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Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:12 pm
by StalinSays
Feature: Singularity Knocks by Will Ludwigsen
Drabble: Lab Rats by Nicholas J. Carter

Image

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
"You don’t have to talk like that to us, mister," I said. "We know town-speak just fine."

The man with the hat put it back on his head and smiled with a hint of embarrassment. "Sorry, folks. Sometimes it helps, you know, smooth the way."

That man with the computer was lurking by the corner of our porch, holding it up and aiming some kind of camera at the eaves. He steered a pair of laser beams from one end to the other. I figured I’d let him do what he was doing if I didn’t see any harm.

"Smooth the way for what?" I asked. I knew what was coming next, what was always coming: talk of imminent domain, of making way for progress.

"Something exciting," he said, lifting up a foot onto the lowest step. "Opportunity of a lifetime…"


Episode Art: Forrest Warner
Music by Avett Brothers

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:14 pm
by StalinSays
That may just be my favorite piece of Drabble we've ever run - hurray for Lab Rats!

Can someone take pity on a poor old dullard and talk out the ending of Singularity Knocks for me? I was taking the events of the story at face value, it was shaping up a certain way, and then I'm pretty sure I lost it all in the last 3 sentences.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:40 am
by mrund
I didn't get the ending either. Are the protagonists existing in a simulation? And a meta-singularity has occurred within that simulation? And what does the old man's server farm (hehe) have to do with it?

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:26 pm
by Christi
As always Norm did a really good read and the characters were believable. I love the idea of money having no meaning because time has no meaning…but then even a virtual life would have no meaning….
I just don’t understand exactly what happened at the end there.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:37 pm
by ROU Killing Time
I think my favorite description of the singularity from some in the science community use is "The Rapture of the Nerds."

Great story, great read, (great drabble, great guest-voice.)

I didn't have a problem with the ending. The nerds, having been transported to their virtual "heaven" would naturally want to pursue what was so important to them in the physical realm, and continue their pursuit of the singularity, even though it already happened.

I'm with you on not understanding why the farmer had a set of servers in the barn, however.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:46 pm
by strawman
The ending was something that, naturally, even the author cannot explain. Face it, if you live in a perfect simulation, how can you tell if your "rebellion" is simulated or real? The whole point is that you don't know, and whether it's what you have chosen or what has been chosen for you, whether it is real or simulated, it is indistinguishable from life. You can't figure it out.

Allow me to demonstrate:

You are now in the singularity. 8)

You are now in actuality. :o

Notice the difference?

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:01 pm
by loyaleagle
I don't accept the "even the author couldn't explain it" argument. This story was great, but the ending was muddled. A good ending should either be clear OR should leave the reader with several equally arguable endings that they are challenged to choose from. The ending should just confuse the reader and leave them wondering if they misread something.

That is the difference between this story and, say, Inception. At the end of the movie you can have a big debate with your friends about the ending and while nobody is right, everybody thinks they have a good argument. Singularity Knocks on the other hand leaves you pretty sure you have the right ending in mind, but makes you doubt that rather neat ending.

All that aside, I enjoyed the tone and setting. I'm a bit surprised a bunch of hillbillys in America would be the last to go (why not peoples of far-off tribes, like Amazonians), but it was fun to see that "simple man v. gu'ment men" conversation in a new context.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:15 pm
by strawman
The two equally plausible endings are

*that the hillbillies existence in the singularity consists of battling the gumint
*that they have actually successfully killed the gumint agents before they get zapped.

This is made explicit by the statement of the gumint agent that it would all be over before the hillbilly could retrieve his shotgun.

But how could you tell the difference between one conclusion and the other? In fact, $10 to anyone who can offer a method to discern whether or not you're already in the singularity? In fact, $5 to anyone who can prove they're not the hillbilly.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:40 pm
by tbaker2500
Here are the 3, count them, three, endings I got out of it:

1. The agents succeeded in uploading them. (See "he'll think he succeeded" line) Rinse and repeat eternal singularities inside each other.
2. They killed the agents before being uploaded. They are left inside only a single singularity, and prevented recursive singularities. Since it's all-or-nothing, everybody gets brought back and things start over again.
3. They killed the agents before being uploaded. They are left in real life and are the protectorates of the singularity machine.

Regardless of which option you choose, it seemed clear to me that their server farm was the singularity machine.

Okay, general thoughts. Patton was good, but a little tough. The drabble also took me twice through to get, but was excellent. David's voice was great there. And the overall production was excellent.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:45 pm
by ROU Killing Time
strawman wrote:In fact, $10 to anyone who can offer a method to discern whether or not you're already in the singularity? In fact, $5 to anyone who can prove they're not the hillbilly.
What a lame reward. (Since we all know that money is pointless in the singularity...)

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:27 pm
by El Barto
I usually like stories about the Singularity but the plot in this one didn't make much sense to me unless the farmers were really already in the Singularity, which wasn't explored all that satisfyingly. A few things seemed particularly far fetched:

-The entire world has been uploaded except these two guys but they somehow haven't heard about it? They have no friends or family? No newspaper, satellite, internet, or neighbors? Who were they selling their food to? Who were they buying supplies from? It didn't seem like they were secluded isolationists 100% cut off from the world, which is really hard to do.

-As someone else noted above, how does the government "know" that there are zero people left in the world? Infrared scans from satellites? And what about people underground?

-If this were really happening, either it would be a secret from the general population . . . or not. If the government was stealthily uploading billions of people without it being public knowledge it would likely be a huge bulk process and wouldn't involve agents walking house to house. But if it was public knowledge, there would likely be millions of people who didn't want to go and would be hiding underground or elsewhere.

-If the government really had convinced billions of people to go -- including every other last nutcase and luddite, presumably they had a better pitch than two government agents walking up to people to chit chat With the stakes so high and the claim so outrageous I would think that they would have brought proof.

-It didn't seem to much matter whether the farmers went willingly or not. And if that's the case, it was unclear to me why they wouldn't just walk up and shoot them.

All of this leads me to believe the farmers were already in the singularity, having some fun with a simulation. But that being the big reveal wasn't very satisfying for me.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:57 pm
by strawman
You've heard of good fiction causing the willing suspension of disbelief (Hillary Clinton famously referred to it to express her skepticism to General Betray-us).

Possibly, the shortcoming of this episode is not the presentation of various possible outcomes, but your conclusion that the least satisfying resolution is the most probable one. How could you not be disappointed?

Your other points are interferences in your willing suspension system, making for a bumpy ride. Those questions might have been better addressed but, as with a Drabble, you need to consider the length and time limitations. You surely would have been more willing to believe and forgive, if you were better satisfied with your most plausible resolution.

So choose one.
All that is needed is a simple patch.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:22 am
by flippertie
Can anyone (someone?) tell me what the fade uot music at the end of the episode is?
thanks!

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:11 am
by tbaker2500
Looking at drabblecast.org, under the episode it lists the music as the Avett Brothers? It gives a link. Check 'em out and see if they're who you're looking for!
Welcome to the forums!

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:36 am
by flippertie
Thanks!

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:04 pm
by Unblinking
tbaker2500 wrote:Looking at drabblecast.org, under the episode it lists the music as the Avett Brothers? It gives a link. Check 'em out and see if they're who you're looking for!
Welcome to the forums!
No kidding? I love Avett Brothers. Especially their song that I think is titled "The Ballad of Love and Hate".

Regarding this story: It was okay. I picked out two plausible endings from it (though i can see how there would be three). To me it seemed the most plausible that the hillbillies were uploaded before they got their guns.

I don't konw, I've just seen so many stories that are about the holdouts from a consciousness upload simulation, that it is just one of those stories that always feels repetitive when I hear another one.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:37 pm
by strawman
I'm 90% certain they got uploaded. I mean, the government agents told them they'd be uploaded before they could do anything about it. And naturally, it would make sense to put them in a program that would project them winning. So it's not really a story about holdouts, but a story about believing you're a hold-out.

So it probably would have been better to have a bit more of a reveal.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:21 pm
by strawman
Okay, I must have drifted off and missed the last line reveal in this story. There are servers in the back room of the cabin, the Sawmills ask "How many more of them can there be? and Ain't one singularity enough for them?

I wish I could saw I now get it, but the questions are still unresolved. Apparently they are running their own singularity off the servers in the back room, and government agents running the government-sponsored singularity keep coming out to shut them down. Which makes the whole point of the story the conflict between the gummint and private enterprise. But the Sawhills are just dumb hicks. They can't possibly beat the gummint, can they?

Wait! I know where I seen this movie before! Starring that Janet Reno thing. So you might say this is loosely based on an unbelievable, although true, story.

Re: Drabblecast 229 - Singularity Knocks

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:03 am
by zZzacha
I liked the story because the end made me think of a few simulation-in-simulation movies, but I have no idea if singularity can be seen as the same as a simulation. wikipedia talks about:
wiki wrote:Temporal singularity, a concept in speculative fiction, usually an item or event triggered by an item that results in divergent narratives, in which the singularity alters the new timeline away from a prior "default" state, leaving behind a parallel universe in which the singularity didn't occur.
That last part, the parallel universe in which the singularity didn't occur, makes the story blurry in my mind. As if it never really happened or I'm just not supposed to understand anything about it because I'm just not supposed to know and talk about it. Hey, Drabblecast did another story about that too! *blurrrr*

Anyway, great story and thanks to that story, when looking for some info on simulations, I found evidence that we ARE living in a simulation: math proves it. And there you have it.