Author Topic: EP247: Bridesicle  (Read 37237 times)

Kaa

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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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