Drabblecast 157 - Brief Candle

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Phenopath
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by Phenopath » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:29 pm

This was a thoughtful, melancholy and provocative story. I enjoyed the tale of the protagonist who was so obsessed with her scientific agenda that she was oblivious of the patently obvious consequences. I guess that this culture had no concept of old people's homes; much better to swim off and make waterbabies at the bottom of the ocean.

I also agree with Talia's observation that the inability of the scientists to explain their complex life-cycle stemmed from their own lack of understanding. Not so surprising, scientists on this Earth do it all the time.

I think that Women Writing about Aliens Month has been excellent; it has been great to have a sequence of superb stories by female authors (of which this was my favourite), and some great narration too. There is definitely a different flavour to the female interpretation, and this month reminded me of podcastle under Rachel's reign.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by Richmazzer » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:28 am

Phenopath wrote:This was a thoughtful, melancholy and provocative story. I enjoyed the tale of the protagonist who was so obsessed with her scientific agenda that she was oblivious of the patently obvious consequences. I guess that this culture had no concept of old people's homes; much better to swim off and make waterbabies at the bottom of the ocean.

I also agree with Talia's observation that the inability of the scientists to explain their complex life-cycle stemmed from their own lack of understanding. Not so surprising, scientists on this Earth do it all the time.

I think that Women Writing about Aliens Month has been excellent; it has been great to have a sequence of superb stories by female authors (of which this was my favourite), and some great narration too. There is definitely a different flavour to the female interpretation, and this month reminded me of podcastle under Rachel's reign.
Eh, I was totally with you all the way up to the last point. Maybe it was all the awesome "alien-ness" that balanced it out, but I didn't get a femininy or podcastle vibe at all. I think last month's Drabblecast stories showed great breadth and integrity, and if there was any flavor or "touching on issues" it was done in an accessible way that left me thinking or laughing out loud, not noticing what the author was "saying." I've only listened to a handful of podcastles, but I know people say the stories are often feminist and have a common tone to them.
The stories on DC this month were great and exemplified a lot of great things and interesting ideas. They did not exemplify "women writing" at all, and that's the best appreciation an Appreciation Month could give women I think.
The last 3 weeks in particular have been particularly fantastic all around with story and production.

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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by Talia » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:00 pm

"but I know people say the stories are often feminist and have a common tone to them"

I've listened to every episode of Podcastle and haven't noticed this at all. o.O

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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by alhilton » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:52 pm

Talia wrote:"but I know people say the stories are often feminist and have a common tone to them"

I've listened to every episode of Podcastle and haven't noticed this at all. o.O
I'm with Talia. I've listened to Podcastle since it started, and I think it's a good mag, no more feminist than any other non-sexist publication. I think they've had two setbacks. 1. They chose a non-charismatic host. I don't know anything else about her, except that she did not have that flare that makes listeners like you, and it was a real problem. 2. They came across as pretentious and academic. Worse, they appeared to feel that they were a real literary magazine just slumming it in podcasting land. They almost never mentioned podcasts other than Escape Artists. One got the impression that they would not soil their ears with such things. They were better than their medium, perhaps better than the rest of the fantasy genre. This impression was probably wrong, but I think a lot of people got that vibe, and it was a huge turn-off.

It is funny that people act surprised every time Podcastle hits one out of the park. In my experience, they post stories that pop just as frequently as their sister podcasts, but no one expects it of them. If you haven't listened to The Meermaid's Tea Party, you are missing out. It is Drabblecast-worthy. http://podcastle.org/2010/03/02/podcast ... tea-party/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by moonowl » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:15 am

alhilton wrote: It is funny that people act surprised every time Podcastle hits one out of the park.
Really? "ep 62: The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" is one of my very favorite podcast episodes of all time. If all you care about is voice acting skillz, it's worth the listen. The story just held me in rapture I had no idea where I was when I was done listening to it. It's not just hit out of the park, it's a grand salami.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by dreamrock » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:14 am

alhilton wrote:It is funny that people act surprised every time Podcastle hits one out of the park. In my experience, they post stories that pop just as frequently as their sister podcasts, but no one expects it of them. If you haven't listened to The Meermaid's Tea Party, you are missing out. It is Drabblecast-worthy. http://podcastle.org/2010/03/02/podcast ... tea-party/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:lol: In my case, I mostly just expect not to enjoy the stories because I don't like the sorts of stories they run rather than thinking the stories aren't good.

Throwing my favorite Podcastle episode of all time onto the mix, The Evolution Of Trickster Stories Among The Dogs Of North Park After The Change is fantastic. Love it, love it, love it. http://podcastle.org/2009/07/09/pc060-t ... he-change/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
moonowl wrote:Really? "ep 62: The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" is one of my very favorite podcast episodes of all time. If all you care about is voice acting skillz, it's worth the listen. The story just held me in rapture I had no idea where I was when I was done listening to it. It's not just hit out of the park, it's a grand salami.
Oh yeah, that's definitely on my list of all time favorite audio productions of all time.

--

Lord of the Rings was 'informed' by Tolkien's Catholicism and in a sense the stories are Catholic. But he's not preaching the Catholic elements. He's preaching ... well, let's just call it anti-technology and I'll skip the other bits.

What makes Podcastle feminist isn't kicking men in the nuts (which I don't hear it doing ... might be missing that part though :lol: ). What makes it feminist—if it can be called that—is that the female characters are (usually) well-fleshed out. They aren't there simply to interact with men or be male fantasies. Even if you disagree with feminism generally, I don't see how that can possibly be a bad thing.

As for the similar tone complaint, a lot of their stories do have a similar tone ... at least from my perspective. I don't enjoy standard fantasy fare though so my perception of their tone may be coloured by that. However, they do have a lot of stuff I do enjoy, which is quite a feat for a fantasy-only publication.

For the aloofness, I have a fair idea where people are getting that vibe. Kind of unfortunate.

Bringing things back to the Drabblecast, I don't think March's stories were preaching feminism. I certainly don't recall any specific incidents. Several of them had interesting twists that made an interesting examination of gender issues, but coming from the thinking weirdo's podcast I think that sort of thing is to be expected.

I'm happy to see the Drabblecast seeking out female writers and I know March won't be the only month where Drabblecast plays female writers so no complaints at all from me. :D
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by bell » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:17 pm

What makes PodCastle seem "feminist" is its depth -- its fascination with feelings, relationships, masks and roles. But let's not forget that by this token, many male authors are "feminist" -- Flaubert, de Maupassant, Delany. BRIEF CANDLE is about the most overtly feminist story of the lot (no males on stage at all, and no male sentience -- take THAT, Kzinti!)

As for the exact opposite -- early pulp scientifiction comes to mind. And Tom Clancy...
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by mrsmica » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:52 pm

I gotta say that while I enjoyed this story immensely, I was a bit disappointed that I guessed the end very early on. I knew what was going to happen as soon as we found out that they were trying to combat ageing. Maybe that's just because breeding the way that humans do is just, well, a natural assumption/guess for a human listener.

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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by El Barto » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:20 pm

Damn good story, that one.

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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by nevermore_66 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:20 pm

dreamrock wrote:Throwing my favorite Podcastle episode of all time onto the mix, The Evolution Of Trickster Stories Among The Dogs Of North Park After The Change is fantastic. Love it, love it, love it. http://podcastle.org/2009/07/09/pc060-t ... he-change/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That just may be my favorite bit of Podcastle as well.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by jannypie » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:45 am

Reading your interpretations of this story has been so interesting to me. I did the cover art for the episode, so I got to read it before I heard it, and this discussion really made me realize how my own experience influenced the story for me. I have no kids and am a research scientist (and female, most days) so for me the story was more about the social interactions of this alien race and thinking about how they evolved to their current culture, and what their fears are. I didn't notice any feminist overtones or find that the story was even about the children so much as the population's fear of the unknown: what comes next. They see their older members slowly go senile and lose function, and eventually swim out into an unknowable ocean. That is a fear common to many cultures.

"phenopath wrote:
I also agree with Talia's observation that the inability of the scientists to explain their complex life-cycle stemmed from their own lack of understanding. Not so surprising, scientists on this Earth do it all the time."

Certainly. The definitive goal of science is to find a way to understand something that is unknown. I thought the author's take on it was tantalizing; the idea that we could send someone with a video camera on their heads into death and back again, and have empirical proof of what lies beyond, could open the doors to many possible interpretations of the afterlife. I'd probably do it if I could. In this story, the scientists discover that the unknown next stage to their lives is actually not the end, but just another part. Which leaves me wondering, "well, if so, what comes after that?" And I am sure that the characters in the story will start systematically researching that as well.

"alhilton wrote:
I thought this was a brilliant piece of work and summarizes many people (particularly women)'s fears of having children."

I didn't notice this at all, since to me the story was about extending the life span of individuals, and children really didn't impede that goal nor was there any reluctance on the part of the scientists to bring children in. It actually spoke more to me about a society that *wanted* children, but they were not coming as often, leading to a growing fear about the survival of their species. It turns out that this is because of the very research they are doing to extend their lives, thus leaving fewer adults to reproduce and fewer children to have come ashore.

As for population size correlating to economic stability correlating to societal pressure to procreate, there are many fields of science dedicated to studying that as well, particularly population ecology and psychology. Perhaps one part of that discussion may be about whether the desire to have children is an instinctual compulsion to propagate a species, or once that trigger is removed, if there is any natural desire to have children just for the love of having children. Again I am not a mother, but I know many who would argue they had their children because they wanted to, and not because they had to. Not an expert, however! This is all just my own opinion.

Thanks for the very interesting discussion on this- it really got me to think more about the story itself beyond the general listening for entertainment and light contemplation!
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:04 am

Interesting analysis and perspectives there. Real world female scientists comments on alien female scientists.

However, what I'd really like to say is awesome artwork for the episode.

That, and welcome to the forums. Don't be a stranger... (Hmm, I mean stick around, you can be as strange as you like, that's highly valued here...)
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by tbaker2500 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:06 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:That, and welcome to the forums. Don't be a stranger... (Hmm, I mean stick around, you can be as strange as you like, that's highly valued here...)
Be a Strange Her? Is that what you meant?
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:15 am

tbaker2500 wrote:
ROU Killing Time wrote:That, and welcome to the forums. Don't be a stranger... (Hmm, I mean stick around, you can be as strange as you like, that's highly valued here...)
Be a Strange Her? Is that what you meant?
You've been reading too many of Bell's recent drabbles, Tom.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by tbaker2500 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:18 am

No, I've actually fallen terribly behind. I need to take a vacation or something.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:19 am

tbaker2500 wrote:No, I've actually fallen terribly behind. I need to take a vacation or something.
He's taken punning to new lows.

(That's a compliment, Bell...)
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by moonowl » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:20 am

tbaker2500 wrote: Be a Strange Her? Is that what you meant?
Yay! More weirdos the better says this Drabblechick.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by jannypie » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:19 pm

At one time, puns were considered the highest form of humor.

I'm pretty sure that was a time when most people couldn't read, though.


;-) Thanks for the welcome.
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by jannypie » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:15 pm

ROU Killing Time wrote:
However, what I'd really like to say is awesome artwork for the episode.
Thank you belatedly for the compliment- I'm extremely rude when I'm not paying attention. The description of the alien's multiple sensory appendages and the way they communicate information among separate discreet units made me think of neurons, and there ya go. Glad you like it :)
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Re: Drabblecast 157- Brief Candle by Ruthanna Emrys

Post by CLP » Tue May 18, 2010 1:58 pm

I'm not usually into marine sci-fi, but this story was amazing! It stirs up intersting ideas that i worried about in my years as a scientist. if the scientists spend 127 hours a week in the lab. from age 18 to infinity, whos is out there breeding? don't we want the scientist to breed? but if they go have kids, who's going to cure cancer?
alhilton wrote: Now, for the first time in history, we've gotten to a point where it is perhaps not best for the species that populations keep expanding. And lo! Women suddenly get rights! In just a few generations, we've come to the point where it no longer sucks to be a girl. Now that it's convenient for the species, we get to have careers and not babies. Along the same lines, it no longer sucks (quite so much) to be gay. The penalty for not breeding has plummeted. Coincidence?
Awesome! Evolution continues!
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