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Author Topic: EP621: Assistance (Artemis Rising)  (Read 237 times)
eytanz
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Posts: 5890



« on: April 14, 2018, 02:43:11 PM »

Escape Pod 621: Assistance (Artemis Rising)

AUTHOR : Kathryn DeFazio
NARRATOR : Summer Brooks
HOST: S. B. Divya

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“Would you like to discuss your coping plan?”

Astor did not want to discuss their coping plan. They didn’t want to think about their coping plan, or the trip itself, or the airport, or the subway, or— “No, thank you.”

“Do you think it would be—”

“Manual override.” Astor sat heavily in the armchair.

“Hmm.” The little android tilted its head slightly. “I’m sorry, Astor, I don’t understand the command. Could you rephrase?”

It had been worth a shot. “Never mind.”

“The value of coping in advance allows you to prepare for the most likely scenario and therefore decrease feelings of helplessness and fear. Would you like to discuss your coping plans?”


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Father Beast
Lochage
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Posts: 514


« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 08:13:59 AM »

The story makes a point of using a pronoun in a way I'm not used to in order to point out Astor's gender, and the gender turns out to be irrelevant. But then the continuing reference to Astor as "they", and Page as "it", was jarring. I kept wondering why we were giving respect to Astor, and dehumanizing Page.
Then I realized, as a quote occurred to me:

"You don't have to waste manners on the ogre!"
-Lord Farquad, in Shrek

People who say things like that don't understand the basic meaning of manners and respect. Manners are never wasted because we use them because we want to be good kind and decent people. We use manners and are respectful because in doing so, we show respect to ourselves as well as others. Manners are not wasted on the ogre, because it demonstrates who we are, regardless of whether the ogre appreciates it.
This is why people anthropomorphize their dogs and cats. This is why you see people saying "please" and "thank you" to their phones.

Despite the fact that Page is an android, Astor is always polite to them, and watchful for their well being. So it seems to me that Astor treats them with more respect than the author does.
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Jen
Palmer
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 02:43:48 PM »

I found this to be a good depiction of social anxiety, but I don't think it belongs on a sci-fi podcast. Replace the android with a therapist on the phone and it's just... a person with anxiety dealing with it.
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Katzentatzen
Peltast
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Posts: 157



« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 03:33:32 PM »

1. Loved the non-binary protagonist, I'm all for more inclusion on that, and I always worry for my trans/nonbinary/genderqueer friends at places like the airport.

2. It took me a while to finish this one, I have anxiety and one of the places that triggers me most is the grocery store. Thank you for running such an accurate representation of mental illness, without being ableist at all.
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"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
--LILIAN JACKSON BRAUN
CryptoMe
Hipparch
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Posts: 992



« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2018, 10:45:59 AM »

I found this story pleasantly soothing. Yes, that is what I said. 
It didn't make a deep impact on me and I didn't find it particularly meaningful (yes, my privilege is showing), but I did find everything (the story, the attentive assistant, and the calm voice of the narrator) all very soothing. And that is good too.
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cwthree
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Posts: 43


« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 02:08:48 PM »

I liked the way this story conveyed the conflict between needing help with a disability and being frustrated with the assistance (and with the need for assistance in the first place). Too often, writers seem to assume that disabled people regard human or mechanical assistance as an extension of their bodies and/or some wonderful thing that's always great to have around. There's rarely any acknowledgement that disability can be frustrating and that assistive technology can still be a pain in the ass.

There were several points in the story where I wanted to jump in and smash the android.
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