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Author Topic: EP130: What We Learned From This Morning's Newspaper  (Read 7946 times)
SFEley
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« on: November 06, 2007, 07:50:53 PM »

(Note: this is a placeholder thread while we work to restore the lost posts from the server move.  Feel free to post here in the meantime; we'll just merge them back again.)

By Robert Silverberg

Read by Stephen Eley.

First appeared in Unfamiliar Territory, 1973.



I got home from the office as usual at 6:47 this evening and discovered that our peaceful street has been in some sort of crazy uproar all day.  The newsboy it seems came by today and delivered the New York Times for Wednesday December 1 to every house on Redbud Crescent. Since today is Monday November 22 it follows therefore that Wednesday December 1 is the middle of next week. I said to my wife are you sure that this really happened? Because I looked at the newspaper myself before I went off to work this morning and it seemed quite all right to me.

At breakfast time the newspaper could be printed in Albanian and it would seem quite all right to you my wife replied. Here look at this. And she took the newspaper from the hall closet and handed it all folded up to me. It looked just like any other edition of the New York Times but I saw what I had failed to notice at breakfast time, that it said Wednesday December 1.

Is today the 22nd of November I asked? Monday?

It certainly is my wife told me. Yesterday was Sunday and tomorrow is going to be Tuesday and we haven't even come to Thanksgiving yet. Bill what are we going to do about this?


Rated G.  It's slightly safer to listen to than the New York Times.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 08:57:32 PM »

I liked it, but it seems like when this was written it was walking on fresh ground and now that ground's foot-traffic is more along the lines of Central Park.

If somebody else said this, er, sorry. Didn't read the thread before the omni-magical reset button was hit.
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Grayven
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2007, 12:46:35 PM »

As far as classic SF goes, I never paid much attention to Mr Silverberg. I was always more into Asimov and Heinlein. Based on these stories, I think I may have been remiss. While they have their flaws, these were fun stories. I'm going to check out some of his other ones.
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mudguts
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2007, 09:10:23 PM »

I really enjoyed the story though when the cover / lead story was mentioned of 10 people being wounded in a bank, I thought that was how the story was going to end.. with 10 of the 11 going into a bank to collect their cash or deposit money or whatever and ending up getting killed or injured in the end...
that way the paper would have been a foreshadow of what NOT to do as opposed to gambling on future investments..

still, like most of the stories, it was well read and entertaining.
thanks.
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007, 05:31:00 PM »

I was getting behind on listening to Escape Pod episodes, because I've been listening to a couple of novels (Paul S. Jenkins' The Plitone Revisionist and Nathan Lowell's trilogy Quarter Share, Half Share, and Full Share).

So, last night I go to my iTunes/Podcasts and ask it to update the list of Escape Pod episodes. There's Ep 129: Immortal Sin, and Ep 131 Hesperia and Glory waiting for me.

No Ep 130. I had to download the mp3 from the main page, http://escapepod.org/ , and put it in a playlist.

Was I a victim of Entropic Creep? At least it didn't turn into grey noise before I had a chance to listen to it.

Robert Silverberg is one of those authors whose name I recognise and I think of him as having written many-many-many stories that I've read and enjoyed, but I cannot for the life of me cannot recall any specific examples, except for Hawksbill Station.
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wakela
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2007, 06:31:30 PM »

Robert Silverberg is one of those authors whose name I recognise and I think of him as having written many-many-many stories that I've read and enjoyed, but I cannot for the life of me cannot recall any specific examples, except for Hawksbill Station.
I was talking about this with one of my friends recently.  Silverberg is one of the SF giants, but he doesn't have a "Foundation" or a "Stanger in a Strange Land" or "Childhoods End."   He just has tons and tons and tons of stuff.  Not that one is better than the other.  Just the way it goes.

A fun story.  The lack of explicit social commentary or clear good guys and bad guys was refreshing.  Nobody turned on each other, and I wasn't required to ponder the weaknesses of the human condition.  I kept waiting for them to be punished for "cheating" on the stock market, and since I didn't think they were cheating, I was relieved when this didn't happen ... though now that I think of it they could have been.  We don't know what the trigger was that caused them to go gray.  I was assuming it was the couple trying to save the sister's life.

Some things slightly bugged me.  It think there was a clear moral imperative to try and save the sister with the heart condition.  They could have flown her to them and let her into their group as if she lived there.  Maybe this introduces a slippery slope, but in a clear question of live and death I think you need to take the risk.  Then again, that would have been a different story.  Do you also try to save the people in the bank?  The strangers in the obituaries?

I thought the concept that the future would collapse like a house of cards if anyone interfered with it was jumped too a little hastily.  No one has any idea what will happen.  Why was this guy so sure?  Or course he was right, which also bugged me. 

But overall a fun story.   I think Steve made a good choice in offering these stories from the past.

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RH_Balance
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2007, 10:55:24 PM »

I thought this was a nice, subtle story that left a lot up to the reader as far as filling in the blanks about whys and wherefores.  I think that helped to make it more engaging than it would have been otherwise.
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qwints
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2007, 04:24:43 PM »

I didn't really like the ending. Although subtlety can be nice, I tend to not like conclusions which leave too much hanging.
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2007, 05:34:03 PM »

I really fell for this story when he ends up getting last weeks paper and it's full of things that he doesn't remember happening.  Up until then, I thought it was okay, but that was the turning point for me. 
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2007, 07:06:06 PM »

For a great Robert Silverberg story involving time travel, check out the recent Oct/Nov issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine and read his story: "Against The Current".  It is an intrigueing short story which IMO, it much better than those of his stories showcased on EP (though I liked hearing these as well).  It's up to date and not based on working the stock market.  Maybe Steve will buy this one as well.  It would work well in audio.
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 06:55:14 PM »

I enjoyed this story, but like many Silverberg stories, it seemed to have a tiny tale to tell wrapped in a whole lot of words.  Compared to Now -n, Now +n, there's just not enough going on to really get my mind charged up...
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DarkKnightJRK
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2007, 01:41:28 AM »

I liked it, but I'm not too sure about the ending--the sudden grey all around, it just felt extremely random, like the author couldn't think of anything else to put in. Still, the rest of the story was great--espicially the irony and satire about the surburbian life.
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2007, 11:41:19 AM »

I enjoyed it. Hard to say how much of Silverberg's work I've actually read... But this was a pretty good story. I got a little sick of all the stock talk, and the endless comparison of numbers between the papers, but that might be because I'm not interested in it and therefore know nothing about it.

I am generally pleased by Steve's rendition of voices and differentiating between individuals and male and female characters. Different enough to highlight that the wife or the husband is speaking (which is also different than narration), without resorting to absurdity for the feminine.
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2007, 11:51:10 PM »

I enjoyed it. Hard to say how much of Silverberg's work I've actually read... But this was a pretty good story. I got a little sick of all the stock talk, and the endless comparison of numbers between the papers, but that might be because I'm not interested in it and therefore know nothing about it.

I am generally pleased by Steve's rendition of voices and differentiating between individuals and male and female characters. Different enough to highlight that the wife or the husband is speaking (which is also different than narration), without resorting to absurdity for the feminine.

Yeah--maybe it's because of my limited knowledge of stocks, but my head kinda tuned the stocks out after a while.
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 12:06:05 PM »

Anyone in Atlanta who heard/read this story is probably remembering it right now. It's almost perfectly grayish-white out the windows near my work area. I'm on the 7th floor in the Cobb Cloverleaf. I can't see the buildings nearby.

Eerie.

This is why I don't read the newspaper.
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2010, 01:03:03 PM »

This was my least favorite of the Silverberg stories that have appeared here. 

For starters this one (like Now+n,Now-n) were based on the sole motivation of "my future happiness depends on my ability to cheat the stock market and become filthy rich", which didn't make me want to root for the guy.  But in that other story, the idea was one I'd never heard of before so it got bonus points for that.  This idea I'd seen on Early Edition more than a decade ago.  I realize that the story was written long before (and was quite possibly the inspiration for Early Edition) but that's still the order that I viewed them in.  Also, in Early Edition, the protagonist went out of his way NOT to use the paper for his own monetary gain through gambling and stocks, so I had to give him kudos for his sense of ethics unlike these folks.

It got rather more interesting once it became clear that the people's numbers never matched up with each other in the first place, but the idea was "entropic creep" was inserted into the story rather randomly, probably simply to foreshadow the ending.  It sounded completely out of character for this random suburban guy, and sounded like he just had a vague recollection from high school science classes of the concept of entropy, which isn't really that applicable here.  And then he turned out to be right.

And the gray formless ending, bleh.  It struck me as just a slight variation on a "waking up" beginning or "white room" beginning where the character's state matches the writer's mental state as they're trying to form the story ahead of them.  So it's like he didn't know how to finish it, and so he didn't.
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