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Author Topic: EP159: Elites  (Read 22406 times)
Shotobouv
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« Reply #60 on: May 31, 2008, 01:45:25 PM »


Edit: THAT is where the chills come in, by the way.  If you don't find it chilling that we spend trillions on turning people into killing machines and NOTHING on turning them back into functioning humans, then you aren't paying attention.


War is an insane situation. "War make a man insane by civilian standards. When the man come back, he may return to civilian norms again. After a while." From "Introduction: Welcome to the War Zone", book "The Military Dimension Mark II", by David Drake.

I think the stories, "Tideline" and "Elites" go very well together, how we are remembered and how we are treated when we return.

Steve in the intro mentions "The Forever War", By Joe Haldeman, who served in Vietnam. I quoted David Drake who also served in Vietnam and writes about his experiences from that time in science fiction. I think a grimmer side, Hammer Slammers, but others as well. His characters are not sane by civilian standards.

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stePH
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« Reply #61 on: May 31, 2008, 02:22:28 PM »

Steve in the intro mentions "The Forever War", By Joe Haldeman, who served in Vietnam.

Not exactly.  I didn't recall any explicit reference to The Forever War so I went back and listened.  The first thing Steve says in the outro is "This isn't the first work of science fiction to take a hard look at the way we treat veterans.  Joe Haldeman's practically made his career on it."

But I do like The Forever War and consider it the companion volume to Heinlein's Starship Troopers.  Or, at least, whenever somebody tells me they're reading Starship Troopers I always recommend that they read The Forever War as soon as they finish.
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« Reply #62 on: May 31, 2008, 07:22:50 PM »

[snip]
We can speculate that the government got to them, but that's all cotton-fluff conspiracy so far as the end of the story is concerned. The main character accepted that they were right, that the method could be used on a grand scale to help more Elites out. But she did have doubts. Were they founded on her emotional instabilities, or was there something to them?
[snip] 
There is definitely something to Weena's doubts, because if the government was really on the level, they would not be sending fake Elites into the house to collect DNA samples. If you are trying to gain someone's trust, committing such an outright violation of that trust is not something that will convince them that you are trustworthy.
Up until the end, I was thinking that the gummint's hidden agenda was not to find an effective way to rehabilitate the vets for the sake of healing them, but rather to make it easier to gain public acceptance of the way they messed with their heads in the first place. Something along the lines of "well, they'll end up perfectly normal after the tour of duty, so no harm - no foul". Doctoring the spin instead of the patients.
But that didn't happen.

[snip]
THAT is where the chills come in, by the way.  If you don't find it chilling that we spend trillions on turning people into killing machines and NOTHING on turning them back into functioning humans, then you aren't paying attention.

*leans forward in rocking chair and gestures with pipestem*
I've been watching the nightly news off and on since the early '60s. The novelty of obscenely high offe... er, defense budgets and PTSD has long since worn off, for me. "The chill is gone", you might say.
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« Reply #63 on: June 01, 2008, 10:28:07 AM »

[snip]
THAT is where the chills come in, by the way.  If you don't find it chilling that we spend trillions on turning people into killing machines and NOTHING on turning them back into functioning humans, then you aren't paying attention.

*leans forward in rocking chair and gestures with pipestem*
I've been watching the nightly news off and on since the early '60s. The novelty of obscenely high offe... er, defense budgets and PTSD has long since worn off, for me. "The chill is gone", you might say.
[/quote]

Well, grampy, I figgers it like this; y'all done did some fine work, keepin' the faith an' all, and now it's my turn.  We gotta keep beatin' the drum and playin' the Woody Guthrie songs 'til someone up in Warshington starts to pay some mind.  Let's jest say there's a good reason the blues is still playin'...

</stupid accent>

Seriously, though, it's not a problem that ever goes away.  We ebb and flow our way through history, and each generation allows itself to be outraged anew without effectively passing the lesson along to the next one.  Despite our shoddy treatment of WWI veterans, Vietnam vets, and now the guys suffering their way through Walter Reed, there's always another crop of youngsters behind them believing the recruiting sergeants' B.S. about honor, duty, and integrity.  (Apparently only qualities they look for in others... since they seem to evaporate when a servicemember actually tries to claim a benefit.)

</rant>

Okay, now I'll just go back to being entertained.   Roll Eyes

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« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2008, 12:14:08 AM »

Seriously, though, it's not a problem that ever goes away.  We ebb and flow our way through history, and each generation allows itself to be outraged anew without effectively passing the lesson along to the next one.  Despite our shoddy treatment of WWI veterans, Vietnam vets, and now the guys suffering their way through Walter Reed, there's always another crop of youngsters behind them believing the recruiting sergeants' B.S. about honor, duty, and integrity.  (Apparently only qualities they look for in others... since they seem to evaporate when a servicemember actually tries to claim a benefit.)
I hear ya. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulce_et_Decorum_Est
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« Reply #65 on: June 02, 2008, 12:42:52 PM »

Neat story.  I work a lot with VA hospitals and women's shelters/halfway houses for my day job and so this story really hit home with me.  Spousal or child abuse victims and people dealing with addictions often have a very similiar type of PTSD as veterans.  There are women/people like this all over our world, learning and struggling to be resilient to the circumstances of their past.  They aren't all malicious bio-enhanced super weapons, but still.

I'd like to see more non profit organizations in science fiction.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 11:24:13 AM by goatkeeper » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: June 03, 2008, 10:10:57 AM »

Up until the end, I was thinking that the gummint's hidden agenda was not to find an effective way to rehabilitate the vets for the sake of healing them, but rather to make it easier to gain public acceptance of the way they messed with their heads in the first place. Something along the lines of "well, they'll end up perfectly normal after the tour of duty, so no harm - no foul". Doctoring the spin instead of the patients.
But that didn't happen.

  I viewed it as more the government wanting to learn how to manipulate the Elites further, to make them more controllable. If they can treat the Elites once they are too old to be useful and prevent them from doing awful and embarrassing things once back in normal society, all the better, but the real goal is to learn how to make them even more dangerous in battle while still being controllable.

  In any case, if their world is anything like our, when the vets do act out in normal society it would not need to be spun very much. When a vet does something now (like killing themselves or someone else), it's just a small local news story that runs somewhere between a politician speaking at a high school graduation and the segment where they test infomercial items to see if they really work. If no one pays attention to the problem, there is no real need to spin it.
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« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2008, 12:35:33 AM »

If no one pays attention to the problem, there is no real need to spin it.

That has to be the single saddest thing I've heard all week.
Mostly because it's so true.
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« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2008, 10:57:39 AM »

I thought I remembered something about women having a stronger drive to defend things they loved than men.  Maybe I made that up in my head though.
You may be right. But even given that, I got the impression they didn't look very hard to see if men had similarly effective triggers that could be exploited.

"They're gonna take your SUV, your beer, and your free porn.  Go kill 'em."
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« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2008, 10:05:39 AM »

If no one pays attention to the problem, there is no real need to spin it.

That has to be the single saddest thing I've heard all week.
Mostly because it's so true.

  Well, I am known around work for being a ray of sunshine. I'm glad I was here to cheer up your day  Wink
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stePH
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« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2008, 10:21:04 AM »


You may be right. But even given that, I got the impression they didn't look very hard to see if men had similarly effective triggers that could be exploited.

"They're gonna take your SUV, your beer, and your free porn.  Go kill 'em."

You left out ESPN.
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« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2008, 10:03:09 AM »

I thought this was an oddly serendipitous story:

http://io9.com/5015317/a-parasite-that-induces-love-in-its-host

A Brazilian wasp has evolved a very peculiar mind-control power in order to reproduce: It induces love in a species of caterpillar. Smiley
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« Reply #72 on: June 11, 2008, 10:46:11 AM »

I thought this was an oddly serendipitous story:

http://io9.com/5015317/a-parasite-that-induces-love-in-its-host

A Brazilian wasp has evolved a very peculiar mind-control power in order to reproduce: It induces love in a species of caterpillar. Smiley

Disturbing isn't the right word.  Horrifying?   I need to get me some of the wasp mind-control power.
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« Reply #73 on: June 11, 2008, 03:24:21 PM »

Man, what is it about these Brazilian parasitic wasps?
http://web.mac.com/normsherman/Site/Podcast/Entries/2007/11/21_Drabblecast_39-_The_Beekeepersby_J._Alan_Pierce.html
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Archie
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« Reply #74 on: June 20, 2008, 07:43:06 AM »

This was first class. I have a friend who was in the UK Special Forces and I have burned a copy of this onto CD for him. It was brilliantly read and a first class story.

Excellent
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« Reply #75 on: June 22, 2008, 10:35:53 PM »

I don't remember, exactly, but I got the impression that there wasn't any good scientific reason why the elites should be all female, but one of the original researchers said "Hey! Mothers defending their young!", and since then it had mainly been a point of dogma, or maybe ideology, that women (of the right sort, with the right stimuli) would be better front-line soldiers than men.

I think the text bears this interpretation out. It strikes me that this is the deeper point. The story inverts our prejudice that men make better soldiers with a scientifically dubious dogma and questions it. Recall the instance where the main character looks for those reports about these tests but cannot find them. This inversion aspect, I found, was the most enjoyable. For a number of minutes at the beginning, I thought 'why did Steve get a woman to read a story about soldiers' until it was made clear that the soldiers were women.

It strikes me that one good reason to make soldiers female is the same reason that sometime in the 19th century, women started to become the majority of teachers: fewer men were signing up. In this story, I get the impression that propaganda merely started telling soldiers that the "maternal protective instinct" made women better soldiers and men stopped becoming soldiers for fear of being labeled feminine. You'll recall the comments the main character had about the soft, weak doctor.
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« Reply #76 on: May 25, 2010, 07:55:34 AM »

Does this week's Drabblecast feel like a prequel to this story? Same author, same idea (woman warriors)...

http://web.me.com/normsherman/Site/Podcast/Entries/2010/5/21_Drabblecast_164-_The_Observer_by_Kristine_Kathryn_Rusch_Drabble-_The_Miner_byTravis_Scott_Greer.html

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« Reply #77 on: June 02, 2010, 11:16:11 AM »


That would make sense.  When I listened to The Observer I'd forgotten that this one was also by KKR, but I still had a strong association with it. 

Unfortunately, realizing that increases my dislike for this one that I already didn't like particularly well.  The other story used it to much better result.  This one seemed like it was just trying to justify it's premise of women warriors and trying too hard.  In a society where technology is advanced enough to genetically engineer supersoldiers, creating super-mother soldiers isn't going to trump advanced weaponry on the other side.  Adrenaline fueled protective instincts aren't all that helpful with modern weaponry.  In the days of blade to blade combat, sure, but then the technology for engineering wouldn't be available. 

The one concept that I found very intriguing from it all was that the memory wipes did not stop the PTSD.  I don't know if that would be true or not, but if it would, it would say a lot about the nature of PTSD, perhaps that it is rooted deep in the brainstem below the level of conscious memory.
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yicheng
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« Reply #78 on: June 02, 2010, 11:26:20 AM »

I heard the Drabblecast story as well, and I agree with Unblinking that "the Observer" seemed better executed.  I was better sold that the character in the Observer was one woman you didn't want to f*ck with:  she was a bloody killer rather than a hormone-case.   

I still find the idea of hormonally-enhanced women soldiers to be rather unnecessary, but that's just my opinion.  Other countries already use women as combat troops (British and Isreali's come to mind), and I don't know any military mind that would think uncontrollably violent soldiers are a good idea.  Discipline, training, organization, ruthlessness, and technology wins wars, not blood-thirsty sociopathy.  That's why those short-ish Roman legionaries were able to beat the crap out of the larger stronger Gauls.
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