Author Topic: EP676: Ulissa  (Read 2863 times)


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on: April 19, 2019, 08:40:22 PM
Escape Pod 676: Ulissa

Author : Craig DeLancey
Narrator : Nadia Niaz
Host : Tina Connolly
Audio Producer : Summer Brooks

Ulissa is an Escape Pod original.


The old woman they called Ulissa pointed south. “There’s the ship.”

Edoardo raised the binoculars. “Mio dio, it’s huge,” he said.

“It is grande,” Ulissa said, nodding at the giant on the horizon that plowed Westward. The stacked containers on its deck looked like a city of pastel buildings that walled off the horizon. The waves seemed but a pale line along the ship’s towering hull. “Do you see the superstructure? It’s right on the bow.”

Edoardo raised the binoculars again. Ulissa watched him closely. All morning the boy had complained that they wasted their time, and he had come reluctantly, barely obedient to his father’s command. Now, the hulking ship before them made him swallow and stare.

“Yes. I see it.”

“The door to the bridge will be there. And near it, the door to the engine room. Just as I showed you with the diagrams.”

The boy nodded, making a brave face. “Simple,” he said.

Their boat—an open motorboat just five meters long with a single engine hanging off the back—jumped a wave and slapped against the next whitecap. The old woman and the boy bent their knees reflexively, riding the bounce.

Edoardo’s father, Enriche, sat in the back of the motorboat, one hand on the engine tiller, the other on the gunwale. He spoke now for the first time since they’d left the shore, “Storm is coming fast.”

The old woman looked west to where black clouds bore down on a dark sea.

“It’s best so,” she said. “They won’t try to get a drone through that.”

“You’re sure no one is on that ship?” Edoardo asked.

“It’s not a ghost ship,” Ulissa said. “Not even the dead will ride her.”

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

AM Fish

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Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 02:30:56 PM
This is a very believable version of our future and Ulissa is a compelling character.  When Eduardo fell in to his predicament I was reminded of Tom Godwin' s story, "The Cold Equation" (I thought I has heard that story read on Escape pod but I could not find it in the archive) and I remembered hearing that Godwin had rewritten the ending so that the story would have the ending his editor wanted.  The resolution of Eduardo's of problem was surprising to me.  I would be interested to know a little about the author's process for this story.

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Reply #2 on: June 30, 2019, 11:57:54 PM

I don't recall it ever being on EP, but my guess is you maybe heard it on Drabblecast?

There's a number of others out there, but Drabblecast has a special place in my heart.


AM Fish

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Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 05:21:19 PM
You are correct!  It was Drabblecast 289 - The Cold Equations.  The Drabblecast has a special place in my heart as well.


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Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 03:06:41 AM
Excellent use of autonomous vehicles! Also a very compelling human story. Nicely done!

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #5 on: December 30, 2019, 08:45:15 PM
Interesting world. It makes me contemplate how our society will handle the impending automation revolution.  Hopefully not this bleakly. But I like that the story gives us some hope, with people working for a better existence, and willing to help others get there too.