Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

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strawman
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by strawman » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:00 am

kingolf wrote:Excellent story, PKD is regarded as a classic master for a reason it would seem.

Enjoyed Norm's analysis of the storie's comment on solipsism too.
You can't refute solipsism but you also can't use it for anything. If you reject the existence of anything other than your own consciousness, well, why are you bothering talking about it?
Because I enjoy being able to keep all the plates spinning! :)
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:23 am

strawman wrote:Good starting point for an exploration of the nature of reality. What does it mean, for example, when people tell you to "Keep it real, bro." Your first thought has got to be that they aren't REALLY your brother, and you never REALized before that it was your responsibility to be the Keeper of it.

From there, you are introduced to Big Bang, Black Holes, String Theory, and the relationship between matter, energy, and time. The truth, apparently devised by Norm Sherman on steroids, is that we experience only 3 of 11 dimensions, that time stops at the event horizon, and that matter is 99.99999% void, with a mass determined by the vibration of stringy loops that are actually one-dimensional points. If you listen really carefully, they sound like The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody".
That's one mighty-fine riff.
The truth is that the cake is not a lie, and it exists whether you do or not.

Mother Nature mashes our brains into shapes that approximate reality to the best of her ability (otherwise we'd all be rabbit food). Or, at least she did until mankind started devolving about a hundred years ago.

The Devil mashes our brains into shapes that allow us to perceive the divine just enough to reject it.

But the real takeaway from this story is that paper tape can do anything that our modern technology can -- which is a fact proven by computational theory -- but it loses something when it's not powered by steam.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by UmbrageOfSnow » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:03 pm

I'm so thrilled you ran a PKD story. He's one of my favorite authors and one of his complete-works volumes was the first single-author anthology I ever read. I've probably read more Dick than any other single author.

This story was great, and I loved the production and the punch tape lends a certain charm, it feels dated in a fun way. This is probably a greeat introduction to PKD for establishing the philoshopical themes and his particular style, but it has never been my favorite. I demand more Dick! If people would write more PKD inspired stuff, he could have his own month, just like HPL. Dick & Lovecraft also have the two names that somehow seem most appropriate for establishing the level of class I've come to expect from Drabblecast.

I'm so happy his estate is willing to actually deal with you, as I understand it, a lot of dead author estates are not too friendly to the whole podcast/internet thing.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:06 pm

UmbrageOfSnow wrote:I'm so thrilled you ran a PKD story. He's one of my favorite authors and one of his complete-works volumes was the first single-author anthology I ever read. I've probably read more Dick than any other single author.

This story was great, and I loved the production and the punch tape lends a certain charm, it feels dated in a fun way. This is probably a greeat introduction to PKD for establishing the philoshopical themes and his particular style, but it has never been my favorite. I demand more Dick! If people would write more PKD inspired stuff, he could have his own month, just like HPL. Dick & Lovecraft also have the two names that somehow seem most appropriate for establishing the level of class I've come to expect from Drabblecast.

I'm so happy his estate is willing to actually deal with you, as I understand it, a lot of dead author estates are not too friendly to the whole podcast/internet thing.
Second the motion for a PKD month.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by tbaker2500 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:48 am

I'm going to guess at the hell Norm went though to get this one, that donations would have to be a LOT higher to get a PKD month. :shock:
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by StalinSays » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:33 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:I'm going to guess at the hell Norm went though to get this one, that donations would have to be a LOT higher to get a PKD month. :shock:
Expensive, certainly. Though it would be fun to do a set of commissioned 'in the style of PKD' stories, a la our tradition for Lovecraft Month.
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by DoctorBanzai » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:24 am

Hello.

I enjoyed the story presented here very much, and found the reading, as always, to be excellent. The mood was great, as was the pacing and tone of the overall presentation.

Having worked my way through all of the Drabblecast stories, including B-Sides, over the past several weeks, I have been consistently happy with all the stories. There have been some that I liked more than others, this one being one of them, but overall have been very happy.

I am, however, wondering about one thing specific to the overall content: I am wondering about the apparent shift in content. Early stories are very odd, and stray quite far from what would be considered "mainstream" work, but a number of more recent presentations, this one included, have been leaning more and more towards mainstream sci-fi or horror. While I enjoy these, I am wondering if this is an intentional shift in order to appeal to a broader audience, or if this is merely my impression.

The presentation that these are "strange stories" still applies, as sci-fi and horror typically fall into the realms of "strange", but they are by no means really the "atypical" type of stories that the earliest episodes are leaning towards.

I have no intention of stopping my listening to the stories and content, but am only interested in finding out if this has been anyone else's observation, and possibly getting some detail as to the reason for the shift.

Thanks
Doc B.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by StalinSays » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:42 am

DoctorBanzai wrote:I am wondering about the apparent shift in content. Early stories are very odd, and stray quite far from what would be considered "mainstream" work, but a number of more recent presentations, this one included, have been leaning more and more towards mainstream sci-fi or horror. While I enjoy these, I am wondering if this is an intentional shift in order to appeal to a broader audience, or if this is merely my impression.

The presentation that these are "strange stories" still applies, as sci-fi and horror typically fall into the realms of "strange", but they are by no means really the "atypical" type of stories that the earliest episodes are leaning towards.
Thanks for the feedback! As a fellow listener of the 293 episodes released, and something of an insider, I'll share my perspective.

I do not think that it is merely your impression; I also have observed the shift. To my mind, nothing of it qualifies as an intentional editorial practice, and on no level has there been a mindful move from fringe to center. I would imagine some folks around Drabble'land would go so far as to argue against the existence of a shift completely (Spidersong, Pop Quiz or Betty Flesh are as weird and playful as DC has ever been). But to continue, albeit as a partial devil's advocate, I would ascribe the observable shift to two major shaping trends.

One: fan preference. If you look at the stories that get nominated for year's best, this year and years past, they are 'fuller' more 'dramatic' stories. Stories with a central thread, an 'eventful' plot, like that heard in (..) Charles Ward or Judgement Passed, seem most desired. That is not to say such stories are uniform, lack depth, or are without strangeness, but just that similarities are present, and said similarities seem to drive positive reception. More abstract stories, like the wonderful work of Frank Key, or conceptual stories, like say #233 – A Blade Of Love, or #246 - Kidney, what I would term DC's 'weirdest,' receive fewer comments, shorter discussions, and are seldom nominated for people's choice. We run them, and always will, but their response would seem to indicate the Drabblecast audience prefers what you might consider 'mainstream' and I think it is impossible to ignore what ultimately proves popular with the audience when commissioning and/or contracting authors.

Second: donations and growth. When the Drabblecast was in its first 50 episodes, many stories were from our editors (sometimes under pseudonyms), personal friends of the show, or the public domain. The pay rate was much less. As the Drabblecast gained in popularity, and donations, it had access to more stories, and it was able to more thoroughly dictate its content. While I love a scrappy, simpler story like #3 – Next Stop, or #8 - Epiphany, I think pieces like #206 - Creature and #256 – Roanoke, Nevada are where the Drabblecast has always been heading. It is not a 'new' choice, just a new climate, and one that is closer to DC's aspirations all along.

I hope my thoughts have been of interest. Thanks again for your continued support! :D
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by strawman » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:02 pm

I also have noted a subtle trend away from my early favorites. Norm writing a tune to go with Jelly Park's bus driver song and imitating Aaron Neville, Louis Armstrong, and Bob Dylan in the outro was delightful to the audience and the author alike. The Black and White Animals trilogy is still unsurpassed for wild weirdness, with the prize for the winner of the Nigerian Spam Scam contest being made into the story's main villain. And David Levine's stories were existential classics.

I miss the occassional bbardle with a story too, as in Babylon Battle of the Bands with Babel Probe, another Levine story, and of course the creation of Connor Choadsworth for Mongolian Deathworm.

I think Stalin Says has got it mostly right. But I also think that there is only one Norm. And as he takes on more responsibilities, DC has gone from X% Norm to 1/2X% Norm. David Levine may not have an endless supply of perfect material. And maybe the return on Bbardles is not as big a motivating factor as the fun element was. We all know he hasn't been quite the same man since 75 Lines.

The truth is, DC never should have let Norm out of the tower cell in exchange for his earnest promise to work just as hard. They should have known he'd take off with his buddies to hunt python in the Everglades, and that the Chinese-supplied mind control implants wouldn't have the specified range or power.

Fact is, people, we need to be the strange we want.

That's right, you can start by reducing yourself to a platitude.
And next, clap, boys and girls, if you want strangers to live.

CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! I think it's getting stranger! CLAP! Do. not. stop. clapping.
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 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:37 pm

10 clap
20 goto 10
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:10 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:10 clap
20 goto 10
Old school strange loop.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:33 pm

Tom, could you send me a hard-copy of that BASIC program (on paper tape, naturally.)
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by DoctorBanzai » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:30 pm

Thank you everyone for your insight and replies. I had figured that the shift had to do with the audience preference. As I have not gone back and read the previous discussions, I was not aware that the more "mainstream" stories received greater feedback, or more discussion on the forums.

It is not to say that I don't enjoy what comes from the Drabblecast world with each story, as I hope it is clear that I enjoy everything, but only that I hope for a continued delving into the absurd and strange.

As in strawman's post of above, is it that our wonderful benefactor has taken on too much? I am happy to hear from Norm on EscapePod, and enjoy his work there as much as here. The staff here has done a great job of maintaining the spirit of the Drabblecast.

Anyway, I want to thank everyone here who has read and supported, and look forward to more from Drabblecast.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by chemistryguy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:46 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:10 clap
20 goto 10
Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code. Just yes.

I haven't been around nearly as long as some, but I'd noticed a bit of a shift myself. I guess you'd have to ask yourself, "Self, what constitutes a strange story?" My answer to myself that would be stories that don't fit neatly into any other "standard" genre. One that springs immediately to mind involves the love triangle between man, woman and a blade of grass.

The problem is that there's always going to be some straying into science fiction or fantasy or whatnot. It would be too limiting otherwise.

I'll take the weird where and how I can get it. Keep up the great work Norm.

while(true){
//*CLAP*
}

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:03 pm

chemistryguy wrote: while(true){
//*CLAP*
}
Fake clapping, commented out! You don't like DC at all do you? :shock: :)
The correct code is:

Code: Select all

while (true) {
    System.out.claponce (2); // Or use 3, for a 3-hand clap.
}

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by chemistryguy » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:21 am

Algernon Sydney is Dead wrote:
chemistryguy wrote: while(true){
//*CLAP*
}
Fake clapping, commented out! You don't like DC at all do you? :shock: :)
The correct code is:

Code: Select all

while (true) {
    System.out.claponce (2); // Or use 3, for a 3-hand clap.
}
Shows my fantastic programming skills. Thanks.

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Lo Haven » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:33 am

Every time I watch a sci-fi movie where I wonder, "WTF sort of disgustingly brilliant genius came up with this?!" it turns out they were written by this guy, but I had actually never read his fiction before. I was very pleased to find his actual writing sucked me in as the movies have in the past. Excellently read, too!

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:00 am

Yep. The Bible1, Shakespeare, and Philip K. Dick. Everyone else is just recycling plots and story elements. :)

Welcome aboard, Lo Haven!



1 Anyone who points to similarities, in earlier Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths, is going to Hell!     Also... Chinese? What Chinese?

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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Varda » Wed May 15, 2013 3:54 am

Every time I think the Drabblecast can't get any better, an episode like this comes along and proves me wrong. And this coming after a wave of solidly awesome stories. I wanted to comment on them all but made myself pick just one from the last 10 so as not to be completely ridiculous.

I listened to the outro twice trying to absorb all the info on solipsism. Was never much of a philosophy buff so found this both entertaining and educational. I've been a huge PKD fan for years but had never heard this story. I enjoyed the vintage feel of the whole thing - a spool of tape controlling an advanced android? YES. Not an hour before I listened to this episode, I was talking across a field in the countryside of north Georgia and found a cassette tape marked "REV COLLINS SERMON TOPICS". Newflash: the Reverend is an Electric Ant, and he needs his brain back. Should I splice in a few extra sermon topics of my own before I return it to him? Suggestions? Norm's Breast Cancer Awareness monologue?

Also, thanks to all for the insightful side conversation about the shift in weirdness levels from older DC to newer episodes. Good to know before I dive into the archives! Interestingly enough, at the very time this conversation was going down, a slightly younger, slightly more innocent Varda was listening to Escape Pod and heard the word "Drabblecast" for the first time. This is after months and months of thinking Norm was THE BEST of the EP hosts and wondering why a guy with such an awesome voice never did much reading on the podcast. Imagine my delight when I realized he had A WHOLE SEPARATE PODCAST going on out there! If Norm's responsibilities leave him stretched a bit thinner, the good news is that people like me are finding the Drabblecast as a result.
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Re: Drabblecast 273 - The Electric Ant

Post by Luca aged 7 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:55 am

Fantastic story, fantastic reading, and great bio info on PKD.
I went right ahead and bought an anthology and am plowing through it.
Thanks!
PKD>HPlovecraft

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