Escape Artists
July 31, 2014, 12:20:06 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP147: Pressure  (Read 17399 times)
Russell Nash
Guest
« on: February 28, 2008, 04:24:50 PM »

EP147: Pressure

By Jeff Carlson.
Read by Graydancer (of The Ropecast).
First appeared in Strange Horizons, August 2003.
 Closing music: “I Crush Everything” by Jonathan Coulton

I spent the longest five weeks of my life in that tank and in a deeper pool, healing, testing, practicing. My feet and toes had been augmented much like my hands, my thighs shortened to maximize the available muscle. I was damned quick. Relearning construction techniques with my new fingers was sometimes frustrating, yet my progress was real and those periods of solitary labor became important to me.

At the surface, in the shallows, doctors poked and prodded and put me through redundant tortures. I had been warned that the study of my new body would be extensive and did my best not to fear or hate them, but I’d never imagined such intense scrutiny. During my years as a SEAL, I had been like a bug under a microscope, constantly evaluated and scored. Here I was the microscope, my body the only lens through which they could measure their work. Stenstrom tried to be my buddy, as he had always tried, joking and asking what I’d do with the money, yet his possessiveness was obvious. “We’ll be famous,” he said. “We’ll change the world.”

I wasn’t a slave or a pet, exactly, but I was anxious to get started. To get away from them.


Rated PG. Contains moderate violence.


Referenced Sites:
PodCastle



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
Grayven
Palmer
**
Posts: 35


« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 08:48:51 PM »

Who the hell is John Colton and why haven't I heard of him? That done...

Endings seem, for some reason, to be the hardest part. Is this a sci-fi thing, or just fiction in general?

While the ending seems obvious (upon relistening) from the beginning, I hated it. Wa wa

Other than that, great story. I enjoyed it right up til the lame ending. The careful use of small auditory effects was brilliant, hats of to whoever thought of that. There was one point, which I am sure is obvious, where I had to restrain myself from checking the time left. All in all, a great read with a lame ending.
Logged
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2008, 02:17:08 PM »

I disagree on the ending.  While I did see it coming from about the first scene with him swimming, I think there are two kinds of "seen it coming;" there's the "seen it coming" that comes from lazy writing, and the "seen it coming" that comes from what is dramatically necessary.  I felt like this was the latter.

If you can't tell yet, I loved this story.  I felt like it had emotionally real characters, interesting speculation on biotech, (future) history, and sociology, and like SE, I am really fascinated by underwater SF*.  Might come from watching seaQuest DSV as a kid (looking back I have a feeling it wasn't actually that great of a show, but any primetime SF television was gold to nine-year-old me).  Could go back further, too; when I was six, The Incredible Mr. Limpet was my favorite movie in the world.

One side-note -- when this one downloaded, I realized that between this episode and EP 144, the titles are starting to look like something from "The Intro to Physics Podcast," rather than EP. Wink


*And this one didn't resort to dolphin sex, therefore making it, of the two underwater EPs I can think of off the top of my head, the better.
Logged
Darwinist
Hipparch
******
Posts: 700



« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2008, 02:46:21 PM »

I didn't like this story, especially the ending.  I don't know how a guy (fish-guy) can just walk (swim) away from his family like that.  I understand he loved his condition, but still.  I just can't relate to that.  I'm not a big fan of swimming, water-related stories, and most everything else Steve talked about in the intro so the whole premise did nothing for me.  A quick delete off the IPod.  I did like the closing song.  Very cool. 
Logged

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan
Ruhlandpedia
Extern
*
Posts: 4



WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2008, 03:40:51 PM »

Reminded me of Peter Watts novels. Only he had the environment causing stress and Jeff had family. I suppose thats why Watts divers were all familyless psychopaths. He also had the hole "going native" thing but that always ended with starving and insane fishmen disappearing into the deep.
Logged
High 5
Extern
*
Posts: 15



« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2008, 04:09:15 PM »

Nice change, science fiction sushi!

The story itself was simple and predictable.
That is not a bad thing, I often like simple and predictable things.
Like the plains I travel in, like most of my meals and -she is not in the room- my wife.
Usually for my science fiction I like a sense of wonder, complications, lots of action and surprise.
The sense of wonder in this story was represented by the biotech, the complications in this story came from a relationship straining under the use of a keyboard, building underwater turbines and having them blown up by eco-terrorists is action enough for me.
The surprise bit was a bit under par but not in a bad way and....aww come on, hun, it was only a jo.........................................
Logged

Yeah, well..how is your Dutch then eh?
Nobilis
Peltast
***
Posts: 155



WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2008, 09:30:01 PM »

Not the most impressive story.  The plotting was predictable from very early on.  The language didn't stir me.  The only character had very few interactions with anyone else, and didn't really seem to change much.  Nothing about it stood out.

Enh.
Logged
KMITA
Extern
*
Posts: 6


« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2008, 09:51:41 PM »

I disagree on the ending.  While I did see it coming from about the first scene with him swimming, I think there are two kinds of "seen it coming;" there's the "seen it coming" that comes from lazy writing, and the "seen it coming" that comes from what is dramatically necessary.  I felt like this was the latter.

Well said Bolddeceiver. Also, I feel that real life itself has so many suprises, a little predictability is often welcome.
Logged
Tango Alpha Delta
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1183


Drawn to the forum...


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2008, 11:15:03 PM »

Who the hell is John Colton and why haven't I heard of him? That done...


Now you HAVE, you lucky Grayven, you!   You can get his stuff at his website (don't forget to hit his PayPal button), and if you play his stuff through the Last.fm site (you'll need a free membership), they'll even pay him royalties!

</plug>

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, but the ending actually caught me off guard.  Partly, this was because traffic was light, and I got to work about 10 minutes before the end, and finished on the way home, so by the time I got back into the story, the protagonist was swimming off into the kelp-set. 

I really didn't like the way Mr. Fish was able to just blow off his family, especially little Roberto.  That just felt so wrong and "alien" to me...which I guess was the intention.  But up to that point, the wife had been the most unlike-able character.  (I've known too many military spouses who pulled that on their deployed partners to sympathize with her infidelity, though this guy obviously didn't discuss the situation with her before taking the job.)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 08:36:14 AM by Tango Alpha Delta » Logged

Now on  FaceBook, and Twitter. Not as productive as I used to be!
ajames
Lochage
*****
Posts: 358



« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2008, 07:00:04 AM »

Liked the story - still letting it sink in.  Lots of thoughts floating to the surface but nothing really deep to say yet.  Okay, enough of the bad puns.

One point I will comment on now - while I can't sympathize with the main character leaving his family, I can't imagine how the author could have set this up any more plausibly (and still have me care at all about the main character).  He was happy with Angela - until the pregnancy.  He wasn't a family man, but he was trying to make it work.  He loved the sea; he didn't love people.  From his point of view, his wife is with another guy, his kids don't seem to need him, he's hurt, the sea is calling, his family will be rich...  I see it.  I'm NOT agreeing with it, but I see it.
Logged
gfplux
Extern
*
Posts: 5


« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2008, 10:14:20 AM »

just loved it
Logged
bolddeceiver
Matross
****
Posts: 226


Plunging like stones from a slingshot on mars...


« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2008, 12:15:50 PM »

I agree, ajames -- just because you wouldn't condone the actions of a character doesn't mean it's a bad story; we all still watch and read Hamlet.  And to the people who say someone behaving so callously is unbelievable, look around.  Plenty of people leave their families for selfish reasons every day.  A character does not have to be likable to be sympathetic.
Logged
ajames
Lochage
*****
Posts: 358



« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2008, 03:49:17 PM »

I admit that at first I thought Steve was out to sea to bring us a story like this - something about it seemed a bit fishy, at least.  But then I thought I'd go with the flow, and dove right into the story.  The main character seemed like a fish out of water with other people, and a medically-modified person in water most of the story, and finally more like a fish in water than a person.  And like a cold fish with the way he treated his son.  I can see why some people found the ending to be all wet, but I can also see why the story made a big splash for others.  I didn't see anything in it likely to cause too many waves, but it is early in the posting yet.  Although I think the production went off swimmingly, this story didn't surface at the top of my list.  But I did enjoy it.

Thanks for bringing this story, Steve.
Logged
High 5
Extern
*
Posts: 15



« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2008, 04:58:17 PM »

we all still watch and read Hamlet. 

Frankly I would have been appalled if the second time I read that play, Hamlet would have come out victoriously, slung Ophelia on the horse and would have trot off into the sunset cheered on by the ghost of Hamlets father, the ghost of Claudius and a small wrinkled green ghost with long ears.
No often predictability is just fine...
Logged

Yeah, well..how is your Dutch then eh?
the_wombat
Extern
*
Posts: 9



WWW
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2008, 10:21:22 PM »

Sorry, I feel like this story invested waaaay too much time into making me care about the characters only to have it all just fall to absolutely nothing in the end, I really see the earlier points of things going a certain direction out of dramatic necesity but in stories there's supposed to be a payoff...and in this one I feel like the payoff was "haha fooled you into wasting 45 minutes of your life" as fish boy swims away, if I had paid for this story I would have asked for my money back. But since I didn't have to pay KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK escape pod, you can't win'em all.
Logged
Tango Alpha Delta
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1183


Drawn to the forum...


WWW
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2008, 10:47:01 PM »

I admit that at first I thought Steve was out to sea to bring us a story like this - something about it seemed a bit fishy, at least.  But then I thought I'd go with the flow, and dove right into the story.  The main character seemed like a fish out of water with other people, and a medically-modified person in water most of the story, and finally more like a fish in water than a person.  And like a cold fish with the way he treated his son.  I can see why some people found the ending to be all wet, but I can also see why the story made a big splash for others.  I didn't see anything in it likely to cause too many waves, but it is early in the posting yet.  Although I think the production went off swimmingly, this story didn't surface at the top of my list.  But I did enjoy it.

Thanks for bringing this story, Steve.

I didn't mean to be flippant before; I was totally immersed in the tail until the splash of cold water at the end.  And I tend to agree with bolddeceiver's point, it's just that I was hooked until the protagonist slipped the net.  I didn't feel like they hit us with a bait-and-switch, as the_wombat seems to feel; it just left some unpleasant ripples in my soft underbelly.

Hey, was this written by Ken Shoals?  Oops, no... it wasn't.  (Oh, ghoti, are ajames and I blatantly fishing for QOTW?)
Logged

Now on  FaceBook, and Twitter. Not as productive as I used to be!
CGFxColONeill
Matross
****
Posts: 241



« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2008, 10:52:55 PM »

idk this story was not a not great but it did not flop just kinda meh... much better than the last one at least lol
Logged

Overconfidence - Before you attempt to beat the odds, be sure you could survive the odds beating you.

I am not sure if Life is passing me by or running me over
Windup
Hipparch
******
Posts: 847



« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2008, 11:53:36 PM »

OK, I've got to ask about the outro -- what's up with Steve?  Obviously something bad. 

Did I understand him to say he would talk about it in a "metacast?"  If so, what's that?  Or was it "metachat," meaning the board by that name? 
Logged

My whole job is in the space between "should be" and "is."  It's a big space...
AarrowOM
Palmer
**
Posts: 50


"We are fleeting creatures, we humans!" - S Baxter


WWW
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2008, 01:30:35 AM »

OK, I've got to ask about the outro -- what's up with Steve?  Obviously something bad. 

Did I understand him to say he would talk about it in a "metacast?"  If so, what's that?  Or was it "metachat," meaning the board by that name? 

Windup, Steve said metacast, of which there have been two so far.  They are described as "state of the podcast" podcasts.  Here are the direct links:
http://escapepod.org/2005/09/27/ep-metacast-1/
http://escapepod.org/2006/05/09/ep-metacast-2/

Not to question Steve's commitment to the podcast or anything, but this isn't the first time he's said that there will be a forthcoming metacast, so I wouldn't necessarily raise your hopes as to hearing one anytime soon.  Regardless, whatever Steve is going through, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that he's in my thoughts.
Logged

Most that are profound would choose to narrate tales of living men with nouns like sorrow, verbs like lose, and action scenes, and love – but then there are now some, and brave they be, that speak of Lunar cities raised and silver spheres and purple seas, leaving us who listen dazed. -- Irena Foygel
Windup
Hipparch
******
Posts: 847



« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2008, 09:45:31 AM »

OK, I've got to ask about the outro -- what's up with Steve?  Obviously something bad. 

Did I understand him to say he would talk about it in a "metacast?"  If so, what's that?  Or was it "metachat," meaning the board by that name? 

Windup, Steve said metacast, of which there have been two so far.  They are described as "state of the podcast" podcasts.  Here are the direct links:
http://escapepod.org/2005/09/27/ep-metacast-1/
http://escapepod.org/2006/05/09/ep-metacast-2/

Not to question Steve's commitment to the podcast or anything, but this isn't the first time he's said that there will be a forthcoming metacast, so I wouldn't necessarily raise your hopes as to hearing one anytime soon.  Regardless, whatever Steve is going through, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that he's in my thoughts.

Thanks! He's certainly in my thoughts as well...  I have my theories about what the problem is, but since they're based on nothing but sheer speculation, I'll keep them to myself.

And if he's been able to continue to grind out Escape Pod in the face of whatever-it-is, I'm certainly not going to question his commitment to podcasting, either.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 09:51:17 AM by Windup » Logged

My whole job is in the space between "should be" and "is."  It's a big space...
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!