Drabblecast 190 - The Wheel

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strawman
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Drabblecast 190 - The Wheel

Post by strawman » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:48 pm

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Drabblecast 190 The Wheel by John Wyndham
Sunday, December 5, 2010

"I'll tell you what's going to happen tomorrow, Davie. In the morning the priest will come here to see your box. It'll be still there because nobody dares to touch it..."

Episode Sponsor: Frank Key's "Impugned by a Peasant and Other Stories"
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Art by Josh Hugo
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by strawman » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:04 pm

I had been thinking that it's been quite some time since DC really hit one out of my park. Nothing was really grabbing me. A great episode was overdue.
Every element of this episode was amazing.
From Josh's cover art to Frank Key's Goat God Catechism to Nathan Lees's brilliant Wisest Stone Drabble, Norm piles all that onto a great John Wyndham story that is deep, well written, and with a telling worthy of the story.
Only one minor criticism is I wish I could adjust the level of the background music. It's a little uneven, on the heavy side for my taste.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Unblinking » Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:28 pm

I asked for Day of the Triffids for Christmas this year. I keep hearing it referred to, and decided I really ought to find out what all the talk is about.

This story was great! I wish the characters had been given names a little nearer the beginning, I find it distancing to continually refer to them as "the boy" and "the old man". But that is probably an element of changing writing styles, and that's really my only complaint.

It was a well-written story with a great premise and heartfelt ending, and not only that it had many interesting themes:
1. The demonization of the unknown. The Salem witch trials focused on science instead of magic.
2. The discussion of the evil or good of science. As Gramps points out, it's not the invention itself that's bad but it's possible applications, but to me that doesn't immediately answer the question of "would we be better off without it in the long run?"
3. The insane focus on the wheel as the center of all evil. As one of the simple machines, it becomes the focus for everything that goes wrong. And it's probably a pretty effective focal point. Without wheels, EVERYTHING takes a lot more work. And people who are working have less time to cause trouble for everyone else.
4. The counterproductiveness of renouncing an evil to the extreme degree that "we don't talk about it". If you can't talk about the evil, how can you recognize it? This is similar, in my mind, to having an evil that can't be named, such as Voldemort in Harry Potter, or Shai'tan in Wheel of Time. So, if they are never to be named, how does anyone know the bloody name? If someone said the name, then most everyone else should just look confused. "Wait, who's that? Shai'tan? Is that the potter from the next village?"
5. Because the wheel keeps on returning, it is blamed on the Devil for invading the mind and planting the idea there. Rather than the more obvious conclusion that wheels are just a darned good idea, and that someone willing to think of new ideas is always going to come up with it sooner or later.
6. The short mention of how other things that are LIKE wheels keep on creeping back, like rollers and the like, and are tolerated because they're so useful, as long as they don't have an axle fixed through the center. As if the axle is the line that draws the boundary between evil and good.

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:08 pm

GREAT_STORY.

I think the reason that the characters don't have names, is they are a proxy for many times and many places.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Polecat » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:29 pm

Good Lord, how unsufferably metaphysical.
I´ve been listening to old Frank Key podcasts all week so I am slightly out of my mind (thank you Drabblecast for introducing me to him).
Mr Lee´s Drabble also got me thinking metaphysically - is the stone delusional about its importance, and merely being tossed back and forth between besiegers and besieged, or does it really have something important to say and nobody listens, because its properties as a handy missile blind the foolish men in this story to its true worth? Does it matter, when the reality is so brutal? somehow this conundrum reminds me of life...

I remember reading "The Wheel" as a youngster, and given Unblinkings insights, I can safely say it went way over my head back then. I recently reread "The Chysalids", also by Mr Wyndham - it deals with similar themes, in somewhat greater detail. Consideration of the idea of demonising technology can lead one to have severely philosophical thoughts - at the moment, various "important" people are meeting in Cancun to discuss how we all should stop "destroying" the Planet, when maybe it would be in Earths best interests for us to render it uninhabitable for ourselves, so something else could happen. Ten thousand of our ages in the Planets sight are like an evening gone, maybe we are taking ourselves too seriously... back to the stone getting hurled back and forth.

By the way, I also enjoyed the episode, though possibly slightly less than the man of straw.

Respectfully

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Schreiber » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:11 am

Is this story amazing?

Yes, it is. It is ambitious and well-crafted. It calls to mind Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," but with perhaps an even sharper ideological edge.

Am I glad I got to listen to it on the Drabblecast?

Yes, I am. The high production values Norm and his team are renowned for added to the listening experience.

Is a Frank Key-style Catechism call and response a good format for feedback?

Well, um, maybe...I don't know...

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Schreiber » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:15 am

Oh, and before I forget:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi9sLkyhhlE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Unblinking » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:50 pm

tbaker2500 wrote: I think the reason that the characters don't have names, is they are a proxy for many times and many places.
The characters did have names, they were just revealed much later in the story (I remember because the kid shares my name).

I've heard that reasoning before with nameless characters, but it never rings true to me. You can make a character a proxy by giving them relatable traits, relatable problems. Leaving them with no name just makes them more anonymous, less relatable, and more visibly a plot device to me.

But like I said, that was my only complaint about the story, and I very much liked it as a whole.

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:48 pm

Huh, I didn't remember an names. Certainly not a kid named Blinking. (Insert Men in Tights joke here.)
I can see your point.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Unblinking » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:26 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:Huh, I didn't remember an names. Certainly not a kid named Blinking. (Insert Men in Tights joke here.)
I can see your point.
My real name is, of course, Unblinking Bubba Bagstead III, Esquire.

So I should say that the kid's name matches my nickname: David.

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:12 pm

Unblinking wrote:My real name is, of course, Unblinking Bubba Bagstead III, Esquire.
That's almost as good as J.E. Ignatius McNeil!
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Mikes » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:27 am

Good episode. I especially thought the music was spot on in this one and it really added to the atmosphere.

I'm a big fan of Whyndem (and plus 1 for Norm's recommendation of The Kraken Wakes), and this story was delivered just right. And me being brought up in the Yorkshire countryside, I can vouch for how the Church of England vicars love their bonfires.

Something I've noticed missing from the casts for a while, though: Drabble News and listener feedback. I'm hoping Norm isn't getting stretched too thin with the EP casting.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:00 am

Norm? Stretched too thin? Always!
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by normsherman » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:44 am

Mikes wrote:
Something I've noticed missing from the casts for a while, though: Drabble News and listener feedback. I'm hoping Norm isn't getting stretched too thin with the EP casting.
Well I did a Drabblenews 2 or 3 episodes ago, that's only been on hold a bit since Frank's sponsorship. Feedback has kinda drifted away the way it seems to do in some fiction podcasts. It's the little bit of extra work that happens when I'm wrapping up an episode usually between 2am-5am on a week night, and more often than not it's something I'm too beat to give an iota of organizational effort for. I know some people don't care for it much either way and others like the brief trip down memory lane and the community aspect it builds-- I for one am for it, just usually too tired to do the little extra effort. If anyone out there would be interested in forgoing their own postful thoughts in order to collate together a feedback response segment of relevant/humorous/insightful/interesting listener thoughts each week I'd be up for talking. Shoot me a PM.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:22 am

normsherman wrote:Shoot me a PM.
Well now, I know David Cameron isn't the best, but isn't that a little drastic?
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by SeldonCrisis » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:45 am

Haven't made it through this whole episode yet, but after listening to Frank Key's Goat God Catechism (and drinking a bottle of wine) I believe I've converted to the religion of the Goat God. Or the religion of Frank Key. Or both.

I love how he repeatedly refers to the "regime" in his works. Fight the power, whatever that may be.

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by themorg » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:25 am

normsherman wrote:I know some people don't care for it much either way and others like the brief trip down memory lane and the community aspect it builds
it might build community things but i have to say that i really do not miss the re-cap of what was said by so and so. i admit that is how to get people onto the forum but if it is more work that late i for one do not miss them.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Mikes » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:24 am

themorg wrote:
normsherman wrote:I know some people don't care for it much either way and others like the brief trip down memory lane and the community aspect it builds
it might build community things but i have to say that i really do not miss the re-cap of what was said by so and so.
It's not a major thing. What made me think about it was the replies to Garkain, with Samantha Henderson (I wen to school with a girl called Samantha Henderson, true story) herself dropping in and a deal between her and a forum member to write a story. Something like that I think deserves a mention. Maybe not on every story, certainly, but the major reply ones.

As for getting people onto the story - yes they do. If the forum wasn't mentioned in the casts I wouldn't have joined. I wouldn't even have looked to see if there was one.
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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Non-Euclidean Geo. » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:53 am

tbaker2500 wrote:
normsherman wrote:Shoot me a PM.
Well now, I know David Cameron isn't the best, but isn't that a little drastic?
:lol:

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Re: Drabblecast 190 The Wheel

Post by Etaan » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:11 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:
normsherman wrote:Shoot me a PM.
Well now, I know David Cameron isn't the best, but isn't that a little drastic?
Putin is currently swimming across the Atlantic to get you before you can get him.

On a less serious note, I really loved the whole episode. The Goat God bit was amazing and the drabble was quite clever (though the feeling that I was clearly joining the story well after the introduction weighed on it a little).

As for The Wheel, I think Unblinking did a great job breaking it down. Two additional points that occured to me:

1. The conversation between the mother and grandfather, where she defends her betrayal of her son's transgression by claiming that she was a God fearing woman was absolutely heartbreaking. Choosing dogma over her own feelings is an event that unfortunately happens all too often. I don't have any issue with religion until people allow it to take the place of independent thought.

2. It's stories like this that remind me how our society has completely forgotten just how recently it was perfectly normal for us to be to be absolutely terrified all of the time. It was just white noise that everyone lived with. Technology today has gotten bigger and more complex than we can effectively wrap our heads around, and it keeps growing at a faster and faster pace. Just a generation ago, it was much simpler - technology was going to kill us all. Any day now.
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