Drabblecast 217 - Followed

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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by Unblinking » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:48 pm

ROU Killing Time wrote:Well the president certainly was winning the corpse count race. One might suggest that the sweatshop owner might have been a better choice but the dead don't seem to grasp the concept of moral relativism.
Yeah, that was the thing I really wondered about this. How does a corpse pick just one person? There's a whole chain of people involved in that.

My best guess is that, if there really is an actuarial system behind the scenes then it may not choose the MOST blamable person for any particular death, but it regulates the proportions. That is, if for any particular death at that sweatshop the sweatshop owner is 80% responsible, the distributor is 15% responsible, and individual buyers are fractions of a percent responsible, then they are distributed corpses based on those proportions. Everyone is in SOME way partially responsible for somebody's death, but since it's an integer-based karmic system (you didn't see fractions of corpses walking around) then people who have fairly low blame take a long time to accumulate enough to get their first corpse.

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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by strawman » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:30 pm

After giving this system some thought, I think I know why it wouldn't work.
What's to keep the sweatshop owner from making the corpses work in the sweatshop?
Or the terrorist from strapping a suicide vest on the corpse?

I'd like to see a Muslim rewrite on this piece, in which the terrorist gets 72 corpses. I mean, where were all those virgins supposed to come from anyway?
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:31 pm

Where else on the drabblecast can the field of actuarial corpsology be born. Fine analysis, unblinking. Your cubicle at Karma's Insurance awaits you. ;-)
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:33 pm

strawman wrote:After giving this system some thought, I think I know why it wouldn't work.
What's to keep the sweatshop owner from making the corpses work in the sweatshop?
Or the terrorist from strapping a suicide vest on the corpse?

I'd like to see a Muslim rewrite on this piece, in which the terrorist gets 72 corpses. I mean, where were all those virgins supposed to come from anyway?
Since the corpses just follow you around, I'd think a suicide vest on one would be a decidedly dangerous idea. Also, the little girl was acting as if her days of productive sweatshop work were behind her.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:41 pm

harper wrote:The main character in this story feels that he doesn't deserve his fate, and I feel like the end is him coming to terms with the fact that the little girl didn't deserve her fate either.
This is a great point.

I can't say much about this story that hasn't already been said. So I'll stick to glittering generalities.
Fantastic episode! Truly great work all around.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:45 pm

ROU Killing Time wrote:Since the corpses just follow you around, I'd think a suicide vest on one would be a decidedly dangerous idea.
Nah, you just put the bomb on the target's zombie.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:51 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:
ROU Killing Time wrote:Since the corpses just follow you around, I'd think a suicide vest on one would be a decidedly dangerous idea.
Nah, you just put the bomb on the target's zombie.
That's thinking outside the casket, Tom. ;-)
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by StalinSays » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:24 pm

Strawman's jest had me thinking: If you blew a 'corpse' up, would it come back? Their physicality apparently resembles that of an actual corpse (or a traditional zombie). Not ethereal, despite their haunting behavior. Why would the president endure the indignity of thousands of the mocking dead? How about a flame thrower wielding PR department?

Also, did anyone else pick up this vibe: that towards the end of the story, the narrator's corpse was becoming more communicative, the better it/she was treated? Perhaps (and here I stretch) leading to a possible resurrection? That was actually where I thought the story was going. The extended length of the episode ( resulting from Connor's second segment) kept me from guessing the story's end point based on time stamp (as is usually the case - I listen at work).

Lots of questions. Clearly this is why they're working on a comic book.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:33 pm

Yea, the hints were quite heavy that she was waking up.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:35 am

StalinSays wrote:Strawman's jest had me thinking: If you blew a 'corpse' up, would it come back? Their physicality apparently resembles that of an actual corpse (or a traditional zombie). Not ethereal, despite their haunting behavior. Why would the president endure the indignity of thousands of the mocking dead? How about a flame thrower wielding PR department?

Also, did anyone else pick up this vibe: that towards the end of the story, the narrator's corpse was becoming more communicative, the better it/she was treated? Perhaps (and here I stretch) leading to a possible resurrection? That was actually where I thought the story was going. The extended length of the episode ( resulting from Connor's second segment) kept me from guessing the story's end point based on time stamp (as is usually the case - I listen at work).

Lots of questions. Clearly this is why they're working on a comic book.
They made some mention of not wanting to upset Amnesty International, (as well as, presumably, the ACLU and the NAADP.)
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by Unblinking » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:31 pm

ROU Killing Time wrote: They made some mention of not wanting to upset Amnesty International, (as well as, presumably, the ACLU and the NAADP.)
I think this is the reason, yeah, for PR.

I suspect that you wouldn't be able to get out of your corpse plague so easily. If I were designing an undead actuarial system, I would be sure to account for this possibility. At the very least, I would design it so that every corpse that is destroyed is replaced by another. If making an example of such destructive behavior is worthwhile, then I'd design it so that every corpse that is intentionally destroyed is replaced by TWO (or more).

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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by bell » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:59 pm

Loved the story. Very Kafkaesque. But better.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by shagin » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:44 am

I really enjoyed this story, as much for Norm's narrative touch and the subtle soundtrack as for the tale itself.

This one rang very true to me: a man who considers himself one of the "good guys" who is suddenly forced to face the fact that each of us carries a bit of the burden no matter how we may want it to be otherwise. He's not a villain or a saint. He's the guy down the street. The attempt to buy off the corpse, the frustration and the outburst, even the reactions of the secondary characters didn't need a lot of hype or ta-da! presentation.

What I think I liked most about the story was the lack of exposition. We never learned when/where the corpses first appeared, it wasn't necessary. This is the story of one man coming to terms with his own, unwitting, complicity in the well bearing of humanity.

Good choice for a story, Drabblers!


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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by SeldonCrisis » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:19 am

Eternititties. This one word may have made my life complete.

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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by cinnamon » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:55 pm

I didn't care for this one at first, but it's really growing on me as time passes. Just goes to show you that in a global economy, no matter how hard you try you're really not all that much "better" than anyone else because even the buttons on your shirt can judge you and find you wanting.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by sandrilde » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:20 am

I"m about 65% of the way through the archives and I'd say this is my favorite so far. Awesome story. Of course, I really liked Bridesicle when it came out, too (didn't realize it was the same guy!) I will be looking out for more Will McIntosh.

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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by Varda » Fri May 03, 2013 2:27 am

I'm glad to read the discussion of this story; it's brought out some angles of it I hadn't considered on my first listen.

I loved this story as much as it was written, but was left wishing it were just a little bit longer. Obviously with speculative fiction, we've got to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the story, but occasionally you read a story where the author doesn't shade in the background enough to make this easy. Then you're left asking throughout the whole story, "Well, why don't they just XYZ? That'd solve their problems!" That's how I felt about this story. The walking corpses are persistent, yes, but they don't seem to be terribly strong or aggressive. So if they mainly follow self-obsessed rich yuppie types, why don't said yuppies just, I dunno, lock them in a closet when they leave the house? Why not attach 'em to a collar and chain in the back yard with the family dog? Why not just shove them into a pit full of fire?

Really, this is a small quibble in a good story, but it kept niggling at the back of my mind the whole time. Otherwise, I thought it was a truly original twist on a zombie tale, and loved the narrator's growing self-awareness. Enjoyed the discussion of actuarial tables quite a bit as well!
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by strawman » Fri May 03, 2013 12:15 pm

As I recall, the story was a commentary about how the yuppy is responsible for the suffering of the zombie that follows him. Would that we could chain the consequences of our actions or throw them in the fire, so they could not follow us. Being unable to do so, usually people do things that create more zombies instead, and thereby become like zombies themselves.

So my take is they are alter-egos.
Like they say about the "Geographic Cure": No matter where you go, there you are.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by Varda » Fri May 03, 2013 12:52 pm

I guess I just don't understand why, if being "followed" is associated with social stigma, why the self-obsessed wouldn't take some action to at least hide their shame. I'd even expect businesses to spring up, offering this very service.

I suppose you're right, that symbolically there are good reasons for no-one to take action. But that'd put this into allegory/parable territory, which have slightly different rules in that the answer to a plot hole is, "The plot's not as important as the message it communicates."

And I really don't think it's a plot hole in this story; probably just a result of trying to get a lot into a limited number of words. It would have been nice if the author had been able to include a little nod toward this problem and give a simple explanation about why no-one's taking matters into their own hands. It could be as simple as, "if you abuse your corpse, two will show up to take its place." There: disbelief suspended!

As for consequences, I'd argue that we avoid 'em all the time. Medical science is in many ways one long, organized effort at reducing consequences. The world's not a very fair place, for better or for worse. Sometimes we don't get what we deserve, and sometimes we get what we deserve, and those can be good things or bad things depending on the circumstances, and on the elements of mercy and justice.
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Re: Drabblecast 217 - Followed

Post by strawman » Fri May 03, 2013 4:09 pm

Yah, I think the tension here is between story and parable. Parables and allegories are unfashionable (probably because the fashion is that all truth is relative). The acceptable exception would be a parable illustrating the relativity of truth.

I agree about science largely concerning itself with ameliorating consequences. Wilbur and Orville are heroes because they resolved the Icarus dilemma. Except. They solved the gravity aspect, but left the underlying hubris problem for Denzel Washington in Flight.

To the extent that dealing with consequences is a form of enabling for character issues, it might be a reasonable proposition that Science is a natural codependant accomplice, an unindicted coconspirator.

But that would be another story.
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