Escape Artists

Escape Pod => Episode Comments => Topic started by: Ocicat on January 08, 2011, 01:13:20 AM



Title: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Ocicat on January 08, 2011, 01:13:20 AM
EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament (http://escapepod.org/2011/01/06/ep274-angry-roses-lament/)

By Cat Rambo (http://www.kittywumpus.net/)
Read by Mur Lafferty

First appeared in Abyss & Apex  (http://www.abyssandapex.com/200810-angry.html)

---

“Not one of the Big Three? Thought CocaCorp would want a piece of that.”

Rutter had wondered that himself. By all accounts, Solin was a plum piece of real estate, the kind one of the big companies like General M or Bushink would snatch up as an asset. Across the galaxies, they’d grabbed small systems every chance they got. Solin did have a native intelligent race tp be wooed, but there was a surplus of impoverished races deep in debt to the Companies. Very few, the ones who knew to hire themselves savvy (and expensive) legal counsel, managed to keep themselves free.

There was, Rutter figured, something out of the ordinary about Solin. Not out of the ordinary in a valuable way, but something tricky, something slippery or scandalous, some taint the Big Three wanted to avoid. He’d find out soon enough, he guessed.


Rated R For strong language and addiction discussion.

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 266: Kachikachi Yama


(http://escapepod.org/wp-images/podcast-mini4.gif)
Listen to this week’s Escape Pod! (http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/274_EP274__Angry_Roses_Lament.mp3)


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Swamp on January 08, 2011, 12:58:36 PM
This is the best EP of 2011!!!  :P

Honestly, I thought this was an excellent story.  Very alien and exotic, yet harking back to the human condition.  I couldn't help but compare it to Tk'tk'tk by David D. Levine (http://escapepod.org/2006/05/18/ep054-tktktk/) (another fine story) for the salesman to an alien world factor, but the addiction aspect added a whole other aspect to it.  I really felt for Rutter in his dileama and actually found myself saying, yeah why not, which is kind of scary, and the sign of good characterization.  I also felt for Angry Rose, though I didn't agree with her at all. 

I liked the honesty between Rutter and the Solin.  The part where the Solin says "We will not survive unless you agree", and then Rutter responds "That is not my responsibity." was great.  And the the way Rutter kept saying "I don't know" to Angry Rose instead of lying or making something up.

The shared conscienceness aspect also reminded me of a past episode: Rouge Farm by Charles Stross (http://escapepod.org/2009/07/11/ep206-rogue-farm/).


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: KenK on January 08, 2011, 06:18:52 PM
As a drug addict his life was basically fucked anyhow. IIRC the relapse rate for that addiction was very high too. So getting a permanent fix and becoming immortal (sort of) albeit without a body would have a certain appeal. Not a moral dilemma many ever face though. I'd consult a moral philosopher for the truth of the matter or the ghost of George Carlin.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: blueeyeddevil on January 09, 2011, 10:02:16 AM
A bit of personal admission for context (if you wish to forego such minor egotism, skip ahead, I'll put a * when I'm done):

In literary terms, I am very difficult to surprise. This does not mean that I see the one and only ending and when the time comes say "hah, nailed it!"
Instead, I am familiar enough with literary tropes that I often see many different endings to a story, noting new possibilities as a story progresses. I can't help this. Yes, I'd probably enjoy the story more if I just rode along, surpressing all knowledge of previous stories until the end. Again, I can't help this, it's how I'm built. As such, I tend to enjoy stories that ask interesting questions, or craft interesting pathways of choice, more than stories with mere ingenious answers.*

As soon as I heard the offer presented in the story, I knew the ending. This did not harm the tale.
This was as well crafted a fait accompli as I have read in a while.
The state to which the main character was going to be reduced was the same in either case, had he refused the deal, his company would have failed, and without a doubt he would have been back on drugs. Accepting the deal offered him what he already sought, the effects of his favorite drug, and the chance for his company and friends to succeed. I love stories that present the gallows choice-

[PP fans, imagine Alisdair's voice here]

...because there's always a choice. An unpleasant choice, to be sure, a choice between the devil you know and so forth. But to quote "The Lion In Winter" by way of "The West Wing"  'does it matter how a man falls down? When all that's left is the fall, it matters a great deal.'

[Apologies to Alisdair]



Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Gamercow on January 09, 2011, 12:06:18 PM
I am admittedly not a very big Cat Rambo fan, and when I heard the first minute or so of the story, I said "Great, more therapy via story."  But I was oh so wrong.  The characters were all excellently written, deep, and believable.  Rutter was an excellent portrayal of a man who had to recreate his life, and who has to fight addiction every day of his life.  The internal struggles were well displayed, along with the struggles of a small businessman trying to get his company a much-needed big contract. 
Angry Rose was a very believable space veteran, used to not trusting people or other races, an attitude born from years of making split second decisions and not questioning them.  She made her decision about her partner early on, and was not going to be swayed by anyone or any argument. 
The Solin was a believable alien, with alien motivations, alien history, and alien societal norms.  The Solin plight is a realistic one, they need to absorb minds to succeed in interplanetary affairs, but can not convince any race to submit to their wishes.  That said, I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: KenK on January 09, 2011, 01:58:48 PM
Sci-fi is the only genre of fiction where such a  Hobson's Choice  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson%27s_choice) can be plausibly offered. Sure horror, fanstasy and others could make one part of the plot but not as plausibly (as in the willing suspension of disbelief.) And that's why sci-fi is my favorite genre too.  ;D


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: KenK on January 09, 2011, 02:05:29 PM
Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Gamercow on January 09, 2011, 06:52:40 PM
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is.

But why not have a humanoid or other -oid society that is hive-mind?  It's a big universe.  Weird stuff happens.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Swamp on January 09, 2011, 10:00:58 PM
But why not have a humanoid or other -oid society that is hive-mind?  It's a big universe.  Weird stuff happens.

I'll direct you again to EP206: Rouge Farm by Charles Stross (http://escapepod.org/2009/07/11/ep206-rogue-farm/).  It relates to your wish for a collective conciousness involving humas.  It's a bit of a different episode as it is read live at a con with multiple cast members, but I thought it was fun.

Or you reach back on the dusty shelves and read about the "gestalt" in Theodore Sturgeon's 1953 book, More Than Human.

ETA: Oh, I almost forgot about the Borg from ST:TNG (and ST:Voyager)


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on January 09, 2011, 11:25:13 PM
I haven't actually listened to this yet, but every time I see the title, it makes me think of Bob the Angry Flower (http://www.angryflower.com/).


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Devoted135 on January 10, 2011, 10:22:30 AM
Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

I'm not sure if this counts exactly, but one of the last episodes of Dollhouse features ****SLIGHT SPOILER****  an army unit with a hive mind (in this case a collective mind being shared by many bodies) that Victor gets sucked into. :)  ****END SPOILER****


I liked the use of the litany, and found all of the characters to be very believable. I could definitely see why Rutter would make the choice that he did, though that last sentence was more than a little horrifying to me!



Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Gamercow on January 10, 2011, 11:01:18 AM
I'm not sure if this counts exactly, but one of the last episodes of Dollhouse features ****SLIGHT SPOILER****  an army unit with a hive mind (in this case a collective mind being shared by many bodies) that Victor gets sucked into. :)  ****END SPOILER****

Ah, good point, I know exactly what you are talking about.  Now I must go lament the loss of Dollhouse again. 

Swamp, I would consider rogue farm to be more of a conglomerate mind than a hive mind.  All the beings were smooshed into one large entity, if I remember correctly. 


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Void Munashii on January 10, 2011, 08:13:02 PM
  I do not see why the wasps did not go to Recovery Co earlier. If it really is a corp made up of people recovering from an addiction to a drug that makes you feel at one with everything, then the idea of becoming part of a hive mind seems like it would be especially appealing to them.

  I'm not sure about how I feel about Angry Rose herself though. Part of me wants to just write her off as someone whose anger has blinded them to the truth, but there's the bit of me that distrusts everyone that thinks she is on to something. Who says that an absorbed mind still retains itself and doesn't just become a series of accessible data files in the host's body? The host would be able to fake being that person simply by accessing the data from their mind without that person still existing as themselves.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: BlueLu on January 10, 2011, 10:03:52 PM
Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Unblinking on January 11, 2011, 11:11:11 AM
Who says that an absorbed mind still retains itself and doesn't just become a series of accessible data files in the host's body? The host would be able to fake being that person simply by accessing the data from their mind without that person still existing as themselves.

That was the best part of the story to me.  The end result can be sinister or happy, depending on whether the Solan is lying.  And we have no way of knowing the truth, as the Solan itself points out.  It's clear that it retains the knowledge of the eaten, because of its intimate knowledge of humans, but it's not at all clear whether the human is a conscious or willing participant in the arrangement.  I guess the fact that the Solan didn't just kill this guy given the ample opportunity might imply that the last guy was also a willing participant at the beginning, but that doesn't clarify whether the human is conscious after the fact.

So, I liked it, a very good moral dilemma with no easy answer.  Despite his apparent death, I think his choice was a reasonable one, if not one that I'm entirely comfortable with.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Lift on January 11, 2011, 11:52:27 AM

I liked the many themes--corporatism (one that humans are the guaranteed winners in), addiction, OCD about 'dirt' (though this got repetitive), and the exoticism of the aliens.

Reminded me of Octavia Butler's "Bloodchild," also about stingers on aliens and drug addiction.

Well done, good pacing, and tight ending.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: KenK on January 11, 2011, 09:03:39 PM
That "one with all" stuff would get to feel creepy & tiresome once you begin to fathom that all the other minds in the hive are aware of all your thoughts, feelings and emotions too. Life in virtual fishbowl doesn't seem like a good deal  just to get the feeling of being "at one" with everything. A few bong hits or learning how to meditate can accomplish that eh?  ;D


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: kibitzer on January 11, 2011, 09:09:32 PM
I was a bit cooler on this story than most folks. I enjoyed it but didn't love it, and I echo the previous poster's comment about hive minds naturally meaning the aliens are insectoids. And the way the choices were presented I felt Rutter's choice was quite clear, very little in the way of ambiguity -- really, truly, what had he to lose by accepting the alien's offer? I suppose the easy answer is "his humanity" but that assumes "humanity" -- whatever that means -- would not survive the transition... and perhaps it wouldn't. But there was reasonable, if non-verifiable, evidence that Luke was still "alive" -- again, whatever that means. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: kibitzer on January 11, 2011, 09:11:02 PM
That "one with all" stuff would get to feel creepy & tiresome once you begin to fathom that all the other minds in the hive are aware of all your thoughts, feelings and emotions too. Life in virtual fishbowl doesn't seem like a good deal  just to get the feeling of being "at one" with everything. A few bong hits or learning how to meditate can accomplish that eh?  ;D

Actually, I saw that as a flaw in the metaphor/comparison. Feeling "at one" with everything is not at all the same as being part of a community of minds.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Scattercat on January 11, 2011, 11:10:35 PM
That "one with all" stuff would get to feel creepy & tiresome once you begin to fathom that all the other minds in the hive are aware of all your thoughts, feelings and emotions too. Life in virtual fishbowl doesn't seem like a good deal  just to get the feeling of being "at one" with everything. A few bong hits or learning how to meditate can accomplish that eh?  ;D

Actually, I saw that as a flaw in the metaphor/comparison. Feeling "at one" with everything is not at all the same as being part of a community of minds.

The way they described Drift made it sound a bit less Zen and a bit more semi-telepathy, though.  More connection and community than oneness.

This story gets high marks, so I don't have much to say.  I found the moral dilemma convincingly portrayed and intriguing in its own merits, with a variety of viewpoints to provide some food for thought. 


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Schreiber on January 12, 2011, 01:21:32 AM
Not a moral dilemma many ever face though. I'd consult a moral philosopher for the truth of the matter or the ghost of George Carlin.

You're in luck!  We have him here. He says Cat Rambo rocks but he Last Comic Standing makes him want to vomit....


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: tpi on January 12, 2011, 03:48:50 AM
The story has a severe logistical problem.
The insect people are supposed to get their personality only from an older  invidual, sometimes from more than one, and that personality transfer "kills" the "donor". Surely there are accidents which cause that some personalities are lost. They should run out of minds pretty fast.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: eytanz on January 12, 2011, 08:24:18 AM
The story has a severe logistical problem.
The insect people are supposed to get their personality only from an older  invidual, sometimes from more than one, and that personality transfer "kills" the "donor". Surely there are accidents which cause that some personalities are lost. They should run out of minds pretty fast.

I don't think that's what was described - I think that once the Solins reach the mature state, they do have a personality. I think that it's just that their society doesn't put much value on these inexperienced personalities; absorbing an elder is a way to basically leapfrog the process for them. There may be a caste of Solins who never absorbed anyone, though they will themselves be absorbed.

I just listened to this. I liked it, especially for refusing to give easy answers in the ending. However, I do have some major nitpicks of my own. First, that the very last line of the story - obviously chosen for a clear visual image - created more problems. For one, who will determine what 12 items will be removed from the list? Who will explain the decision to his partners? If he was going to be absorbed right away, then they run the risk of creating more Angry Roses-like people who refuse to accept that it was a concious choice (I know the exchange was recorded, but still).

Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Unblinking on January 12, 2011, 10:26:45 AM
Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.

That's a good point, though it didn't cross my mind during the story.

I wonder why the story was called "Angry Rose's Lament"?  To me, the story was not at all about Angry Rose.  She served a purpose by offering a solidly held perspective, and offering the revelation of the mind-eating, but I wouldn't have expected her to be a title character.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Scattercat on January 12, 2011, 02:33:58 PM
Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.

That's a good point, though it didn't cross my mind during the story.

I wonder why the story was called "Angry Rose's Lament"?  To me, the story was not at all about Angry Rose.  She served a purpose by offering a solidly held perspective, and offering the revelation of the mind-eating, but I wouldn't have expected her to be a title character.

To place her in the title draws attention to her, and thus reinforces the idea that this isn't just a story about an addict facing a choice that appears to be both altruistic and suits his own preferences, but also a "Lady or Tiger" decision as far as whether the Solin really contain other personalities or just gain the knowledge to mimic them really well.  Additionally, since Rose lost her partner to his decision - and his choice in many ways parallels the protagonist, with a painful and imminent death standing in for the principles and the lifetime of struggle against relapse, Rose is in some ways the character in the story who can address the plight of the addict's loved ones, the ones the addict leaves behind to pursue his/her self-indulgent fantasies.  Putting her in the title allows the story to assume a more complex shape than the simple binary "Should he or shouldn't he?" choice that weighs his principles against the success of his friends.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on January 12, 2011, 04:43:47 PM
I enjoyed the story, though I was distracted by a quibble: the idea that an alien - or anyone else - could 'suck the personality' out of someone into another being.

The problem - big problem - I have with that is that it depends on mind/body duality: the commonly-held superstition that the mind/personality/self is a separate entity from the body that holds it and could therefore travel from one body to another1.  Since this is a view that I firmly reject2, it's a premise that can't support a story for me.

Yes, it can be rationalized3 with the explanation, "Well, the alien can read your brain into its own, but the process is destructive, see?"  But if that's the case, then why not put it that way?  As presented, it sounded a lot like "Well, your personality can only be in one place at a time, so when the alien sucks 'you' out of your body, you aren't there any more, see?"

... this isn't just a story about an addict facing a choice that appears to be both altruistic and suits his own preferences, but also a "Lady or Tiger" decision ...

Until I read some of the comments and went back to read the last sentence in the text, I thought it was a "Lady Or the Tiger" story, to a much larger degree than you describe.  When I heard it, I somehow missed the phrase (*SPOILER!* Highlight to see clearly.) "before the word 'Yes' echoed in the room." and so I missed that Rutter had made a decision at all, let alone what it was.  I found that much more satisfying than what actually occurred, to be honest.  (Although, as a result, the rest of that sentence was a touch confusing. :) )

Also, the way I heard it, Rutter wasn't immediately 'processed'.  Now, knowing he was, I share many of the same objections that Eytanz mentioned in his second paragraph above (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=4644.msg83789#msg83789), but mostly because he brought them up.  I didn't think of them.  :)



1 See also the third and fourth of the original Ender series for a really out-there depiction of this phenomenon.

2 Rather, the mind is a process generated by the body, primarily - but not exclusively - the brain.

3 Rather like the problem I had with "Élan Vital" (http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=4572.msg82568#msg82568).


Edit: minor change to one sentence.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Talia on January 12, 2011, 04:50:58 PM
Until I read some of the comments and went back to read the last sentence in the text, I thought it was a "Lady Or the Tiger" story, to a much larger degree than you describe.  When I heard it, I somehow missed the phrase (*SPOILER!* Highlight to see clearly.) "before the word 'Yes' echoed in the room." and so I missed that Rutter had made a decision at all, let alone what it was.  I found that much more satisfying than what actually occurred, to be honest. 

Stories that end that way leave me feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied personally. I need some degree of resolution and would have been irritated if it cut off before we learned anything.

(one exception to this would be the PC episode about Tio Gilberto and the SomeAmount of Ghosts, which I enjoyed and I thought the ending worked well. That's not usually the case).


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Unblinking on January 13, 2011, 09:33:25 AM
Yes, it can be rationalized3 with the explanation, "Well, the alien can read your brain into its own, but the process is destructive, see?"  But if that's the case, then why not put it that way?  As presented, it sounded a lot like "Well, your personality can only be in one place at a time, so when the alien sucks 'you' out of your body, you aren't there any more, see?"

Two thoughts for you:
1.  The only one who really understands how the mind-eating works is the Solan.  And we have no concrete to believe it is telling the whole truth.  Its trying to be a salesman to save its culture, and its sales pitch depends on the premise "you will live on forever among other minds".  If the alien said "I'm chomp on your brains, read your neurons so that I can gain your expertise, but don't worry, you'll be destroyed in the process" the pitch would've been much less compelling.  The Solan even admitted that he had no way of proving what he was saying was true.
2.  Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complainin.



Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on January 13, 2011, 03:37:33 PM
Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complaining.

For me, it seems to depend on what it is.  I don't know if it's because I grew up reading stories with time travel or faster-than-light travel (which this story also had, though only by implication), but I seem to be able to accept those impossibilities more easily than the ones described/implied in both "Élan Vital" and this one.  I'm not sure what that's about...

Anyway, unlike in "Élan Vital," the science problem didn't do more than distract me a few times - I still enjoyed the story a lot, and liked thinking about the issues it raised.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Unblinking on January 14, 2011, 09:37:27 AM
Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complaining.

For me, it seems to depend on what it is.  I don't know if it's because I grew up reading stories with time travel or faster-than-light travel (which this story also had, though only by implication), but I seem to be able to accept those impossibilities more easily than the ones described/implied in both "Élan Vital" and this one.  I'm not sure what that's about...

Anyway, unlike in "Élan Vital," the science problem didn't do more than distract me a few times - I still enjoyed the story a lot, and liked thinking about the issues it raised.

Fair enough, I've complained about science quibbles often enough myself and it does seem to depend on what the exact realm of the science is and how well the story distracts me from it.  For example, I've been complaining about the Green Hornet preview where they blow up a traffic camera that in real life would no doubt have offsite recording.  It's obviously meant as light humor but that one bugs me.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: CryptoMe on January 19, 2011, 01:03:18 AM
I enjoyed the story, and had no problems with willing suspension of disbelief.

My gripe is that I felt the story ended just as it was getting good. What happens when the MC gets absorbed (assuming he does "live on" in the Solan)? What does he experience and learn? Now that's the story I would like to hear.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: stePH on January 19, 2011, 04:21:56 PM
Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: CryptoMe on January 19, 2011, 09:00:10 PM
Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2

Thanks for reviving this conversation, StePH.

My favourite collective mind has always been the Tines from Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep. These are dog-like beings that group themselves into packs of 4-6 members who share their minds and so compound their mental capacity.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: NoNotRogov on January 19, 2011, 09:23:03 PM
As an aside in the hive mind discussion, I find it interesting that the psychic hivemind or hereditary memory concept is used more with such "hive mind" insectoid aliens in SF than the underused distinction of colony structure socialization.

The speculative implications of an advanced species genetically predisposed towards instincts that preserve the colony rather than the individual would not only be interesting social SF, but would better explain some of the ubiquitous highly specialized "caste" species features in some fiction. In real life, isn't extreme high specialization into separate castes within one species often a component of the colony-style group structure? Instead of the ant best able to survive on its own reproducing, resulting in a jack of all trades or single environment specialist, you have ants specialized for tasks rather than just based on who survived best in strange conditions.

I know this concept was explored in Hellestromme's Hive with humans, but as a general rule I think it is underused thanks to the ease and recognition of the hive mind concept in comparison.



Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Gamercow on January 21, 2011, 01:45:13 PM
Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2

Thanks for reviving this conversation, StePH.

My favourite collective mind has always been the Tines from Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep. These are dog-like beings that group themselves into packs of 4-6 members who share their minds and so compound their mental capacity.

After thinking about it some more, I want to say that I read a story with mushroom-beings that had a type of hive mind as well.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: matweller on January 21, 2011, 04:19:42 PM
Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.

Hehehe! I just noticed this when I was making last week's episode. I had copied the file from the week before and the robot lady said 'November' and I did a double take. I checked other episodes and this is the only one it happened to, which I totally can't explain. It should be okay going forward, though. Good catch! ;)


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: FireTurtle on January 21, 2011, 08:17:15 PM
Have to chime in here and say that I am in the "Wow, that was satisfyingly good" Club. I expected that, as a Cat Rambo story, the emotional over-tones would be applied with brutal mace-like force (not that this is always a bad thing with me, I've just come to expect it with Cat Rambo). However, I found the emotional undertones much more ambiguous and incredibly nuanced. I love the stories that really make me sit back and think about what actually being a person (or human being) actually requires. Fascinating. I also found the other "Wasp" species very well-drawn for such a short piece. Yes, hive and wasp is a bit overdone but the motivations, etc were well explored and it increased tension in the piece.
I liked where it ended. Exploring the experience of a many-mind is another story. I think the title reinforced this. Angry Rose acted as his conscience- or at least what he perceived to be his humanity. Once he made the decision, her feelings no longer had meaning. Oh my God, this is the first time in forever that I've felt like I could really write a paper on a story. Eep


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Sgarre1 on January 22, 2011, 01:34:19 AM
Another non-insectile hive mind

John Wyndham - THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on January 24, 2011, 12:15:48 PM
Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.

Hehehe! I just noticed this when I was making last week's episode. I had copied the file from the week before and the robot lady said 'November' and I did a double take. I checked other episodes and this is the only one it happened to, which I totally can't explain. It should be okay going forward, though. Good catch! ;)

I noticed, but then in the intro, Mur talked about how you could just as easily make 'New Year's' resolutions in November as in January, so I assumed it was deliberate.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Unblinking on January 24, 2011, 01:33:48 PM
On the subject of hive minds, the fish-like Orz of Star Control II might qualify, though if you hear them explain it their form is merely the way our minds interpret the fingers of a transdimensional being poking through from another plane of existence.  If their explanation is accurate, then I don't think it qualifies as a hive mind, if they are only appendages of one actual being.  Or does it?


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: CryptoMe on January 25, 2011, 02:46:01 AM
On the subject of hive minds, the fish-like Orz of Star Control II might qualify, though if you hear them explain it their form is merely the way our minds interpret the fingers of a transdimensional being poking through from another plane of existence.  If their explanation is accurate, then I don't think it qualifies as a hive mind, if they are only appendages of one actual being.  Or does it?

It's quite a grey area. I have heard worker bees described as appendages of the queen. And what is a hive mind but something on a different level or plane from our physical one? So, the argument could go either way...


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Max e^{i pi} on January 25, 2011, 05:08:20 AM
Still playing catchup with my podcasts.
Like others said, I found this to be pretty good, and without a surprising ending.
What I found most intriguing was the title of the story. It's a little game I play with myself as I listen to the story and afterwards, just why the author chose this title for the story. (I do that in books and movies too, imagine my surprise when I got halfway through Watership Down).
Without knowing the title of the story, one would think that Angry Rose was just a two-bit character, there to provide a little insight, perhaps the equivalent of the wise woman telling him to be wary of the dragon. One would be tempted to think that the story was about Rutter (odd name that, caught in a rut perhaps? Trying to get away from his addiction only to come back to it full circle?) and how he handled a difficult situation and how important his addiction history was to "save the day".
But thinking about it now, I realize that the story really is about Angry Rose (who probably didn't take that name until after Luke's mind was devoured).
Here she is, on this planet, banned from the contact with the aliens that she needs to allow herself some kind of closure. I get the distinct impression that she and Luke were not merely coworkers, but more than that. And she wants to avenge him, so she can have some kind of closure. But she can't.
But that isn't what she is lamenting about. Her lament is actually that she doesn't understand. Us, the audience, realize what's really eating her. She doesn't understand. She thought she knew Luke, who he was, what his aspirations were, but it turns out she doesn't, she can't. It turns out that some Rutter who is battling his own addiction and running from his past understood Luke better than she did.
And that is what the story is really about.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: tinygaia on January 26, 2011, 04:19:54 PM
Also playing podcast-catchup here.

I've always been disturbed by the idea of having one's consciousness absorbed by another. I like to be social every now and then, but I need my alone time too. Mind-sharing as a literary element shifts the story out of SF and directly into horror for me. The thought of having constant company? Like, forever? buh.

That said, this story went on way longer than it should have for me. I hate to be close-minded, but I've got to say that as soon as the alien presented his terms, I said, "No, deal's over." I spent the rest of the story talking to the ipod: "Why are we still discussing this? The story is over. No. Just no."

Also, buh!


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: yicheng on January 27, 2011, 11:25:02 AM
I found this story lacking, mainly because it seemed to hinge on the central question of "will the MC give up his life for a chance at immortality"?  It wasn't so much that the question wasn't interesting, but I felt like the "twist" at the end was one you could see a mile away.  Personally, I felt it would have made a more entertaining and thought-provoking story if the MC had refused the offer.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Talia on January 27, 2011, 11:55:49 AM
I found this story lacking, mainly because it seemed to hinge on the central question of "will the MC give up his life for a chance at immortality"? 

That's not how I heard it. It came off more to me like "will the MC give up life as he knows it to save his business & business partners", with the whole "giving in to his addictions" tangent as another element. I don't think he cared too much about the immortality aspect, so much as 1) saving the business and 2) recapturing that drug high


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: yicheng on January 27, 2011, 12:37:05 PM
I found this story lacking, mainly because it seemed to hinge on the central question of "will the MC give up his life for a chance at immortality"? 

That's not how I heard it. It came off more to me like "will the MC give up life as he knows it to save his business & business partners", with the whole "giving in to his addictions" tangent as another element. I don't think he cared too much about the immortality aspect, so much as 1) saving the business and 2) recapturing that drug high

As I understood it, the appeal was not only the drug high, but that it would that drug high forever and with no side-effects, i.e. Immortality without the down side.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: matweller on January 27, 2011, 03:08:43 PM
Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.

Hehehe! I just noticed this when I was making last week's episode. I had copied the file from the week before and the robot lady said 'November' and I did a double take. I checked other episodes and this is the only one it happened to, which I totally can't explain. It should be okay going forward, though. Good catch! ;)

I noticed, but then in the intro, Mur talked about how you could just as easily make 'New Year's' resolutions in November as in January, so I assumed it was deliberate.
I can assure you, we're nowhere near that coordinated. ;)


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on January 27, 2011, 06:08:24 PM
in the intro, Mur talked about how you could just as easily make 'New Year's' resolutions in November as in January, so I assumed it was deliberate.
I can assure you, we're nowhere near that coordinated. ;)

Dude, you could at least have pretended! ("Uh, yeahhh, that's what it was ... that's the ticket!")  :)


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Nobilis on January 30, 2011, 10:53:56 AM
I'm doing my best, now, to comment on stories that I LIKE as well as the ones I don't like.  Trying to throw off the curmudgeonly mantle.

This one struck me as a well thought out, well written story.


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: matweller on January 31, 2011, 11:09:06 AM
in the intro, Mur talked about how you could just as easily make 'New Year's' resolutions in November as in January, so I assumed it was deliberate.
I can assure you, we're nowhere near that coordinated. ;)

Dude, you could at least have pretended! ("Uh, yeahhh, that's what it was ... that's the ticket!")  :)
Yeah, but I'm known for my painful honesty. Just ask my wife, who just does not ask me certain things anymore...


Title: Re: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament
Post by: Umbrageofsnow on February 04, 2011, 08:30:05 PM
I've always been disturbed by the idea of having one's consciousness absorbed by another.
...
This story went on way longer than it should have for me. I hate to be close-minded, but I've got to say that as soon as the alien presented his terms, I said, "No, deal's over." I spent the rest of the story talking to the ipod: "Why are we still discussing this? The story is over. No. Just no."

I felt like the "twist" at the end was one you could see a mile away.  Personally, I felt it would have made a more entertaining and thought-provoking story if the MC had refused the offer.

It's interesting that both of you assumed different outcomes.  Personally, I also saw the "yes" answer coming, but I'm also glad it worked out like I'd expected.  Tons of other reps have already been through the same process as our main character here.  Tons of them have said "No" to the exact same deal.  The reason we get to read a story about Paul in particular is because he is different.  What sort of person does it takes to say yes to this deal?  I think that is one of the central questions of the story. 

Obviously tinygaia would have made for a very different protagonist, perhaps leading to the kind of story yicheng would have preferred.  But the point is, that wasn't the story Rambo was trying to get at.  Apparently the vast majority of the population in this universe agree with the posters above.  So how do you get to the type of person who is different?

Paul is the EXACT right character for this story to be happening to.  It's always interesting, I think, to examine the non-typical response, and in what way a person has to be different to get to that response.  And can the reader be brought into the different mindset to see that answer?

For me, the answer to that last question was YES.  I might not have made the same choice, but I can very well see why he did it.  And there are definite horror leanings here, but it might be all good.

That is the real strength of the story, Paul doesn't know anything for certain, and neither do we.  He doesn't know what will really be better for his friends and the company. He eventually makes a choice, but we are left unsure of whether it was the right one, for him or for anyone else.