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Author Topic: EP186: Chrysalis  (Read 8516 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: January 10, 2009, 07:54:32 AM »

EP186: Chrysalis

By Mary Robinette Kowal.
Read by Cunning Minx (of Polyamory Weekly).

Sponsored by CONTAGIOUS, by Scott Sigler.

People ask me if I ever get involved with the subjects of my documentaries. I have a difficult time imagining that they would ask my male colleagues the same question, but they seem to expect women to be more emotional. In response, I tend to grit my teeth and answer very patiently with another question. How could I do my job if I were part of the story? Only by maintaining a sacred distance could I have any hope of understanding someone’s life. A documentarian records, but does not participate.

Rated G. Contains alien emotional drama.




Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009, 10:33:56 AM »

Very- strange and interestin. I, too, have felt like an outsider looking in (honestly, what geek hasn't?) during many times of my life. I understand the dilemma, and the question WAS asked well. I didn't love all the charactors drawn for this story, but I enjoyed the story. The reading was amazing. Minx has such a nice voice.
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009, 03:33:47 PM »

I liked it.  However the moment she then chose to get involved and change the story, she turned into Louis Theroux for some reason on my mind.
Good story.  didn't move me emotionally, but I enjoyed it greatly.

I don't know how I feel about documentary makers staying as observers.  The act and nature of the observation changes what is happening anyway.  So then trying to be an outside force and not effect the thing you have already changed and watch it like that, seems like it does miss the point a little.
But documenting things is important, and if you have to change it to do that, so be it.  Its better to change it than watch it without it knowing at all or against it's will.

Anyway.  I liked it.
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 08:47:00 AM »

I had a hard time getting into it - I found the beginning very slow, both in the pacing of events, and of the necessary information for me to understand what was going on. Maybe my mind wasn't entirely on the story or something. Once we hit the point where the treatise was hidden, though, things picked up a lot, and I started caring about the story and enjoying it. I don't think this will ever be a favourite of mine, but it's not bad.
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Talia
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 09:59:34 AM »

I had a hard time getting into it - I found the beginning very slow, both in the pacing of events, and of the necessary information for me to understand what was going on. Maybe my mind wasn't entirely on the story or something. Once we hit the point where the treatise was hidden, though, things picked up a lot, and I started caring about the story and enjoying it.

You know, I had the 100% IDENTICAL reaction. I guess it wasn't just me! hehe.

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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 10:05:48 AM »

Yeah I have to say it didn't grab me.
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 01:32:05 PM »

Had to give this a couple of tries, because the beginning didn't grab me, but I eventually found it to be a pretty fulfilling story. Interesting plotline, and a new angle on it which made it more interesting for me. Didn't make me think too much, but at one point I went off on a tangent about whether anyone would want to "erase their brain" or just die.
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Zathras
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2009, 03:20:36 PM »

I really liked this story.  It didn't really feel like it went anywhere.  I don't have a problem with that, just sayin'.
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 12:28:01 AM »

I loved this episode.  I am an anthropologist and this is an issue that I face all the time. I usually fall on the side of getting involved after all that fourth wall really doesn't exist.  This podcast will be required listening in my classes
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2009, 10:57:18 AM »

  Like others, I had a hard time getting into this story; way too many made-up words at the start, and I think the fact that Minx sounded like she may have done her recording in a washroom was distracting me as well. Once the story got going though, I really liked it.

  I've loved good documentaries since I was in high school, and I have always wondered how someone puts aside what should be a natural inclination to help other people for the sake of maintaining a professional distance; how a crew can stand there and watch someone do something to endanger themselves and others without interfereing. Maybe that is why I liked this story over all.

  Aside from my comment about the echoey quality of the sound, I did really like Minx's reading of the story. She captured the characters and their voices quite well.

  And I do want to hear his rave mix tape.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 12:00:50 AM »

I liked it.  At first I had it had a hard time keeping my attention, but by the end I was hooked.  Good reading by Minx.
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Talia
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 12:11:34 AM »

you know the echoey audio bothered me at first too, but by the end, I realized I didnt even notice it anymore.
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 12:19:14 PM »

I thought the same. Right now I'm listening to a 64 kbps compressed Audiobook (Contagious by Sigler if you must know) and at first, the transistion from Kid A in FLAC to the hell that is 64kbps killed my ears. But now I barely notice. I felt the same about the episode.
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Peter Tupper
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 01:48:24 PM »

I work as a journalist, so ordinarily I would have said, "Don't get involved. Be impartial. This is a job, nothing personal. You've got the sabotage on tape anyway, so it will all come out in the final cut."

But, my blood heated when I read about her stealing the treatise and putting it in the compost bin (presumably to be destroyed.) I do a lot of work trying to find old historical documents, and it makes me sick when I think of all the history that has been destroyed and lost forever. E.g. Sir Richard Francis Burton's wife destroyed many of his papers and manuscripts after he died, and large quantities of Henry Spencer Ashbee's massive library of Victorian pornography were burnt by librarians. The thought of my own work, however modest, being lost and forgotten cuts at me. Not to mention the personal betrayal, however well intentioned.

This is particularly interesting with beings who lose their personal memories when they change, and are dependent on external means of record keeping for personal continuity.

A well-written story, well read.
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 02:15:18 PM »

Not so sure about this one, really well read but the story itself didn't really engage me enough to care about the characters
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2009, 03:34:52 PM »

This is particularly interesting with beings who lose their personal memories when they change, and are dependent on external means of record keeping for personal continuity.

A well-written story, well read.
Agreed - kept my attention throughout. 

The phrase that this story left me thinking of was, "What he doesn't know won't hurt him."
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2009, 10:37:17 PM »

  I've loved good documentaries since I was in high school, and I have always wondered how someone puts aside what should be a natural inclination to help other people for the sake of maintaining a professional distance; how a crew can stand there and watch someone do something to endanger themselves and others without interfereing. Maybe that is why I liked this story over all.

I didn't think much of the story, but it put me in mind of a French Belgian film called Man Bites Dog, in which a documentary film crew follow a serial killer, at first just chronicling his activities but later actively helping him.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 10:41:22 PM by stePH » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2009, 12:05:31 PM »

first of all. I thought the happy ending was a total cop out.

secondly, slug aliens are gross, and I had such vivid pictures in my mind of silk coughing out of his mouth.

third, I think every time a documentary is made, the truth is affected and changed by the documentarian, whether they want to or not.  It is made obvious in the fact that the giant slug monsters are constantly aware of the documentor and they talk to her from time to time.  It's like watching "reality television" everything is changed by the existence of the camera.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2009, 08:36:40 PM »

first of all. I thought the happy ending was a total cop out.

secondly, slug aliens are gross, and I had such vivid pictures in my mind of silk coughing out of his mouth.

third, I think every time a documentary is made, the truth is affected and changed by the documentarian, whether they want to or not.  It is made obvious in the fact that the giant slug monsters are constantly aware of the documentor and they talk to her from time to time.  It's like watching "reality television" everything is changed by the existence of the camera.

There's something very quantum mechanics about it all  Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2009, 08:10:34 PM »

Like everyone else, I wasn't really riveted by this story.  I haven't really seen this theme of the struggle to decide whether to get involved with one's subject as a documentarian dealt with much in fiction and while its nice to see something new, but I felt little attachment to the characters.  This is strange because our main character's struggle is with the fact that she feels attached to her subjects so much as to get involved with their lives.  I also felt the happy ending was a bit of a cop-out and didn't emphasize the point of the story.
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