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Author Topic: EP558: Holding the Ghosts  (Read 1210 times)
eytanz
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« on: January 15, 2017, 08:49:45 AM »

EP558: Holding the Ghosts

AUTHOR: Gwendolyn Clare
NARRATOR: Dionne Obeso
HOST: Tina Connolly

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Abby was in control of the body the first time a glitch occurred.  She was “home from college for the long weekend”–that’s what the imprinted memories showed, at least–and her mother was pouring dollops of blueberry pancake batter onto the sizzling cast-iron griddle.

Her father had found an excuse to go into work on a Saturday morning, as he often did ever since Abby “went off to college.”  She assumed this was her father’s strategy for coping with empty nest syndrome and tried not to feel hurt by his avoidance.  Her interpretation wasn’t entirely incorrect, but of course she did not comprehend exactly how empty the nest was.

When Abby stopped living with them full time, the body stopped being Abby full time.  Leasing the body was quite expensive, so this was the only logical decision.  But Abby’s father could not reconcile himself to the idea that Abby only existed on the weekends when they rented the body, never mind that the techs would fabricate memories for her so that she believed she had experienced all the intervening days.

The body shouldn’t have known this.  The body should only know what Abby knew.

“Do you want another one?  We’ve still got some batter here.”

Abby looked up from the purple-and-amber swirls of blueberry juice and maple syrup she was prodding with her fork.  “Um… no thanks, Mom.  I think I’m full.”

“I wish you wouldn’t worry about the freshman fifteen,” her mother fussed.  “If anything, you look like you’ve lost a few pounds this semester.”

“I’m not your daughter, you know.  I’m just carrying her ghost for a while.”


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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VranaCat
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 01:29:40 PM »

The storytelling was good on this one, but I'm not gonna lie, almost the whole episode my main thought was "haven't I heard all of this before in the later episodes of Dollhouse after Echo went off the rails?"
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skeletondragon
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 01:51:56 PM »

I'm not sure how to feel about this one. I kept thinking it was going to go into the serious ethical repercussions of using someone's body in this way, but although it touched on them, it never really did anything satisfactory with it. And the ending disappointed me. It was presented as if Baby Martinez's brain somehow "fixed" itself by copying the three deceased neurotypical women, and that felt cheap.

There are so many stories already about whether a digital copy of a dead person's mind is or isn't them. I think ultimately this story wasted time on that, to the detriment of the more compelling and relevant story about a disabled person escaping corporate abuse.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2017, 10:06:17 AM »

This was an interesting one, I thought.  Although I do shudder at the thought of corporations using bodies like that, and it seems ripe for class-based exploitation (the bodies of the mentally injured poor used to house the minds of the wealthy deceased) that I don't think I could ever celebrate this actually happening, it made some interesting food for thought for the story to use memory transfers from dead people to time-share a comatose body. 

Quote
It was presented as if Baby Martinez's brain somehow "fixed" itself by copying the three deceased neurotypical women, and that felt cheap.

The way that I read it, the particular disorder that Baby Martinez suffers from is some kind of brain disorder that affects the sense of self?  Instead of seeing herself as a person that is her, she can only observe the world including herself from an outside perspective.  Maybe I misunderstood that.  But the way that made sense to me was that by interacting with these other minds in her body, the thinking patterns mixed enough to allow her to have volition.  The people running the timeshare seemed to think that the minds would not coexist but it seems entirely probable to me that you can't just wipe a brain like a hard drive--there's always going to be something left over, the brain is going to interconnect those pieces and somebody new is going to be the result.

I don't think that the resulting person is Baby Martinez, nor is it the other three people whose minds were inserted, but rather a new person born from the ashes of those people.  IMO all 4 people are dead and can be mourned, and like I said I would be worried about the potential for exploitation here, but I think it also marks the birth of a new person, sort of an accidental hivemind, and I think it's worth celebrating that birth even while mourning the deaths.

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raetsel
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2017, 02:50:28 PM »

The exploitation and status of Baby Martinez is central to this story I think though as previous posters have stated it's not necessarily fully explored but I did enjoy the story.

The whole concept of single "self" is a slippery concept as more and more is found in modern neuro-science. The alien hand side effects severing the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain is perhaps a tantalising and sobering insight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_callosotomy
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Rebeccag123
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2017, 10:48:51 PM »

The newest story titled RUN is not yet up on the forums discussion board. But I was so annoyed by the narrator I had to post this . I started to listen to the episode and quickly turned it off because the narrator sounded like her mouth was sooo dry .  I could hear her mouth making gross sounds after every word read,  That is my biggest pet peeve when listening to podcasts or books on tape. How did no one bring this to the narrators attention when they were recording the episode?
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Devoted135
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2017, 11:31:21 PM »

I agree with others that this general concept has been done before (aw, Dollhouse), but I greatly enjoyed the ride while listening to this version of that story. I was fairly confused by the explanation of Baby Martinez, but decided to just gloss over that since the story was clearly just hand-waving anyway. An enjoyable 20ish minutes.
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Jethro's belt
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2017, 10:20:27 AM »

Good one, I liked it very much.
I am not sure what the re-do controversy is about as I don't know the Dollhouse named story but it's kind of unavoidable, and if it's well done and not like "just make the Death Star bigger and use the old script again", I'm fine with it. Apocalypse Now is just Heart of Darkness after all and so on and so on.
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acpracht
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 12:09:59 PM »

Good one, I liked it very much.
I am not sure what the re-do controversy is about as I don't know the Dollhouse named story but it's kind of unavoidable, and if it's well done and not like "just make the Death Star bigger and use the old script again", I'm fine with it. Apocalypse Now is just Heart of Darkness after all and so on and so on.

What do you mean? "Force Awakens" was an entirely different movie, altogether!

(In chorus: "'Force Awakens' was an entirely different movie...")

#eyeshift

Yeah... that's it...
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Ichneumon
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 04:04:54 PM »

Interesting concept. It would be so hard on the loved ones long term though. Keeping up the charade that everything is fine, and your loved one always looked like that, it sounds soul crushing. Maxine's story sounds most realistic for me: they needed her knowledge and expertise. They hinted in the story that it works better if the body is used by only one "ghost" in one family.
I wonder what would happen if a ghost was a consenting member of the party. If you told them what had happened, that they had a new body, would they be able to continue living their old life?
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Piet
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 01:26:12 AM »

Lots of interesting ideas in this story. It's reminiscent of EP330 The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived.
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