Episode 45: Restoration Blues by Stewart S. Smith

Peter Wilson just died and got restored. It’s nice to not have to stay dead, but the problem is, it’s been 58 years since he died. Everyone he’s ever know is dead, or totally changed. And there’s worse…no one ever told him that restoration was such a bitch. bloopers

Big and Rish talk about being forever young, give the winner and answers to the movie quotes quiz, and, as always, ramble on.

Special thanks to Dani Cutler and Marie Brennan for lending their voices to today’s story.

Right click to download the episode HERE.


Related Links:
Truth Seekers Podcast
Marie Brennan’s Site
Music by Frozen Silence: Stream 1 and Stream 4
Drabblecast: The End Of The Universe by Eugie Foster


16 Responses to “Episode 45: Restoration Blues by Stewart S. Smith”

  1. Story:

    I liked this one.

    Zinnie was a bit of a deus ex machina in that she suddenly fell in love with her step-grandfather’s clone… I mean, in the beginning she was doing it to get back at her grandmother, but she happened to fall in love with him?

    I think Peter was a believable character.

    If the story lacked anywhere, it was in the worldbuilding aspect — we’re given tiny insights into this world and left to guess at what happened. I mean, we KNOW because we’re smart SF fans, but a casual reader might not be able to make the connection. I really wanted to know more about this world than the clues given to us.


    I do think Big is better at the “bewildered character” voice than Rish, so I’m glad he was the MC in this one. The guest voices were good. The “closing locker” sound threw me a bit, though — wouldn’t there be some sort of innovation in locker technology that would preclude the usual “metal clang” sound? Just sayin’….


    I once wrote a really crappy song called “The Best Years of Your Life” where I decry the concept that high school is the best years of your life. It wasn’t the best years of mine, even though I had a lot of the “good” experiences — I was an athlete (for a time), on the school paper, in drama, dated a girl, got laid…

    As for the sound effects commentary, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. Putting in an occasional sound effect here and there is more distracting than anything else. In the episode I just sent you guys, you’ve probably realized I did a LOT of effects work… but to my mind, it’s much harder to edit the dialogue than find the right sounds. I _am_ one of those anal people who needs dialogue to fall at PRECISELY the right moment, and I’ll spend five minutes on two lines of conversation. But adding effects to the story I just did took about three hours total, whereas editing the dialogue took about ten — not because of difficulty with recordings, but because of my obsessive nature.

    I totally identify with the “bed sound” coverage theory. When editing areas without a bed, I’ll sometimes snip a bit of “silence” out of the vocal track and lay it under areas where I have to add space or make weird cuts. No one’s noticed yet.

    Overall, an enjoyable episode. Looking forward to the BMSE stories.

  2. Nicole Suddeth Says:

    I have to say that continuous sound effects (like the rain in book scouts) make me a bit crazy. It might just be me (I realize that my ears don’t work properly), but I find it extremely distracting and I can’t keep up with the narration because I’m too busy trying to get my brain to accept the fact that the rain is in the background, rather than the foreground.

    While this is my personal experience, I realize that this is probably not anybody else’s. Perhaps for us with makeshift hearing make the continuous effects a bit quieter?

    However, I do like the small effects that you seem to be putting in more & more. I will be incorporating those as much as I can in the podcast that I will produce!

  3. I really enjoyed the premise of this story and thought the protagonist was believable. However, my brain kept wanting to deconstruct it. Zinnie’s hatred for her grandmother seems out of proportion to anything the old woman has actually done to her. It seems pathological and cruel. The grandmother’s actions are, if not always perfect, at least understandable. The end of the story seems sinister. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop – for Zinnie show her true colors as some sort of techno witch who has seduced the protag for reasons darker than what she’s told him.

    Wrinkles – Throughout most of my twenties, if I’d introduced myself as 18, most people would have believed me. This grew…annoying. Now, at 32, I’m starting to get some lines on my face, and I’ve noticed that my patients trust me more. Nobody wants to go under anesthesia in the care of a girl who could possibly be 18. Those lines get you a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. So not all bad, I say.

  4. My thoughts on the effects: Put in as many as your creative urge tells you to. Just don’t let it overwhelm the story. While listening to “Book Scouts”, I remember thinking that it was very well produced, and I’m sure the effects had as much to do with that impression as the very solid reading. The effects were neither too many or too loud. I say keep them, if you have the time to put them in!

  5. I was going to comment on the effects. To me, it’s a cost-benefit analysis. You’re good at creating an engaging sound-scape. Your listeners will enjoy the effects you include. All things being equal, they’ll enjoy the story a little more with each one (this is assuming you’ve got good taste, which you do).

    But how much more? How much will the audience appreciate that effect and how long will you have to hunt for it? How much longer will the episode take to produce if you put in 10 more effects? Could you have produced two episodes in that amount of time? At some point, the cost will outweigh the benefits. Only you can say when that point is reached.

    However, I love your production, Big. :)

  6. I really enjoy the sound effects that you do on this podcast. In fact, the reason that I started listening to Dunesteef was because you guys did a story for StarShipSofa, and I enjoyed it so much better than a dry reading that I immediately subscribed. The sound effects help to paint a picture in my mind of what’s going on and they make the story more dynamic.

    The only thing that distracts me from the story is when some of the readers have bad mics, and it sounds like a WoW raid instead of a story reading.

    Although, the only time I’ve ever turned off a podcast (an NPR one, surprisingly) was for excessive chewing sound effects. It just grossed me out. Also, the sound effect of liquid pouring into a glass.

    One more thing: I’m in my 20’s now, but I’m actually looking forward to getting some wrinkles. To echo Abbie above, people don’t take you seriously if you look too young. Wrinkles make you look scarier and sassier, which is awesome for getting damn kids out of your yard and talking about today’s popular music.

  7. Love the sound effects. I think you guys do a great job. Most of the time it feels like they just belong there. I did think the happy outro music at the end of this week’s story came in a little early and was a little happy. Didn’t quite fit with the sci-fi of the story.

  8. Marcus Stefan Brodeur Says:

    I too want to throw my vote in with the ‘love the sound effects’ crowd. Honestly, they’re a big part of what made me actually go and subscribe to your RSS feed after hearing that first episode.

    Some people have indicated that they find them a little distracting, but to me it shows a great deal of love for the production on your part. That said, I do recognise the truth of what someone else pointed out… namely that I can only dimly imagine how much time it takes for you to hunt down all of the relevant sound effects and edit them in.

    So just because I and others love them to bits doesn’t mean you should squander an inordinate amount of your own time fetching them for us. I would still enjoy your audio productions if they only had half as many sound effects, and if that gives you the opportunity to have a lot more time free in your life for other things, then it can only be a good thing.

    I say this as someone who long had (who am I kidding? still has) a bad habit of being a perfectionist. In both my academic and work careers, I was always the idiot who, having achieved a perfectly good and praiseworthy result in X amount of time would then spend another 2, 3, 4, or 5X ‘tweaking’ it towards some elusive and mythical greatness. So don’t fall into the same trap; the Dunesteef is fantastic, but I can live with it being 95% or 90% (or, frankly, 50%) as great as it is if that tosses a major monkey off your back in the editing room. (Of course, a monkey loose in the editing room doesn’t sound all that copacetic, either…)

    Moving on to the story itself, I enjoyed the way it was executed up until just before the end… which flagged up for me a recurring problem which I hadn’t really spotted before then. Namely, there were various points where the believability lapsed. I’m not speaking of the technology here (in fact, I’ve been working for over a year now on a novel where brain/body backups feature rather prominently)… I’m talking about the way the characters behaved.

    Setting aside such convenient devices as the protagonist managing to win enough money from playing dice to own a chain of noodle stands within a week of being brought back, we still have really puzzling behaviour from both of the female characters. And my suspension of disbelief really ruptured completely at the very end where Zinni somehow, with no explanation or story groundwork laid to support her ability to do so, manages to arrange things so a city alderman gets completely cleaned out of all of her clout, connexions, wealth, reputation, and so on in one fell swoop and forced to go mop toilets on an interplanetary freighter (or whatever it was). It may read like poetic justice to some, but for me it simply doesn’t track. Powerful people are rarely rendered powerless quite so easily in anything resembling the real world.

    Nonetheless, I did enjoy it overall and it was nice to hear you guys doing a major part of the reading.

  9. Guys

    The comments on the Dunesteef episodes are insightful, well writen and thought provoking. Much more than one expects to fine as a blog comment. My point is, it might be time for the Dunesteef forums.

  10. Kevin – I have been telling them this. They are afraid no one will speak. lol

  11. C’mon guys.

    “Live for nothing. Die for Something”

  12. Nice! One of my favorite stories, great first sale for Stewart Smith. I think you guys do a great job with production by the way, I totally agree with what Big was saying about it being it’s own story in and of itself.
    And Rish kicked ass on Eugie’s stories– that guy’s voice is like a chameleon.

  13. I mean, not like a how a chameleon’s voice sounds. Cuz, I guess that wouldn’t make sense. But I mean, changes quick to match surroundings, like a chameleon does. With it’s skin, not voice. yep.

  14. Well, I don’t know if you’d call him a chameleon or not, but I have noticed while sitting next to him and podcasting that he has parrot-like zygodactylous feet, separately mobile and stereoscopic eyes, a very long, highly modified, and rapidly extrudable tongue, a swaying gait, a prehensile tail, a crest and horns on his distinctively shaped head, and the ability to change color. Not sure what that might mean…

  15. I know this was an old episode, but I’m going through the back catalog from the beginning and wow did I like this one.
    As soon as the commentary is done, I’m going to start it over to hear the story again.
    I think that for the most part the sound effects are done well, as in I can’t think of any episodes (<= this story) where they get annoying.

  16. Yup, just as good as I remembered from the first time…
    Brings back memories, just like it was today…

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