Drabblecast 109 - Babel Probe

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Mr. Tweedy
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Drabblecast 109 - Babel Probe

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:45 pm

Feature: Babel Probe by David D. Levine
No drabble for this episode.
Genres: Horror Mystery Sci-Fi
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Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
I have been sent to investigate one of the greatest mysteries of all time. The identity of Jack the ripper, the fate of the lost colony at Roanoke, even the hidden story of the Crucifixion have all been revealed, but the truth–if any– behind the Tower of Babel myth, found in so many cultures, still lies shrouded in secrecy…

Sponsors: Eisenbrauns Publishing, Josh Hugo
Episode Art: John Deberge

No twabble for this episode.
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Updated and to modern format, correct cover art, add relevant info and links.

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StalinSays
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very nice

Post by StalinSays » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:39 am

Kick ass piece of short fiction. Glad Norm let the 'cast run long for this one.

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Post by strawman » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:07 am

Stalin is correct: Le pied is directly on le derriere of this story!

Yo! Dawg! That was... you know, almost an Alien vs. Predator thing goin' on there. Dawg, dawg! DC is DOPE!
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:56 am

Ahem!

The use of the word "dawg" is not permitted on this forum unless used in conjunction with "word" and "up." "Word up dawg" is permissible, as are "Yo dawg, what word rhymes with 'up'?" and "The dawg knocked over our game of Up Words®!" However, "Dawg, dawg DC is DOPE!" is absolutely prohibited.

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Post by raysizemore3 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:07 am

DC109 was simply my favorite fiction podcast episode ever. I thought there was nothing more to be added after a phenomenal story, but the song? Great, too.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:27 am

That was pretty cool, even if it didn't have any surprises. Shakespeare paradox, anyone?

I've said the same thing of other stories (and Norm mentioned it in the outro) so I won't go on long about it here, but I really like how this story completely obliterated the supposed line between "scientific" and "supernatural." It makes complete and total sense to me to describe a demon in terms of quantum phenomena. I love the idea of other kinds of consciousness, consciousness that isn't necessarily life as we'd think of it. And I don't think the concept is the least bit implausible. I mean, how plausible is it that we squishy masses of protein–made, quite literally, of plain old dirt–would be able reason and communicate and send probes into space? It's nuts! Dirt that thinks? Impossible!

In light of the wild implausibility of thinking dirt, a 30cm disk of psychic air doesn't sound too far-fetched, does it? Well, not to me, anyway.

I also really liked the idea that the limiting factor in time-travel is energy. It's possible. It's not even difficult. You just need to shove really, really hard in right direction.

I also loved the idea of the probe being, essentially, a naked mind that has to build limbs and eyes for itself once it reaches it destination. Asside from just being cool, it makes you speculate on just what constitutes a person.

And, as a random closing thought, the spirits, er, quantum entities in this story totally reminded me of the Eldila in C.S. Lewis's "Space" novels, which you should read.
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Post by Richmazzer » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:31 am

I agree with Ray, I think I've heard the bulk of the episodes from most of the other story podcasts (except Podcastle) and of them all this was hands down the best production of the best story, IMO. The only other ones that come close are also past DC episodes.
Then you hear the song, which is not only hilarious and brilliant, but also related to the story. There's more creativity and entertainment in this 30 minutes than almost anything else I can think of.
If this episode aired on NPR just once, Drabblecast would take over the world.

Like Mr Tweedy, I thought so many of the ideas behind the Coordinator and how it worked were neat, along with the interchangibility of supernatural and science. Maybe it was an evil spirit, in the Biblical sense, fighting a man-made AI...any combination of the possibilities is pretty cool really.

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Post by tastycakes » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:34 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote:
I've said the same thing of other stories (and Norm mentioned it in the outro) so I won't go on long about it here, but I really like how this story completely obliterated the supposed line between "scientific" and "supernatural." It makes complete and total sense to me to describe a demon in terms of quantum phenomena. I love the idea of other kinds of consciousness, consciousness that isn't necessarily life as we'd think of it. And I don't think the concept is the least bit implausible. I mean, how plausible is it that we squishy masses of protein–made, quite literally, of plain old dirt–would be able reason and communicate and send probes into space? It's nuts! Dirt that thinks? Impossible!
Ah, but was it a demon at all? Or was it an earlier version of the Coordinator that found itself in a similar situation?

I LOVE this story. One of those you read and instantly know it's a must-do (which is all too rare surprisingly). A scientific approach to the theory that God was/is created by man.

Freaking beautiful.
One day he will look into what a ‘stigmata’ really is; for now, it is his trump card for getting out of work. He simply says ‘stigmata’ and they say ‘shit, hope you feel better soon.’ End of story.

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Post by tbaker2500 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:11 am

Wrock on!

Hey sniffling Norm, don't forget about my offer. Use it as needed. However you want.
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Post by Aquarello » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:32 pm

I liked this one, and not just because it fit the ancient Near Eastern theme so well. The quantum machine vs. ancient demon battle was a bit of a stretch for me, but I deeply enjoyed the alternate explanation behind Babel, even if I kept waiting to see how new languages would be introduced, as in the Biblical version of the story. I also appreciated the science that went witht he fiction, especially since I've struggled with programming robots before, and the challenges that brings. The idea that time travel was merely a matter of acceleration, and therefore, reduced mass required less energy, just made sense. All it requires is a slap of the forehead and saying, "Of course that's the solution! Why didn't I think of it?" All in all, a great story. Keep it up!

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Post by cammoblammo » Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:01 am

Holy Haleakala. That was freaking awesome.

No, seriously. I am considering pulling my subscriptions from a few podcasts that I listen to because I think the short audio fiction thing just peaked. It can only get worse. Game's up, folks.
It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat.

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Post by Goldenrat » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:04 pm

tastycakes wrote:
Ah, but was it a demon at all? Or was it an earlier version of the Coordinator that found itself in a similar situation?

I LOVE this story. One of those you read and instantly know it's a must-do (which is all too rare surprisingly). A scientific approach to the theory that God was/is created by man.

Freaking beautiful.
Nailed it. That's what I thought too.

Man's imagination creates all kind of wacky gods and beliefs. Just watch the ghost hunters.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:09 pm

Goldenrat wrote:
tastycakes wrote:
Ah, but was it a demon at all? Or was it an earlier version of the Coordinator that found itself in a similar situation?

I LOVE this story. One of those you read and instantly know it's a must-do (which is all too rare surprisingly). A scientific approach to the theory that God was/is created by man.

Freaking beautiful.
Nailed it. That's what I thought too.

Man's imagination creates all kind of wacky gods and beliefs. Just watch the ghost hunters.
That would extend the Shakespeare paradox even further and make man responsible for his own creation. Which would completely defeat all causality and make everyone's head explode.
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Post by Wonko » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:28 am

On the upside, if everyone's head exploded, then no one would have to worry about mankind starting itself.

Another problem solved with explosions!
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Post by deflective » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:33 am

every time that Norm sings it's gonna be a good episode, this time it was really good. really, really good.

and if ghostbusters has taught us anything it's that if someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes.

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Post by delfedd » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:55 pm

Wow. I was going to wait until after I ate breakfast to respond to this podcast, but the Babylon Battle of the Bands forced me to respond. That was incredible, especially after writing a paper about the different civilizations that the Israelites encountered.

This story fit very well into the paper which I read. As an april fools day joke which I played on my teacher, I decided to write a paper as if the deities worshiped by people were real. Made the constantly shifting egyptian mythology interesting.

Anyway, Concerning the story. I really enjoyed the trip back in time. However, once the Robot noticed the Sub-quantum network for the humans, I could guess where the story was going.

Also, I expect that Chrono probe was what was in the ark of the Covenant. Think about that for a minute. Holiest of all relics. The final resting place of the Quantum machine that made humanity what it was today.

Another point that I'd like to make is that maybe the gods or demons have a much longer history with humanity. Perhaps humans were developed to be the building blocks for Sub-Quantum AI networks, and that what the Chrono Probe did did was create "artificial intelligence."

Just a thought.

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Post by tastycakes » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:07 pm

delfedd wrote:Also, I expect that Chrono probe was what was in the ark of the Covenant. Think about that for a minute. Holiest of all relics. The final resting place of the Quantum machine that made humanity what it was today.

Another point that I'd like to make is that maybe the gods or demons have a much longer history with humanity. Perhaps humans were developed to be the building blocks for Sub-Quantum AI networks, and that what the Chrono Probe did did was create "artificial intelligence."

Just a thought.
Wow, two great ideas. While I'm not sure any of this can be inferred from the story, one can definitely see the potential for these if it was expanded.
One day he will look into what a ‘stigmata’ really is; for now, it is his trump card for getting out of work. He simply says ‘stigmata’ and they say ‘shit, hope you feel better soon.’ End of story.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:58 pm

I had actually assumed the opposite. When the people weren't talking, I inferred that it must be because they were all psychic and had no need to speak. The probe's discovery of quantum communication confirmed that theory, so I was somewhat surprised when the demon showed up.

I figured that the probe was going to accidentally screw up the psychic communication, making it necessary for the people to speak, which would then be the origin of the "babel." Thus, by trying to learn about his own origins, man would accidentally set himself back 5000 years.
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Post by auf_weiderzen » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:02 pm

I'm with Mr. Tweedy on this; I totally saw the implications of a time traveling "robot" causing the Babel linguistic rot, but the demon angle made me almost cream my pants in joy and entertainment.

The premise is also reminiscent of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, but with a bit more edge in terms of the actual demon incorporation.

It is interesting a parallel to David and Goliath, as well, with intelligence/technology triumphing over innate skill/power. The story folds so well into rationality and modern day experience, with the vocabulary to understand it, that it is just one of the most vivid tellings of an origin that I have heard in a while.

Thanks, Norm and the DC Crew, for finding, buying, and publishing this story. There will be a donation awaiting you soon.

And now, I give you, for the first time in 6000 years: the Mesopotamians.

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Post by Beth Peters » Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:00 am

I have a feeling this one will be in the final 5 fighting for Drabblecast People's Choice Award next year. Most everyone has said what I would have about why I loved it, so I'll praise the song some, which was awesome and hilarious. I think almost every line is great in this song, that's quite an achievement. "God plucked out his rib and created the blues?"
"Next day Yaweh was up before dawn, yelling turn down that music and get off my lawn!"
The Mcdonalds jingle was great too, this is one of my favorite Bbardles.

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