.
On a side note, is it sad that I had to look up the rules for Hot Potato before I understood the drabble?
Yes :D

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by Richmazzer » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:54 pm

That was FANNNNNTASTIC! Really a splendid story and an absolutely outstanding storytelling performance by Sarah Tolbert. I also loved the Kus voice and agree with strawman that the smacky clucking was a neat touch, somehow really allowing me to visualize how this big mean looking creature looked like. The music was haunting and awesome. All the elements came together in this one.

Here are awesome things in this story:

The idea of "Storm Ships" ...I think warfare with weather is a really cool concept that I've never come across, and ad to that the bio-neural-tech Battlestar Gallactica type hybrid ship implanting and the slow, inevitable host-type Galactic conquest (ala the Tehtix from Beekeepers) and I'm lovin it.

Phenopath mentioned the wicked futuristic tarot cards.... like it the idea of this technology passed off as "magic." Rubbing the face of the card activates memory receptors in the paint and activates a projection of a scene rather than just a 2 dimensional image. Neato.

The idea that the remnants of humankind, which seem to be either Priests, Slaves, Implanters and "Food Humans raised in Death Camps" (now that's a good horror story waiting to be written) are allowed to keep their religions. Traditional conquering nations often do away with the religion and culture of the conquered. But here they are used as a tactic to keep the conquered docile, which makes sense, aside from the fact that in this case the conquering begin to buy into it and it becomes an amalgamizing element.

L J Daly manages to stuff lots of interesting ideas into this story and tell/juggle numerous simultaneous sub stories, all the while being clear and engaging with her characters and their dialogue. Meanwhile the entire story is a gradual, well paced crescendo of tension with a triumphant ending in which one beam of hope glimmers among all the despair. And hell, she manages to be original with an "alien invasion story," so props even just for that.

Yah, and the Drabble and Drabblenews had me loling. Great pairup with the feature story.
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Drabble was my favorite since, well, last week. But that's just because last week's drabble was great too. I had to relisten to it though because the cat birth sound effects had me gagging and laughing throughout most of it the first time.

Well done DC crew, well done!

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by F5iver » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:59 pm

moonowl wrote:
I should also mention Edwin's most famous student is John Ostrom
Right before JP came out, and I was getting tired of sculpting cats and dogs for my miniatures business, I became dinosaur-crazy. Well, I live pretty close to Peabody Museum at Yale, so I called over there, asking about some anatomical specifics about dinosaurs. The person I initially spoke to was quickly overwhelmed with my questions and ended up passing the phone over to Ostrom, who was very patient and helpful with my questions. It was years later when I found out who it as that I was speaking to. It was pretty cool.

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by DKT » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:43 pm

I loved this story when I read it, but Norm, you once again outdid yourself. It was even better here. The predator-like sounds of Lord Jagged + Sarah Tolbert's excellent narration made for one great ride. Thanks for bringing this one to us!

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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by Beth Peters » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:57 am

I agree with my roomie, that was totally fantastic!

This is the episode to sit back, totally undistributed, and marvel A. at how good Sarah Tolbert's reading is. B. How unbelievably professional Norm's productions of these stories are C. That this is a damn good story.

A. She just nails it, I dunno why or how. Her voice is very unassuming and gives the story 100% free reign in the mind, but she subtly injects little bits of personalization and emotion at just the right times.
B. Norm's avg. production ideas, musical scoring, etc, is at the very least better than you hear on any other podcast anywhere, imo. But half the time it's also better than you hear anywhere anywhere in any form. This one really gripped me, and had this been in film or pro radio or Random House audiobook, I don' think it could be better. I'd be surprised if authors aren't paying Norm to select and produce their stories soon, rather than the other way around.
C. I think Rich and Swamp summed it up for me. Very good. If you fast forwarded through parts of this one you should go back and listen in a different state of mind (sometimes I just can't focus on audio fiction myself) I think this is a superlative story, depressing yes, but not overwhelmingly so, and there's a happy ending at least. I hope LJ Daly has more upcoming work here in our neck of the woods.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by clutron » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:08 pm

That had to be my favorite drabble cast of them all....In my own words, I'd have to say that this episode ruled even hotter than Lenin or Stalin.
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Re: Drabblecast 155- The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly

Post by alhilton » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:13 pm

This was exceptional! New contender for top pick DC. I love this kind of story with its bitter-sweet hope and clever, quick-witted protagonist. Sarah Tolbert was the perfect narrator. Really liked the drabble and drabble news, too. It did make me wonder how many times Norm said those genus species names before getting them to come out right. :lol:

Edit: Oh, and also wanted to say that the Coos's (however that's spelled) voice was perfect. The clicking, guttural sounds made everything so much more menacing and alien that words alone could have.
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