Classics 19 (EP 149) - So You're Going to Die

Discuss episodes and stories from the Drabblecast Main Feed and from Drabbleclassics
User avatar
Mr. Tweedy
Member
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:03 pm
Location: Illinois (Land of Obama)
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:31 am

I liked it, but didn't love. The core concept is really cool, and the hitman is a great character to funnel it through, but I feel like it tried to do too much. Basically, the hitman starts out as this totally pragmatic, amoral lowbrow dude, and as the end comes he starts getting all poetic and philosophical on us. His character isn't consistent. That doesn't come anywhere close to killing the story, but it keeps it from achieving a Floating Over Time level of awesome...

Okay, gotta get it off my chest: It makes me so mad when an established author writes something that's almost exactly like something I thought of, but haven't written and/or published. As proof I thought of the idea first, I submit this paragraph from a story written (,submitted and in due course rejected) in 2008:

Three murders: The air in the car would be thick with psychometric spoor. The shed auras of the dying could linger in the air for days, weeks sometimes, even embed themselves in the stoic substance of walls and furniture.

So there. Na na na. If I ever do get an "Inner World" story published, everyone will think I'm rippin' off Bob Reed, but you'll all know it ain't so.

...So yeah. I love stories that give "scientific" explanations to "supernatural" things. I've always thought that distinction was totally arbitrary and based on ignorance, and so I'm always gratified when someone traps a soul in a null space. Because, like, why not?

I liked the portrayal of the Judge as a selfish bastard for wanting to live forever as a ghost. It was a novel but, I think, very appropriate take on the whole quest for immortality trope to portray seeking immortality as ultimately greedy and narcissistic. Like, what makes you so great that you should exist forever? And is anyone else interested in your eternal existence? In all likelihood, your desire for immortality is just petty selfishness, not some high-minded idealism.

I felt like the story strayed too far into "big" ideas at the end, and this corresponded with the hitman coming out of character to wax philosophical. What does this greedy amoral bastard care about a great meeting of the minds in the depths of space? Is that something we can really believe he'd want? We zoom way way out, from a study of human nature and character to an ultra-broad "what if?" question about the possibility of a galactic civilization. Out at that range, everything gets fuzzy. The initial narrow, sharp focus was great, and this good story might have been great if it had stayed there.
Advertise in this space!

User avatar
Mr. Tweedy
Member
Posts: 1733
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:03 pm
Location: Illinois (Land of Obama)
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:40 am

Yeah, no plot holes. The hitman was payed to kill the woman; the stuff with her ghost box was improv, because he was curious. He got off easy because he agreed to testify against all of his big clients in exchange for leniency.
Advertise in this space!

User avatar
HPHovercraft
Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:34 pm
Location: Warkworth, a.k.a "The Sticks"

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by HPHovercraft » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:21 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote: I felt like the story strayed too far into "big" ideas at the end, and this corresponded with the hitman coming out of character to wax philosophical. What does this greedy amoral bastard care about a great meeting of the minds in the depths of space? Is that something we can really believe he'd want?
Cynical sales pitch.

//Unless you think salesmen actually believe what they tell you?

User avatar
alhilton
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:42 am
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by alhilton » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:57 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:Basically, the hitman starts out as this totally pragmatic, amoral lowbrow dude, and as the end comes he starts getting all poetic and philosophical on us. His character isn't consistent. That doesn't come anywhere close to killing the story, but it keeps it from achieving a Floating Over Time level of awesome...
Yes. This is what I meant when I said that his aspiration to live among the stars does not fit his pathology.
http://cowrycatchers.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://panamindorah.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4252
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:53 pm

alhilton wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Basically, the hitman starts out as this totally pragmatic, amoral lowbrow dude, and as the end comes he starts getting all poetic and philosophical on us. His character isn't consistent. That doesn't come anywhere close to killing the story, but it keeps it from achieving a Floating Over Time level of awesome...
Yes. This is what I meant when I said that his aspiration to live among the stars does not fit his pathology.
I saw his plans for living, err being dead rather, among the stars as more of a pragmatic decision, (recall they weren't going to visit any other worlds,) but were just looking for deep space where they would be least likely to risk getting tossed on the trash heap.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by tbaker2500 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:05 pm

ROU Killing Time wrote:
alhilton wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Basically, the hitman starts out as this totally pragmatic, amoral lowbrow dude, and as the end comes he starts getting all poetic and philosophical on us. His character isn't consistent. That doesn't come anywhere close to killing the story, but it keeps it from achieving a Floating Over Time level of awesome...
Yes. This is what I meant when I said that his aspiration to live among the stars does not fit his pathology.
I saw his plans for living, err being dead rather, among the stars as more of a pragmatic decision, (recall they weren't going to visit any other worlds,) but were just looking for deep space where they would be least likely to risk getting tossed on the trash heap.
Agreed. He he choses that destiny as the least populated area, the least chance of dying again.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

User avatar
HPHovercraft
Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:34 pm
Location: Warkworth, a.k.a "The Sticks"

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by HPHovercraft » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:12 pm

tbaker2500 wrote: Agreed. He he choses that destiny as the least populated area, the least chance of dying again.
Or maybe he chooses it because it will give him a new playground of thousands of souls he can murder at his leisure over the course of 100,000 years...

User avatar
Raptor Redux
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:11 am
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Raptor Redux » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:20 am

Or maybe he chooses it because it will give him a new playground of thousands of souls he can murder at his leisure over the course of 100,000 years...
I was going to say that too. It came to mind as I was listening to the end. Once a murderer...

This story creeped me out. I thought it was really well done and explored the subject matter in an interesting way, but it is not my favorite genre. It felt a bit too real for my enjoyment. Great performance and music and interesting concept to explore though.

User avatar
Scattercat
Member
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:17 am
Location: Under There

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Scattercat » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:47 am

I kept expecting the story to end, and it kept on keeping on. It wasn't bad, but I just kept feeling like it was over and didn't have much more to offer. No real sense of urgency to keep reading, if that makes sense; if I'd been able to control the flow (i.e. reading it in a book) I might well have skimmed ahead a significant amount, maybe even skipped it entirely. I'm glad I didn't because the ending image was pretty entertaining, but it really felt like it needed... well, a plot, honestly. This was an interesting concept with a pretty good character study attached.

User avatar
themorg
Member
Posts: 612
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:52 am
Location: Portland OR

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by themorg » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:01 am

i have read a bunch of these posts and what i think can be said for sure about the story is that it has brought a bunch of differing opinions about what the story meant. I felt that at the end of the story it was open to interpretation. Did he kill them slowly, did he enjoy oblivion, was there even a chance they were going anywhere at all. Perhaps the entire thing was just a way for him to kill and he did not even have any ghost catching devices on them but he liked money and the control it gave him over others. Norm is on a streak, so far, this year. Its so much of one writers are going to have to write better to compare. Hire more monkeys on typewriters or word processors.
Drabbillus Haventnpigeonholdhimus
http://www.drabblesbymorg.blogspot.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

Richmazzer
Member
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:26 pm

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Richmazzer » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:44 pm

That was a reaaaaaallly cool story. I think the points people brought up about it being heavy on idea and light on plot are valid, but for me, the framework of the story as basically a long sales pitch seemed to fix that problem. He throws in a couple offhand vignettes about how he got into the business, a cautionary tale about the judge, etc. and it effectively tells us about this world.
Very dark but fascinating food for thought. I loved the final image of space possibly being full of alien ghosts.
Fun drabble too. I wouldn't be surprised if Alan Ginsberg smoked robot souls too, he was definitely on something.

El Barto
Member
Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:14 pm

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by El Barto » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:34 pm

Fantastic story -- easily one of my favorite ever -- and the one that is during me from a new listener into a donor today. I loved how the story kept going in a new direction each time I thought it was about to end, and how the science fiction built to a more and more technical perspective.

I would love to see a follow-on story here about a group of future folks finding the consciousnesses of these people in space and then using future technology to either put them in a robot or put them into "blank" humans so they can have another chance at meat life.

On the plot, I didn't sense any holes whatsoever. He "killed" her ghost because if someone found her ghost box she could communicate who killed her. He got a light sentence for testifying against other people. And he waxed philosophical partly because that was his sales pitch but also because people change and grow over time. When he started out as a hit man he likely had no idea that souls could continue to exist after separation from their meat bodies. And he eventually came to realize that he could transcend his short meat based life span (meatspan) and live for tens of thousands of years in another form. And on the issue of money, he seemed to be selling his services to build up as much cash as possible to support the ongoing operations after his own death.

Lastly, I just have to say how much I love the Drabblecast overall since discovering it. I find the stories here to be very hit or miss for me, and that is a good thing. I love that Norm pushes the envelope and the boundaries. Sometimes stories just aren't my cup of tea, but the ones that hit me square in the brain are often nothing short of wow. The tiny little stories of 100 characters and words are brilliant, I love all the production effects and sounds and lastly I have to say that The Heartache Over Innsmouth is one of the most haunting and mesmerizing songs I've ever heard. Bravo to everyone who brought it to life.

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4252
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:40 pm

Welcome and thumbs up on your first post.

Fan of Heartache Over Innsmouth, two thumbs up (one for Norm for writing it, another for the kickass donor that commissioned it.)

Donor to the drabblecast. A fourth thumbs up.

Yes, the radiation from this podcast can do strange things to your digits.

I appear to be all thumbs today.
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
Algernon Sydney is Dead
Moderator
Posts: 3514
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:22 pm
Location: PRK (California)

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:48 am

Interesting story.

Does it bother anyone else that Norm plays a "selective morality" murderer, so well?

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3612
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:14 am

Algernon Sydney is Dead wrote:Interesting story.

Does it bother anyone else that Norm plays a "selective morality" murderer, so well?
No, I keep on his good side.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

User avatar
CLP
Member
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 2:04 pm

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by CLP » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:19 pm

Wow! Just Wow. Every sentance brough my brain one step closer to expolding due to sheer awsomeness overload. I, too, like storys that are not just a puchcline,but still blow your mind.
Science Fiction Laboratory http://www.clperria.weebly.com

Unblinking
Member
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 12:50 am

Re: Drabblecast 149- So You're Going to Die by Robert Reed

Post by Unblinking » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:04 pm

Lots of cool ideas in this, particularly the idea of a hitman hired to ensure an individual gets to their desired afterlife. I think living forever in a tiny box sounds like a terrible existence, but I don't doubt that many would snatch up the opportunity.

As scattercat said, though, there's just not a lot of plot movement.

User avatar
Algernon Sydney is Dead
Moderator
Posts: 3514
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:22 pm
Location: PRK (California)

Re: Classics 19 (EP 149) - So You're Going to Die

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:32 am

Image
{Marker for start of Classics comments. See Pondspider's suggestion.}

Post Reply