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EP059: Anyone Can Whistle

(Technical Note: Argh. I got feedback today that the iTunes feed was grabbing the wrong file — and sure enough, it was. It worked fine when I tested it, but Feedburner must have changed something at some later point. I’m sorry for the confusion two weeks in a row, and my apologies if you get this story twice.)

By David Walton.
Read by J.R. Blackwell (of 365 Tomorrows and Voices of Tomorrow).

In the center of the room, on a platform, was our Dokja–not the humanoid body she took in VR, but a blue mass of flesh with dry fish-like skin that pulsated as she breathed. She had no definitive shape, no arms or legs or tentacles, or even a face. Her only prominent feature was a taut membrane stretched tightly over an opening at the top of her body. One section of that membrane was covered over with an elaborate breathing apparatus, and the familiar array of VR electrodes were attached to what must have been her central nervous system.

I felt ill just looking at her. But I knew therapy would readjust my feelings.

Rated PG. Contains innuendo and some violence.

Referenced sites:
Guild Wars
John W. Campbell Award
Chronigma (David Walton’s puzzles)
2006 Podcast Awards

Comments (18)

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  1. Jim in Buffalo says:

    Now that’s some perfect sci-fi right there. What a great way to integrate the two genres of alien invasion and cyberpunk!

  2. Steve,

    Just an FYI, but the iTunes feed is just giving me a 45 second commercial.

  3. Jeff S says:

    Been playing Guild Wars for a while now. If you’re ever looking for a buddy to party up with then look me up. My handles are Neil Transet, Cows Transet and Kiki Butterfly.

    I’d be more than happy to help you guys out or party up.

  4. Bas Wijnen says:

    First of all, cool story.

    As usual, your intro was interesting as well. For cooperative games, I can recommend “cuyo”, which looks a bit like tetris but is much cooler due to all the surprises in it. (http://www.karimmi.de/cuyo/. If you’re not using GNU/Linux, you will have trouble getting it running though).

    Another game which has entertained me with its cooperative mode is “Salamander”, the third in Konami’s Nemesis series for the MSX computer (not to be confused with “Nemesis 3″, which is the fourth in the series and doesn’t have cooperative mode). A good emulator (I don’t suppose you own an MSX ;-) ) is OpenMSX (http://openmsx.sourceforge.net/). Salamander itself seems to be downloadable from http://download.52samsung.com:82/52_official_download/s60/s60/GAMES/MSX%E6%B8%B8%E6%88%8F%E5%B9%B3%E5%8F%B0%E5%92%8C%E6%B8%B8%E6%88%8F/MSX%20ROM/Salamander.rom.gz (that’s not legal, but it’s about 20 years old. IMO copyright should have expired, but if you care then don’t download it.)

    I’m writing some computer games myself every now and then, and you just triggered me to think some things up which have cooperative multi-player mode. I thank you for that!

  5. Simon says:

    Just a quick comment Steve: By looking at these comments lately, people are just as interested in discussing your comments as they are the story. Maybe the time has come to bite your endearingly small ego and index your ramblings…

    I know i’ve been hunting for your “stories of celebration” intro since finding Don Ysidro last week. People genuinely are interested in what you have to say, how about making it easier for us to find it?

  6. Alan says:

    I also suggest City of Heroes for couplelicious, evil-fighting goodness. As above, I play it religiously and have teamed up with more than one wife and her husband who, when the mission was over, had to bow out to go get dinner ready for the kids.

    I’m New Mutant on Guardian server, and I too would be more than glad to host you guys around.

    By the way, thanks for the hours of mindfood. Get Alex Wilson to do another story–he durn near made me cry.

  7. yak sox says:

    Hi,
    I listen to ep each saturday night on the bus coming back from seoul. I enjoy the variety of stories that you cover.
    My fav. this year has been Little Helper – that one really stuck in my head; a nice simple writing style and really well read.

    The reason why I’m bothering to comment this week is unfortunately not all cheery.

    I had to quit Anyone Can Whistle a third of the way through because I found the voice of the narrator too sharp, it varied in volume too much and the production values of it didn’t do anything to alleviate it.

    Those ear buds are right in there snug up against my ear drums.

  8. Hi!

    What a great story! I really like it. And the reading was awesome!

    I am a Diablo II and Final Fantasy geek. But I have never tried Guild Wars, I am playing World of Warcraft. It is great fun.

  9. Neale says:

    My favourite co-operative game was always Bubble Bobble. A decent conversion of the arcade machine was released for the PlayStation but I don’t think the PS2′s alleged backwards compatibility worked for it. (Or any other of my favourite games.) http://taito.overclocked.org/bbobble.html suggests that there’s a MAME version available.

    They guys at http://www.puzzlepirates.com put as much emphasis on the co-operation and the community as they do on the game development. The game was designed from the start to encourage people to be friendly and the atmosphere is great as a result. Although it has no monster-bashing.

  10. Simon says:

    While I liked the premise, and thought this was pretty good, I just wanted to say to the author: take more care with your exposition.

    In this story your exposition came out almost at random, and really didn’t gel very well with the story. Maybe this is a factor about it being read, but I really didn’t like how you did it. Take more care interweaving background and plot.

  11. Patrick says:

    I really enjoyed the story but almost had to stop listening because of the terrible audio production in the read.

    It was very sibilant and ‘top-endy’ with a prounced metallic timbre.

    The quality of the audio production is almost always very good, which makes a poor example stand out all the more. I strongly encourage a re-reading for the archives.

  12. Pavlina says:

    The sounds levels were a bit off. The voice had a trailing feature, I also had to turn the sound way up. This is a problem for those of s who listen in the car. You really don’t want to strain to listen as you are screaming down the highway at 45 MPH in rush hour traffic.

    Other than that, good story.

  13. Will says:

    Very nice story. Clever twist at the end. It’s really impressive how week after week the quality remains high.

  14. Icepick says:

    Really and excellent story. Thanks.

  15. KAB says:

    Great podcast. I just found it this summer (thanks to Scott Sigler) and am almost caught up.
    I also want to thank you for the comments about co-op games. My fiance is a big gamer but I have trouble playing Super Mario. But because of Lego Star Wars II our relationship has grown…just kidding. But I do highly recommend the game and if one of you can shoot straight the other one can just stand there!

  16. [...] politisch Unterdrückte: Anyone Can Whistle [...]

  17. scatterbrain says:

    Cyber-revolution!

  18. Very interesting site, i have added it to my fovourites. Greetings