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Author Topic: EP212: Skinhorse Goes to Mars  (Read 6211 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: August 20, 2009, 05:04:15 PM »

EP212: Skinhorse Goes to Mars

By Jay Lake.
Read by Mike Bori.

When I met Skinhorse, my first thought was old. Which was weird. Nobody gets old these days. We all die young, some of us after living a long time, if we’re lucky.

He was in Piet’s Number Seven, a bar-cum-caravanserai in an illegal orbit trailing far enough behind Vesta to be ignorable. Piet’s had been instantiated in an old volatiles bladder that had done the Jovian run a few too many times before falling into the surplus circuit. You could store entire cities in Piet’s cubage, which made for a somewhat attenuated bar experience. Plus the place had one of those gravity cans — yes, those gravity cans — which meant your drink stayed stuck down long as you were near a Higgs carpet.

So there I was annoying myself with three perfectly disrespectable rock jocks, each of us out to fleece the others, when this cadaver starts to stand over me. We’re all forever young or forever dead, but this armstrong looked like he’d shaved about half a cent too deep across his whole body, then restored his dermis with spray-on thermal insulation.


Rated R for strong language, strong violence, and world-spanning tumors.



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 03:07:46 AM by Russell Nash » Logged
Zathras
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 05:51:06 PM »

Great story!  The reading was spot on for this story. 

Again, poker shows up.......
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the_true_morg
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 10:25:26 PM »

As i listened i kept hearing jargon that was easy to grasp but did not pull brain power away from story.

###Possible Spoiler###

Many stories get so deep in explaining Sci-fi that you have to get out scratch paper, work some figures, lookup some formula and Latin root words. (finding it was made up or from greek)  then the story needs a 10 min rewind to catch up for what has happened while i was playing with numbers or doing a dictionary dash.

Skinhorse used contemporary ideas (Global warming, Genetics, Space travel) and blended them with a almost Western novella sencibilities. this was also filled with a horror of war similar to the Vietnam era  destruction of nature and then zombie clones. with a little tweaking it could have been on Pseudopod. (by tweaking i mean evil laughter at the end) 

It felt like it might be a Ben Bova story, then you had the feeling someone was going to get strung up for something they did. The Sci-fi tech felt like that Heinlein would have been writing if on the current cutting edge of tech. (no slide rulers and checking physics to enter into a computer) There was this under current of eco-consciousness that did not get preachy but tells it straight by saying "we messed up, we have to live with it."

I loved this story and would love to read a entire novel of this world with the detail taken on the small things and the big things figuring themselves out.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 10:57:04 PM by the_true_morg » Logged

"My own Duschebaggary is a killing word. Will it be a healing word as well?"
lhoward
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 09:23:20 AM »

I really enjoyed this story.   The story was solid and the narration was spot on for the character.

From the beginning I got the feeling that it was inspired by Firefly - partly the speech patterns of the characters, but more specifically the setting.   I think the author wanted to explore the "Earth was used up" premise - a part of the history of that 'verse.  When the author later used the line "leaf on the wind" there was no doubt left in my mind where his inspiration came from...

.... or maybe I'm just an obsessed Browncoat who sees Firefly everywhere... but I can't think of why anyone would accuse me of that.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 09:26:22 AM by lhoward » Logged
Schreiber
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 10:19:08 AM »

Firefly.  Star Wars.  One way or another, a roguish card-playing spaceship captain gets a dangerous job offer from a mysterious stranger.

There is a lot about this story that is original and engaging, but not every space story needs a Han Solo.  This one really didn't.
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KenK
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2009, 09:31:56 PM »

It really is surprising how much good sci-fi seems to emulate good Westerns and even in some cases actual Western history. Many of the original "cowboys" that went West in the 1870's after the Civil War were displaced rootless Confederate war veterans who regretted a lost war, witnessed the atrocities, and came away with a huge chip on their shoulder and seriously hating the victorious  government and had a hard time putting their lives back on track afterward. Just like the protagonist in Skinhorse. I liked it just like I do Westerns.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 09:54:47 AM by KenK » Logged
kibitzer
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2009, 11:42:22 PM »

I liked this one -- good story, great reading. Was it a Western? Sure. Was it really sci-fi? Who cares? Entertaining.

Also: Awesome outro Al(isdair)! Quite stirring. And please, please: a Worlds of Tomorrow on Buckaroo Banzai would be fantastic.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 01:01:54 AM by kibitzer » Logged

izzardfan
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 01:33:30 AM »

And please, please: a Worlds of Tomorrow on Buckaroo Banzai would be fantastic.

I agree!  It's one of my favorite movies!
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Cerebrilith
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2009, 03:30:51 AM »

This story got better as it went on.  I found the excess of jargon in the beginning to be distracting.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2009, 04:23:35 AM »

I liked this one.  Jay Lake is a name I've been vaguely aware of for a while, but I never actually came across his work before now.  I must add him to my "seriously check out" list.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2009, 12:19:44 PM »

And please, please: a Worlds of Tomorrow on Buckaroo Banzai would be fantastic.

I agree!  It's one of my favorite movies!


I dunno.  The watermelon thing was left hanging.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 12:38:37 PM »

I liked the pacing and world building of this story- very well put together. I liked the end.
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Somedude127
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 01:39:09 AM »

I want the back story for this universe!  There's so much good stuff here that I feel a bit cheated that I don't get to know more.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 04:09:50 PM »

I liked it, but I think I need to listen again when I can pay closer attention.  While a lot of the jargon was very accessible, I missed how there came to be tons of copies of the protagonist.  The first time he mentioned that the original of him might still be down there, I didn't get why.  Never caught further explanation.  Not sure how Skinhorse's death was supposed to help any either.

But the mood was very nice, and I enjoyed it quite a lot despite my confusion!
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 06:00:06 PM »

Not sure how Skinhorse's death was supposed to help any either.

Quantum Inseparability Principle?  His cells and the cells on Venus linked non-locally?  I dunno.
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KenK
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 08:04:52 PM »

Yeah I hear you stePH and Ocicat. I had to listen to it three times before I felt confident enough to say anything about it. But then again it's all about the story not how accurate the science is, eh? Cheesy
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2009, 06:53:41 AM »

I loved it and the reading made it even better.  More Mike Bori.

Soldiers not being able to re-integrate into society is as old as warfare.  This is what leads to the warrior as explorer trope.  They can't handle being around a lot of people so they take off.  It didn't begin with the Civil War. 

I think the parallels between that and this character are quite stretched.  This guy seemed to have a case of PTSD, but was functioning in society.
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stePH
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Hipparch
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2009, 08:46:09 AM »

This guy seemed to have a case of PTSD, but was functioning in society.
... such as it was.
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2009, 09:05:09 AM »

This guy seemed to have a case of PTSD, but was functioning in society.
... such as it was.

I was wondering if I should comment on that, but I thought it would muddle the statement.
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KenK
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2009, 09:54:15 AM »

I don't remember any stories about Roman Legionnaires or Spartan hoplites becoming aimless dysfunctional drifters after losing a war. Can you recommend some?
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