Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: EP196: Evil Robot Monkey  (Read 12941 times)

Russell Nash

  • Guest
on: April 23, 2009, 04:00:54 PM
EP196: Evil Robot Monkey

By Mary Robinette Kowal.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, vol. 2, edited by George Mann.

Audible.com Promotion!
Get your free audiobook at: http://audiblepodcast.com/escapepod

Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. The clay matted down the hair on the back of his hands making them look almost human. He turned the potter’s wheel with his prehensile feet as he shaped the vase. Pinching the clay between his fingers he lifted the wall of the vase, spinning it higher.

Someone banged on the window of his pen. Sly jumped and then screamed as the vase collapsed under its own weight. He spun and hurled it at the picture window like feces. The clay spattered against the Plexiglas, sliding down the window.


Rated PG. Contains one angry chimp with a potty mouth. Sort of.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 04:02:56 PM
 :( stoopid monkey.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Zathras

  • Guest
Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 04:16:42 PM
Really good story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But...Hugo?



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 04:49:45 PM
When Steve said it was short, I looked at the remaining time on my iPod and said "Feh." Still like 15 minutes left.

He wasn't kidding, though! I liked it, but I think I'm going to listen to Mary Robinette Kowal's reading of it before I really comment.


Void Munashii

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 267
  • twitter.com/VOIDMunashii
    • Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse
Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 02:53:38 PM
  Short, but very enjoyable. I would love to see this idea expanded on in a longer piece.

"Mallville - A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse"
http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com


stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 04:05:06 PM
Short, enjoyable, worthy of EP, but "Exhalation" is still far and away the best of the Hugo nominees this year.  I doubt next week's "monkey story" will top it, but I'll give it a fair chance.

PS: A chimpanzee is not a monkey.

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


birdless

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • Five is right out.
Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 06:44:54 AM
Really good story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But...Hugo?

(with apologies to Zorag, but it was my thought exactly8)



Zathras

  • Guest
Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 07:05:04 AM
Really good story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But...Hugo?

(with apologies to Zorag, but it was my thought exactly8)

If you're sharing the same thoughts as me, I'm not the one you should be apologizing to.  The rest of the forum is probably a good place to start with the apologies...



thomasowenm

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 364
  • Servant of The Orator Maleficent
Reply #8 on: April 25, 2009, 05:59:07 PM
A story of an intellegent ape who is not at home with his species or humans.  Didn't I already see this on Futurama's Mar's University episode?  I did however like it, but nowhere near a Hugo.  Just a nice piece of fluff flash fiction.



stePH

  • Actually has enough cowbell.
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Cool story, bro!
    • Thetatr0n on SoundCloud
Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 07:41:05 PM
A story of an intellegent ape who is not at home with his species or humans. 

"Barnaby in Exile"

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising


Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #10 on: April 26, 2009, 05:05:21 AM
I liked it alright, but I have to agree with Zorag and birdless.

I guess my problem with it is this.  In EP169, "How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice", the protagonist is a talking dog, and he never sounds like a human inhabiting a dog's body.  He sounds like a talking dog.  Barnaby of "Barnaby in Exile" managed to convince me that he was an ape, not just an unusually hairy human.

But Sly the Chimp sounds like a human trapped in a chimp body. 

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #11 on: April 27, 2009, 01:16:38 PM
I didn't really enjoy this one. There was no new ground covered.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #12 on: April 27, 2009, 03:16:51 PM
A story of an intellegent ape who is not at home with his species or humans. 

"Barnaby in Exile"

Half right. Barnaby was perfectly at home with humans, he just couldn't interact on the same level with his fellow species members, which is why it was such a tear-jerker.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Fredosphere

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • The Fredösphere
Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 06:21:26 PM
That the monkey's occupational therapy was shaping clay was useful as a story device because it gave the monkey a turdlike object to toss around.  But I also instantly thought of the clay as a reference to the biblical creation story, shaping a rational creature from the dust of the ground (especially as retold by poet Wilfred Owen:  "was it for this the clay grew tall?").  I.e., the uplifted monkey is a son of man, created in man's image, and now is empowered to create in his turn.

I wonder if the author was conscious of that connection.  I wonder if any other listener noticed it . . . or was it just my busy little mind making oblique connections?



Loz

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
    • Blah Flowers
Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 06:18:07 PM
Very odd. A perfectly decent first scene... That then turns out to be the entire story. Where's the conflict? Where's the argument and it's being either proved or disproved in the story? Not only is it surprising that it's been nominated as a Hugo, it's surprising that it was accepted by any editor in order to be published and so be nominated for a Hugo, it's not bad, it's just not a story. I would love to see these characters in a proper story, and the almost human chimp being used to examine the human condition. As is, this scene is not it.



MacArthurBug

  • Giddy
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 648
  • I can resist anything except temptation
    • undercaffinated
Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 06:46:21 PM
I wasn't feeling this one- solid Meh material.  Not BAD.. just I'm jaded and I need GREAT

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Russell Nash

  • Guest
Reply #16 on: May 07, 2009, 07:06:45 PM
I was surprised by the ending.  I said, "what, it's over?"  Where's the rest of it. 



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1473
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 06:54:09 PM
Monkey artist.  (Okay, not a monkey. But neither is the chimp in the story a monkey.)

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #18 on: May 08, 2009, 08:20:39 PM
as an aside, I disagree with the implication that new ground has to be covered to make a story worthwhile.



DigitalVG

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 38
Reply #19 on: May 12, 2009, 04:54:04 PM
I enjoyed this one because the chimp was very real.  He wasn't hyper-intelligent.  He wasn't perfectly enlightened.  He was like us.  His reactions to body language and stuff were very nicely done and for such a short piece, it really shone that the writer had done a good deal of research on the subject and tried to stay as accurate and true to the character as possible.  This is what really makes good sci-fi for me.  Not just exploring an idea but carefully researching the ideas you're exploring, subtly giving your audience bits of information that will add to their knowledge and improve understanding of the world in the framework of a good story.  This chimp is a self-actualized being.  The implants may give him a slightly greater intellect, but it is his choice and conscious effort to be more than an animal.

On a more personal level, I think this also struck an interesting chord for me.  A couple of years ago, I visited the San Diego zoo with my partner and her family and sat down by the orangutan's habitat to sketch.  The oldest of the orangutans there came and sat beside the glass so we were only inches apart and both let me draw her and watched me draw her.  It's hard to explain exactly, but there was definitely some communication happening.  My understanding was that from the glances I would give her and the drawing I was doing, she definitely understood I was drawing her because she definitely also knew what other orangutans look like.  We spent a good half hour sitting like that and I'd periodically show her the drawing which she would look at until I took it away to work some more.   The session only ended when a group of noisy children came through and pressed up against the glass.  Then she and I both shuffled away.  Really a neat experience and very similar to experiences I've had when drawing children. 

I'm not sure she was pleased with my drawing, but she was definitely interested by it, and I'm betting anything that in her 30+ years there, I'm not the first person that's sat and drawn or painted pictures of her and that makes me imagine that she is genuinely interested in art, or at least in the limited interaction and communication that we were able to share.  It's something different from the people who are just looking at her and snapping photos.  Something she can see and experience that's outside her world.



JoeFitz

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Reply #20 on: May 13, 2009, 01:16:39 AM
This was interesting as these things go. Not extraordinary. It did remind me of a recent news item: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16726-missilethrowing-chimp-plots-attacks-on-tourists.html



Djibril

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 15
    • The Future Fire
Reply #21 on: May 23, 2009, 01:44:04 PM
I enjoyed this one. Yes it was more of a vignette than a full story, but I found it expertly sketched and emotionally convincing. (Of course the chimp was anthropomorphized, but that's not the result of inexpert characterization, it was the result of human meddling with its brain--both the prosthetic interface and the humans that were its only intellectual interaction all its life.)

http://futurefire.net/
Social, Political & Speculative Cyber-fiction

*Now reading for Feminist Science Fiction themed issue*


wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #22 on: May 25, 2009, 06:30:17 AM
I agree that it felt more like the beginning of a story than a whole story. 

There was one part that I found intriguing.  When the chimp was trying to control his rage and the trainer leaned in close, closer than any other human did, to tell him something.  It could have been the climax of the story if the intensity had been built up a bit.  The danger to him was very real, and he knew it.  Not only was he showing trust in the chimp, he was using the confrontation to calm him down.  "You want to hit something?  Hit me."   



monkeystuff

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Reply #23 on: September 19, 2009, 05:23:53 AM
this story is freakin great, it doesn't need to be long to get the point across.  i was kind of disappointed in some other peoples posts that said this story didn't live up to what it should have been.  to this day evil robot monkey has been one of my favorite short stories yet.  it have deep concepts of right and wrong vs our more primal urges.  as well as communication with animals and even animals judging people, usually we are the ones to judge.   the fact that the monkey thought that some people needed the same technology that made him smart was very humorous.  was the monkey really evil?  for a caged semi intelligent animal i'd say he was doing pretty well.   and he relationship with the one employee who took the time to befriend him was awesome.   the punishment that wasn't really punishment... perfect      it was short but it made me think and i won't ever forget this story...   

and one more thing  SSA

justice may only be obtained where there is a lack of injustice


Gamercow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 654
Reply #24 on: October 12, 2009, 07:09:39 PM
Short, but memorable for me.  I thought that the characters were done well, and they left me wanting more.  Perhaps not Hugo caliber, at this length, for me, but memorable, and good.  7/10

The cow says "Mooooooooo"