Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

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StalinSays
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Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by StalinSays » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:38 pm

Feature: The Dead by Michael Swanwick
Drabble: Curtains Up, Sir Richard by S. Zainab Williams

Image

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Three boy zombies in matching red jackets bussed our table, bringing water, lighting candles, brushing away the crumbs between courses. Their eyes were dark, attentive, lifeless…

Music by Nina Nastasia [Song: Ugly Face], 19 Action News [Song: All You Zombies]
Art by John Deberge

Twabble: "I am an artist. Brown, Yellow, Black and Red spread thick and uneven around my workplace. A true artist and a bad surgeon." by DrFromHell
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by noeyesmcgee » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:50 am

Thought the story was the best of the year so far. while I love Zombies and the way they are a critique of the ills of modern society this has been a new way of turning them into a very specific critique. I found this new insight and the way that the main character could see thru to the consequences of their decisions. It seems the question that remained at the end though was can any of us stop it? can he stop it?. Very cool.

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by Ignoranus » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:12 am

I am the King under the Mountain, and... Wait. No. No, that's not it at all.

I really enjoyed this story. I felt like it had some predictability to it, starting from the boxing match. In my mind, I could see the framework that the protagonist was living in and the suspense mostly came from what his course of action was likely to be. The bleak, dreary outlook is one that I really savor, even at the same time that I am really torn about stories that end with it. Dreary bleakness - everything is grey, everything ends, it's miserable... it leaves me feeling sapped and even sad. Even so, I find it much like reading a book or watching a show in which one of the characters incites a negative emotional reaction in you. If you really hate the villain in a movie or a character in a TV show not because they are poorly written or because you disagree with them but because they're just done so damned well - that's something that you just have to respect, and is actually one of the things I really enjoy in some of my favorite shows. I'm a little too scattered to think of any examples right now, but I'm sure they'll come to me later when I'm trying to sleep...

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by Mikes » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:21 am

Two thumbs up. The story was fantastic, and the idea was quite chilling, and wholly believable. Probably because it's so believable. One just has to look at Apple for a quick example of how a company puts profits above all; there is never such as a thing as too much money for corporations, and human dignity does not even register.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by boocifer » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:16 pm

This was a fantastic story. I heartily agree with noeyesmcgee that it's been the best of the year so far. It was intensely evocative on an emotional level. I loved the lurid language contrasting the lust and senses of wrongness with the lifelessness of the zombies. Fantastic.

That said, I disagree with the notion of this being a true dystopia. Society has always relied upon cheap labor (think Apple again). If we had all unskilled labor being done by zombies, we'd have all out basic needs provided for. Why is there a need to have a job when food is plentiful, buildings can be constructed for virtually nothing at all, and simple tasks are carried out with no need for human toil at all? There isn't. This sort of society would free humans up to more interesting and fun things. A bit distasteful, but zombies being exploited sure beats exploiting humans.

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by strawman » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:34 pm

The Stone at New York Times today writes about the question of whether it would be ethical to eat peas, if we discovered that they communicate with each other.

Having no time to waste, rather than reading the article, I imagined what it said. And although I'm sure The Stone was much more philosophically legit, having earned the scholarly degree, while my imagination never got matriculated (still on the waiting list), it seems to me that this question of whether peas are persons has skipped right over the issue of whether people are persons.

Clearly, this ethics thing is a tricky business. Boocifer finds exploiting zombies 'distasteful', but better than exploiting people. He would presumably have no problem exploiting talking peas, even though, to my taste, peas are about as distasteful as it gets, even the uncommunicative ones. They are, after all vegetables.

But wait; are not some brain-damaged people also classified as vegetative? How are they different from zombies? They are certainly more like zombies than peas! Does it make a difference what one used to be, or what one soon will be in this calculus? Or do we assign personhood and rights based only on present characteristics and abilities?

Back in the day, people spoke of God-given rights. If that is no longer constitutionally permissible, then who will judge between me and the zombie and the peas?
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by Kevin Anderson » Tue May 01, 2012 7:53 pm

Yes! Loved both the story and the drabble. Great episode. So nice to hear that Zombie is back on the Drabblecast Menu. Still my favorite monster, with rodents of unusual size a close second.

Top 5 things I love about zombies:

5) no bigotry - they will eat anybody
4) they are familiar – can’t look at them without seeing ourselves
3) they’re not clicky, snobs - anyone can join
2) changeable – there is no end to how the creative mind can re-imagine them
1) they do not fraking sparkle! EVER
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by strawman » Tue May 01, 2012 10:41 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote: 1) they do not fraking sparkle! EVER
My_little_ZOMBIE_Pony__OOak_by_Undead_Art.jpg
So sad
My_little_ZOMBIE_Pony__OOak_by_Undead_Art.jpg (126.45 KiB) Viewed 4528 times
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Spoiler:
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by shagin » Sat May 05, 2012 4:41 am

Great story and great read. Norm's husky, a touch quirky and dark, voice really helped set the mood and kept things rolling.

I didn't see the end coming, fully expecting there to be hot, sweaty, pheremone laden sex after they returned to the apartment, but was very pleased with where the tale went from there. I was equally pleased with the fact that the main character did not kill what's-her-name (can't recall off the top of my head) which would have too too cliche. The story ended as it began, on a very dark, cryptic note about where we're going...and that even reasonably okay guys finish last.

I sometimes blog about audio fiction, and mentioned "The Dead" in my most recent post. Check it out, and look for other HEAR THAT? posts about even more great audio fiction: http://sandramodell.com/


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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by apricity » Sat May 05, 2012 5:13 pm

I do enjoy a good zombie story, and this one certainly had an interesting concept. Reminded a lot of stories in which machines ultimately take the place of humans, especially in war settings, but even more disturbing since the zombies so closely resemble humans. Agreed with previous comments - appreciated that the ending wasn't entirely what I expected. Keep the zombie stories coming!

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by tbaker2500 » Sun May 06, 2012 2:05 am

I'm not much a fan of dark stories. But I can recognize that this one was very well done. I want to forget it quickly, which is a good indicator of that.

I, also, was surprised by the sex change. (I mean the change of sex, er, oh never mind!) It really beat the plot firmly into place. Good luck, world.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by cinnamon » Sun May 06, 2012 5:06 am

I can't decide how I feel about this story. I can't even really articulate why I can't fully commit to liking it. I may have to listen to it again.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by strawman » Sun May 06, 2012 6:31 pm

What happens when people go on living, but leave their souls behind? Are they then zombies, or golems?
I think in order for this story discussion to satisfy, we need to go past describing our reactions. Even zombies have reactions. Even Snookie has reactions.

Don't be like Snookie.

Listen again, and tell me this reminds you of something.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by tbaker2500 » Sun May 06, 2012 9:28 pm

I have a hard time discussing this in any detail, because it's perfectly plausible. It's certainly not how I live my life, but there are many who do.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by El Barto » Mon May 07, 2012 3:17 pm

I don't generally like zombie stories but this one worked for me. Lots to think about. Good for him for resisting the zombie temptress.

I loved the song "All you zombies" and ran to iTunes to buy it. Ditto Ugly Face. Great lyrics and music on both. Here's Ugly Face: http://www.lyricstime.com/nina-nastasia ... yrics.html

If anyone listens to all you zombies a few times, i'd love to know your take on what's going on. Is he singing about time travel or reading books? A parallel universe where Napoleon was hanged?

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by El Barto » Mon May 07, 2012 3:18 pm


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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon May 07, 2012 3:52 pm

El Barto wrote:I don't generally like zombie stories but this one worked for me. Lots to think about. Good for him for resisting the zombie temptress.

I loved the song "All you zombies" and ran to iTunes to buy it. Ditto Ugly Face. Great lyrics and music on both. Here's Ugly Face: http://www.lyricstime.com/nina-nastasia ... yrics.html

If anyone listens to all you zombies a few times, i'd love to know your take on what's going on. Is he singing about time travel or reading books? A parallel universe where Napoleon was hanged?
I'm guessing he is singing about the time travel/paradox story by Robert A. Heinlein.

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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by strawman » Mon May 07, 2012 4:46 pm

Okay. You need to read the Heinlein story to get the song.
Bottom line: if you have ever imagined that everyone else is just a figment of your imagination, or a character in your dream, then you're onto the jist of the concept. Essentially, everyone is a projection of self, which is the point of the Heinlein story (but with convoluted time travel thrown in).

However... unless the song was suggested by Swanwick, the song isn't necessarily connected to his story. So this is really a question for Norm: we know you like 19 Action News, but is the song a coincidence, or have you consciously added the Heinlein reference to the Swanwick story as a clue? They really seem somewhat intertwined. If it was a conscious decision, I am probably going to have to start listening to DC episodes a lot more carefully, and multiple times, in order not to miss the point.
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Re: Drabblecast 241 - The Dead

Post by strawman » Mon May 07, 2012 8:37 pm

tbaker2500 wrote: I, also, was surprised by the sex change.
Really? I had missed it. Guess that nails the Heinlein reference, then. In All You Zombies, the main character has a female to male sex change operation, and later travels back in time and seduces himself, thereby conceiving and giving birth to himself. Time travel enables the one character to be all the characters in the story, like Escher's print of the hands drawing themselves.

I now need to figure out Heinlein's thinking in referring to the characters in the conundrum as zombies. What could it be?

At any rate, with each of these connections spilling out of Heinlein's story into Swanwick's, then again in 19 Action News, my estimation of this episode goes up. Jolly good show.
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 241 - The Dead

Post by tbaker2500 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:31 pm

strawman wrote:
tbaker2500 wrote: I, also, was surprised by the sex change.
Really? I had missed it.
Sorry, no. I meant that fact that we expected a sex scene with the bitch, then it didn't happen because of the zombie "present".
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The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

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