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Here’s the first installment of a story-in-progress, Epoch, commissioned by Mark Shuttleworth for my forthcoming short story collection WITH A LITTLE HELP.

MP3 Link

5 Responses to “Epoch, Part 1 — New story”

  1. John Markos O'Neill

    I’m really enjoying the new story. One quick note: the Unix rollover happens at 03:14:07 UTC 2038-01-19, that is, 3:14 AM on 19 January 2038. I think I heard you read 2034.

  2. Cory Doctorow

    You’re the second person to catch this! I’ve fixed it in the current draft — thanks!

  3. Christopher

    Just wanted to say how much I love the story so far, esp. the snarkiness of both characters and how well you have captured the nuance of synthetic voice when you read Big Mac. Had to rewind and listen to “Gotterdamerung” a few times for laughs!
    Christopher

  4. Bruce Campbell

    Hey Cory,

    I’m really enjoying your writing/reading experiment with Epoch, having just listened to Part II yesterday. I’m kind of blown away by the level of techno-detail you’re putting into it. I know you used to be a sysadmin, and only someone who had really “been there and done that” could write this stuff the way you are doing it, and of course the logical extrapolations of the current state of the art in keeping a “network-storage-database-UI” system running also seem quite realistic. My one question, which if you can imagine me talking to you, with a somewhat Stendahlized look on my face, and say, “But why? Will the readers get that much more out if it?”

    Please do not misunderstand; I am in awe of the writing. When our narrator gets into the mapping of the connections that make up Big Mac, rack by rack, with attention given to each layer of what currently passes for the many levels of the good ol’ OSI stack, this is exposition gold, because it doesn’t leave me feeling dissatisfied with the explanation. In fact I was transported back to consulting gigs where part of the job is to untangle how the hell the client got into the mess they’re in before they called in the big guns.

    So, full marks for veracity and suspension of disbelief for this member of the audience. My experience in that world, to which I return when I hear plausible stuff like you have written, is to wonder if the majority of your intended audience are attracted or repelled by it. I guess I’m filtering this through memories of my experiences, where talking about what’s really needed to solve the problem would only make the problem worse. So, I’m connecting those ghostly client folk to your intended audience now, and wondering if the target you have chosen would only accept your exposition at this level, or if you aren’t techno-babbling to that part of the audience who don’t know the difference and don’t care, and want the story to progress? Is it laid out like that in your head? Did you think it through before you began writing, or did you just write it, because that’s the way it came out?

    Did I babble there? Was that clear? Just thinking about the process of grabbing an audience and keeping them with you for the whole ride.

    Cheers, Bruce

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