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Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:37 pm
by StalinSays
Feature: The End of the World as We Know It by Dale Bailey
Drabble: Last Man Standing by David Dickinson
Genres: Drama Fantasy

Image

Sunday, April 7th, 2013
Between 1347 and 1450 AD, bubonic plague overran Europe, killing some 75 million people. The plague, dubbed the Black Death because of the black pustules that erupted on the skin of the afflicted, was caused by a bacterium now known as Yersinia pestis. The Europeans of the day, lacking access to microscopes or knowledge of disease vectors, attributed their misfortune to an angry God. Flagellants roamed the land, hoping to appease His wrath. “They died by the hundreds, both day and night,” Agnolo di Tura tells us. “I buried my five children with my own hands . . . so many died that all believed it was the end of the world.”

Alex Rudy/DJ Al-X's radio station
Art by Adam S. Doyle
Read by Alex Rudy

Twabble: “ The End of the World wasn't all bad… I elected myself President yesterday & will be the 1st Pope to win an Academy Award. ” by Astroguyz

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:16 am
by sandrilde
What I liked : the play by play discoveries of the end of the world - something you don't often see emphasized in apocalyptic stories is the fact that each survivor recently lived the godawful experience of discovering their loved ones dead.

What I didn't like : 1) the prosaic Christianity, 2) the weird lack of any picture of his emotional response - we saw him doing things but very limited insight into his mind or emotional responses, and 3) the ending that didn't really have an ending. Life is awful, let's get drunk?

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:11 pm
by chemistryguy
"So it goes"

I personally enjoyed the way this story broke through the fourth wall, or whatever you'd call the writing equivalent. Looking at the cover art, it finally dawns on me that I'm looking at a flowchart. Chose your post-apocalyptic tropes and make yourself an end-of-the-world story/movie.
the ending that didn't really have an ending. Life is awful, let's get drunk?
What else ya gonna do? Rebuilt Western Civilization? Maybe tomorrow. I'm gonna have a beer and decide whether I want to bring it back the good way or the bad way.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:23 pm
by normsherman
chemistryguy wrote: Looking at the cover art, it finally dawns on me that I'm looking at a flowchart. Chose your post-apocalyptic tropes and make yourself an end-of-the-world story/movie.
Ya, I LOVE the artwork for this episode too. Made it my desktop wallpaper for the week (replacing a sweet high-res photo of pterodactyl bones, which says a lot). Adam Doyle is easily one of my top 3 favorite episode artists, I'm always really impressed with his conceptual ideas and knack for layout.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:02 am
by tbaker2500
In case you didn't already know, I'm not much for sad stories about personal trauma. But I have been going through some of my own recently, and I found this take somewhat refreshing.

In response to Sandrilde, I think this was his emotional response. Not much. Shut down. Putting one foot in front of the other.

I'd still prefer funny or silly stories, but this was a good take on the genre.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:04 am
by tbaker2500
normsherman wrote:Ya, I LOVE the artwork for this episode too. Made it my desktop wallpaper for the week (replacing a sweet high-res photo of pterodactyl bones, which says a lot). Adam Doyle is easily one of my top 3 favorite episode artists, I'm always really impressed with his conceptual ideas and knack for layout.
To coin a phrase, "ditto".

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:59 pm
by strawman
I too find tales of the end of the world as we know it... well... if you can say it's a genre, that's pretty much saying it's a trope.

That one person survives is definitely a trope; pretty hard to get over the what-are-the-odds on that one, so often the sole survivor finds Eve. Ah, a satisfying biblical allegory... until it makes someone wonder, "Hey that disproves evolution! Cause what are the odds that there would just happen to be two genders that just happen to have complementary procreative organs? And what are the odds that one of each survives? Answer me THAT, Charles Darwin. And then the LGBTU community would weigh in...

*sigh*

No, don't care for them tropes. But how about some analysis? The end is when everyone dies. The end "as we know it" requires someone to know it, so there's 1 survivor. Looks like the beginning of a spectrum to me, where the other end of the spectrum is: only 1 person dies, and it's still the end of the world as we know it.

Which is pretty much life as we currently experience it, Steven Utley being, in addition to a good writer, a case in point. The moral being that whenever people die, it's the end of the world. I think I can hear Jesus saying, "That's what I was trying to tell you." To which for the ten thousandth time, everyone says, "Shut up, Jesus. What do you know about speculative fiction?"

I'm thinking about trying to write an end of the world story from the POV of the Solipsist, who comes to the realization that the only people who will survive the imminent Apocalypse are the people he dreams about. So he spends his dream trying to get as many people in it as possible. At first, he takes the time to think about who he wants in his dream, and philosophizes about the abuse of his power: What right does he have to choose? Doesn't each choice he makes to save one also make him responsible for the death of another? As he feels the stirrings that herald the end of his dream, he is literally pulling them out of the wings, yelling "Come on, you slow bastards, you're killing the people behind you!"

Lots of room in such a story for social commentary, and for promoting physical fitness as a moral imperative. Of course, it's also risky for an author to have as the premise of his story that his audience is nothing but a figment of his imagination. But why should the author care? His audience is behind a wall of slow people.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:53 pm
by El Barto
When the comments quickly go to the artwork that's often the sign of a swing and miss on the story.

I can't ever remember being bored by a Drabblecast story before but this one just had nothing going on at all. The great mysteries raised in the story were completely unaddressed.

Why was this guy spared? What killed everyone else? How? Why?

What was his basis for assuming it was worldwide ?

Was the story written before the Internet? Why no mention of him seeking information?

Did whatever killed other people change his personality and sex drive?

A rare disappointment.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:13 pm
by GeekAba
Loved it!

I loved the 'family guy-esque' drop outs to random information throughout. Loved the introspection it generated. I had to stop the podcast for a while during my walk in order to think about some of the other issues. What would I do? How would I survive? Would I care about surviving? Would I care about knowing what was going on?

I thought the 'fourth wall-breaking' thing was also very good. "No, he doesn't find out why, and you're not going to find out either, oh well". I got to relax and not worry about 'why' after that, since I knew there would never be a 'reveal' that I'd be able to say "I saw coming".

Great story, recommending it to facebook friends.

My question: If the world DID end in this fashion, how long would the internet stay up? What about google, if not the sites it points to? If I had solar power for my ipad, and some type of satellite internet that worked w/out local electricity, would i have time to surf to sites to download directions on how to filter water, build a shelter, make a martini, etc?

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Thu May 16, 2013 8:24 pm
by Varda
I found this story unbelievably depressing, but that's probably the point. I liked the repeated use of historical disasters. It seemed to paint a spectrum of human suffering - those moments when everything you thought was true and stable about the world becomes untrue. And ultimately this is about the death or suffering of a loved one.

I get all itchy when I see literature misquoted, so hope you'll permit me a pedantic moment. :) This is nitpicky, but did it bother anyone else that the story's finale says that Job's wife was killed by God in the story of Job? Because she wasn't. In fact, she's part of the chorus of characters trying to get Job to curse God and die already. It's actually interesting to contemplate how little she must have meant to Job, if she wasn't targeted in the whole God/Satan bargain of destruction. He lost everything he valued the most, his life aside. Apparently losing Mrs. Job wouldn't have caused him any additional pain to lose.

Several folks have mentioned the artwork, and I'll say it just might be my favorite piece of art I've ever seen on the DC to date. I'd buy this in poster form in a heartbeat. I liked it even more than the story itself, and that's saying a lot!

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:00 am
by strawman
Varda wrote: It's actually interesting to contemplate how little she must have meant to Job, if she wasn't targeted in the whole God/Satan bargain of destruction. He lost everything he valued the most, his life aside. Apparently losing Mrs. Job wouldn't have caused him any additional pain to lose.
I'm pretty sure Satan knew what He was doing, keeping Mrs. Job around to never let Job forget his suffering, and taunting him for his faithfulness.

Sorry, Varda, you suck at Satan.

Re: Drabblecast 278 – The End of the World as We Know It

Posted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:33 pm
by Varda
strawman wrote:
Varda wrote: Sorry, Varda, you suck at Satan.
Best compliment I've gotten all day! :mrgreen: