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Author Topic: EP086: When We Went to See the End of the World  (Read 2956 times)
Swamp
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« on: October 17, 2009, 05:14:45 PM »

EP086: When We Went to See the End of the World

By Robert Silverberg.
Read by  J.C. Hutchins.

Mike offered Nick some pot. “That’s really something,” he said. “To have gone to the end of the world. Hey, Ruby, maybe we’ll talk to the travel agent about it.”

Nick took a deep drag and passed the joint to Jane. He felt pleased with himself about the way he had told the story. They had all been very impressed. That swollen red sun, that scuttling crab. The trip had cost more than a month in Japan, but it had been a good investment. He and Jane were the first in the neighborhood who had gone. That was important.


Rated R. Contains drugs, swinging, and frequent gratuitous apocalypses.


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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 10:09:26 AM »

Loved it!  Much of the reason I loved it was the same reason I loved DK Thompson's Last Respects over on Pseudopod--the most horrific elements are taken nonchalantly and treated as window-dressing for the rest of the stories, and that very nonchalance only serves to magnify the horror!

I'm not entirely sure why the different endings were different but I have a couple theories:
1.  They're just simulations and the company encourages repeat visits by offering varied views.
2.  They're ALL correct.  The death of the crab is supposedly the death of the last living thing on Earth.  The only other thing that showed living things was the nova, which killed a bunch of the hopping creatures--but the animals on the other side of the EArth or underground might've survived.  Then the world floods.  Then the world freezes. 

Did anyone notice that none of the ends that they saw showed humans?  That's another end of the world entirely.  The reason they didn't show that one?  Because no one would be entertained by it:  the way things are going it probably happens in a few years due to one or more of the disasters they mentioned.

In the beginning it seemed to be about these vapid people and their fascination with this new technology, but as it went on more and more of the disastrous real world kept creeping in.  Each new revelation stunned me and I just had to laugh at the terrible absurdity of it all.  Especially the comment that the economy is being ruined by the President's funerals because businesses are closed nearly every day!!

Great story!
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captain0terror
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 10:03:08 PM »

I really enjoyed this story, but i wish i understood  it more. I guess maybe that is part of the reason i liked it, because the main plot elements  and how they related to each other were unclear to me, like:

1. Why were the trips to the end of the world different for everyone who went?
2. Why was the world in a seemingly perpetually accelerating dervish of disasters and plagues?
3. Were the time-tourists changing the future by visiting it?
4. Were the repeated trips to the future causing the natural disasters/plagues/etc to increase as more people visited the end of the world, or was that just the world they lived in?

Sooo many questions, but i still really enjoyed the story.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 10:06:38 PM by captain0terror » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 11:20:41 PM »

Quote
1. Why were the trips to the end of the world different for everyone who went?
The many-worlds theory, I'm guessing.  Every outcome with more than one possible state results in multiple different universes, one for each possibility.  Enough variations create wildly different realities.  Given enough time from a specific starting point and things could end up almost anywhere.

Quote
2. Why was the world in a seemingly perpetually accelerating dervish of disasters and plagues?
A cynical view of human nature and the second law of thermodynamics.  Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, etc.

Quote
3. Were the time-tourists changing the future by visiting it?
Possibly, though likely not much.  Might be that visiting the future changed the time travelers, which might then change the future(s) available to later travelers.

Quote
4. Were the repeated trips to the future causing the natural disasters/plagues/etc to increase as more people visited the end of the world, or was that just the world they lived in?
I'm guessing it's just that entropy always wins, personally.  The story doesn't really address the idea, per se.  It's more a story about a human reaction to tragedy, i.e. it's the end of the world, but no one cares because they're busy watching... the end of the world. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 11:48:02 PM »

For an earlier take on the story


http://www.hiddenaudiovault.com/audio/index.php?dir=classic_radio_shows/Mindwebs/&file=1976-11-12%20%28Xxxx%29%20-%20Mindwebs%20-%20When%20We%20Went%20To%20See%20The%20End%20Of%20The%20World.mp3
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