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Drabblecast 202, 203 - Boojum

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:03 pm
by StalinSays
Feature: Boojum (parts 1 & 2) Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

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Friday, April 8, 2011
The ship had no name of her own, so her human crew called her the Lavinia Whateley. As far as anyone could tell, she didn’t mind. At least, her long grasping vanes curled—affectionately?—when the chief engineers patted her bulkheads and called her “Vinnie,” and she ceremoniously tracked the footsteps of each crew member with her internal bioluminescence, giving them light to walk and work and live by....

Elizabeth Bear
Sarah Monette
Naomi Mercer
Graeme Dunlop
Delianne Forget

Art by Caroline Parkinson (part 1) and Liz Mierzejewski (part 2)

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:22 pm
by Unblinking
So far Boojum is awesome! I'm not sure I like it as much as Mongoose, but I think that's just because I liked the Wonderland references there as a major part of it. This one's lack of same isn't a problem, though. I've seen the idea of living starship fish, in X-Men comics, but this one got much more into the nitty-gritty of the idea, particularly how the creature feeds. I wonder if a Boojum could ever survive as anything but a pirate ship, since it just needs huge amounts of resources to sustain itself.

I LOVE the full cast recording. Graeme as Dog Collar is particularly awesome(which is a cool name for a priest--do you think that's named for the white priest collar?), though all the cast did a great job, his growly voice just fits the taciturn preacher particularly well.

I'm very much looking forward to hearing part 2.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:44 pm
by FAIL:SAFE
I absolutly loved this, far future space fish eating the ships left after its loving crew have plundered the frozen heads and gilly aliens from its hull.

it just doesnt get better.

Cant wait for part two, thanks to all involved!

F:S

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:45 am
by alhilton
Love this. I've read stories about sentient ships before, but the idea of a pirate ship that literally devours other ships is genius. Science fiction usually focuses on human invention, but I really love the occasional story that plays more with alien biology than human tech. Also, I love that the pirate caption is powerful, scary, female, naked (in the only scene where she appears), and not even remotely sexualized. Male characters like this appear all the time in fiction, but you so rarely see this with women.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:32 am
by NoNotRogov
Another story in the same universe as Mongoose made me squee with delight. As an aside, I was surprised at the revelation that Boojums are apparently not only not manmade but not from outside of space/time - at least that's one would assume if their young mature in the atmospheres of gas giants.

In Mongoose the authors strongly imply that Boojums operate on some sort of reality-bending principle that weakens the universe, allowing reavers and bandersnatches through. However by this story's details so far it would appear that they're just big space-swimming extraterran animals/beings, without any Tear-Cracks-in-Reality spacedrives.

Though the weird concept of wild animals that simply naturally have spacewarping abilities that have been allowing outside things penetrate into this universe for as long as this species has been existent is fascinating and sinister.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:15 am
by Kibitzer
NoNotRogov wrote: In Mongoose the authors strongly imply that Boojums operate on some sort of reality-bending principle that weakens the universe, allowing reavers and bandersnatches through. However by this story's details so far it would appear that they're just big space-swimming extraterran animals/beings, without any Tear-Cracks-in-Reality spacedrives.
Well, there was that bit where the Boojum blinked from here to there when the prey turned its guns on it. That's kinda tear-cracks-in-reality.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:11 pm
by bolddeceiver
I'm loving it. What I really dig is the subtle way a lot of the Mythos stuff fits in to the cross-genre setting; for instance, "vaguely-aquatic-adapted-spacers" thing is just common enough a trope in SF that it took me a few minutes to go "aha!" and notice the Innsmouth look in the gillies. Can't wait to see where we go next.

One tiny nitpick -- towards the beginning, Black Alice mentions that two-thirds of their profits go to keeping the ship alive and healthy. Isn't profit what's left over after things like operating costs and wages (upkeep of a living and seemingly-sentient ship could fall into either category)?

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:20 pm
by Unblinking
bolddeceiver wrote:I'm loving it. What I really dig is the subtle way a lot of the Mythos stuff fits in to the cross-genre setting; for instance, "vaguely-aquatic-adapted-spacers" thing is just common enough a trope in SF that it took me a few minutes to go "aha!" and notice the Innsmouth look in the gillies. Can't wait to see where we go next.

One tiny nitpick -- towards the beginning, Black Alice mentions that two-thirds of their profits go to keeping the ship alive and healthy. Isn't profit what's left over after things like operating costs and wages (upkeep of a living and seemingly-sentient ship could fall into either category)?
I guess it depends on whether Vinnie counts as crew or equipment. I'd venture to guess crew, in which case those are wages not maintenance. :)

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:31 pm
by bolddeceiver
But still not profit.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:51 pm
by Travelin Corpse Feet
bolddeceiver wrote:But still not profit.
Guess she meant revenue. I noticed it too, but wasn't really bothered by it.

Enjoying this one so far, even more than Mongoose. Feels like we're getting into the action a lot faster.

And I just realized that Monette wrote one of my favorite stories the Drabblecast has ever done: Darkness, a Bride. I guess I just like tragic things where everything and everyone dies and/or the world is utterly and irreversibly changed. :)

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:50 am
by ElectricPaladin
I'm going to chime in with those who say that this one is very good, but not quite as good as Mongoose. How can I put it... Mongoose just had more pizzaz. More snap. The writing was tighter, the main character more flavorful, more driven, in a way that I found really compelling. Boojum contains many tropes I find incredibly compelling - the nude pirate queen not least among them - but they are all a little distant from the action. Perhaps it's because "perky shy engineer" is not a trope whose power compels me.

On the other hand, I am very happy to see the Mi-Go make an appearance in Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Baer's universe.

I think I'm going to start lobbying the internet for the creation of a Mongoose/Boojum-verse roleplaying game. Like Call of Cthulhu, but with ray guns. Like Cthulhutech, but sucking less. Like Firefly, but with madness and death. I've freelanced on RPGs before. Maybe I can convince Baer and Monette to hire me. I mean, I'd work for a share of the profits rather than cash up front...

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:03 pm
by tbaker2500
Ahh... Home. There just aren't any other podcasts I've heard which consistently hit the mark time and time again. (I mean non-serialized podcasts.) Even bad episodes are good enough, just not "as good". And episodes like this, of course, stand out as excellent.

I really have to compliment the slush readers and editors. (Norm included, of course!) Being willing to reject writers is hard. Being willing to not put your stamp on a story unless it is truly good, even tho you are giving away the finished product, shows a pride of craftsmanship that is commendable.

The full cast works well on an large story like this. It's not required, but it adds to the atmosphere.

It's about time I sent in a bonus donation.

Oh, and great use of Gringo Motel.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:33 pm
by shagin
"Boojum" is off to a good start, not quite as strong as "Mongoose" but even saying that brings the story head and shoulders above many fiction offerings.

Though it started a bit slow for my tastes, I really enjoy Black Alice, and thought Dog Collar had the perfect blend of pragmatism and faith that any crew padre should.

Definitely interested in seeing where the story leads.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:52 am
by normsherman
tbaker2500 wrote: Being willing to reject writers is hard. Being willing to not put your stamp on a story unless it is truly good, even tho you are giving away the finished product, shows a pride of craftsmanship that is commendable.
Yah, I think it would be too hard for a softy like me if it weren't for the "it's not you, it's us" reality. We've turned down some really really solid stories just because they didn't quite have the brand.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:16 am
by Mikes
When Norm the what this episode would be on Twitter is seriously made my month. In short, I'm not dissapointed.

Something that's jumped out at me in this story is the role of the strong women, in particularly the captain. It's refershing for women to be given a front and centre role without truning them into Lara Croft wannabes. I think Escape Pod did am SF war story a while back that was basically a war, role reversal story that really stuck with me since. I think Boojum will do the same.

I don't know about you lot but I'm itching to see what these minds in the hold will mean for the ship and her crew.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:05 pm
by SquireM
I really liked this story! I really liked Mongoose as well! It was really the whole package with, voice overs, music and special effects. Gush, gush, gush! Like Norm said, I'd love to see volumes of stories taking place in this Universe, overlapping here and there like Boojum and Mongoose did. I found the characters and story totally engaging. I'm not much of a Star Trek fan, but the Boojum reminded me of an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation; I think it was called "Gumshoo" or something like that. It was about a sentient ship that is trying to die by hanging out right next to a star about to nova. In the end Data and a rogue empath end up on the ship. The empath and the ship "merge" and Data is sent back. It was a very sweet story about two broken souls healing each other. I cried. For me, this was even better.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:47 pm
by Travelin Corpse Feet
Not bad. I had pretty much the same reaction to this as I had to Mongoose. The second halves of each sort of just dribbled off. I think it's just the problem inherent in having to break up a story like this. Expectations might not be so heavy if there wasn't a big wait in the middle.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:04 pm
by strawman
Norm could select a few of the storylines with Connor Choadsworth questing across them.
* just realized Connor is Norm's sock puppet. Must Connor end up buried in the Grimsley family plot?

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:45 pm
by Kibitzer
SquireM wrote:I'm not much of a Star Trek fan, but the Boojum reminded me of an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation; I think it was called "Gumshoo" or something like that.
That's "Tin Man" and yes, there certainly are echoes of that here. And several other places I imagine :-) "Tin Man" was Starfleet's code-name for the entity; Guntoo (or something like that) was what it called itself.

Re: Drabblecast 202 / 203 - Boojum

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:47 pm
by Kibitzer
Oh. Man. That was fantastic. I'd read the first part but not the second and I wasn't disappointed with the tie-up! Sure, you could figure out what was going to happen but if it's done well, that doesn't matter so such to me. And boy, was this done well. Much more of a slow build than "Mongoose" but a bigger emotional impact at the end. Wonderful!