Ants by Steve Zocchi


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Post June 28, 2006, 10:55:34 AM

Ants by Steve Zocchi

I found this quite an intelligent take on the usual giant insect story - the reference to 'Them!' is an example of the latter. I'm glad that the laws of gravity were taken into account and the ants were kept to a reasonable size!<br><br>My only problem - and this is a matter of personal preference I guess - is that most of the story was taken up explaining the background, rather than what's happening now. Some of that background is necessary to the story, but I felt it could have been woven in to the plot a bit more. An enjoyable yarn, though.<br><br><br>Gareth

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Post June 28, 2006, 12:36:13 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Thank you Gareth. I guess kind of the point I was trying to make is that I think the future will be much like today where the middle class is the basis of society and like today, some will say 'who would bring a child into THIS world!', but people get used to the times they grown up in. Same as now, people in the future will be content with their lives as long as they can put on a kitchen addition in their homes, and they can visit Disney World once a year. Nature will always be twisted and destroyed to form what society deems necessary, but wouldn't it be nice if Nature bit back once in a while :))

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Post June 28, 2006, 12:53:11 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Well written story. Scary as hell. I wonder if Steve's ants are mutants of the five-millimeter illegal alien variety from South America. These infest my bathroom, kitchen and flower beds and seem to be immune to every concoction the exterminator zaps them with. <br><br>Is it my imagination or do they seem to be a little larger now, like eight to ten millimerers? Yikes!<br><br>Gino
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Post June 28, 2006, 01:20:10 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Great story - I'm a sucker for bug stories anyway, and "Them" is one of my favorite movies. I liked all the detail - great setting to mood, great sense of future time.<br><br>Kate
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Post June 28, 2006, 09:16:03 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

I'm reminded of another mutant ant story called "Let the Ants Try" written in the late '40s, early '50s by Frederik Pohl. I read this as a teenager and some of the details are lost in antiquity. A scientist time trips to the past with mutant ants following some type of apocalyptic event. He believes that in a fresh start they could develop along with homo erectus and become their partners in a peaceful world. Bad luck. When he returns to the present the ants have taken over, using humans as slaves or an occasional between meals snack.<br><br>"Them" (bw 1950) is one of the classics in my s-f DVD collection.<br><br>Gino

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Post July 05, 2006, 09:49:24 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Well written story. Scary as hell. I wonder if Steve's ants are mutants of the five-millimeter illegal alien variety from South America. These infest my bathroom, kitchen and flower beds and seem to be immune to every concoction the exterminator zaps them with.

Is it my imagination or do they seem to be a little larger now, like eight to ten millimerers? Yikes!

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Post July 05, 2006, 07:12:32 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Thanks for the ant deterrent formulas, Gord. If they work I'll have to cancel my order for the army surplus flame thrower.<br><br>Gino
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Post July 06, 2006, 07:32:16 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

I liked this one, too. The plot line was just gruesome enough to keep me thinking about it long after the story was finished.<br><br>Some elements of characterization could use a little work. Here's this fellow, he's lived a full life and just wants peace and quiet but we don't really know anything about him. Does he have kids, grand kids, ex-wife living in Boca? It doesn't take long to develop a character just a little and it generally gets the reader a little more involved. <br><br>And oh yeah, is this the first time he's killed someone just because they were annoying?<br><br>I don't necessarily disapprove of his tactics, but I do wonder how our intrepid homeowner mows his lawn. <br><br>Bill
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Post July 06, 2006, 09:16:01 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

The author explained and explained which in my opinion isn’t so bad. After all, he’s thinking alone.<br><br> Red ants as big as a thumb? Well they could really latch into ya! I hope that day never comes, but if I remember right, some ants did become immune to radioactivity, once. I’m not sure about this so I might need some help. If I remember right it was in the sixties.<br><br>I hate to be ‘bugged’ ----a little pun intended--- by salesmen, so at the end I clapped for joy.<br><br>I thought the story well written, it was clear, easy to understand and unfolded itself without any sudden jumps, as this type of story should.<br><br><br>
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Post July 06, 2006, 06:10:42 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

. . .but if I remember right, some ants did become immune to radioactivity, once. I’m not sure about this so I might need some help. If I remember right it was in the sixties.

<br><br>Nope, never happened. Everybody knows that just a little radioactivity:<br><br>A) Makes small creatures larger and more intelligent<br>B) Gives everybody who ever sees it super powers<br>C) Will kill you (if it doesn't give you super powers, that is)<br>D) Gives everything it touches a taste for human flesh<br>E) Has something to do with the soil where UFO's land<br><br>But ants being 'immune' to radioactivity? It's not a disease. <br><br>Sorry if this seems a bit mifty (my own word, don't try this at home!) but I work with the stuff and understand it. <br><br>Most people are scared to death of the very word. . .which I just call: Job Security.<br><br>Bill
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Post July 06, 2006, 08:58:35 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Bill, you work with the stuff, so that explains why you can 'shed some light' on the subject.<br><br>I never had to go near it, never wanted to. I work in generation---coal fired--- but know many that went to Three-Mile island after the accident.<br><br>It was all volunteer, but many guys went for the extra money.<br><br>There stories to this day glow with details!!!<br>
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Post July 07, 2006, 03:45:18 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

[quote]<br><br>Nope, never happened.  Everybody knows that just a little radioactivity:<br><br>B) Gives everybody who ever sees it super powers<br><br><br>I work on radioactive waste disposal.  I can't tell you what I do with it, but think back to my story 'Too Late the Hero', and wonder where the idea came from...<br><br>Gareth
Last edited by GDJ on July 07, 2006, 03:46:10 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post July 07, 2006, 03:47:22 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Why doesn't it look right when I quote someone else?<br><br>Gareth
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Post July 07, 2006, 04:49:42 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Why doesn't it look right when I quote someone else?

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Post July 10, 2006, 08:41:51 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

Bill, you work with the stuff, so that explains why you can 'shed some light' on the subject.

I never had to go near it, never wanted to. I work in generation---coal fired---
<br><br>Uh. . . .Don't know why, but almost nobody knows that there is significantly more radiation and radioactive material released to the atmosphere by burning coal than all the worldwide nuclear plants combined. . .and this includes Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. As a matter of fact: according to NCRP Reports No. 92 and No. 95, population exposure from operation of 1000-MWe nuclear and coal-fired power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal plants and 4.8 person-rem/year for nuclear plants. Thus, the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants. <br><br>And this is only for power generation. Think of all the other industries that burn coal, not to mention millions of people who cook their meals and heat their houses using coal.<br><br>Next time, we will talk about how much radioactivity is released into the atmosphere by the use and processing of oil. Every once in a while, the US turns away a tanker of oil because there is just too much uranium in it--naturally, of course.<br><br>Radiation is our friend!<br><br>Bill
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Post July 10, 2006, 08:01:08 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

I believe there's more radiation from cement and from natural sources then from a Nuclear Power Plant.<br><br>I've never been involved with Nuclear Energy, just what I hear from the news and some people I work with! And most of the news is B.S.<br><br>The public doesn't understand Nuclear Energey, or for that matter anything connected with Nuclear. I don't, and I still don't know if it is from the strong or weak nuclear force. <br><br>I've heard about the Fail-Safe Systems incorporated with<br>nuclear power plants, and have talked with engineers and control room operators at the Nuks. <br><br>The operators go through so much training that I think that I would go crazy. And every fifth week or so, they go through simulator training for a week or two. Every problem that might pop up is presented there, and the operator must responded to the simulator as if it were a real accident or very serious problem. I don't think that I could stand that kind of training!<br><br>I work in a coal fired plant and my training for the most part when I was in operations was, "Hey, Joe! How do I isolate the system?"<br><br>That is unheard of in a Nuk!!!
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Post July 11, 2006, 05:08:49 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi


Uh.  .  .  .Don't know why, but almost nobody knows that there is significantly more radiation and radioactive material released to the atmosphere by burning coal than all the worldwide nuclear plants combined.  .  .
Bill
<br><br>You also get radioactive contamination from eating bananas and brazil nuts! It's true! Why don't you believe me?<br><br>Gareth (waiting tensely to see if the quote thing works this time...)
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Post July 11, 2006, 09:39:26 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi


You also get radioactive contamination from eating bananas and brazil nuts!  It's true!  Why don't you believe me?

Gareth (waiting tensely to see if the quote thing works this time...)
<br><br>I believe you. Hell, there is a measurable amount of radon outgassing from most concrete (the REAL reason you should be afraid to go into long-sealed dungeons, tombs, and basement storage rooms). And unstable isotopes of carbon are what makes 'carbon dating' work.<br><br>So there's radiation from rock (regardless of size -- from mountains to molehills to dust particles) and carbon (in all things organic) -- there's radiation pretty much everywhere. Which might explain why EVERYTHING causes cancer.<br><br>Robert "I'm all aglow" M.
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Post July 11, 2006, 12:48:35 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi


You also get radioactive contamination from eating bananas and brazil nuts!  It's true!  Why don't you believe me?

Gareth (waiting tensely to see if the quote thing works this time...)
<br><br>Gareth,<br><br>Your quotes are marvelous, I couldn't do better myself!<br><br>But though bananas contain potassium, a small amount of which will always be radioactive, they aren't really contamination. . .just part of your normal radioactive material background. You should see what some old thorium camera lenses read. . .and luminous watch dials would have to be roped-off at five feet if they were a bag of rad trash. . .<br><br>Just to keep you thinking.<br><br>Bill
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Post July 14, 2006, 12:31:58 PM

Ants by Steve Zocchi

<br>why are you guys discussing radiation anyway?<br><br>Ants worked really well for me until it got to the Sinbad Jr. part with the Pepsi commercial. Sorry to say this but it seemed a bit trite and tacky, not like something authentic from the near future.<br><br>The premise was indeed intriguing. Not only convincing, but appropriately scary as was noted before. The ants coming after those who harmed them with a vengeance was a good call...makes for a powerful defense mechanism.<br><br>i found the story was of perfect length, measured out with care. Steve did a competent job in this regard, but what i didn't like so much was the overly US-centric approach, especially when he went on about killing everyone in the mideast. Yes, peripheral to the main thread, but in a piece otherwise highly realistic-an incompatible addition.<br><br>Enjoyable read but unnerving with rising summertime insect populations..<br><br>Lee

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Post July 15, 2006, 07:15:19 AM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

This story has two plots: 1. The story of a cynical old man dealing with commercialism that is still running strong well into the future. 2. And the story of the ants. Interweaving two plots like this is a daunting task and my hats off to the author. He pulled it together very well in the end. I actually had a bug nightmare after reading it. I agree with Lee about the Sinbad reference. The idea of capitalism exploiting tragedy fit very well in the story but going with someone of more recent significance probably would have helped. I disagree with Lee in that I actually liked the reference made to bombing the middle east. In the story, once a section of the world became commercially less viable, then inhumane motivations were revealed. That's an awful thing to happen, but it validated the cynical attitude of the main character, and made me feel for him. Great story.<br><br>Joshua Scribner
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Post July 15, 2006, 09:46:46 AM

Re:  Ants by Steve Zocchi

Ants worked really well for me until it got to the Sinbad Jr. part with the Pepsi commercial. Sorry to say this but it seemed a bit trite and tacky, not like something authentic from the near future.
<br><br>Hmm. I just don't agree with anyone on this one. The story is a satire. It's meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The premise is horrifying, but not it's presentation. It reminds me of the movie Brazil where a happy-go-lucky character is thrust into the middle of some appalling circumstances.<br><br>The scene discussing Sinbad Jr. (and the ant guards, and the tabloids, etc) parodies human greed, the underlying theme in this story. Even though the world is going to hell, there are still people profiting from it. This story is a sermon about the stupidity of humanity. Due to man’s hubris, these tiny insects have arisen to bring him to his knees. It’s this country bumpkin who manages to live with the ants because he accepts them. <br><br>Here’s one quote-- which I found brilliant-- that highlights how dystopian this society has become:<br>
The most dangerous job in the country is no longer convenience store clerk...
<br><br>I suggest that people reread the story and exaggerate the hillbilly accent of the narrator. The satire really jumps out at you when you do that.<br>
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Post July 16, 2006, 12:46:18 PM

Ants by Steve Zocchi

contemplated seeing this as satire but mus t say decided against it. that tone only works visually- so in Brazil it was fine, not in Ants.<br><br>To me, this was a heartfelt piece, not one revolving around ridiculing humanity. i thought people were the victims here.<br><br>as for the mideast bombing, it was just too over the top, and i don't like over the top, but that's just me.<br><br>Lee

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Post July 12, 2011, 01:19:31 PM

Re: Ants by Steve Zocchi

haha great story!! yes it was VERY SCARY, but also very entertaining and well written!!! kudos!!
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