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Author Topic: EP592: When All the Clocks Are Wrong  (Read 554 times)
Posts: 5863

« on: September 09, 2017, 10:14:33 PM »

EP592: When All the Clocks Are Wrong

AUTHOR: Beth Goder
NARRATOR: Ibba Armancas
HOST: Tina Connolly


Jen locks her bike and heads towards the theater. She needs a break from studying, but more importantly, she needs to find Ash, who has her Soil Science notes. Jen promises herself she won’t try to kiss Ash–they’ll see the midnight movie, Ash will hand her the notes, and then, summer vacation. That’s it.

Before she reaches the theater, Jen feels a familiar frisson, disorienting, dizzying. When the red lights of the marquee blink 12:45 a.m., Jen isn’t surprised. The clock thing is happening again. She left her house with enough time to meet Ash outside, buy a ticket, grab a soda. But now, it’s 12:45 a.m. One hour later than it should be.

All her life, time has disappeared like this.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Father Beast
Posts: 501

« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 03:49:53 AM »

I confess myself disappointed. This was supposedly a time travel story, but the supposed time travel did not make any difference. She might as well have been losing time due to UFO sightings.

All through the story, she makes reference to some of the jumps being backward, as well as forward, and I was excited, since that would change everything. perhaps being able to change the outcome of a thing that just happened, or at least be able to see yourself disappear when you made the jump, or interact with your earlier self or something. But none of that was happening, and so I figured that no backward jumps were actually occurring.

Then, toward the end of the story, she actually makes a backward jump, or so she says. The only effect is that she makes the show on time. That, for me, makes this a story which is not actually a time travel story, but a slice of life which mentions time travel. It might as well have mentioned aliens, or an underground civilization, or anything, because it doesn't matter.
Posts: 80

« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 12:16:14 PM »

I agree with Father Beast. I don't usually come out to post but I for some reason I felt compelled me to share my (unfortunately) negative opinion about this piece.
The speculative element was not integral and added almost no conflict to the story. As a result the main character relationships felt flat and idealized. It's lovely she had a nice life and everything worked out, it just doesn't make for very interesting fiction.
That said, I appreciate the diverse range of SF from Escape Pod and normally love the stories!
Posts: 317

« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 01:41:12 PM »

I got something different from it.  She spent her entire life unstuck in time in a way because there was never a time when she could be confident in her ability to meet obligations/be there for people.  People who have occasional epileptic fits can't drive because they don't know if an attack might come while they're navigating thousands of pounds of steel at highway speeds, for instance.  She had something almost like that, except instead of losing the ability to be responsible for her body and its actions, she lost the ability to be responsible for her commitments. 

How would you plan and execute a life in this situation?  How could you avoid just curling into a ball and hiding so you wouldn't risk letting everyone you know down?

This was a story of adversity and coping.  Good science fiction is almost never about spaceships or lasers or time travel, it's about people who find themselves in impossible situations that bring out either the best or worst of ourselves, the stuff beyond intention and control.  The Kobayashi Maru lurks just out of sight, the no-win situation can strike each of us at any point in our lives and figuring out our own solutions or reactions are the core of the human experience, and there's no experience more human than uncertainty and this story delivered that apple-slice of life really nicely for me.
Father Beast
Posts: 501

« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 09:26:04 PM »

How would you plan and execute a life in this situation?  How could you avoid just curling into a ball and hiding so you wouldn't risk letting everyone you know down?

I would wait until I had a backward jump and then either try to change something, or try to see myself disappear.

Seriously, when Billy Pilgrim was unstuck in time, I found it fascinating.
Jethro's belt
Posts: 40

« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2017, 01:08:37 PM »

I was entranced by the rare time travel story that doesn't have ridiculously complicated mobius plot-loops or consequences involving annihilation. Well done.
Posts: 97

« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2017, 12:31:46 PM »

I enjoyed the story - and I'm not sure why.  It didn't hit any of the buttons I normally like to see in a story.  It was a nice, slice of life story, with little in the way of conflict.

That being said, I enjoyed it. 

But then, one of the things I like about Escape Artists is that it exposes me to lots of types of stories I wouldn't otherwise have seen....
EA Staff
Posts: 189

« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 08:23:40 PM »

Personally, I feel more toward the positive side on this one.

It reminded me a good deal of "The Time Traveler's Wife" ... with smaller jumps and without the protagonist's huge knowledge of how he would die.

I didn't see their life as being hunky-dory. To the contrary, at several points I thought divorce or estrangement was rather likely. That their love overcomes these barriers I think speaks to the power of love and commitment.

I also enjoyed that even though the husband was something of a stuffed shirt, he still had a personality and his moments of charming wildness (while cooking) and character (his refusal to rest until he'd rescued the baby turtles).

It felt quite "real" to me, despite the fantastic elements.

I'll grant you, though, if you were expecting the speculative element to take center stage here, you were going to be disappointed. This was a quieter story more about human interactions.

In particular, I found the ending to be poignant, as the protag knows she's going to die. Bringing out the idea of all moments being contained within the same, singular moment I find a comforting one.

Tango Alpha Delta
Posts: 1757

« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 03:20:49 PM »

I loved the picture of a generational relationship in which the child is the one helping the parent through adversity.

This Wiki Won't Wrangle Itself!

I finally published my book - Tad's Happy Funtime is on Amazon!
Posts: 106

« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 04:43:41 PM »

I really like stories where something supernatural keeps happening but you have to keep on going with your life despite that. Reminds me of mental illness, and someone mentioned epilepsy. Chronic temporal disability seems hard to live with.

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
Posts: 100

« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 11:16:12 AM »

What if she can control the frission, but just can't remember it afterwards. Maybe each time it happened, something horrible had gone wrong. The first example in the story, maybe she did kiss that boy, and made some regrettable choices and ended up stuck with someone who wasn't right for her. All of the frissions kept her on path to live her best life.
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