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Author Topic: EP619: A Study in Symmetry... (Artemis Rising)  (Read 557 times)
Posts: 5890

« on: March 17, 2018, 11:13:22 AM »

Escape Pod 619: A Study in Symmetry, or the Chance Encounter of an Android and a Painter (Artemis Rising)

AUTHOR : Jamie Lackey
NARRATOR : Trendane Sparks and Divya Breed
HOST: Tina Connolly


HK-812 stepped out of her charging pod and gazed out the single narrow window that her 8×14 living space boasted. The brick wall outside was a whole eight inches away from the glass, and the morning sunshine gave the red-brown a cheery tone. As she watched, a single moth fluttered past, its wings white and delicate and brilliant in the light.

HK hummed a happy tune as she pulled on her regulation gray uniform. It was going to be a good day.


Lawrence stared at the empty hook by his front door. “Where are my keys?” he demanded.

“They are in the sink in your painting studio,” his house replied. “However, the car is not in the driveway. Would you like me to ping the GPS?”

Lawrence sighed. “Yeah.” He vaguely remembered getting a self-driving car home last night after he’d drunk one (or two, or seven) too many toasts to the happy couple. He didn’t really remember painting anything. He just hoped he hadn’t left the studio a complete disaster area.

“Your car is parked in the lot at 124 Lake St.”

Outside the reception hall. Which was about twenty miles from his lakefront house. And now he was supposed to pick them up and drive them to the airport for their honeymoon. His college best friend and high school sweetheart—they were sickeningly perfect together. They’d fought over whose side he’d be on in the bridal party.

They told him that they could get to the airport on their own, but he’d insisted. He was happy to do it, he wanted to see them off, he was so happy for them.

His head hurt.

It was going to be a rough day.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 09:43:09 AM by eytanz » Logged
Posts: 7

« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 01:50:59 PM »

This month is really knocking it out of the park for me, and I can't wait to hear next week's story.
I had sucha squee moment when HK asked if she could date him, I spent too much time at a stop sign to soak in the adorable.
And Lawrence being embarrassed about his search history, HK doing a web search on the funny feeling in her stomach, the way she sounded excited about feeling ill when she never had before,
All of it is so much happy for me.
Posts: 103

« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2018, 09:35:06 AM »

This was an interesting story for me.  I tend to prefer plot driven over character driven stories, but this one had an amazing feel to it.  It almost felt like it should be the first few scenes of a novel.

I never thought about an android appreciating art before - I think I was always stuck in the thought of them being cold, analytical, logical.  Understanding what art was, but unable to appreciate it.  This was a masterpiece of a way to show that HK was more than a machine and really a being that was capable of so much more.

Posts: 610

Trusst in me, jusst in me.

« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 11:53:22 PM »

I'm now considering forgiving Escape Pod for Sparg, because it's obvious to me that HK and Lawrence need to go rescue him and bring him back and they can all live happily ever after.

Couldn't love this one more. Grinned all the way through it because it was -- and I don't use this word lightly -- "sweet." Smiley Fun as hell, a good story, and "sweet." Smiley

Partially because, frankly, whenever we have a story about an android and a human who are in love, we have been conditioned to expect a less-than-happy ending. And yet this gives us hope that the two of them can actually make it work, in spite of whatever societal taboos might exist.


I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
Posts: 8

« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 02:21:35 PM »

A really sweet (agree with Kaa), fun story I thought- enjoyed it a lot.

HK-812's manner reminded me of The Android from Dark Matter- charmingly not-quite-human in her responses.

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”
-Inigo Montoya

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
-Humpty Dumpty \
Posts: 33

« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2018, 12:53:57 AM »

A charming little story which I enjoyed thoroughly.  I do wonder about some of the economic aspects.  To wit, a fully human intelligent android works as a garbage collector?  Isn't that a little over powered for such a simple occupation?  Though I guess it might come down to economics at that.  Perhaps to retool the factories producing human level AIs to produce less intelligent models is not worth the effort.  Perhaps also, this society has deliberately chosen not to produce sub human intelligence workers for menial tasks so as to avoid the spectre of slavery and not to encourage live humans to look down on androids.

In any case, a great story.  I loved the way we see into the thought processes of the two protagonists, and the narration was wonderful.

I am a Statistician.  One false move and you're a Statistic.
Posts: 157

« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2018, 08:15:18 PM »

You’re gonna give me cavities, Escapodians. The integration of a newly-recognized people such as AIs into human society is always going to be rocky, but this story was a welcome departure from the usual doomsday and strife that I’ve come to expect from similar premises. Like Tina, I also loved that HK could appreciate art. Maybe that’s the real Turing Test.

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
Posts: 34

« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 12:45:44 PM »

This was adorable! I couldn't help but root for them, even if the end was pretty obvious from the start.

One question remains: who creates the androids? Why does an entity that was created against its will have to basically buy its freedom? This android reminded me of the ones in the TV show Humans, but those had been awakened after being created for labor purposes... Does someone in this world create androids for fun, knowing that they are sentient? I'm confused...
Posts: 3

« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 10:39:23 AM »

Romances aren't my favorite, but I loved this story.

I do wonder, however, why this universe is using highly advanced androids, with  human-like anatomy, dexterity, and balance, full-color vision, completely functional and delicate tactile senses, artistic appreciation, and advanced ethical reasoning... on picking up litter. Seems like a simple job that a wheeled bot with one arm and a camera could fulfill.

The story says that HK chose this job, so that means there's an array of jobs that androids are suitable for. Why would they even offer this job for an android? Maybe android priorities and aspirations are far different from those of power-hungry, ambitious humans, but the story also says that there are millionaire androids, so it doesn't fit.

I hope HK loves learning to paint, and that her new in-laws are as charmed by her naivete and unique worldview as her new husband is. I can see a culture clash in the family's future, however.
Posts: 1

« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 01:53:32 AM »

This was a great episode - very sweet. I love the interaction of the two narrators as well, that really brings the story to life. Well done.
Posts: 992

« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2018, 10:56:56 PM »

I loved this story. Particularly the optimistic view of androids in society. Very uplifting.

In response to this point from NessaNessaJoy...
Maybe android priorities and aspirations are far different from those of power-hungry, ambitious humans, but the story also says that there are millionaire androids, so it doesn't fit.
I thought the millionaire androids are very much in line the androids' different priorities from humans. Recall that the millionaire androids were the older ones. I assumed that they were wealthy simply because they never spent any of their pay. Accommodations and electricity were provided for them. They didn't need food or 6 pairs of footwear. So, wanting nothing, they just kept amassing their pay until they were millionaires....
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