Author Topic: EP247: Bridesicle  (Read 37238 times)

Swamp

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EP247: Bridesicle
« on: July 01, 2010, 01:09:08 AM »
EP247: Bridesicle

By Will McIntosh

2010 Hugo Award Winner

Read by Amy H. Sturgis of StarShipSofa

Originally published in: Asimov’sDownload and read the text

Guest Host: Ben Phillips of Pseudopod

“Aw, I know you’re awake by now. Come on, sleeping beauty. Talk to me.” The last was a whisper, a lover’s words, and Mira felt that she had to come awake and open her eyes. She tried to sigh, but no breath came. Her eyes flew open in alarm.

An old man was leaning over her, smiling, but Mira barely saw him, because when she opened her mouth to inhale, her jaw squealed like a sea bird’s cry, and no breath came, and she wanted to press her hands to the sides of her face, but her hands wouldn’t come either. Nothing would move except her face.


Rated PG


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« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 08:49:35 AM by Heradel »
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blueeyeddevil

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 01:08:52 PM »
Words can scarcely describe how happy I am to see this story in the Hugo lineup.

This story has wit, poignancy, brilliant engagement with its speculative elements (including a brutally honest assessment of the possible problems associated with achieveing mental singularity), and a complex/bittersweet and emotionally realistic happy ending. Moreover, there are well-thought-out, well-engaged exploration of sexual power struggles, social conformity pressures, and the literal objectification of women. I could go into every detail, but I don't think it's necessary.

I love this story.

Yes for the Hugo. I repeat: Yes for the Hugo.

bumdhar

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 01:17:03 PM »
I concur with all blueeyeddevil said above.

It would be interesting to know the societal back ground that would allow such a practice to exist. Where’s the ACLU, goddamn it! Rights for the dead!

Best sentence: “He told Mira that he would see her on Tuesday, and killed her.”

I liked this story. In my opinion it’s the best Hugo nomination so far. 

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 03:30:03 PM »
Except for the endearing ending - made slightly horrible by the idea that the lovers would be reunited only through horrific brain merger - this could have been a Pseudopod episode. This future sounds incredibly frightening, terrible, terrifying. I'd never want to live there.

I loved the story.

I agree that it's the best the Hugo nominees so far. I can't wait for the last.
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Schreiber

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 06:29:59 PM »
I thought this piece was wonderfully ambitious. Mira's fear and her will to live were visceral. Her pride in the face of her humiliating powerlessness as activated in a deft and engaging way. But there were a few things that held "Bridesicle" back from being a really outstanding story.

McIntosh tied one hand behind his back by choosing to tell the story from Mira's severely limited perspective. But I think that with a little more imagination he  could have used this limitation to his advantage. ("What year is it?" "2345." vs. "What year is it?" "Year? Year? Oh, how quaint!"). Instead, he just worked around it. More than a century goes by, but nothing significant changes in the outside world. The grandson's orange skin and futuristic garb were kind of a flaccid attempt to show that the times, they were a-changin' without making Mira and the men in her death actually comprehend the world in different ways.  To paraphrase Steve Eley regarding Knights of the Old Republic, a civilization that doesn't change throughout the generations is kind of...leotarded.

I could forgive the idea that language, laws, and relationships all remain stagnant over the one hundred plus years of Mira's death, except that the innovation of mental singularity seems like such a game changer. How would a century of this practice fail to utterly transform the nature of identity, individuality, and social hierarchy? How many votes would a man with 29 Hitchers get? What does a PhD in physics do when all the jobs are taken by people who've got twelve of them rattling around in their brains? After enough time, how would the Hitcherless ever hope to compete with the, um...Hitched...in anything that has to do with experience, wisdom or plain old knowledge?

It's not that I think the subject can't be tackled or that it can't be tackled in an approachable way. James Kelly's "Candy Art" had a very humorous take on the consequences of digitized consciousness, even though his spectral baby boomers made use of "puppets" rather than their offspring. I still remember laughing a little nervously at the narrator's inner monologue: "You don't die! You own everything, and you don't die!"

Long story short: I thought the mechanics of reviving people from premature deaths and how bodies are doomed to wear out were well established, but that the Hitchers aspect of the story just raised more questions than it helpfully answered. Maybe that sounds picky, but sci-fi is not a buffet table.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 06:40:57 PM »
I thought this piece was wonderfully ambitious. Mira's fear and her will to live were visceral. Her pride in the face of her humiliating powerlessness as activated in a deft and engaging way. But there were a few things that held "Bridesicle" back from being a really outstanding story.

McIntosh tied one hand behind his back by choosing to tell the story from Mira's severely limited perspective. But I think that with a little more imagination he  could have used this limitation to his advantage. ("What year is it?" "2345." vs. "What year is it?" "Year? Year? Oh, how quaint!"). Instead, he just worked around it. More than a century goes by, but nothing significant changes in the outside world. The grandson's orange skin and futuristic garb were kind of a flaccid attempt to show that the times, they were a-changin' without making Mira and the men in her death actually comprehend the world in different ways.  To paraphrase Steve Eley regarding Knights of the Old Republic, a civilization that doesn't change throughout the generations is kind of...leotarded.

I could forgive the idea that language, laws, and relationships all remain stagnant over the one hundred plus years of Mira's death, except that the innovation of mental singularity seems like such a game changer. How would a century of this practice fail to utterly transform the nature of identity, individuality, and social hierarchy? How many votes would a man with 29 Hitchers get? What does a PhD in physics do when all the jobs are taken by people who've got twelve of them rattling around in their brains? After enough time, how would the Hitcherless ever hope to compete with the, um...Hitched...in anything that has to do with experience, wisdom or plain old knowledge?

It's not that I think the subject can't be tackled or that it can't be tackled in an approachable way. James Kelly's "Candy Art" had a very humorous take on the consequences of digitized consciousness, even though his spectral baby boomers made use of "puppets" rather than their offspring. I still remember laughing a little nervously at the narrator's inner monologue: "You don't die! You own everything, and you don't die!"

Long story short: I thought the mechanics of reviving people from premature deaths and how bodies are doomed to wear out were well established, but that the Hitchers aspect of the story just raised more questions than it helpfully answered. Maybe that sounds picky, but sci-fi is not a buffet table.

Thing is this wasn't a story about the technology, or society.

This was a love story. :) Which is why I feel those other questions don't need to be answered.

Schreiber

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 07:02:08 PM »

Thing is this wasn't a story about the technology, or society.

This was a love story. :) Which is why I feel those other questions don't need to be answered.

Kind of my point. The conceit of "Hitching" distracted me from the emotional arc of the story and didn't really add anything worthwhile. The nattering of the Mira's mother from inside her head and the one-sided conversation Lycan (sp?) had with his grandmother didn't justify the attention McIntosh insisted we pay them.

KaylingR

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 08:57:02 PM »
I was in tears listening to this. 

Beautiful.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 10:09:25 AM »
If this doesn't win the Hugo, then something is wrong with the selection process. It is by far the best of the five stories.

Jumping on the "technology" sidetrack, what Mira said about having a hitcher resonated with me. It would CREEP ME OUT to have my mother or father or...well, anyone, really...riding along inside my head. I have to have my alone time. With a hitcher, you could never, ever shut out the voices. If McIntosh were to write a slightly different story set in the same world, I could easily see it showing up on Pseudopod. In fact, the prequel telling Mira's story up to the point of her wreck would be sufficient. Her mother sounds like a true horror.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 10:39:32 AM »
If this doesn't win the Hugo, then something is wrong with the selection process. It is by far the best of the five stories.

I'm curious: have you already read/listened to the last nominee - "Spar" - elsewhere? (I imagine some of the listeners here have, but am guessing not the majority.) Or did you mean the best thus far?

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 10:42:16 AM »
Or did you mean the best thus far?

I miscounted. I thought this WAS the last of the five. Still, the last one's going to have to really impress me to top this one.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2010, 10:54:41 AM »
Ah, cool. I'm not sure you'll like it more, but I'm excited to see how people react to it.

blueeyeddevil

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2010, 12:59:26 PM »
Ah, cool. I'm not sure you'll like it more, but I'm excited to see how people react to it.
Having already listened to it on Clarkesworld, way back, I'm predicting an utter polarity of opinion. Sorry, I know, save it for when you air it...

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2010, 01:41:05 PM »
This could have been a Pseudopod episode. This future sounds incredibly frightening, terrible, terrifying. I'd never want to live there.

I'm with you on this one. I love my mother but if I had to live with her in my head I'd probably ram my car into a brick wall too.

*shudder*

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2010, 02:46:44 PM »
...Moreover, there are well-thought-out, well-engaged exploration of sexual power struggles, social conformity pressures, and the literal objectification of women. ...

Interesting. I didn't consider this as objectification of women, per se, just of dead people. I automatically assumed there was also a groomsicle version somewhere too. Certainly men aren't the only ones who would look for love among the dead. And I can't imagine that the author meant to imply only men had enough money to do so. So, there must be a groomsicle version somewhere, it just doesn't enter into the story.

RKG

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2010, 03:04:48 PM »
"Tell him what he's won, Johnny"       
"Will will be the toast of Worldcon... with his brand new HUGO AWARD!!"

Will is now the author of two of my all-time favorite EP episodes.  Completely awesome.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 03:22:41 PM by RKG »

contra

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2010, 05:24:28 PM »
I also loved this one.

It was brilliant and well told.  I also have issues with the concept of hitching, but I could overlook it so not too many issues there. 
I thought when she revealed her sexuality, there would be more conflict and more issues assosiated with that.  But as a way to wrap up the story it worked perfectly fine.


Also thoughts on the end.
I took it as she told it, and it was a nice ending.
Then as I went back to work, and as I did it occured to me that she could be lying (for now at least); after all it's years between visits for most people, and it was mentioned the moment of being killed over and over was terrifying, horrible and all hope dies.  She could have just been giving her hope for now; until she could afford to do the hitching thing; as it is the only thing she could do for her (again, for now)


As for the legal issues with dead people.  Many legal things do say until legal death.  And in a world where life and dead is a click away on a machine, you have to redefine what being alive is, and being alive for now means.  You probably wouldn't give dead people their lives back, as it would create chaos for wills, sucession and life insurance payments.  By giving the dead people no rights unless they are fully alive again, you get to avoid most of that.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2010, 08:51:23 PM »
Story: 10
Audio Quality: 9

Superb!
=)

DarkKnightJRK

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2010, 01:35:57 PM »
Holy CRAP that was amazing--quite possibly the most horrifying story I've heard here on Escape Pod, while still making for a happy ending, no matter how bittersweet. Definitely one of the best of the Hugo nominated works.

Sandikal

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2010, 11:56:26 AM »
I first hear this when they played it on Starship Sofa.  It's even better on second listen.  It's the best of the nominees so far by a huge margin.

Once "Spar" comes out, can we have a poll about which story Escape Pod listeners think should win the Hugo?  I'd like to see what we come up with.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2010, 02:31:38 PM »
Terrific, and I have to agree with the ongoing sentiment that this is the best of the nominees thus far. Haven't gotten to "Spar" yet, but it would have to unseat this, which is solidly my #1 of the Hugo nominees thus far. It's not even a contest between this and the others.

Hitchhiker

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2010, 01:01:57 PM »
I think this is my favorite EP episode ever. Blew me away when I first listened to it. Superb reading too!

gelee

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2010, 10:21:00 PM »
I can't believe it's down to me, but I'll have to be the party pooper. Wonderfully read and skillfully written, and I would have liked to get to know the characters a bit more, but I had some issues with this one.
For one, are they really going to put folks in the store with no reference to sexual preference?  Why weren't there any women shopping for a bridesicle?  And really, in 200 years of being able to move a mind from 1 brain to another, they never figured out how to just make a brain or a brain analogue?  Also, why did they have to marry a person to revive them?  Could it really be cheaper to keep someone on ice for eternity than to revive them and cut them loose and garnish their wages until they die again. For me, the whole system just doesn't make sense.
I also feel like this piece just reaches too far for me. Generational conflict, women's rights, gay rights, what we mean by "alive" and "dead," and a lot of other Issues.  Very ambitious, but those are a lot of heavy matters to address in a few thousand words. If you over-reach, it can look like button-pushing, though I don't  think this was the author's intent.  It was just too much for me to swallow in one bite.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 10:33:35 PM by gelee »

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2010, 11:04:00 AM »
Brilliant and, forgive me, 'absorbing.' Loved it.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2010, 11:47:55 AM »
I have to wonder how her ordeal would have been different if her sexual orientation were properly recorded.  Would she have been awakened more frequently or less?  However, I doubt she'd have been reunited with her love in that case.

I honestly haven't decided whether I like the story or not.  It may be that the claustrophobic setting is so palpable and contagious.

I'll know better by how securely it lodges in my mind - like a hitcher.
 

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2010, 12:00:38 PM »
For one, are they really going to put folks in the store with no reference to sexual preference?  Why weren't there any women shopping for a bridesicle?  And really, in 200 years of being able to move a mind from 1 brain to another, they never figured out how to just make a brain or a brain analogue?  Also, why did they have to marry a person to revive them?  Could it really be cheaper to keep someone on ice for eternity than to revive them and cut them loose and garnish their wages until they die again. For me, the whole system just doesn't make sense.

My understanding of that was that her sexual orientation would have been covered in her orientation meeting, which was skipped thanks to a clerical error. Probably - admittedly, I'm editorializing here, but I think I've got textual support - if she'd had that meeting she would have been flagged as gay and then women seeking bridesicles would have been the ones to wake her up. Heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals, so in the absence of that flag they just assumed she was straight. This sounds pretty rational to me.

As far as the technology goes... eh. Whatever. I'm not one to care. Just because something seems possible to us, here and now, doesn't mean that it'll prove feasible when the engineers attack the actual problem in the future. I can think of a huge variety of reasons for this particular technological gap. Maybe you need a mature brain to house a mature mind and the only way to create a mature brain is a lifetime of neuron-connection-building experiences? Maybe the brain is something they understand well enough to manipulate but not well enough to reproduce; the brain surgeon of today can manipulate your brain a lot, but couldn't build one with a bucket full of cells.

Finally, the system makes sense to me. I mean, it's easier for a pretty young woman from Russia (or wherever) to make her way to the U.S. as a mail-order bride than it is for her to find someone willing to sponsor her and then take a chunk of her earnings... unless she's willing (or unwilling, and also unlucky) to be a sex worker, that is. People whose wages you're garnishing can disappear, they can sue you and win, they can die early and screw you out of money. Getting a big chunk of change from a lonely man/woman is a much better way to pay off your investment.

I also feel like this piece just reaches too far for me. Generational conflict, women's rights, gay rights, what we mean by "alive" and "dead," and a lot of other Issues.  Very ambitious, but those are a lot of heavy matters to address in a few thousand words. If you over-reach, it can look like button-pushing, though I don't  think this was the author's intent.  It was just too much for me to swallow in one bite.

Didn't have that problem. I thought the issues were pretty well incorporated.
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Schreiber

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2010, 12:03:47 PM »
And really, in 200 years of being able to move a mind from 1 brain to another, they never figured out how to just make a brain or a brain analogue?  Also, why did they have to marry a person to revive them?  Could it really be cheaper to keep someone on ice for eternity than to revive them and cut them loose and garnish their wages until they die again. For me, the whole system just doesn't make sense.

Yeah, I have to agree. I posted earlier about the problem I had with the Absorbing aspect, but your point about how much energy and money it would take to keep a body preserved for centuries compared to the one-time cost of reviving them is a good one. Plus, the way our culture tends to deal with new technology is a little at odds with how it's dealt with here. It seems to me that if a dead body could be reanimated that reliably, it would simply be seen as a form of resuscitation. I mean let's face it, who wouldn't spring for "death" insurance?

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2010, 01:55:20 PM »
I mean let's face it, who wouldn't spring for "death" insurance?

Ummm. Maybe those millions of people (in the US alone) who can't afford *Health* Insurance? [Reference]

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2010, 07:59:06 PM »
The characters, plot and setting of "Bridesicles" was completely engrossing. I was there, alongside Mira, in a little frozen box and horrified at the prospect of marrying a desperate man as my only chance to live. Yes, I think this was almost Pseudo Pod material... But I loved it. Fantastic, amazing story and great reading. 10 out of 10 from me.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2010, 08:49:57 PM »
Stories like this are why I like Science Fiction.  A future society finds an interesting use for new technology, and I get to sit and ponder the ramifications of hitching, searching for mates in a morgue, being dead and then alive and then dead again to my heart's content.  I felt empathy with Mira being a basically decent person, but tempted to deceive in order to become reanimated, and desperate to use her few minutes of time to come up with a way out.  Usually time travel stories involve someone arriving at or leaving the present time, but this one had someone travelling from the future to a more distant future, which was a tasty morsel.
Her homosexuality was integral to the story, but it wasn't another tired story about Gay Issues. 

But I absolutely hated the character of Mira's mother and their relationship.  The judgmental, passive-aggressive mother was a typical cliche straight out of a sit-com or Lifetime movie.  I didn't believe that her mother would be judgmental of homosexuals 100s (?) of years in the future.   Mira disliked her mother, allowed her to hitch just to be polite, and then killed herself to escape.  I would never pick someone with such a dysfunctional relationship with their mother to raise my child.  And I don't even think this was necessary.  Couldn't you have the same story without Mira's mother?  Or without the unhealthy relationship?   This was like walking through a wonderful art gallery and coming across a picture of a sad clown.  But fortunately, the mother didn't kill the story for me.  There were enough other aspects to enjoy.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2010, 09:52:29 PM »
What a (fabulously) horrific story.

Just trying to imagine myself in Mira's place made my skin crawl; I decided a few minutes in that if I were to wake up as a bridesicle, I'd opt for death on the spot.  (But was she even *allowed* that option?)  This one absolutely wins on an emotional level.  Panic, desperation, hope . . . really well-done.

I did have two quibbles, but neither of them was strong enough to really detract from the story.  First, I felt like Mira came to terms with her situation too rapidly: "you died! Eighty years ago! And now your only way out of this circle of hell is to prostitute yourself to a stranger!"  I kind of felt like she should have gone straight into a hysterical screaming fit, before starting to process her situation and think strategically.  But given that she was only able to think while awake, that would have seriously derailed the story's forward progress, so I let it slide.  Second, as others have said, there could have been more sense of society having changed in the twenty-third, twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth centuries, but aside from hitchers and the orange lawyer (and the bridesicle thing itself), nothing seemed very different.  There are still excruciatingly boring company parties, the mother still didn't approve of the gay daughter, and fat people still go to Weight Watchers meetings.  I don't want a lot of exposition about what the world is like outside Mira's extremely limited perspective, but as it stood, those touches made it feel like if Mira could just turn her head, she'd see the early twenty-first century past the edges of the frame.

As I said, though, neither of those kept me from enjoying the story.  It echoed a wide variety of topics: mail-order brides, prostitution, horrible dating services, parental care, health insurance nightmares, etc, all without reducing itself to a SFnal allegory of any single thing.  Excellent work, and I absolutely ditto those who say this has been the best of the Hugo stories so far.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2010, 12:55:39 PM »
I can totally see the plausibility of this:

* Bridesicles: if you get a discount on your insurance, why not add the rider? Maybe you could be revived later, and maybe even by someone you know and love.

* Hitchers: guilt trips that force people to let their loved ones download their brains into other people.

The SF element of the story, to my mind, wasn't that it took place in the future, but that death has been so devalued (and maybe that's even horror, to some extent). If there's no true fear of death (Lycan's grandson said there was at least one unrevivable illness), then why live? Why make your mark? As a hitcher, you could work with your borrowed body to write a great novel. As an actor or actress, if you OD on drugs, well, your body can be revived.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2010, 02:07:38 PM »
This is definitely my favourite of all of the Hugo nominees (and yes, I did read "Spar").  I shall be bitterly disappointed if "Bridesicle" doesn't win.  (That being said, I, like DKT above, am interested to see what EP listeners think of "Spar"...)

I enjoyed listening to it a lot (though sadly, the audio quality wasn't as good as the reading).

At the time I noticed, in passing, a couple of the issues that people have mentioned (particularly, why doesn't she find a way to let the admins know that that she's gay?  Can't she ask her wakers to tell someone she hasn't had the orientation?), but really, in order to tell this story, it just would have meant more words to patch this.

Not everything can be told in a short story (or even in a novel!), so if you want the story, sometimes you just have to let unimportant (in my opinion) details slide.  For others, those same details might be deal-breakers, but I thought they just got out of the way to let this story be told.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2010, 03:37:10 PM »
So. On many levels, I really liked this story. Well told (and well read), on a very human scale, exploring the consequences of technology on the people who got caught up in its progress.

But it did bother me, as others pointed out, that other than the hitcher and bridesicle technologies themselves, the people here really seemed to be trapped into late-twentieth/early twenty-first century attitudes, and nothing seemed to change. Some things could have just been a matter of the story's focus - was there also a groomsicle facility somewhere? Men were just as likely to die young as women, and I can easily believe that such a facility exists and that it was just never mentioned because it was irrelevant. But I find it hard to believe that attitudes towards homosexuality remain stuck for 450 years from now. I can believe they get better, and I can believe they may get worse, but I can't believe that "culturally acceptable yet disapproved of by many" is a stable state. And - though this is a far lesser pointy - I also don't believe that in the 23rd century, it will be possible to kill yourself by driving into something; we're already getting close to cars that are smart enough to prevent some accidents, with 250 years of progress probably car accidents will be exceedingly rare and never caused by self-destructive behavior on behalf of the driver.

Still, the good parts of the story outweigh its problems, which is more than I can say for the three other hugo nominees I've heard (I've yet to get to Spar).

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2010, 10:24:32 AM »
So, about a day has passed since I posted the above comment, and in the interim I've changed my stance a bit. Yes, this story is very much about late-20th/early-21st century society + future tech, not about future society. What I came to realize is - so what? There is a room for this type of story too. Not every story needs to portray a realistic future. There are interesting things to be said about our own society by just changing one or two things about it. So yes, I think the story may have made a misstep by mentioning specific dates, as those sort of grounded the story in a specific timeline, and highlighted the mismatch between technological progress and lack of cultural progress, but a day after I listened to the story I find this issue receding into the background and my impression of the story more favourable.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2010, 11:10:27 AM »
Eytanz, I think that it's not impossible to think that there would be a stigma on homosexuality hundreds of years in the future.  Sexual mores tend to have a cyclical nature.  One era may accept it as a variation of the norm, as the ancient Greeks, the next may view it as a sign of the end of civilization.  This applies not only to homosexuality, but other sexual behaviors as well.

I also don't think it's unreasonable to our protagonist here to worry about exposing her sexual orientation in this instance either.  First, she comes from an upbringing where it was a taboo.  She had her mother literally in her head telling her it was wrong.  Second, she's in a facility that's used by men looking for (heterosexual) wives.  If she reveals that she's a lesbian, she will never be revived.  It's entirely possible that homosexuality is okay in the society she wakes up in, just not under the circumstances she's in.

I think what bothers me more about this story than the implication that men want women who will be dependent on them for their very lives.  The men who visit the bridesicle facility have control over life itself for these women.  It's clear that there are still women in the world who aren't dead, but these men are choosing to look for a bride in a morgue.  The implications of that are horrifying.  At best, it's the extrapolation of modern men who go to Asia or South America to find brides who will be subservient to them.  At worst, it's slavery.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2010, 11:22:43 AM »
Eytanz, I think that it's not impossible to think that there would be a stigma on homosexuality hundreds of years in the future.  Sexual mores tend to have a cyclical nature.  One era may accept it as a variation of the norm, as the ancient Greeks, the next may view it as a sign of the end of civilization.  This applies not only to homosexuality, but other sexual behaviors as well.

I certainly believe that there can be a stigma on homosexuality in the future. What I can't believe is that the stigma will remain similar to what it is now. Currently, our society is very much in a transition phase, a clash between an older attitude of homosexuality as deviant and shameful and a newer one that accepts it as normal. I can easily believe that either will win. I can view a future in which being gay is totally normal, and I can view a future where gay people are stoned to death by cheering crowds. What I find hard to believe is a future where a daughter can be openly gay but her mother disapproving about it. I mean, sure, it could be that in the 200+ years until the Mira's death homosexuality becomes stigmatized again and then reaccepted so that the attitudes between the generations mirror those between me and my mother (I happen to be straight, but one of my mom's best friends has a gay son, and when he came out I had to repeatedly hear how my mom was relieved she wasn't in her friend's shoes).

Quote
I also don't think it's unreasonable to our protagonist here to worry about exposing her sexual orientation in this instance either. 

I didn't find that unreasonable either. Like someone else posted above (sorry, forgot to lookup who that was before starting the post), what bothers me is not the way Mira handles things, but the way homosexuality is represented as a source of tension between generations (and not the fact that it is a source of tension, but the *way* it is a source of tension). This very much feels like it arises because of a shift in attitude during the lifetime of the mother, and, as I say above, I just find it implausible that two identical shifts like that would happen in a space of 300 years.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2010, 11:27:52 AM »
The question may be whether the mother's disapproval is a generational thing or whether it's because it just doesn't fit with her preconceptions of what she wants for her daughter.  The mother's attitude seems to be more one of denial than condemnation.  She keeps trying to re-direct her towards men.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2010, 11:42:46 AM »
The question may be whether the mother's disapproval is a generational thing or whether it's because it just doesn't fit with her preconceptions of what she wants for her daughter.  The mother's attitude seems to be more one of denial than condemnation.  She keeps trying to re-direct her towards men.

I don't think the two are unrelated - I mean, in a society where being gay is considered entirely natural, why would the mother want her daughter to not be gay? I mean, sure, it's possible that the mom was really old-fashioned, but the story didn't suggest that.

It seems far more plausible to me to interpret the story as simply lifting our social experiences and placing them in the future. It's hardly the first story to do that, and will not be the last. I now think I was originally too harsh in my evaluation of this, but I still think it's the case.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2010, 10:01:54 PM »
there is solid writing here and i largely enjoyed the story but it also contained one of my pet peeves, so that's what i'm gonna talk about.  because that's what i do.

for a while now a large portion of scifi has been fixated on cautionary tales.  this is understandable since we're living in a time when technological advancement has vastly changed our planet in unforeseen ways but, unfortunately, a lot of cautionary tales set up technology as an antagonistic force.  demoralizing, dehumanizing technologies that are universally adopted by future societies.

in this case, cryogenics turn women into literal slabs of meat to be perused by male social pariahs.

except that isn't what happened, it's just the way the story was told.  the actual antagonistic force was hidden in two briefly mentioned details that were glossed over in the story: she wasn't given an orientation the first time she was woken up and she was frozen because of the small print in her insurance.  because of this, bridesicle status was inflicted on her without permission.

this is a common tactic in cautionary tales were the protagonist falls victim to a future technology.  The story spends large amounts time describing how the technology dehumanizes people and demoralizes the character but, when read closely, the story actually needed the dehumanizing force to be societal (or even misfortunate) and it just doesn't make that clear.

cryogenics gave people a second chance at life they never would've had without it, the 'ice-order brides' program gave people the opportunity to wake up earlier than they would have otherwise.  like mail-order brides now, it's an opportunity for two people to try to (unconventionally) improve their lives.  it only becomes a problem when one of them is coerced or taken advantage of.

the helpless dilemma Mira was forced to endure wasn't the result of being frozen, it was the result of constantly being partially thawed and refrozen.  if she had opted out the program the first time she was woken up she could have avoided the whole problem, waiting for some future time when her body's reconstruction was within the means of a charitable organization.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2010, 11:00:27 PM »
Okay, I've heard Spar, now. My original statement stands. This is the best of the five, and should win, hands down.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2010, 11:51:52 PM »
Intense story 8) The helplessness of her situation paired with her continuous death at the hands of apathetic strangers gave it a pseudopod feel... but it fits here too.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2010, 07:52:10 PM »
Well, as (vampire) Spike would say ... "that's just neat!"

It could have been a real cliche-ridden snoozer, but instead I was totally engaged, and that's all I ask for  in a story.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2010, 11:30:15 PM »
I didn't mind the story, but the whole time I was listening, I kept drifting back to "A Fine and Private Place," by Peter S. Beagle, which had a lot of the same themes but a much more satisfying (to me) ending.  I think my natural inclination toward fantasy over scifi may be playing a role there.  Like eytanz, the perpetual late-20th-century-ness of it kind of bothered me, though not enough to ruin the story.

I dunno.  It felt a lot like a new edition of something I'd seen several times previously, shinier and with different buttons and gizmos and a new color palette, the iPhone 4 of cryonic reanimation stories; good, useful, very functional, a couple of weird bugs and glitches.  The most recent version, but not really revolutionary.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2010, 11:37:29 PM »
I didn't realize Peter S. Beagle wrote "A Fine and Private Place".  It's YA right?  I read that in high school and think I still have it.  I'll have to dig that out.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2010, 11:58:29 PM »
I didn't realize Peter S. Beagle wrote "A Fine and Private Place".  It's YA right?  I read that in high school and think I still have it.  I'll have to dig that out.

I guess it could be YA.  I don't personally regard it as a book for younguns, though.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2010, 11:33:04 AM »
I'm afraid I have to go against the flow here.

I loathed this story.

Even disregarding the gigantic logical flaws in it that made absolutely no sense and utterly destroyed the suspension of disbelief, (We can put someone else's brain inside your brain and when you die we can save your brain, but not theirs. For some reason. Also, we can rebuild dead people's bodies but we haven't figured out a way to solve obesity.) it, at the same time, assumed society would not change even a little bit.

People's lifespans are basically the same, 300 years in the future? Gays are still greatly maligned by society?

There was simply nothing in this story to like. All the men were horny desperate losers with less depth than a puddle of water. The main character was desperately in love with her dead GF, but why did she love her so much? Very little explanation was given. If they'd gone into the love story at all, that might have helped. However, all the characters were very 2 Dimensional. The men were desperate, horny and shallow. The main character was confused and in love. Society hasn't changed at all despite giant leaps of technology that should have changed it completely.

I just couldn't find anything in this story to like, even a little. I even the Love Quest of the Snack Cake better than this, and that one had my girlfriend literally begging me to turn it off (MP3 over the car radio on a road trip).

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2010, 11:33:31 AM »
The men were desperate, horny and shallow. The main character was confused and in love. Society hasn't changed at all despite giant leaps of technology that should have changed it completely.

The men were desperate and shallow because the Bridesicle warehouse attracted men who were desparate and shallow.
She's confused for obvious reasons, and she doesn't have enough time to complicate her reasons for loving her mate--she needs to focus her energies on getting the F out of there.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2010, 11:34:22 AM »
I first hear this when they played it on Starship Sofa.  It's even better on second listen.  It's the best of the nominees so far by a huge margin.

Once "Spar" comes out, can we have a poll about which story Escape Pod listeners think should win the Hugo?  I'd like to see what we come up with.

Any chance of this poll?  I think it'd be fun if it were posted now before the Hugo results are released.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2010, 11:39:55 AM »
I first hear this when they played it on Starship Sofa.  It's even better on second listen.  It's the best of the nominees so far by a huge margin.

Once "Spar" comes out, can we have a poll about which story Escape Pod listeners think should win the Hugo?  I'd like to see what we come up with.

Any chance of this poll?  I think it'd be fun if it were posted now before the Hugo results are released.

It's been up for a while now.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2010, 11:45:22 AM »
LOVED it.  Each year the pattern for the Hugo noms seems to be 4 stories that are okay but below my expectations of Hugo-worthiness, and one that is great.  The last couple years the one that I thought was great has also been the one to win, so I'm predicting that this one will be the winner.  :)

Despite the protagonist's near-complete passiveness forced on her by her situation, this story explored a lot of themes and explored them well.  It could easily have run on Pseudopod, for the idea of sharing your mind with an overbearing mother, and the hell of having to sell yourself to every schmuck who comes along because it's simply your only option.  I am glad that it ended up having a happy ending.  At the beginning I was guessing that it was just going to end abruptly after the last person to ever wake her killed her again.  

I'm not sure I totally buy the "wonderfulness" of sharing your head with your mate--it's certainly better than sharing it with an overbearing mother, but I think I'd go nuts with this as well, just at a somewhat slower pace.  I love my wife, but to get along well with her we also need to spend time apart sometimes.  Some of our tastes in books and movie coincide but sometimes they are very very different, so for me to read/listen to my favorite science fiction I'd have to force her to listen/read it too.  And I'd have to read the rest of the Twilight series, and see the movies.  And that's not even taking into account how bored she'd be while I was at work or while I was writing, and writing would be very difficult with someone watching over my shoulder.  *shrug*  but that didn't really hurt my enjoyment of the story--maybe she's the sort who never ever wants to spend any moment away from her mate, in which case that living arrangement would be fantastic.

I do agree with the comments that pointed out that the future here seems to be stuck in our current societal system, and I noticed that while reading too, but my reaction to that was "So what?"  If an entertaining and thought provoking story can be told, but it's not a society that's actually likely to spring up in our near future, that doesn't really bother me.  I've still been entertained, and I still have much food for thought.  Maybe this would bother me in a less entertaining story when I'm devoting more brainpower to nitpicks, but here it didn't bother me at all.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2010, 11:46:04 AM »
I first hear this when they played it on Starship Sofa.  It's even better on second listen.  It's the best of the nominees so far by a huge margin.

Once "Spar" comes out, can we have a poll about which story Escape Pod listeners think should win the Hugo?  I'd like to see what we come up with.

Any chance of this poll?  I think it'd be fun if it were posted now before the Hugo results are released.

It's been up for a while now.

Oops, thanks.  I knew I should've checked before I posted--I rarely venture out of the story threads.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2010, 02:57:44 PM »
Loved this story, was very nearly in tears by the end. The interplay between solitary dead and nebulous alive/semi-dead identities was wonderful.

As for the grousing here that there were no flying cars or holographic sharks:

Consider that hockey-stick progress toward the singularity is not a given, no matter how much I'm a fan of that notion.

Consider that progress may take the form of an S-curve, especially when the lifespan of a personality approaches immortality—whether embodied in original birth-flesh or as a hitcher. Lingering sentiments and traditions, even if only imposed through guilt and familial manipulation, may make for a much more conservative society.

What if freezing and hitching ended up being the only ways to lengthen the continuity of personality, and medical science hit a wall in extending lifespans?

At any rate, you can suspend disbelief and swallow anti-gravity and cavorite—do the same and imagine a slower-progressing civilization.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2010, 06:49:43 PM »
Gays are still greatly maligned by society?

I don't think that's the case. I think it's more a case of her not wanting to die again, and knowing that it's mostly lonely guys coming here hoping to date, marry, resurrect, and live relatively happily. If she said she was gay... well, what would the odds be that a woman would be in the same situation?

Okay, I guess one could be, but I think the story was making a point that bridesicle places have replaced the internet as a place for socially-inept men to meet women. I mean, on the internet the women can log off, but if the men are paying for time with the bridesicles...

I just think if the author had spent time on the fact that yes, women could meet women here too, then it would've detracted from the story.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #54 on: July 22, 2010, 11:29:32 AM »
I don't think that's the case. I think it's more a case of her not wanting to die again, and knowing that it's mostly lonely guys coming here hoping to date, marry, resurrect, and live relatively happily. If she said she was gay... well, what would the odds be that a woman would be in the same situation?

Okay, I guess one could be, but I think the story was making a point that bridesicle places have replaced the internet as a place for socially-inept men to meet women. I mean, on the internet the women can log off, but if the men are paying for time with the bridesicles...

I just think if the author had spent time on the fact that yes, women could meet women here too, then it would've detracted from the story.

There are plenty of socially unadept women out there. More to the point: homosexuals are, at best, 10% of the population, and more likely more like 5%. What are her chances of meeting someone who is both A) socially awkward enough to resort to a Bridesicle, B) a woman, C) gay, and D) willing to talk to her even though there's been a clerical error and she's been classed as heterosexual? B and C are rough enough, D makes her situation pretty impossible.

It's hard enough (I'm told) for gay people to meet compatible partners when both people are out and looking; imagine how hard it would be, given those percentages, if one partner had to sit still and wait to be found.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #55 on: July 27, 2010, 12:03:28 AM »
The men were desperate, horny and shallow. The main character was confused and in love. Society hasn't changed at all despite giant leaps of technology that should have changed it completely.

The men were desperate and shallow because the Bridesicle warehouse attracted men who were desparate and shallow.
She's confused for obvious reasons, and she doesn't have enough time to complicate her reasons for loving her mate--she needs to focus her energies on getting the F out of there.

She doesn't, does she? Looks, lots of characters in stories don't 'have time' to justify their motivations and thoughts and feelings in the story, but you know what? They do it anyway because the reader needs that justification to make the story worthwhile. The knight in the battle doesn't have time to justify why he is in the battle in his own head, the author has to create it in the mind of the reader via the use of the story to explain why the hell the knight is there in the first damn place. Same with this story..but the story never makes it there. 'Oh, I love her, she is calm when I am not' is terribly weak and 2-Dimensional.

Listen, the story was well-written, I just felt the underlying plot was, at best, flawed and hampered by the assumption that carrying relatives long with you in your head in every waking moment, along with the ability to completely reform bodies of the dead and transplant their minds into the dead would result in nothing more than a pathetic dating service for the losers of the world. The ideas of 'riders' and 'preserving your loved dead ones from death its very self' are cool ideas, but instead of using them in any way that had any effect on society, these fabulous ideas were used as no more than doing the same stupid crap we do now in a slightly changed way. This is like predicting the emergence of the internet and deciding it would only be used by people who were already neighbors with each other and no one else, ever.  It's like saying the use of teleporter technology would result in nothing more than faster commute times to and from work and absolutely nothing else. It's being given the cornucopia and thinking it's worth no more than an apple and a couple of bananas.

It's like being given FTL travel and never venturing beyond our solar system. It's the creation of magic and only ever using it to do the laundry AND NOTHING ELSE.

THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #56 on: July 27, 2010, 06:11:51 AM »
THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.
Keep in mind this is humanity we're talking about here. The pathetic things are the things that tend to make money.

We're talking about corporate greed paired with human loneliness. There's  no better formula for pathetic. To me that's one aspect of what makes the story ring true.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #57 on: July 27, 2010, 03:47:38 PM »
Well. Its all been said because I couldn't get around to listening to it until today. But, I liked it. I enjoyed the psychological aspects I suppose.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #58 on: July 29, 2010, 12:30:01 AM »
THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.
Keep in mind this is humanity we're talking about here. The pathetic things are the things that tend to make money.

We're talking about corporate greed paired with human loneliness. There's  no better formula for pathetic. To me that's one aspect of what makes the story ring true.

Yeah, and why were these people pathetic? Mostly because they were old and fat. So we can literally rebuild the bodies of people who have been dead for hundreds of years but we can't cut down on some guy's weight problem? Please. The story *doesn't* ring true because it ignores the blindingly obvious.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2010, 04:44:56 AM »
I've been reading this thread, and what people have said both for and against this story, and you know what?  I agree with both sides.

No question, I had a favorable reaction to the story overall.  Especially the horror of Mira's situation -- I found myself imagining me, heterosexual male me, being locked into the nightmare of having to play like I'm attracted to a man, and then marry him, just for the chance to live again.  I imagined that would be just as unpleasant for a gay woman as for a straight man.

(Now that I say it like that, I'm a little embarrassed that maybe I'm making it sound like I think a straight woman, or a gay man, would be just delighted to be in such a situation.  I believe no such thing.)

The story hooked me quickly, and I found myself utterly sympathizing with Mira and her predicament.   The story made the most lasting impression on me of any of the Hugo nominees.  It'd get my vote if I were a Hugo voter, and I ain't no Spar-hater.

But.  I realize that we only got the briefest of glimpses into the Future Society of this world, but... I was put off by the fact that there really wasn't any Future Society, apart from the dead people's ghosts riding around in their descendants' heads.  I don't necessarily need to hear about flying cars or starships or androids.  But I would like to hear about a society that is more different from our own than the Western world of 50 years ago, rather than a world where discussions of office parties and child care sound utterly the same as they do nowadays.  I found Mira's mother's attitude to her daughter's homosexuality unbelievable, for precisely the reasons eytanz gave earlier in the thread. 

My final verdict: excellent fiction, excellent horror, but somewhat so-so if I focus on the SF elements.  And yet I would have voted for it for the Hugo.  If you disagree with my choice, be reassured I wasn't a Hugo voter this year.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2010, 11:14:17 AM »
Hi, I listen to Escape Pod and Podcastle regularly, but rarely make it to the discussion forums. I had to for this story though to say how much I liked it! I was hooked right from the beginning and the narration was clear and easy to understand. 

Just a really great story, and totally terrifying at the same time!

thanks!

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2010, 06:14:19 PM »
I really REALLY enjoyed this story. I thought the idea of "hitching" was both fascinating and horrifying. Loved the love story and the reunion in the end.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2010, 11:58:52 AM »
Hi, I listen to Escape Pod and Podcastle regularly, but rarely make it to the discussion forums. I had to for this story though to say how much I liked it! I was hooked right from the beginning and the narration was clear and easy to understand. 

Just a really great story, and totally terrifying at the same time!

thanks!

Let me just say that it's very nice when people like a story enough for it to motivate them to come share on the forum.  Sometimes it seems like all the first-time commenters are along the lines of "I like most the stuff on this podcast, but god I hated this one so much I was motivated to register and tell y'all."  Those tend to make me a little sad that complaints can be a stronger compulsion than praise. 

So, welcome!  :)

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #63 on: August 21, 2010, 01:41:11 PM »
This is the winner, or should be.  Eerily compelling.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #64 on: September 05, 2010, 08:49:00 AM »
As of some ungodly hour, in the continent gone topsy-turvy, this won the Hugo for Best Short Story. Other winners here (Congrats to Clarkesworld, Girl Genius, and StarShipSofa!): http://www.thehugoawards.org/
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #65 on: September 05, 2010, 02:40:53 PM »
I think my question about this story would be: So, what happens to the 'until parted by death' line in the wedding vows?  This would seem to make that...an easy means for divorce?

And the idea of hitchers made me feel a little creepy.  Now you really ARE having conversation with people in your head!
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #66 on: September 07, 2010, 08:28:07 AM »
Heck yeah!  The last few years I've been able to predict the winner, and the trend continues.  :)

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #67 on: September 07, 2010, 09:55:07 PM »
As of some ungodly hour, in the continent gone topsy-turvy, this won the Hugo for Best Short Story. Other winners here (Congrats to Clarkesworld, Girl Genius, and StarShipSofa!): http://www.thehugoawards.org/

Y'all are the ones upside down.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #68 on: September 23, 2010, 10:35:47 AM »
Just got around to listening to this. Wow. This story absolutely chilled me to the bone. I'm actually glad it did have a happy ending--if it didn't, I think I would've been messed up for the rest of the month. What a freaky, freaky story. No wonder it won a Hugo.
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #69 on: September 29, 2010, 02:09:27 PM »
This was a wonderful story.  The blend of fear, tension, love, and regrette and un-regretted past actions was perfect.  I look forward to more from this author.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #70 on: December 16, 2012, 07:33:13 AM »
well told

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #71 on: June 13, 2013, 10:58:34 AM »
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.
"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

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #72 on: June 14, 2013, 08:40:18 AM »
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.

Cool! Thanks for posting the link.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #73 on: June 17, 2013, 11:02:27 AM »
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.

Super excited about this! Just grabbed the audiobook :)

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #74 on: June 17, 2013, 11:15:41 AM »
Agreed. I got some Amazon credit for Father's Day, so this one's likely to be heading to my Kindle shortly. Looks like the author owes you two, Mr. Fowlie.

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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2013, 11:25:52 AM »
Looks like the author owes you two, Mr. Fowlie.

Three. :)
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Re: EP247: Bridesicle
« Reply #76 on: November 08, 2019, 08:25:49 PM »
 EP247: Bridesicle aka "Sarah, Plain and Thawed"

A lot of sci-fi begins with "what if?" but sometimes I can't help but ask "Yeah, but why would it? "


For the most part I liked this story, but I wish parts of it had been fleshed out more. You've got two big ideas, cryogenics and the "riders" and I wish there had been more worldbuilding so we could understand this society where these things are the norm a little better.


I mean, what set of circumstances would there have to be for people to be so blase about having a "rider"?

And what sort of societal changes would there have to be for insurance companies to be allowed to compel their clients into arranged marriages?

I also wonder how someone who committed suicide would be viewed after getting a second chance at life. And would there be legal consequences for someone who "murdered" their rider?


 I guess I'll have to read the book to find out. :-)