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Author Topic: EP726 & EP727: And Never Mind the Watching Ones  (Read 330 times)

divs

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on: April 15, 2020, 06:02:51 PM
Escape Pod 726: And Never Mind the Watching Ones (Part 1 of 2)

Escape Pod 727: And Never Mind the Watching Ones (Part 2 of 2)

Author: Keffy R. M. Kehrli
Narrator: Trendane Sparks
Host: Benjamin C. Kinney
Audio Producer: Adam Pracht

And Never Mind the Watching Ones was originally published in the September/October 2015 issue of Uncanny Magazine. It was reprinted in Not One of Us: Stories of Aliens on Earth (Edited by Neil Clarke) in 2018.

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Content Warning:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



 

Aaron

He is lying on the splintered, faded-gray wood of the dock, the fingers of one hand dangling in the slough and glitter frogs in his hair. His breath catches and he cups the back of Christian’s head. An airplane is flying far, far overhead. It sounds like the purring exhale of the frogs. Aaron wonders where it’s going.

When he comes, his abdominal muscles tense, pulling his shoulders off the planking. The frogs in his hair go tumbling nubbly ass over nose, their creaking noises gone silent. The orgasm is an adrenaline rush that outlines his body in nervous fire before fading, leaving a ringing in his ears.

Aaron stares up at the broadening remains of the jet contrail, sucking air like he’s been running rather than getting head. He thinks, like every time, that he should have liked it more. He wonders if there’s something wrong with his dick. Christian crawls across the dock and flops beside him, one arm draped carelessly over the baseball logo on Aaron’s T-shirt.

One of the frogs has come back. It puts a clammy little hand on Aaron’s cheek before letting out a croak. The others are scattered across the dock and they answer in identical voices.

“God, they’re so creepy,” Christian says. He picks up the frog. It kicks out its back legs and inflates its neck. It doesn’t ribbit; it freezes as though holding its breath. The two boys can see the delicate iridescent shading on the frog’s belly, the flecks of “glitter” — sensors of some kind, probably alien nanotech. They can see circuitry, visible under thin layers of skin.

“I like them,” Aaron says, reaching out to touch the frog’s nose with a fingertip. It opens its mouth slightly.

Christian holds the frog closer to his face, eyes narrowed in mock anger. “If you’re going to watch, the least you could do is pay us, frogface.”




Listen to Part 1.
Listen to Part 2.

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Languorous Lass

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Reply #1 on: April 17, 2020, 02:07:09 PM
I was disappointed in the way this story turned out. The first half was so promising:  a vividly-written depiction of a world very much like our own (good and bad), but with the introduction of the single factor of the mysterious alien frogs.  The characters were intriguing, and I was invested in their fates (even Nickie’s).  And I couldn’t wait to find out the source of the electronic chip under the glitter frog’s skin.

But then in part 2, we’re introduced to a whole new set of characters whom I had a hard time caring about, because I kept waiting to hear about the characters from part 1.  But the fates of those original characters are only glancingly touched upon, if at all, and we don’t get inside their heads.  And we never find out what the chip Nickie found inside the frog she dissected was, or whether there was a real reason for  Christian to be so afraid.   Plus I hated seeing Aaron turned from a three-dimensional character into the frog messiah.  I wanted to know how he felt about what was going on.

Keffy Kehrli writes gorgeous imagery, and I love seeing queer characters depicted matter-of-factly.  It’s precisely because I was so excited by part 1 that I was so disappointed by part 2.  I’m looking forward to seeing Keffy’s development as a writer.



CryptoMe

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Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 07:40:00 PM
I had pretty much the same reaction as Languorous Lass. The only thing I would add is that at the end, we still didn't know what happened to *any* of the characters, really. It did not feel like a natural end to the story; there is definitely more that needs telling.



AM Fish

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Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 11:28:43 AM
Yes, I also feel Languorous Lass has accurately pointed to how this story disappoints the reader.  For me, I was especially wanted some resolution between Aaron and his parents.  With a little reworking--developing the relationships established in part 1--there is a good story here.