Author Topic: EP667: The Best We Can  (Read 1672 times)


  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 173
on: February 20, 2019, 04:24:22 PM
Escape Pod 667: The Best We Can

AUTHOR : Carrie Vaughn
NARRATOR : Veronica Giguere
HOST: Tina Connolly


In the end, the discovery of evidence of extraterrestrial life, and not just life, but intelligence, got hopelessly mucked up because no one wanted to take responsibility for confirming the findings, and no one could decide who ultimately had the authority—the obligation—to do so. We submitted the paper, but peer review held it up for a year. News leaked—NASA announced one of their press conferences, but the press conference ended up being an announcement about a future announcement, which never actually happened and the reporters made a joke of it. Another case of Antarctic meteorites or cold fusion. We went around with our mouths shut waiting for an official announcement while ulcers devoured our guts.

So I wrote a press release. I had Marsh at JPL’s comet group and Salvayan at Columbia vet it for me and released it under the auspices of the JPL Near Earth Objects Program. We could at least start talking about it instead of arguing about whether we were ready to start talking about it. I didn’t know what would happen next. I did it in the spirit of scientific outreach, naturally. The release included that now-famous blurry photo that started the whole thing.

I had an original print of that photo, of UO-1—Unidentified Object One, because it technically wasn’t flying and I was being optimistic that this would be the first of more than one —framed and hanging on the wall over my desk, a stark focal point in my chronically cluttered office. Out of the thousands of asteroids we tracked and photographed, this one caught my eye, because it was symmetrical and had a higher than normal albedo. It flashed, even, like a mirror. Asteroids aren’t symmetrical and aren’t very reflective. But if it wasn’t an asteroid....

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 07:59:30 PM
This story just showed up on "Levar Burton Reads".

Cyber Spirit

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 02:19:28 AM
I thought this was a good story and I found myself getting really frustrated and angry on the main character's behalf-- especially with her encounters with Marsh who I saw as the irredeemable villain in this story.  I feel that through his arrogance and stubbornness, he is not only holding the main character back but all of civilization as well.  I kind of wished the main character would have told him to take his Gene Kelly comment, and shove it somewhere...  I mean she needed a satellite and not a platitude.  But, I suppose that is not the world in which we live, a world in which the main character still does her best to advance humanity despite the Marshes of the world. Of course, maybe I read something wrong, but that was my impression.  Good story though!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 04:06:19 AM by Cyber Spirit »


  • EA Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 229
Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 11:39:38 PM
This story just showed up on "Levar Burton Reads".

Finally beat him to one... :P



  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1105
Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 08:10:52 PM
It was interesting to read Cyber Sprirt's take that Marsh was the villain, because I felt that it was the MC who was the unreasonable one. Everything from trying to hijack a colleague's equipment, to feeling possessive whenever anyone else did some kind of different research on the object, showed her to be kind of jerky as a researcher. She really was obsessed with the object, and it was not healthy. So, that aspect didn't mesh well with the "hope for humanity" message at the end, for me.