Episode 119: Aldo by Michael C. Thompson


Warning: If you’re often offended about things, this one will probably do so.

In “Aldo,” author Michael C. Thompson tells the story of a sort of love triangle in space. Except one of them is a starship. Outtakes

Afterward, Rish and Big talk about the elephant in the room. And say goodbye to a master of puppets.

Special thanks to Rich Girardi for producing today’s episode; to Juliet Bowler, and Rich Girardi for lending their voices to the tale; and SonnySee for the episode art.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/dunesteef/Dunesteef_119_Aldo_by_Michael_C._Thompson.mp3%20

Related Links:

Michael C. Thompson’s Site
Rich Girardi’s Site
Juliet Bowler’s Site
I’m Christian Unless You’re Gay
Powerful Responses to I’m Christian Unless You’re Gay
What’s your favorite Jason Bateman Movie?
Some sound effects were provided by freesound.org.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Come discuss it with us in our forum.

Or leave a comment below.

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15 Responses to “Episode 119: Aldo by Michael C. Thompson”

  1. Wow, thanks so much for the production, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to work on it and then to comment on the story afterward. Is my story the first gay-themed story to appear on your show? I’m greatly honored, either way. I look forward to future developments!

    • Although one should always be cautious about contradicting an author (especially an author of a story with such depth and complexity), I have to disagree with you there. This story was not “gay-themed”. It is a great story whose central characters just happen to be gay. The story would work exactly the same if it were a triangle drama of different composition — and that is what makes this story stand on its own. It presents the homosexual characters as no different from any other normal persons. Gay-themed would be something that addresses the problems of gay existence within the society; this is a gay-normalizing story, and it warms my heart. Despite the brokenness of the central characters.

      My heartfelt thanks for writing this!

  2. Richard Price Says:

    The fist gay-themed story on Dunesteef must be the ongoing soap opera that is the life of Rish Outfield.
    Guys, I’ve been listening to the show for over two years and words are really insufficient. Have a great Christmas,
    From all your listeners in England.

  3. Huge props for being cool enough to run the story despite your initial worries, guys. I actually fist-pumped during the discussion when Rish said what I’d been thinking: if somebody’s going to get offended by the existence of gay people, I don’t want them listening anyway.

    Anyway, thanks. It was a great, creepy story in addition to being a nice stand on a social issue, and as always I appreciate the show and the work you put into it.

  4. Good job, guys. For someone who’s not gay, I sure do hear from a lot of bigots, due to the gay characters in my own books. You’re right; you don’t need those people.

    It always takes courage to stand up to bullies – even bullies who may be only a cultural voice in your head or people who will not comment on your podcast. Thanks for being brave.

    Oh, and also – you seriously made me laugh out loud by singing “Pink Elephants on Parade!” :D Now, if only you’ll sing “Heffalumps and Woozles,” my life will be complete.

  5. L'Androide Says:

    As a gay listener, thanks for running this story. I don’t know if it was necessary to flag it as controversial and potentially offensive just because there were gay men in it, but I understand why you did and I appreciate seeing it here.

    • You know, Androide, that’s a good (and valid) point, and one that Big made the night we recorded the after-story conversation. Does the mere presence of homosexuality make a story offensive? Does it require a warning? Does a warning make us sound like we’re apologizing for something? I don’t know, and not knowing the minds of all our listeners, I can’t know.

      Big probably would have let it go without a warning, but I mentioned that there was also sex in the story, and it’s probably better to err on the side of caution, rather than presume that everyone will react according to the intentions of the podcasters.

  6. I want to thank you for being able to take that step back and realize that the media self-censorship is really a pernicious thing. “Of course *I* am not offended by this but *someone* will be offended so I cannot run this” never helped any human right issue.

    The audio was well produced, just enough variety to make it alive but not so much as to sound like a glitzy audiodrama.

    And the story… a great story. Wonderful characterization, and I loved that the characters were definitely non-perfect. There’s too much goodity and niceness in speculative fiction central characters anyway, and it is good to have an example of deep storytelling and major themes where the central characters are allowed to be broken.

    Thanking you, good gentles
    //P

  7. Thanks for the great sendoff, guys. All my best.
    Love, (but not in a gay way)
    Rich

  8. This was such a great story–very dark and I always prefer imperfect characters in fiction: the narrator’s selfish personality, Alain’s drug addiction, Aldo’s creepiness. I also loved the idea that living ships made long-distance space travel possible. That part of it reminded me of Boojum, the story the Drabblecast produced a few months ago.

    Anyway, you all did a fabulous job and I’m really glad to have heard Aldo on the Dunesteef!

    Also, Rich (or as I like to think of you: Chief/Sheriff/Marshall): we’ll miss you!

  9. Pirvonen Says:
    December 16, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Although one should always be cautious about contradicting an author (especially an author of a story with such depth and complexity), I have to disagree with you there. This story was not “gay-themed”. It is a great story whose central characters just happen to be gay. The story would work exactly the same if it were a triangle drama of different composition — and that is what makes this story stand on its own. It presents the homosexual characters as no different from any other normal persons. Gay-themed would be something that addresses the problems of gay existence within the society; this is a gay-normalizing story, and it warms my heart. Despite the brokenness of the central characters.

    My heartfelt thanks for writing this!

    —-

    Words like this are what convince me that I’m not wasting my time, I greatly appreciate you taking the effort to let me know how you felt about it. You’re right, I did not write this story to make a point about homosexuality – I’m gay, I don’t think life needs to be about homosexuality, it is simply a color that God has used to paint different stories of life. It’s a back-drop, not the point of the story. I think that’s a far more effective way to bring people together than to point out a modern conflict whose time is already almost over. The best way to end the age of accepted homophobia, it’s simply to ignore it entirely.

    ———-

    L’Androide Says:
    December 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    As a gay listener, thanks for running this story. I don’t know if it was necessary to flag it as controversial and potentially offensive just because there were gay men in it, but I understand why you did and I appreciate seeing it here.

    —–

    I agree, I was frankly sort of surprised that it was considered controversial, but I guess things that seem normal to me can be shocking to others. One of the great obstacles in my life has been to work with others sensitivities to engage productive change, rather than to force people to accept something that might frighten them. So I guess, in some respect, it at least allowed people to prepare themselves, rather than be shocked and fall prey to rash reactions when they had to visualize two naked men groping each other on a beach. Lol

    ——

    Pirvonen Says:
    December 16, 2011 at 6:01 am

    And the story… a great story. Wonderful characterization, and I loved that the characters were definitely non-perfect. There’s too much goodity and niceness in speculative fiction central characters anyway, and it is good to have an example of deep storytelling and major themes where the central characters are allowed to be broken.

    Thanking you, good gentles
    //P

    ——–

    I’m glad you agree. Part of my writing philosophy is to purposely be different/provocative, and I feel like, at least in my own creative pool, dark aspects have a higher potency than light ones. I always found the bad guys more interesting, and wondered about the stories that were only hinted at while the glitzy, unrealistic heroes that always inevitably foiled their plans. Frankly, this whole planet is filled with narcissists, and I don’t find it interesting to read stories about perfect people with wholly pure motivation.

    ——–

    R.E. (Renee) Chambliss Says:
    December 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    This was such a great story–very dark and I always prefer imperfect characters in fiction: the narrator’s selfish personality, Alain’s drug addiction, Aldo’s creepiness. I also loved the idea that living ships made long-distance space travel possible.

    ———-

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the story, you have no idea how much it means to me that something I’ve worked so hard on has helped to improve someone’s day.

    ———

  10. Eric J. Blommel Says:

    Every response I was going to make has already been covered: that the story was great, that I’m proud of Rish and Bigg for running it, that LGBT characters should not be considered controversial. I guess I just add my voice to those who’ve already written. Well done. More please.

  11. Hey guys,

    I really can’t thank you more for running this episode. I recently stumbled on your podcast and I’ve been listening to your back catalog, but I haven’t commented yet. I really enjoy your show, but this episode really made me want to express that to you.

    This episode is really great. The story was rich, creepy, excellently acted and brilliantly produced. Even better, the conversation afterward really made my day. I’m a lesbian from a really conservative family, and have experienced a lot of bigotry. It was lovely to hear you guys firmly discuss why you overcame your initial trepidation and firmly assert your support of your LGBT listeners and authors. Thank you so much, guys! I’m really proud of you and proud to be a fan.

  12. Great story guys, I always appreciate a good story with gay characters in it. I’m definitely going to go look at the rest of Michael Thompson’s stuff. Keep pushing boundaries and if you do start to receive hate mail or hurtful comments, remember that you do have fans that love your work and are more than happy to listen to you vent, if needed.

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