Escape Artists
July 31, 2014, 02:24:10 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP194: Exhalation  (Read 14170 times)
Rob Grant
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2009, 06:47:36 PM »

Talking of Asimov comparisons, a part of this seemed to me almost an homage to his 'The Gods Themselves'.  In this novel humankind is contacted by the inhabitants of a parallel universe who offer us the designs of an 'electron pump'. By using this to transfer matter between the universes it appears that both sides can gain energy in much the same way that the narrator here speculates about exploiting a pressure difference with another world.

Exhalation was a lovely story and very well read I thought. It left me wondering about the society of these beings. A quite sophisticated and differentiated culture seemed to be hinted at. Of course, the story involves two universal puzzles. One concerns the ultimate pressure loss/heat death fate of all physical processes. Was the narrator's closing epiphany meant to emphasise the still more difficult question though? That is, the matter of how physical processes are related to meaning, culture and consciousness.
Logged
JaneE
Extern
*
Posts: 5


« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2009, 07:04:55 AM »

One of the best stories I've heard in a while.
Gave me motivation to look at some of my stories again.
Logged
Agent_137
Extern
*
Posts: 8



« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2009, 11:03:05 PM »

i cried, but not because i was sad.
Logged
Anarkey
Meen Pie
Editor
*****
Posts: 703


...depends a good deal on where you want to get to


WWW
« Reply #43 on: May 11, 2009, 01:00:46 PM »

Loved this story with a big big big deep love.  Everything about it.  Want to marry it and have, like, ten thousand of its babies.  See?  Chiang can so totally do better than the storm angel-chasers story.

Ahhhhhhh.  This one goes with the keepers.  Thanks Escape Pod!
Logged

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 3865


Mmm. Tiger.


WWW
« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2009, 02:22:52 AM »

im nearing towards the end of this episode, and man i am loving this story! this is definitely one to keep! it ensnared me and kept me riveted throughout the whole story!  the reading was awesome too Smiley
i especially loved the dizzying imagery of looking through your own brain.  *shudder*
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Musings and Ramblings
frak-em-all
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2009, 03:27:21 PM »


This was an absolutely outstanding story.  The author did a fantastic job of creating a completely new world with it's own set of natural laws that was both alien and familiar.  Completely original.  I loved it.

Esteban
Logged
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2009, 08:57:17 PM »

And this one won the Hugo.

Please keep discussion to this story's relative merits against the others, the general Hugo thread is here: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=2756.0
Logged

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3781

Cool story, bro!


« Reply #47 on: August 09, 2009, 09:53:36 PM »

And this one won the Hugo.

Please keep discussion to this story's relative merits against the others, the general Hugo thread is here: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=2756.0

This story kicked the collective ass of the other contenders.


... I've forgotten which were the contenders.  Undecided  Well, it kicked their collective ass anyway; I do remember that much.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
samuel5@thegrinningwizards.com
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2009, 11:38:35 PM »

This is the best EP story to date. IMHO.

It also serves as a wonder "heat death of the universe" introduction.
Logged
kibitzer
Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 1925


Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice


« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2009, 08:29:19 PM »

Just want to add my voice: favourite EP story by far. Reading was ace. Actually, the exceptional nature of this story restored my faith in EP a little.
Logged

eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4546



« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2009, 02:23:53 AM »

I've raved about this story before; in my opinion, for anyone else to have won the hugo this year would have been ridiculous. Of course, this does not diminish the accomplishment here, but the reverse.
Logged
Agricola
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #51 on: September 13, 2009, 08:36:45 AM »

Magnificent writing and performance both. A real stand out of an EP. Why? I enjoy many episodes but I return to this one and even after several listens, it holds up.
Logged

"...to take apart the system of illusions and deception which functions to prevent understanding of contemporary reality ... requires the kind of normal skepticism and willingness to apply one's analytical skills that almost all people have and that they can exercise." Noam Chomsky
ILikeMostCheeses
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2009, 11:36:36 PM »

My favorite three lit podcasts are EP, PseudoPod, and The Sherlock Holmes London Society.
This story will not be deleted from my Zune. Love it. Had to pull over on the drive to work to listen and pay attention to the final 15 minutes, it was such a compelling piece. Was 10 minutes late, didn't care.
Logged
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2217



WWW
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2010, 03:15:55 PM »

Wow, how did this story manage to slip through my fingers.  I orginally missed it because of my travels for work.  But I thought I had gone back and listened to everything I had missed.  Aparently not.

I am so happy to have rediscoved this absolute gem.  Very, very good story.  It triggers the imagination, geeks out on science, explores cool concepts, and makes one think about one's own existance.  It epitomizes science fiction!  My appraisal of Ted Chaing has skyrocketed.  Of course this won the Hugo.
Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2938


Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2010, 04:37:57 PM »

Wow, how did this story manage to slip through my fingers.  I orginally missed it because of my travels for work.  But I thought I had gone back and listened to everything I had missed.  Aparently not.

I am so happy to have rediscoved this absolute gem.  Very, very good story.  It triggers the imagination, geeks out on science, explores cool concepts, and makes one think about one's own existance.  It epitomizes science fiction!  My appraisal of Ted Chaing has skyrocketed.  Of course this won the Hugo.

And, incidentally, Small Beer press said they were going to bring his quite excellent short story collection (Stories of Your Life and Others) back into print today: http://smallbeerpress.com/not-a-journal/2010/01/28/stories-of-your-life/

Which is a good thing, because it's going for $50+ on Amazon right now. Luckily for me the NYPL has it (though I will likely be buying this as well).
Logged

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 5990



WWW
« Reply #55 on: April 20, 2010, 12:02:11 PM »

This story was amazing!  A contender for my #1 favorite EP episode (though that would require a grudge match with Friction), and probably in my top 5 short stories ever.

It really surprises me how much I like this, actually, since from a distance it seems to be the didactic hard SF that so often bore me in the big magazines.  But, really, it was great in every way.  The narrator did a great job reading it.  The oddity of these creatures and this world was given in digestible portions while the story unfolded WHILE not straying from the protagonists point of view.  The science was not just for the sake of science but also gave purpose to the character, an understanding of their world, and even philosophy of the mind. 

Especially compelling was the concept that the entire world is run by a long exhale from some higher power--following that idea further might imply that there will be a renewal of the world on the next breath (perhaps when someone realizes they've been neglecting these bots and renews the tank). 

I tend to get a little bored with scientist protagonists in classic stories (and this has a classic feel to it, in a good way).  Most scientist characters just aren't that interesting, they're smart in some generically defined way, and they come up with some clever solution to the problem to avert disaster at the last minute.  But THIS guy is not only smart, he's also got GUTS in a major way.  It takes some major courage to dissect your own brain.  Although it also requires your drive to learn to be more powerful than your concern for yourself and others.  What if he'd accidentally damaged his brain in a way that blocked the airflow to certain areas, he could have come out of there with psychopathic behaviors and harmed his fellow creatures.  I'm glad it didn't go that way, but I'm just sayin...

One thing that I did wonder about, though, is no one seemed to consider simplifying their life to prolong it.  For instance:  do they need so many clocks?  Presumably the clocks expend energy to run, so if you knew that every tick was a slice off of your life when you'd previously thought your life more or less indefinite, wouldn't it drive you nuts?
Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
bbienvenue
Extern
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2010, 06:12:22 PM »

Greetings all,

I'm very late to the game here and basically writing because I want to get some more free fiction, but hopefully I'll try and become a bit involved in the forums. I'm posting on this story since this is still one of my favorite Escape Pod stories and one that I push on innocent bystanders every chance I get.

I occasionally teach an undergraduate course on cognitive science at a school in upstate New York. The last time I taught the course I added a set of readings I called "cognitive science fiction." Basically, for each week's topic I assigned a technical reading covering the research into the field and also an optional fun reading, a piece of science fiction that delved into the issue from a literary perspective. We read some of Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad, some Asimov robot stories, some William Gibson and also some not-quite science fiction like Borges and Julio Cortazar. I also included some Escape Pod stories that were relevant to various topics.

Ted Chiang's _Exhalation_ went with a section on dynamic systems and cognition. Even after all my lectures on the neuroscience of the mind and the scientific data on how thought is represented in human brains (and other systems), I had a couple students tell me that the passage on the dissection and the description of air moving the gold foil leaves was when they finally "got" what I had been going on about all semester. I also had several students tell me this was one of the best readings in the class and that they were hooked on Escape Pod as a result.

So, thank you Ted Chiang for teaching my students what I could not, and thank you Escape Pod for bringing it to me! I haven't been vocal, but I have loved you from afar.
Logged
Swamp
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2217



WWW
« Reply #57 on: October 06, 2010, 06:40:33 PM »

Ted Chiang's _Exhalation_ went with a section on dynamic systems and cognition. Even after all my lectures on the neuroscience of the mind and the scientific data on how thought is represented in human brains (and other systems), I had a couple students tell me that the passage on the dissection and the description of air moving the gold foil leaves was when they finally "got" what I had been going on about all semester. I also had several students tell me this was one of the best readings in the class and that they were hooked on Escape Pod as a result.

I've thought of it as a great intelligent story from an entertainment perspective.  That it works for teaching cognitive science is very, very cool.
Logged

Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast
19lettersinmyname
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2012, 10:54:09 PM »

loved it! a master work, but I agree the little epilogue at the end went on too long. inspiring nonetheless! Grin
Logged
Ed
Extern
*
Posts: 10



« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2013, 09:40:03 PM »

Amazing story. Wonderfully simple way of elucidating the idea of entropy and heat death, hints of other universes, exploration of philosophy of mind. Good stuff!

A number of the preceding comments refer to the poignant scene where the protagonist operates on his own brain. The term auto-dissection was used in several of these comments. A more accurate term is auto-vivisection. There's a compelling term one doesn't have cause to think about very often!
Logged

It's not the destination...it's the glory of the ride.
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4  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!