Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

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Post by Aquarello » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:04 pm

Beautiful, haunting, fascinating.

All though both met the same end, one wonders at the aims and purposes of each character—whether the ship's self-sacrifice on the altar of knowledge, or the man's determination to dictate the last of his days on his own terms—made any difference in the light of eternity.

Time—whether 50 million years, or a mere 77—is all we have. Regardless of whether you thinks it makes a difference to others... it makes a difference to you.

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Post by Aquarello » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:10 pm

normsherman wrote:Question: I'm messing with mics and EQ a little- did anyone think "too loud or too soft" in regards to the music or narration?

Did S's sizzle a bit too much in the narration?

Depending on if your in a car, with ipod/headphones, at laptop or at a desktop there can be a big difference in the balance of things and I'm trying to find a middle ground.
It was good for me, Norm. Nothing distracted me, other than the jungle noises already mentioned. FWIW, I'm at a computer, with high-end headphones.

I was always taught that controlling sibilants is something you have to do with the narrator's voice, not in the post-production/mixing. It's tough to re-train yourself, though.

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Post by cammoblammo » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:52 pm

normsherman wrote:Question: I'm messing with mics and EQ a little- did anyone think "too loud or too soft" in regards to the music or narration?

Did S's sizzle a bit too much in the narration?

Depending on if your in a car, with ipod/headphones, at laptop or at a desktop there can be a big difference in the balance of things and I'm trying to find a middle ground.
I listened to it in the car and at my computer, and it sounded fine---in fact, I remember thinking that the balance seemed a little different to usual, the background seemed a little clearer, although not more prominent. I didn't notice any problems with the sibilants (which is something I always have problems with in my voice recording).
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Post by jonathancg » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:50 pm

This one didn't work for me. Sorry -- I really, really wanted to like it, but I have a rough time with stories that move at a pace roughly equivalent to a three-toed sloth. I think if you had simply taken two college professors harping on philosophy and set that to sound effects and music, it would have had the same effect for me.

This reminded me of one of those occasional seemingly dialog-only pieces they sometimes run on the otherwise-excellent escape pod, which usually have a length of 45 minutes or more. After a while, I just. Want. It. Done.

But props on a fine narration and sound effects load-out, guys.
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:41 pm

This story motivated me to get around to reading Reed's novel "Sister Alice." I'd read one of the Sister Alice novellas and intended to read the novel, but never got around to it until this episode prompted me.

Brief review: Definitely worth reading, but not a classic. The story builds nicely to a moment of crucial tension... But the final twist is kind of lame. Kind of really cool, but kind of lame. It's a fascinating and compelling twist, but it also throws the entire story into doubt, leaving us unsure of what, exactly, was really going on from page one, or if anything on page one actually happened... or what "happened" actually means in this story.

The story concerns the Families, who are groups of people all cloned from one "father" or "mother" and empowered with the extreme abilities necessary to perform their task of enforcing and promoting the galactic Peace that has endured for the last few million years. Alice Chamberlain, one of he oldest and most powerful persons in the galaxy, unexpectedly returns to Earth bearing a secret message for Ord Chamberlain, her Family's "baby." The message involves the fact that she and her peers have just had a little accident that will, in short order, destroy the entire galaxy and kill absolutely everyone. Oops.

As in "Floating Over Time," what really struck me in Sister Alice were the religious themes and language. Many of the characters could only be described as gods, and they are described as "gods" and "godly." And the gods go about doing miracles great and small, using their powers, at various times, to make sinners feel guilt for their crimes, to destroy planets, to create ecosystems, to snatch ordinary people up form one place in the universe deposit them elsewhere, to invent new types of life from scratch, to create whole new universes, and to alter the trajectories of snowballs so that one team of snowball fighters will win the match. Sister Alice is, at one point, described as being all around and inside of two other characters, though her presence is invisible.

What was even more interesting to me, aside from the presence of gods, is the language used to describe them. They are describes as having a hundred hands, a thousand voices, a million eyes. Their battles and collaborations are described in symbolic language, a rock and a spear standing in as symbols for subtle and esoteric weapons of antimatter, dark matter and raw data.

(Hear also "The House Beyond Your Sky," one of my favorite ever Escape Pod episodes.)

I imagine God as something different, greater and infinitely more subtle than Reed's gods, but his gods are almost exactly how I imagine other spirits, angels and demons. I just find it fascinating how the concepts in science fiction, extrapolated from physics and astronomy, resonate so well with conceptions I've pulled from my religion.

What is dark matter, anyway? :wink:

I've read one other Reed novel, "The Well of Stars." It was okay, not nearly as good as Sister Alice. It hasn't got any gods, but it's got an aptly-named worldship passing through a nebula that is, essentially, a single giant organism. Very cool. The plot crashes into a messy, frustrating heap at the end, but it's got dinosaurs with guns all over the place.
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Post by robertmarkbram » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:56 am

This story plus Drabblecast 80 - Standing in Line by Michael Simon are my top 2 favourite Drabblecasts of all time.

I really enjoyed the images in this story, but most entrancing was that both man and amazingly advanced intelligence both shared an exquisite moment of understanding simultaneously...

I always thought that 2001 would be like this as well...

Such a wonderful story.

Rob
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Floating Over Time

Post by Praxis » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:01 am

I thought this was hands down the most lyrical, beautiful, speculative, poignant and - strange given that one of the characters is presumeably an a.i. - human story podcasts I've ever heard.
(in fact I signed up here just so I could post a response to the episode)

On the one hand, to be in the last (micro) second before your death and reach out to another 'person' who is so scared and, you realise, much more scared than you and, by connecting with them, understanding The Universe and how special to be one of the tiny things alive in it.
On the other, to have travelled for that long and that far, putting of your death because you tell yourself you have more to do and, finally, to choose to *really* show another living thing what you have learned, sacrificing the possibility that your eons-old creators are still listening and would ever get your shortened version.

By the end I felt like I understood both of their situations and why it made sense they would each reach out to this stranger.

Oh, and I enjoyed the descriptions of what the a.i. had learned and, I suppose, the implied mission that she was sent to discover if there is actually is other life Out There, and how she really did have good news to report, only to possibly not have anyone left to tell.

And both characters seemed so lonely as we heard more about their own stories.

And the music choices were spot on (and better than the jungle sounds, I have to say)

And and.....

I agree with Mr Tweedy, it seems a bit pat to look at all that and say "It is Science"

Did I mention that I loved this episode?
deflective wrote:this piece worked for me. it teetered at the edge of the over-sentimental but kept it together. i was left thinking of a Gaiman paraphrase, 'you get the same thing that everyone gets: a death.'
yep, it surely be a paraphrase. Though at first I got my Death's confused and thought it was a Terry Pratchett quote. Doh.

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Re: Floating Over Time

Post by Poppydragon » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:53 pm

Praxis wrote:I thought this was hands down the most lyrical, beautiful, speculative, poignant and - strange given that one of the characters is presumeably an a.i. - human story podcasts I've ever heard.
(in fact I signed up here just so I could post a response to the episode)
Same here, I've just signed up the the Drabble cast feed and have been working my way through the back catalogue from episode 49. This was just stunning, superbly written, read and produced. My only concern is that with this as a high point, how many other storys will live up to it.

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Re: Floating Over Time

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:01 pm

Poppydragon wrote:My only concern is that with this as a high point, how many other storys will live up to it.
Lots! The Drabblecast is a high plateau from which occasional peaks rise to even greater heights. Valleys are few and far between, and even those are only as deep as the Plains of Average down below. Fear not, good Poppy Dragon. Fear not.
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Re: Drabblecast 83- Floating Over Time by Robert Reed

Post by Unblinking » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:19 pm

I'm torn on this story.

Both sub-stories were very good, every emotional, with believable characters. I felt for the old guy, though I am so terrified of drowning that I can't imagine choosing that for yourself. I also really felt for the AI. But for me the whole was less than the sum of its parts. Apart, it made two great stories, but linking them together... I don't know, made it all seem like just a gimmick, making each half just feel like a cheap setup for the moment of combination.

I don't recall any other story that caused that reaction in me. I've seen the reverse, where two lesser substories combine to something greater, but not this reverse.

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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by TheBigBadG » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:22 pm

Loved it. This is exactly the kind of interconnected sagery that Cloud Atlas failed to achieve.

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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by sandrilde » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:13 pm

DC gets serious. Obviously a good writer writing about some serious issues... but I can't say it grabbed me. Actually relistened to see if I was missing something, but it just wasn't for me, I guess. LIked what he was doing, but he didn't manage to wrap his hands in my guts and twist, which is what I felt like he was going for.

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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:30 am

sandrilde wrote:DC gets serious. Obviously a good writer writing about some serious issues... but I can't say it grabbed me. Actually relistened to see if I was missing something, but it just wasn't for me, I guess. LIked what he was doing, but he didn't manage to wrap his hands in my guts and twist, which is what I felt like he was going for.
THANK you! Somebody else who didn't fall all over themselves for this story.
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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by JEJoll » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:01 am

Seems like feedback for this lies at one extreme of the spectrum or the other. I loved, and I hated it, so I'm at BOTH ends.

I always love a story that boggles my mind and demands another read/listen, and I love it even more when it makes me ponder and puzzle even after the second reading/listen. This one made me ponder what exactly the story meant, as well as my own reality, and it brought back a feeling I haven't had for years.

When I was younger, in my teens, I always had a profound inkling that there was some supreme knowledge or wisdom that I had to discover in order to understand this life. Listening to this story, and thinking about the way we perceive time, reality and our universe, as well as all of the things we THINK we know, has reignited this profound feeling. That is why I both hate and love this story.

It made me think and feel and explore new ideas, and I think that is the purpose and value of fiction (or non-fiction for that matter). But it also gives me a twisting, aching messy feeling in my gut and very soul when I think about the 'supreme knowledge' I mentioned earlier. It's a nostalgic, melancholic, profound and absurd feeling that is hard to describe in any other way. I might sound a bit like a nut, but it's a near-insanity-inducing feeling, and it makes me physically dizzy.

I agree with Norm on this one, it affected me deeply as well (obviously).
I listened to this twice, and I don't think I'll do it again, for my sanity's sake.
I think there are just some things that the human mind is either unable, or not meant, to understand and I can't help but feeling like this story teeters on the edge of some of those things.

Congratulations to the Drabblecast on great production, music, narration and everything else, and to Mr. Reed for nearly driving me insane. Well played.
Also, it's stories like these that make me not care so much when the Drabblecast rejects my own work (shakes fist, smiling).
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:54 am

Welcome aboard, JEJoll!
Glad the the episode "touched" you (and not in a way that requires a demonstration doll, in court).

Interesting handle. Color me, JEJune.

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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:06 am

People spend their whole lives searching for this secret knowledge. Fathoming the unfathomable can mess you up. (See: Lovecraft, religious zealots)
Shake it off, move on to a new story. We can't afford to lose anymore listeners to existential lockup! :shock:
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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by Varda » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:33 am

GAH. Damn you, Drabblecast, for making me cry in public. Again. Dammit.

That's about the highest praise I can give short of calling someone a robot, so I'll leave it there.
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Re: Drabblecast 083 - Floating Over Time

Post by Beth Peters » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:21 pm

Yes, I'll never forget this episode. I've listened so many times I can't even recall. This was the first story on the Drabblecast that really floored me, it's just beautiful. I'm surprised it hasn't been published elsewhere, much less received major awards (aside from the Drabblecast's own prestigious People's Choice of course.)
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