Author Topic: EP155: Tideline  (Read 37358 times)

Russell Nash

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EP155: Tideline
« on: April 24, 2008, 12:23:46 PM »
EP155: Tideline

2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Elizabeth Bear.
Read by Stephen Eley
Closing Music: “The Fall” by Red Hunter.

They would have called her salvage, if there were anyone left to salvage her. But she was the last of the war machines, a three-legged oblate teardrop as big as a main battle tank, two big grabs and one fine manipulator folded like a spider’s palps beneath the turreted head that finished her pointed end, her polyceramic armor spiderwebbed like shatterproof glass. Unhelmed by her remote masters, she limped along the beach, dragging one fused limb. She was nearly derelict.

The beach was where she met Belvedere.


Rated PG. Contains implied violence and themes of death.


Referenced Sites:
2008 Hugo Awards
“And the Deep Blue Sea” by Elizabeth Bear (on Starship Sofa)
WisCon May 23-26, Madison, WI



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Ocicat

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2008, 02:13:35 PM »
That was really excellent.  Okay, so, Hugo nom - it's to be expected.  But still, very enjoyable.  I may have to seek out more of Elizabeth Bear's work.

Anarkey

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 03:54:20 PM »
EP155: Tideline

2008 Hugo Nominee!

By Elizabeth Bear.


Squeeeeeee!  I haven't heard this yet, but I needed to get my squeeing out of the way.  I heart Elizabeth Bear, and I really enjoyed this when I read it a few months back.  I'm sure it will be awesome in the audio version.

Squeeeeeeee!
Gloriously anticipating hearing this.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2008, 04:50:39 PM »
This is a really good story, though it fell into that stories-about-stories category that I always feel is a bit of a feedback loop to other writers and creatives. But it's nice to see a world where instead of welcoming our robotic overlords they end up fully AI. The war was vague, but the story was about the warriors and their deeds instead of the battle, so that was alright even if I did feel like I was missing something by not knowing what the fight was about. 

Still, pretty cool quest to give a ~13 year old.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 07:57:29 PM »
Wow. Great story.  I'd love to have a friend with microwave pulse weapons.  Looking forward to the rest of the Hugo stories.   Great to hear "The Fall" again. 
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

ChiliFan

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 10:07:57 PM »
I'm not sure if this is Sci Fi apart from the main character being a robot. The story is about trying to make sure certain people are remembered. I'm sure this kind of story has been done before, but not as Sci Fi.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 11:25:30 PM »
I say it again:  Moby Dick without the boats and the whale would be a story about land.  Just because a particular story could be told without SF elements does not invalidate the telling at hand. 

Besides, I think a lot of the point was the disconnect of a robot, and one designed for a pretty specific purpose, engaging in the deeply human activity of rememberance.

Good story, though it didn't hold my attention at times (more my fault for doing too much crap while listening).
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 11:39:11 PM by bolddeceiver »

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2008, 08:29:24 AM »
I enjoyed it, and found it quite unexpectedly touching. The ending felt a bit rushed and abrupt to me, personally, but I still like the story. Don't think it's one I'll be keeping, though.

It was kinda cool how the story dropped the hints about who was involved and where the war took place. I wasn't expecting it to be Earthlings, and even less expecting it to be on Earth.

And it made me think both sides lost. I figured if there was a war machine left, it would have pursued the enemy until either they or it was completely destroyed. Maybe it just couldn't cross the ocean, but, I dunno... just seemed like total annihilation to me.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 08:34:02 AM by birdless »

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2008, 08:52:38 AM »
I really liked this story. I disagree with Chilifan; the fact that the main character was a robot was not incidental at all. I listened to this story shortly after listening to "The Big Guy" from a few weeks ago. They both cover quite a lot of the same territory (a robot member of a mostly human team, struggling with the concept of camaraderie), but this story is a lot more subtle about it, and it starts a lot later in the robot's emotional development. That makes it, in my opinion, a lot more interesting.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2008, 10:27:52 AM »
I did feel like I was missing something by not knowing what the fight was about. 


Me too.  Also, there was no attention given to the whole "intelligent battle robot that can pretty much reason for itself" angle.  The author kind of left the science behind.

I didn't like the story, but I thought it was very good.

The dog thing was a tad cliched, I think, but it helped bring hope to the idea that Belvedere would be able to complete his quest because now he has a companion.  The robot "dying" and leaving Belvedere to quest alone would've made the story much less uplifting toward the end.

As for the reading... no major complaints, except that the robot's voice seemed to need a little amplification in post-production and Belvedere at times sounded like Jar-Jar Binks.

I would not be averse to reading more Elizabeth Bear stories.  Just not this one.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2008, 11:54:27 AM »
I found "Tideline" to present the listener with a very simple relationship overlaid upon a complex personality.  That this personality belonged to an artificial lifeform made it all the more compelling.  We are used to seeing humans cope with loss and failure but here we get to see a composite intellect -the culmination of human coding and history- doing the same thing.  The reader gets to view the mind of an AI war marchine -long after her war has ended- trying to find a purpose within the context of her programming.  In the wake of the death of soldiers, of her battalion, she focuses on creating a memoriam and sets about that task in a logical, systematic -but nonetheless emotional- fashion.

The introduction of Belvedere provided not only a foil for Chalcedony to react to, but also to provide a context for her actions.  Without saying it, here we see the ideal behind a soldier's sacrifice for those who do not or cannot fight.  It isn't preachy but, rather, elegantly demonstrated.

As for ChiliFan's comments,
I'm not sure if this is Sci Fi apart from the main character being a robot. The story is about trying to make sure certain people are remembered. I'm sure this kind of story has been done before, but not as Sci Fi.

I found this very much Science Fiction in the purest sense of the term.

In how I think of it, Science Fiction tells us a story that science makes possible.  It explores the human condition, the universal environment, or even philosophical questions by presenting us with an outgrowth of technology and research.

True, it is a story that has been done without war marchines and the apocalypse before (although I can't think of a specific example) but I think that's to be expected of literature in general.  That the story was configured in a unique way -and told with such compelling characters- make it distinct.  Could the story have been written about a war-scarred beach-comber, trying to cobble together mementos of her deceased battalion?  Sure.  But it wasn't.  What other stories accomplish, or could have accomplished, should not have any bearing on this story.  On its own merits, it is an excellent story.

...But that's just my .02...

I very much look forward to hearing the other Hugo Nominees and will try to seek out the fifth so I can read it before the voting takes place in Denver!

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Sylvan

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2008, 01:18:49 PM »

via BoingBoing Gadgets

Sorry, couldn't help it  ;D

Anyway, I loved this story. Yeah, a lot of the details about the conflict were left out, but the war wasn't the point of the story anyway, and if that's what you were thinking about, I'm sorry to break it to you but you didn't get it.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2008, 01:52:03 PM »
I would not be averse to reading more Elizabeth Bear stories.  Just not this one.

And what am I if not obliging! 

Happy to proselytize, too, I love Bear's fiction.

Here's some to try:

"Ice" a sort of steampunk meets norse mythology story with lots of gore and worldbuilding and good writing. 

"The Devil You Don't" another one in the same world of steampunky norse myth only this time it's mixed with old west. 

"Two Dreams on Trains" a story about growing up in drowned New Orleans.  This was one I re-read when it came out in a Year's Best and got even more out of the second time around.  Love stories that give you more when you read them again.

"This Tragic Glass" a very subtly and intricately done story, which I liked a lot.  Though, if you don't love Marlowe, like I don't, fair warning that he crops up ALL THE TIME in Bear's fiction and is one of my major hurdles in her faerie stories.  But I leap it, because, you know, other interesting stuff going on in that world.  But I get sidetracked, this is SF not fantasy, and it's good and worth reading and it's a particularly nice trick of how it all comes together at the end.  Follow link today!

"Lucifugous" a mystery with zeppelins and vampires in an alternate history.  I love the New Amsterdam stories.  They may even be my favorites.

"Abjure the Realm" alternate history in less of the high adventure vein than the New Amsterdam stories, very understated and 'day in the life' but still good.  I credit Bear with showing me I don't hate alternate history after all, I just hate how it's usually done.

"Orm the Beautiful" this isn't one of my favorites because it goes a little over into sentimental land for me, and I don't care for stories with dragons in them, but some of the descriptions in this piece are so lovingly crafted and so stunning that it's worth reading.  The glitter of the writing reproduces Orm's beauty, which is a level of word by word mastery that I don't often see.

"Follow Me Light"  I don't remember much about this one, but I liked it when I read it.  I think it's about sea critters.  I remember it being layered and kind of hard to understand.

"Long Cold Day" Another of my favorites, this one features a pair of awesome villianesses and the best use of a baby blanket ever.

One of my very favorite Bear stories appears to have vanished off the intarwebs.  It was a fairy tale called "Old Leatherwings" and it was totally the bomb.  Hmmm, maybe I should go over to the Podcastle area and ask Rachel track it down.  It would be awesome on Podcastle.

"Black is the Color" featuring everyone's favorite carnivorous pony.  Not sure I would have liked this one as much if I hadn't already had the backstory, so it might not work for you.

"Sounding" The sea again, and this is one of those in which I missed what was supposed to be speculative about it.  Still, nicely written, especially on the setting details.

This is not an exhaustive list, I'm sure there's a couple of other Bear stories out there I haven't read.  There's also the Shadow Unit stuff, which I hear good things about but haven't read because I'm still not over the frame in which the universe is presented (as a fake TV show with episodes, trailers and seasons).  TV bores me, even pretend TV.  I expect I'll get over this enough to give it a go at some point, but that point has not yet arrived.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2008, 03:45:43 PM »
Now that I think about it, I'm actually surprised this is the first Bear piece EP's ran.  I hope we get more in the future.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2008, 05:30:49 PM »
I'm not sure if this is Sci Fi apart from the main character being a robot. The story is about trying to make sure certain people are remembered. I'm sure this kind of story has been done before, but not as Sci Fi.

  I think too much time is spent debating about what is sci-fi. I've heard it argued that Star Wars is not sci-fi, but fantasy. ExtraLife Radio did an episode not long ago where they were arguing about whether The X-Files is science fiction or not. A lot of fiction blurs the line between different genres.
  Is "Hitchhiker's Guide" not Sci-fi because it is funny? Is it not comedy because it takes place in outer space?
  What about stories like "Metamor City" or "Shadowrun" which take heavily from both Sci-fi and fantasy? Aren't they really both?

  I do not mean this as any sort of personal attack at you, ChiliFan, it's just something that's always seemed very nitpicky to me. Tideline was a touching story of a robot and her boy, and to me that's enough to make it science fiction and a good story
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2008, 05:42:22 PM »
I'm not sure if this is Sci Fi apart from the main character being a robot. The story is about trying to make sure certain people are remembered. I'm sure this kind of story has been done before, but not as Sci Fi.

  I think too much time is spent debating about what is sci-fi. I've heard it argued that Star Wars is not sci-fi, but fantasy. ExtraLife Radio did an episode not long ago where they were arguing about whether The X-Files is science fiction or not. A lot of fiction blurs the line between different genres.
  Is "Hitchhiker's Guide" not Sci-fi because it is funny? Is it not comedy because it takes place in outer space?
  What about stories like "Metamor City" or "Shadowrun" which take heavily from both Sci-fi and fantasy? Aren't they really both?

  I do not mean this as any sort of personal attack at you, ChiliFan, it's just something that's always seemed very nitpicky to me. Tideline was a touching story of a robot and her boy, and to me that's enough to make it science fiction and a good story

Acting as institutional memory for a bit here (though anyone who knew me would laugh at the 'memory' bit), we've spoken about the lines between the genres here and touched on here in a discussion of Alternative History.

It's a good discussion to have, and a very hard one to come to some sort of agreement on. Speculative fiction serves as a nice umbrella, but I've always found it a little too erudite a phrase for something that comes out of pulp. Not saying the genres can't get dressed up, but forcing them to be always has felt to me it robs them of their power.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2008, 06:06:07 PM »
I liked this story.  I didn't find the robot terribly realistic but I found it surprisingly touching as a character.

I will make a bead necklace to remember Chalcedony.

ChiliFan

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2008, 08:20:56 PM »
OK, I think I understand now. The robot is trying to deal with the death of all her squad in a similar way to how Lt Commander Data of Star Trek:TNG might try and deal with it. Not fully understanding, but trying to understand human customs. Therefore, I agree it's Sci Fi.

As for what is and what isn't Sci Fi, it's debatable and lots of people will have different ideas about it. Some series are classified by various information services connected with different TV channels as "Sci Fi", but often I've disagreed with their classification. The X-Files was Sci Fi because it featured aliens, but some X-Files stories had no aliens at all, so were these non Sci Fi stories just to make up a certain number of episodes per season? The latest version of Doctor Who has been described by the Producer as more drama/horror than Sci Fi, but obviously it's still largely or mainly Sci Fi.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 09:32:02 PM »
Personally the first thing that came to my mind for this story was one word:

BOLO!

AI driven battle tanks that make up the Dinochrome Brigade... damnit, now I'm going to have to go find those books again!  The robot/child relationship that the story tells is one that I've read in the compilation books and it played well there too.  If you haven't read about them and like this story, I'll recommend them.  Heck, if you like stories about sentient tanks that carry 110 cm plasma cannons as main batteries and can shoot ships out of space, I recommend them.

The memory necklace does touch the same concepts as Windtalkers, that WWII movie with Nicholas Cage.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 09:48:53 PM »

Wow. Second time I've teared up over the "death" of a machine in an Escape Pod story. (Edward Bear being the first.)

The fact it was military probably had some effect -- I've always found the death and rememberance rituals of the armed services strangely compelling.   Even as an ROTC cadet on a civilian campus, I'd sometimes go to Gold Star Hall, where the college displayed the names of the war dead, and just read them. The idea that an AI could decode our rituals and embrace them was even more fascinating, though I'm not sure why. Anyway, yeah, Tideline touched a nerve.

As for the "this is how religions get started" comment in the outro, I think Steve is right.  It's certainly a way.  Judiasim and Christianity have, at their center, deeply compelling stories -- as a sometime Biblical storyteller (telling those stories, learned by heart) I'm repeatedly amazed at just how powerful they are when we get out of the way.    I imagine the same is true for many other faiths as well.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2008, 10:17:02 PM »
This one left me cold, utterly. The robot's care and attention for memory seemed completely misplaced, the "archives" in its memory banks too convenient and cliche. To me, the AI, seemed demented. Why kill several people for no other reason than because Belvedere (who was obviously a thief) was being attacked. I wondered whether the machine had, in fact, killed its platoon. More than anything made me want to _read_ Iron Giant (not see the movie) - or maybe Bell Jar.

On the production side, the AI's voice was nearly inaudible.


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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2008, 07:48:19 AM »
I really loved this story, especially the way the relationship between the robot and Belvedere was developed so gently and how “she” took on so many roles at the same time. She almost acted like a mother, teacher, friend and protector, depending on what was needed. So I have to agree with birdless, the story was pretty touching, in a metallic, rusty sort of way. (Would be interesting to look a bit closer at how exactly the robot would be capable of performing such at times almost emotional involvement with a human ….)

SO, yeah, I loved the story, but the stoy also left me slightly unsatisfied. Normally, I like stories that make me fill in the holes myself and develop the backstory in my head, but with this one it seemed like some information was missing, that I wanted to be provided rather than having to imagine everything. Like ‘how exactly did the city get destroyed’, ‘what was that war about’, ‘how do humans live in a post-war society’ and ‘what about Belvedere, what is his story’ ???. Maybe I missed that when listening, but it was frustrating to only get such a tiny insight into that world. (This is my first Elizabeth Bear story, BTW, not sure if I need to read certain other stories to get the missing links.)

Actually, I just listened to Elizabeth Bear and The Deep Blue Sea and really enjoyed that one as well but not half as much as Tideline. Would love to hear more from her on EP.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2008, 08:55:17 AM »
Actually, I just listened to Elizabeth Bear and The Deep Blue Sea ...


I just read that as "Edward Bear and the Deep Blue Sea"  :D
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2008, 11:15:16 AM »
To me, the AI, seemed demented. Why kill several people for no other reason than because Belvedere (who was obviously a thief) was being attacked. I wondered whether the machine had, in fact, killed its platoon.
I just read that as "Edward Bear and the Deep Blue Sea"  :D

i wonder if there's some crossover in people's opinion between this and Edward Bear. the complaint that a battlebot's mind is cold or that a child's toy is simplistic seems to be rather the point; ai struggling with parameters to exceed their programming.

Belvedere was defined as ally when he was attacked. as a tool of war, the battlebot would react with extreme prejudice to eliminate anything that's defined as an enemy combatant. the interesting bits is when the ai has to handle unexpected circumstances.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2008, 01:29:28 PM »
This week I will be wearing mostly.....yoghurt!

Sorry, needed to get that of my chest. Now to the story. I found it quite compelling. In way it reminded me of Adam and Eve. Only Eve is a robot and they are the progenitors not of a race, but of a myth. And they don't have sex. Ehm...on second thought, maybe not (damn you, stream-of-conciousness-writing...).

Did anyone else feel that Belvedere sure grew up fast? At the beginning of the story he's just a little boy. But by the end of the story (which I took to last just one summer), he's described as having the beginnings of a beard and the build of a soldier.

Darn, puberty is hard enough without having to go through it so fast (and with only a robot and a dog to guide you). He's gonna have some real relationship issues later on in life. I can see it now: "Honey, how ' bout tonight you wrap yourself in tin foil and speak only in a monotone voice?"

One thing I did think was missing: a backstory for the boy. I can buy leaving it vague for the robot. But wouldn't a little boy at least mention what happened to his parents, for instance? To me, this felt like a rather forced way to disconnect all the characters from what went before, just for the sake of atmosphere.

But then, I wear yoghurt (mostly), so what do I know....
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 01:32:26 PM by Yossarian's grandson »

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2008, 06:12:38 PM »
Did anyone else feel that Belvedere sure grew up fast? At the beginning of the story he's just a little boy. But by the end of the story (which I took to last just one summer), he's described as having the beginnings of a beard and the build of a soldier.
I figured that was him getting over the effects of malnutrition, with Chalcedony's nutritional advice.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2008, 06:31:34 PM »
The kid didn't need to be all that old to start growing a beard.  Mine started coming in when I was about 12.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2008, 08:00:46 PM »
It's Charlotte's Web in another form! I loved it, and I'm not the biggest fan of robot stories. I think the fact that the robot was a "she" helped the story a LOT. I got a LITTLE choked up at the end, but nothing like when Charlotte died. (OOPS, spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't read Charlotte's Web, ha ha)

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2008, 08:07:11 PM »
oh, and on a completely separate subject, did any one else's universes collide a few weeks ago when they heard Liane Hansen interview Scott Sigler on NPR's weekend morning edition Sunday? WOW, before discovering podcasts, NPR was my audio crack of choice, so hearing those two talking was just bizarre. And Mr. Eley on the drabblecast was a great treat, too. It's like seeing your teacher at the grocery store!

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2008, 10:15:08 PM »
So um... back to the podcast. Mr Eley mentioned that escape pod didn't win the best science fiction podcast, who did?

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2008, 05:05:26 AM »
So um... back to the podcast. Mr Eley mentioned that escape pod didn't win the best science fiction podcast, who did?

Good one, I'd forgotten all about that. Indeed, Steve, who could've possibly beaten EP??

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2008, 10:39:17 AM »
It's Charlotte's Web in another form! I loved it, and I'm not the biggest fan of robot stories. I think the fact that the robot was a "she" helped the story a LOT. I got a LITTLE choked up at the end, but nothing like when Charlotte died. (OOPS, spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't read Charlotte's Web, ha ha)

  I had thought "Charlotte's Web" as well, but I figured it was to do with the voice more than the content. It's interesting to see someone else come up with that as well.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2008, 05:46:55 PM »
I liked the story pretty well but I think I would like back story of the robot better than the story itself lol

on a random note did anyone else notice that she was the 42nd member of her platoon?
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2008, 10:01:19 PM »
Great story. I think I freaked out my fellow subway-travelers when I started tearing up at the end.

During the story, my mind's eye kept bringing up beautiful oil paintings of a shore landscape with a boy and his damaged battle-robot walking through the sand.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2008, 01:36:11 AM »
So um... back to the podcast. Mr Eley mentioned that escape pod didn't win the best science fiction podcast, who did?

Good one, I'd forgotten all about that. Indeed, Steve, who could've possibly beaten EP??

Variant Frequencies.  Took the Parsec Award in the short fiction category in both 2006 and 2007.  No complaints from me: it's a fabulous podcast deserving of honors.  Rick Stringer puts much, much more work into rich sound production than I do, and the stories are top notch.

(Besides.  Given my dates at the award ceremony, I was perfectly happy not getting out of my chair.)  >8->


ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2008, 11:05:54 AM »
It's Charlotte's Web in another form! I loved it, and I'm not the biggest fan of robot stories. I think the fact that the robot was a "she" helped the story a LOT. I got a LITTLE choked up at the end, but nothing like when Charlotte died. (OOPS, spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't read Charlotte's Web, ha ha)

Not to get too far off topic, but you really should have a link to throw us when you post something like that  ;)

This story...I don't have much to say.  I've listened to it twice now and really loved it.  I loved how the robot (NO idea how to spell her name) was doing what she could to remember the dead, even the ones who could've respected her a bit more.  I really liked her relationship with Belvedere and the way it developed, with her telling him stories.  And although I kind of knew how it was all going to end, it was a very good listen.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2008, 01:01:16 PM »
Fantastic.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2008, 06:21:44 PM »
Fantastic.

Yes.  I agree.  Loved this as much as I expected to.  Worked well in audio.  Love the idea that EP runs all the nominees it can get its hands on, even when I don't love the stories. 
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2008, 02:32:08 PM »
I liked the story pretty well but I think I would like back story of the robot better than the story itself lol

I believe you can find the back story here: http://escapepod.org/2007/10/04/ep126-the-sweet-sad-love-song-of-fred-and-wilma/

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2008, 04:51:42 PM »
I liked this story.  I didn't reduce me to tears like some of escape pod has... but I enjoyed it greatly and will be keeping it to listen to it again.

It was the classic end of the world story where a teacher meets someone who is only just surviving and tells them how to live, not just survive.  And I like to think that through this machine the human race carried on.  Not just biologically; our humanity itself survived due to this machine we created to kill.  Though what was potentially one of the causes of our own destruction, we are given a second chance.

I'd like to see what happened in 50 years in this universe.  Though I know that would spoil the story... as then we know what happened next... but I can dream.


In a personal note, I'd like to say how much I appreciate what escape pod does every week ( and with the Hugos and such yearly).  This week there was a deathin the family, and living on my own and other factors (people worrying about me in general and such), I didn't find out for 4 days.  I was hit pretty hard by it as I felt blindsided by it; the funeral is tomorrow.  When something like this happens you feel like there is nothing else out there, and that this is it.  It makes us think life could end anytime, and there may not be a tomorrow. 
Then at work yesterday, while on my lunch break,  my playlist moves on, advert and I hear the intro music play.  I smile a little thinking that I don't know if I'm in the mood for a sci fi story fight now, but I'd give it a chance.  Then you said it was a Hugo, and I realised things go on. I enjoyed the story, and the escapeism is gave me.  For a while I'm taken to the end of the world with a robot teaching a human, and I enjoyed it.  For a while I smiled.  Thank you.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2008, 10:30:28 PM »
First. I just loved Tideline. Sorta wished that the kid had figured out a way to fix her leg, rust etc, and get her off the beach...

Second, I've listed to a couple of the Variant Frequencies episodes, and found some of the sounds to be very annoying and distracting, and didn't finish the stories, and removed them from my podcatcher.  - Not that I don't like an audio drama, but to many bells and whistles and flashing lights, forget it.

To paraphrase what one of the things you and your wife wanted to teach Alex about life was that Game Play wins over graphics. (I think that the Wii proves it)

The same holds true here. You won't overhear someone say, "oh yea, that's a great podcast, they have great sound effects". You'll hear them recall the STORY or the information. Sure, you might recognize that they put work into good production, as you know from experience what it takes, and that's deserving of notice, but honestly. What do we recall? The information, the story. And yea, snazzy effects are nice, but how many movies or video games that had nice visuals but had lousy story lines ever stood the test of time?

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:)

So um... back to the podcast. Mr Eley mentioned that escape pod didn't win the best science fiction podcast, who did?

Good one, I'd forgotten all about that. Indeed, Steve, who could've possibly beaten EP??

Variant Frequencies.  Took the Parsec Award in the short fiction category in both 2006 and 2007.  No complaints from me: it's a fabulous podcast deserving of honors.  Rick Stringer puts much, much more work into rich sound production than I do, and the stories are top notch.



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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2008, 10:47:45 PM »


The same holds true here. You won't overhear someone say, "oh yea, that's a great podcast, they have great sound effects". You'll hear them recall the STORY or the information. Sure, you might recognize that they put work into good production, as you know from experience what it takes, and that's deserving of notice, but honestly. What do we recall? The information, the story. And yea, snazzy effects are nice, but how many movies or video games that had nice visuals but had lousy story lines ever stood the test of time?


So um... back to the podcast. Mr Eley mentioned that escape pod didn't win the best science fiction podcast, who did?

Good one, I'd forgotten all about that. Indeed, Steve, who could've possibly beaten EP??

Variant Frequencies.  Took the Parsec Award in the short fiction category in both 2006 and 2007.  No complaints from me: it's a fabulous podcast deserving of honors.  Rick Stringer puts much, much more work into rich sound production than I do, and the stories are top notch.


I agree completely.  I hope to see Steve tear it up this year- I have a feeling he will...

because of stories like this.... I LOVED this story.  What an atmosphere Bear creates; reminds me of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy- eerie and sad, yet with a strange and redemptive love that is tragically set to expire.  Wonderful.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2008, 02:22:44 PM »
I really enjoyed this story, my only complaint would be the voice effect made it very hard to understand sometimes.
After a couple of stories recently that were not really to my tastes this was right back on form.
I think sense of duty to remember the dead came across well and the lack of a "twist" ending was a nice change.

Well done.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2008, 03:30:16 PM »
Just heard it.  Thought it was really very good.    Odd that even an aged war robot would develop feelings though.  Yet it worked here and produced a very touching story

.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2008, 04:09:45 PM »
Just heard it.  Thought it was really very good.    Odd that even an aged war robot would develop feelings though.  Yet it worked here and produced a very touching story

.

Actually, I thought the author handled that well.  Without beating us over the head with it, it was made clear that the machine had to function as an integral part of a mixed force of humans and machines.  With that in mind, it makes sense that the AI would have some understanding of human emotions -- she had to be part of the team. 
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2008, 04:12:02 PM »
Here's an interesting one. I remember reading this story when it ran in Asimovs (or Analog? I can't remember. I read em both, and they're all entangled on my bookshelf). At that time I felt it was a too simple story, with too much sentimentality (something I'm not fond of in SF).

However, read out loud, this story really moved me. Steve's voice really brought it alive.

Maybe some stories are best read out loud. This one certainly benefitted, and it made me realize the intricacies of Bear's writing.

And it got me to thinking - if I ever get round to being a published writer, I can SO hear (in my head) Steve reading my stories.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2008, 05:33:02 PM »
I very much enjoyed this story.  I chuckled at the "human enemies are soft targets" bit.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2008, 03:50:06 PM »
And I like to think that through this machine the human race carried on.  Not just biologically; our humanity itself survived due to this machine we created to kill.  Though what was potentially one of the causes of our own destruction, we are given a second chance.

I'd like to see what happened in 50 years in this universe.  Though I know that would spoil the story... as then we know what happened next... but I can dream.
Very cool line of thought, Contra, that a machine we created to destroy actually served to help humanity survive. And that is a fascinating idea for a broader, novel-length story. I would definitely pick that up if the author chose to develop it so.

In a personal note, I'd like to say how much I appreciate what escape pod does every week ( and with the Hugos and such yearly).  This week there was a deathin the family, and living on my own and other factors (people worrying about me in general and such), I didn't find out for 4 days.  I was hit pretty hard by it as I felt blindsided by it; the funeral is tomorrow.  When something like this happens you feel like there is nothing else out there, and that this is it.  It makes us think life could end anytime, and there may not be a tomorrow. 
Then at work yesterday, while on my lunch break,  my playlist moves on, advert and I hear the intro music play.  I smile a little thinking that I don't know if I'm in the mood for a sci fi story fight now, but I'd give it a chance.  Then you said it was a Hugo, and I realised things go on. I enjoyed the story, and the escapeism is gave me.  For a while I'm taken to the end of the world with a robot teaching a human, and I enjoyed it.  For a while I smiled.  Thank you.
Thanks for sharing that with us, Contra... Hang in there. I don't mean to be trite, and I wished I could say more, but... well, it comes from someone who may not be able to share that particular pain, but who has been going through a lot for a long time. Sometimes hanging on is all we can do. But the bright light at the end of the tunnel isn't always a train.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2008, 06:36:00 PM »
Wow... great story.  (I wish I hadn't had to wait nearly a week to get a chance to listen to it, but circumstances dictate.)

I was actually glad not to get bogged down in the "back story" of the robot; she was a battle bot, 'nuff said.  The battle was just set dressing; all we needed to know was that one had taken place.  Tideline wasn't about the battle, and if the story isn't about that, the extra detail would be pointless.  At the end of the day, all battles are basically the same; two (or more) sides disagreeing about something, and destroying anything that gets in their way.  Granular details about it would be part of a different story.

I thought the whole concept of a damaged being working to leave a legacy was beautiful; the setting was gorgeous (at least it was in MY imagination)... much better than what I've been reading this week.  :)

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #49 on: May 04, 2008, 04:00:10 AM »
I really enjoyed this story.  All too often war robots drive a plot along by continuing to fight wars that are long over.  It's refreshing to see a robot who wants to create closure after a war.  I like to think that if her consciousness could somehow be sent back in time and installed in her fresh off the assembly line body, she would be a conscientious objector.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #50 on: May 04, 2008, 11:27:45 AM »
Enjoyable episode. I too thought of the "Boloverse", with this story. The humaization of machinery.


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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2008, 05:00:55 AM »
So that's what Steve looks like!! has been given its own little place. 

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2008, 10:20:24 AM »
My Mother the Carapaced Battle-bot ;)

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2008, 11:07:32 PM »
I get Escape Pod through iTunes, and when I downloaded this story, I got instead a Starship Sofa piece by the same author.  While it was an intriguing story and good incentive for me to expand my podcast library, it was not what I was expecting.  Was this intentional in some way?

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #54 on: May 15, 2008, 11:46:57 PM »
I get Escape Pod through iTunes, and when I downloaded this story, I got instead a Starship Sofa piece by the same author.  While it was an intriguing story and good incentive for me to expand my podcast library, it was not what I was expecting.  Was this intentional in some way?

Interesting.  I get Escape Pod through iTunes too, but didn't get Starship Sofa instead of this episode. 

I wonder if I should feel cheated.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2008, 09:48:42 AM »
Two things:
1. The robot reminded me of what might be the mother of the sentry guards in Portal (cycloptic, tripodal).  Steve's voice for the robot just drove this point home.
2. No more Red Hunter - The Fall.  This has got to be third or so podcast that has this as the end music.  There's nothing wrong with the song, but it starts to lose its meaning once it's played for the third post-apocalyptic story.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2008, 07:32:38 PM »
2. No more Red Hunter - The Fall.  This has got to be third or so podcast that has this as the end music.  There's nothing wrong with the song, but it starts to lose its meaning once it's played for the third post-apocalyptic story.

  Are you counting the fact that EP has used it before, or are you counting actual individual podcasts?
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2008, 11:02:32 AM »
  Are you counting the fact that EP has used it before, or are you counting actual individual podcasts?

EP using it before.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #58 on: June 04, 2008, 12:57:39 PM »
I get Escape Pod through iTunes, and when I downloaded this story, I got instead a Starship Sofa piece by the same author.  While it was an intriguing story and good incentive for me to expand my podcast library, it was not what I was expecting.  Was this intentional in some way?
So confusing.
I got another Elizabeth Bear story, "Deep Blue Sea", which I adored... But I got kind of confused when I saw that everyone was talking about robots and wars and dogs when the story I have labeled "Tideline" was about Nevada and motorcycles and the Devil.
Can someone direct me to a thread where I can post my comments on that story instead? Better yet, explain how I can get hold of a copy of "Tideline"?

(It was also odd, because the intro was Scottish. I thought maybe Steve Eley was sick or something.)
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #59 on: June 04, 2008, 01:23:00 PM »
Well, you can get Tideline here. But I don't know about the other.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #60 on: June 05, 2008, 06:52:19 AM »
Well, you can get Tideline here. But I don't know about the other.

Or you can click on the story link at the top of this thread.  If you want it as a podcast, unsubscribe to the EP feed and then re-subscribe.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2008, 08:30:22 AM »
So confusing.(It was also odd, because the intro was Scottish. I thought maybe Steve Eley was sick or something.)

Might it have been a Pseudopod story?  Doesn't PP have a Scottish host?  (I don't listen to PP.)
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2008, 10:01:13 AM »
(It was also odd, because the intro was Scottish. I thought maybe Steve Eley was sick or something.)

  Sounds like it was Starship Sofa. I think they did that one a while back, and the host(s) have really heavy accents.
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2008, 07:44:03 AM »
Okay so thanks for making me cry on the way to work! Brilliant story, I don;t think I have ever felt quite so deeply about a robot before.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #64 on: June 30, 2008, 12:35:17 PM »
It was okay.
Not a great story.  I thought it was kind of pointless to make the necklaces, but what else are busted-up robots good for?

I have been listening for a long time.  Really?  Crying?  There have been a few stories that make me think, but I fear there may be a little too much sensitivity up in here.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #65 on: June 30, 2008, 09:47:21 PM »
I get Escape Pod through iTunes, and when I downloaded this story, I got instead a Starship Sofa piece by the same author.  While it was an intriguing story and good incentive for me to expand my podcast library, it was not what I was expecting.  Was this intentional in some way?

I ended up finding this story on Elizabeth Bear's website.  I had downloaded the Escape Pod episode a few times through iTunes and always got a Starship Sofa episode.  Now, I really, really liked the story that I downloaded, but I couldn't figure out why it was called "Tideline" when there wasn't an ocean or lake or river or any body of water.

Does anyone know what that story was?  I'm pretty sure Tony introduced it as "Tideline," but it definitely wasn't.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2008, 07:11:21 AM »
Does anyone know what that story was?  I'm pretty sure Tony introduced it as "Tideline," but it definitely wasn't.

   They did her story "And The Deep Blue Sea" back in April, and they do mention "Tideline" In the intro, so perhaps it's that one?
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #67 on: July 01, 2008, 07:00:38 PM »
Does anyone know what that story was?  I'm pretty sure Tony introduced it as "Tideline," but it definitely wasn't.

   They did her story "And The Deep Blue Sea" back in April, and they do mention "Tideline" In the intro, so perhaps it's that one?

That sounds like an odd title for a story about a courier traveling through the post-apocalypse desert who has made a pact with the devil and he's ready to collect.

It was a good story.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #68 on: July 01, 2008, 07:14:12 PM »
Does anyone know what that story was?  I'm pretty sure Tony introduced it as "Tideline," but it definitely wasn't.

   They did her story "And The Deep Blue Sea" back in April, and they do mention "Tideline" In the intro, so perhaps it's that one?

That sounds like an odd title for a story about a courier traveling through the post-apocalypse desert who has made a pact with the devil and he's ready to collect.

It was a good story.

  Doesn't it though? That is the story they played though. I thought it was good story (overall I find SSS to be a little more hit-or-miss than EP)
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2008, 12:35:12 AM »
2008 hugo award winner

congrats to ms Bear. this was definitely my favourite =)

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #70 on: August 22, 2008, 02:22:15 PM »
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and found it very emotionally moving.

Congratulations to Ms. Bear on her well-deserved win!
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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #71 on: July 01, 2010, 11:39:59 AM »
One of my very favorite Bear stories appears to have vanished off the intarwebs.  It was a fairy tale called "Old Leatherwings" and it was totally the bomb.  Hmmm, maybe I should go over to the Podcastle area and ask Rachel track it down.  It would be awesome on Podcastle.

Ah, if only you had editorial control over a fantasy podcast so that you could decide yourself that you wanted to run it.  Oh, wait...  Didn't know if you remembered saying this, but if you still like the story you could put it on your "to buy" list.   ;D

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #72 on: July 01, 2010, 11:59:33 AM »
There are so many stories about a robot becoming more human, but this one really stands out from the group!  I like how the robot, in absence of her original objectives, creates new objectives for creating the necklace.  She doesn't necessarily feel, but if she can understand a human reaction and emulate it, from the outside it is indistinguishable.  Instead of blasting bogies to shrapnel, she is collecting delicate shells and stringing them together as a memorial for her fallen comrades.  And, really, what else is there to do--she knows she has limited time remaining, but she chooses NOT to just sit and wait for the end, instead taking initiative and trying to make a difference, to immortalize her fellow soldiers through story. 

I didn't get anywhere near crying, but the image of her making her memorials was really amazing, and I really felt bad when she finally stopped functioning.

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #73 on: July 01, 2010, 11:59:55 AM »
And it's this sort of Hugo selection that I can really stand behind--good choice!

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #74 on: August 10, 2010, 09:41:44 AM »
++Superb Story
++Superb Narration
+Good audio quality

This is the very first Escape Pod episode i listened to, and still my favourite of all subsequent episodes i've heard (not to say there are not a bulk of super short-story science fiction here).

This one so inspired me i made a small Half-Life One recreation of the story. Check it out if you dare!

/= )
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 09:43:42 AM by captain0terror »

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Re: EP155: Tideline
« Reply #75 on: November 07, 2019, 05:11:57 PM »
I'm in the midst of reading all of the Hugo nominated short stories, and this one is easily in my top ten favorites. Bonus points for including a Watership Down reference.

P.S. If anyone is interested in another heartbreaking story about a killer robot be sure to check out "Rust" by Joseph E. Kelleam. If you can't kind find a copy to read, it was also featured on Mindwebs.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 07:10:14 PM by Marlboro »