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Author Topic: EP599: What Glistens Back  (Read 236 times)
eytanz
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« on: October 27, 2017, 02:02:23 PM »

Escape Pod 599: What Glistens Back

AUTHOR: Sunny Moraine
NARRATOR: Trendane Sparks
HOST: Tina Connolly
---

You hear the call as the lander breaks up around you. You’re aware of the entirely arbitrary concepts of up and down before you realize what’s happening, and then they’re a lot less arbitrary. Down is not so much a direction as a function of possibility, of what might happen to you, of what is happening now. You finally getdown as an idea.

Come back.

Look up and there it is, floating over you in stable low orbit with its backdrop of stars, long and sleek and lovely, all its modules and portholes out of which you spent so much time looking, and that voice clutches at you like it could hold onto you, and you almost start to fucking cry, and you’re panicking and taking huge gasping breaths and clawing at nothing, and you’re falling. And you can’t come back. So the universe goes away for a while, and when you blink again, that brownish pitted curve beneath you is just a little bit bigger.


“Sean, come back. Do you read? Come back?”

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


« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2017, 04:57:44 AM »

Am I the only one who had trouble hearing the closing quotation?

I heard the rest of the episode and hosts comments just fine, listening while driving my truck. but the closing quotation somehow blurred out.

I then listened at home, with no noise around, and the best that I could hear was "and our closing quotation is from (mumble). In the depth of winter, I finally learned (mumble, mumble) summer".
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Tina Connolly
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WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 01:22:23 PM »

Oops! I haven't had a chance to listen, so I don't know what happened, but I can tell you what the quote is:

Quote
Our closing quotation this week is from Camus, who said “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Sorry about that!
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Scuba Man
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Drabblecast, Pseudopod, Escapepod, Podcastle


« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 05:39:46 PM »

Oy. This story did NOT work for me.  I think it was a story about the last moments of an astronaut's life before s/he hits the planet's surface.  I barely understood what was going on midway in the story.  Re: narrator. That was an interesting choice to have a male narrator portray Shawn/Sean. While my brain was trying to figure out the gender of the couple, common sense reminds me that it didn't matter.  Trendane Sparks had a voice that pulled me into the story... a story of the terrible intimacy of a dying astronaut and her/his lover on the mother ship. 

However, it did capture elements of such a jumping event.

In my mind's eye, I imagined Shawn/Sean as Felix Baumgartner. Mr. Baumgartner jumped from the top of our atmosphere (he leaves the capsule at timestamp ~3:48) and SURVIVED. I always show it to my classes, as the sense of scale is evident. Worth a watch!
https://youtu.be/vvbN-cWe0A0
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"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.
acpracht
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Posts: 183


« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 06:57:57 PM »

Oy. This story did NOT work for me.  I think it was a story about the last moments of an astronaut's life before s/he hits the planet's surface.  I barely understood what was going on midway in the story.  Re: narrator. That was an interesting choice to have a male narrator portray Shawn/Sean. While my brain was trying to figure out the gender of the couple, common sense reminds me that it didn't matter.  Trendane Sparks had a voice that pulled me into the story... a story of the terrible intimacy of a dying astronaut and her/his lover on the mother ship. 

However, it did capture elements of such a jumping event.

In my mind's eye, I imagined Shawn/Sean as Felix Baumgartner. Mr. Baumgartner jumped from the top of our atmosphere (he leaves the capsule at timestamp ~3:48) and SURVIVED. I always show it to my classes, as the sense of scale is evident. Worth a watch!
https://youtu.be/vvbN-cWe0A0



Hi, Scuba,

So, my first reaction was "How interesting... I've certainly been assuming male homosexual couples and/or off-gender narrators as I've been assigning stories lately."

For example, In an upcoming story, I assumed two men, then realized it was vague enough that I ended up needing to ask the author what she'd had in mind (A: male or non-binary). And in my narration of 601 that I did that dropped today, you could probably have made a compelling argument for a female narrator (the original dog, after all was a "Daisy." Then again, it has grown into a "we." Also I wanted to do it and I love Jeremiah's work, so shur up. Wink     )

Going back and reading it, though, this is 100% two men - both Sean and Eric. I have basically zero doubt. Admittedly, however, it could be easy to miss.

I make my case with a couple points:

"You wouldn’t have spent so much goddamn time in high school worrying about boys. About what boys thought about, cared about, wanted. About what they thought of you. About what was involved in being a boy, what you should be doing in order to really be a proper one. You would have said fuck it to everyone’s expectations and you would have taken some Women’s Studies courses in college, because it’s silly but you think that might honestly have made a difference to the overall bleakness of your outlook on the world and your place in it." (Why worry about what it means to be a boy if Sean is not actually a boy?)

"You would have crossed the room and embraced her, pulled her into your big arms..." (Not impossible for a woman to have big arms, but less likely).

Eric talking: “Once upon a time there was this stupid asshole and his stupid asshole husband and they went to space and it was a really, really bad idea.” (The "stupid asshole husband" has got to be Sean. We are clearly talking about two men, unless "husband" has taken on a different meaning in this future).

-Adam

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irishlazz
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 08:57:43 PM »

I thought this was beautiful.  Poetic.  Profound.  And, irrepressible optimist that I am, hopeful.  To me the signs of life as he nears the surface give hope that his plight has been seen and his ill-fated end may yet be averted.

Preferably not with a cheesy / "budget ran out" ending like the movie The Abyss.
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"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." A.Einstein
Ichneumon
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« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 02:17:16 PM »

The ending almost made me think that he was having another one of his nightmares and was waking up. But I wasn't quite convinced. I'm all for exploration, and sacrificing for science and the possibilities of the future, but space is terrifying. Escape pod seems to be hitting on all my fears recently.
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acpracht
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Posts: 183


« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 04:03:07 PM »

The ending almost made me think that he was having another one of his nightmares and was waking up. But I wasn't quite convinced.

I missed it the first few times through, but I'm 99.9% certain that the protagonist dies. His partner, for starters, says that there's nothing they can do. Not enough time. I believe he's telling the truth.

Second, and I didn't catch this until looking at the text again, it lists a number of his life regrets. The scene between the two, however, is included as a part of his life that he's never regretted. I take it as an extended flashback.

That said, I may be entirely wrong.

I'm all for exploration, and sacrificing for science and the possibilities of the future, but space is terrifying. Escape pod seems to be hitting on all my fears recently.

You're welcome?


-Adam
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Ichneumon
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Posts: 85


« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 06:11:54 PM »

Yeah, this one was kind of confusing. I was also not sure if he was really seeing the lights on the planet or if they were in his mind. Maybe the author meant it to be open ended? I think the story was trying to mull over the big question: what is meaning of life? That is an ambitious goal, but it didn't really succeed in making an impression on me.
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