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Author Topic: EP274: Angry Rose’s Lament  (Read 13378 times)
Schreiber
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2011, 01:21:32 AM »

Not a moral dilemma many ever face though. I'd consult a moral philosopher for the truth of the matter or the ghost of George Carlin.

You're in luck!  We have him here. He says Cat Rambo rocks but he Last Comic Standing makes him want to vomit....
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tpi
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2011, 03:48:50 AM »

The story has a severe logistical problem.
The insect people are supposed to get their personality only from an older  invidual, sometimes from more than one, and that personality transfer "kills" the "donor". Surely there are accidents which cause that some personalities are lost. They should run out of minds pretty fast.
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eytanz
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2011, 08:24:18 AM »

The story has a severe logistical problem.
The insect people are supposed to get their personality only from an older  invidual, sometimes from more than one, and that personality transfer "kills" the "donor". Surely there are accidents which cause that some personalities are lost. They should run out of minds pretty fast.

I don't think that's what was described - I think that once the Solins reach the mature state, they do have a personality. I think that it's just that their society doesn't put much value on these inexperienced personalities; absorbing an elder is a way to basically leapfrog the process for them. There may be a caste of Solins who never absorbed anyone, though they will themselves be absorbed.

I just listened to this. I liked it, especially for refusing to give easy answers in the ending. However, I do have some major nitpicks of my own. First, that the very last line of the story - obviously chosen for a clear visual image - created more problems. For one, who will determine what 12 items will be removed from the list? Who will explain the decision to his partners? If he was going to be absorbed right away, then they run the risk of creating more Angry Roses-like people who refuse to accept that it was a concious choice (I know the exchange was recorded, but still).

Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2011, 10:26:45 AM »

Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.

That's a good point, though it didn't cross my mind during the story.

I wonder why the story was called "Angry Rose's Lament"?  To me, the story was not at all about Angry Rose.  She served a purpose by offering a solidly held perspective, and offering the revelation of the mind-eating, but I wouldn't have expected her to be a title character.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2011, 02:33:58 PM »

Also, the fact that the Solin just wanted someone trained and didn't really care who means that there was no reason for the big corporations to refuse what was essentially a plum deal. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them to find a volunteer - someone else with a terminal illness, for example - train them, and get them absorbed. Essentially, they'd be getting 10 items for the cost of the training and whatever bribe they need to offer the volunteer, which must easily be worth it. Recovery Co. may not have been able to pull this off, but any company that controls a substantial chunk of the galaxy would have had little problem.

That's a good point, though it didn't cross my mind during the story.

I wonder why the story was called "Angry Rose's Lament"?  To me, the story was not at all about Angry Rose.  She served a purpose by offering a solidly held perspective, and offering the revelation of the mind-eating, but I wouldn't have expected her to be a title character.

To place her in the title draws attention to her, and thus reinforces the idea that this isn't just a story about an addict facing a choice that appears to be both altruistic and suits his own preferences, but also a "Lady or Tiger" decision as far as whether the Solin really contain other personalities or just gain the knowledge to mimic them really well.  Additionally, since Rose lost her partner to his decision - and his choice in many ways parallels the protagonist, with a painful and imminent death standing in for the principles and the lifetime of struggle against relapse, Rose is in some ways the character in the story who can address the plight of the addict's loved ones, the ones the addict leaves behind to pursue his/her self-indulgent fantasies.  Putting her in the title allows the story to assume a more complex shape than the simple binary "Should he or shouldn't he?" choice that weighs his principles against the success of his friends.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2011, 04:43:47 PM »

I enjoyed the story, though I was distracted by a quibble: the idea that an alien - or anyone else - could 'suck the personality' out of someone into another being.

The problem - big problem - I have with that is that it depends on mind/body duality: the commonly-held superstition that the mind/personality/self is a separate entity from the body that holds it and could therefore travel from one body to another1.  Since this is a view that I firmly reject2, it's a premise that can't support a story for me.

Yes, it can be rationalized3 with the explanation, "Well, the alien can read your brain into its own, but the process is destructive, see?"  But if that's the case, then why not put it that way?  As presented, it sounded a lot like "Well, your personality can only be in one place at a time, so when the alien sucks 'you' out of your body, you aren't there any more, see?"

... this isn't just a story about an addict facing a choice that appears to be both altruistic and suits his own preferences, but also a "Lady or Tiger" decision ...

Until I read some of the comments and went back to read the last sentence in the text, I thought it was a "Lady Or the Tiger" story, to a much larger degree than you describe.  When I heard it, I somehow missed the phrase (*SPOILER!* Highlight to see clearly.) "before the word 'Yes' echoed in the room." and so I missed that Rutter had made a decision at all, let alone what it was.  I found that much more satisfying than what actually occurred, to be honest.  (Although, as a result, the rest of that sentence was a touch confusing. Smiley )

Also, the way I heard it, Rutter wasn't immediately 'processed'.  Now, knowing he was, I share many of the same objections that Eytanz mentioned in his second paragraph above, but mostly because he brought them up.  I didn't think of them.  Smiley



1 See also the third and fourth of the original Ender series for a really out-there depiction of this phenomenon.

2 Rather, the mind is a process generated by the body, primarily - but not exclusively - the brain.

3 Rather like the problem I had with "Élan Vital".


Edit: minor change to one sentence.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 04:45:42 PM by Wilson Fowlie » Logged

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham
Talia
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« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2011, 04:50:58 PM »

Until I read some of the comments and went back to read the last sentence in the text, I thought it was a "Lady Or the Tiger" story, to a much larger degree than you describe.  When I heard it, I somehow missed the phrase (*SPOILER!* Highlight to see clearly.) "before the word 'Yes' echoed in the room." and so I missed that Rutter had made a decision at all, let alone what it was.  I found that much more satisfying than what actually occurred, to be honest. 

Stories that end that way leave me feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied personally. I need some degree of resolution and would have been irritated if it cut off before we learned anything.

(one exception to this would be the PC episode about Tio Gilberto and the SomeAmount of Ghosts, which I enjoyed and I thought the ending worked well. That's not usually the case).
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« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2011, 09:33:25 AM »

Yes, it can be rationalized3 with the explanation, "Well, the alien can read your brain into its own, but the process is destructive, see?"  But if that's the case, then why not put it that way?  As presented, it sounded a lot like "Well, your personality can only be in one place at a time, so when the alien sucks 'you' out of your body, you aren't there any more, see?"

Two thoughts for you:
1.  The only one who really understands how the mind-eating works is the Solan.  And we have no concrete to believe it is telling the whole truth.  Its trying to be a salesman to save its culture, and its sales pitch depends on the premise "you will live on forever among other minds".  If the alien said "I'm chomp on your brains, read your neurons so that I can gain your expertise, but don't worry, you'll be destroyed in the process" the pitch would've been much less compelling.  The Solan even admitted that he had no way of proving what he was saying was true.
2.  Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complainin.

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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2011, 03:37:33 PM »

Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complaining.

For me, it seems to depend on what it is.  I don't know if it's because I grew up reading stories with time travel or faster-than-light travel (which this story also had, though only by implication), but I seem to be able to accept those impossibilities more easily than the ones described/implied in both "Élan Vital" and this one.  I'm not sure what that's about...

Anyway, unlike in "Élan Vital," the science problem didn't do more than distract me a few times - I still enjoyed the story a lot, and liked thinking about the issues it raised.
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"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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« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2011, 09:37:27 AM »

Personally, I don't have to believe that a story can happen to enjoy it.  It just has to be internally consistent, and I think this one was.  I don't think it's possible to transfer memories from one person to another, let alone between genetically incompatible species, but it makes for a good story so I'm not complaining.

For me, it seems to depend on what it is.  I don't know if it's because I grew up reading stories with time travel or faster-than-light travel (which this story also had, though only by implication), but I seem to be able to accept those impossibilities more easily than the ones described/implied in both "Élan Vital" and this one.  I'm not sure what that's about...

Anyway, unlike in "Élan Vital," the science problem didn't do more than distract me a few times - I still enjoyed the story a lot, and liked thinking about the issues it raised.

Fair enough, I've complained about science quibbles often enough myself and it does seem to depend on what the exact realm of the science is and how well the story distracts me from it.  For example, I've been complaining about the Green Hornet preview where they blow up a traffic camera that in real life would no doubt have offsite recording.  It's obviously meant as light humor but that one bugs me.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2011, 01:03:18 AM »

I enjoyed the story, and had no problems with willing suspension of disbelief.

My gripe is that I felt the story ended just as it was getting good. What happens when the MC gets absorbed (assuming he does "live on" in the Solan)? What does he experience and learn? Now that's the story I would like to hear.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 01:06:04 AM by CryptoMe » Logged
stePH
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« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2011, 04:21:56 PM »

Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2011, 09:00:10 PM »

Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2

Thanks for reviving this conversation, StePH.

My favourite collective mind has always been the Tines from Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep. These are dog-like beings that group themselves into packs of 4-6 members who share their minds and so compound their mental capacity.
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NoNotRogov
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« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2011, 09:23:03 PM »

As an aside in the hive mind discussion, I find it interesting that the psychic hivemind or hereditary memory concept is used more with such "hive mind" insectoid aliens in SF than the underused distinction of colony structure socialization.

The speculative implications of an advanced species genetically predisposed towards instincts that preserve the colony rather than the individual would not only be interesting social SF, but would better explain some of the ubiquitous highly specialized "caste" species features in some fiction. In real life, isn't extreme high specialization into separate castes within one species often a component of the colony-style group structure? Instead of the ant best able to survive on its own reproducing, resulting in a jack of all trades or single environment specialist, you have ants specialized for tasks rather than just based on who survived best in strange conditions.

I know this concept was explored in Hellestromme's Hive with humans, but as a general rule I think it is underused thanks to the ease and recognition of the hive mind concept in comparison.

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Gamercow
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« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2011, 01:45:13 PM »

Gamercow:
Quote
...I do wish that hive mind societies weren't nearly always insectoid creatures.
I'm trying to think of one that isn't and I'm coming up blank. A real one that is. Insectoids are just so suited for it. Maybe a school of fish? Single-celled organisms sure but sentience evolving from something that basic would need some fanciful writing skill to make work.

What, nobody considers the Borg?

There's also the Many, from the PC game System Shock 2

Thanks for reviving this conversation, StePH.

My favourite collective mind has always been the Tines from Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep. These are dog-like beings that group themselves into packs of 4-6 members who share their minds and so compound their mental capacity.

After thinking about it some more, I want to say that I read a story with mushroom-beings that had a type of hive mind as well.
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2011, 04:19:42 PM »

Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.

Hehehe! I just noticed this when I was making last week's episode. I had copied the file from the week before and the robot lady said 'November' and I did a double take. I checked other episodes and this is the only one it happened to, which I totally can't explain. It should be okay going forward, though. Good catch! Wink
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FireTurtle
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2011, 08:17:15 PM »

Have to chime in here and say that I am in the "Wow, that was satisfyingly good" Club. I expected that, as a Cat Rambo story, the emotional over-tones would be applied with brutal mace-like force (not that this is always a bad thing with me, I've just come to expect it with Cat Rambo). However, I found the emotional undertones much more ambiguous and incredibly nuanced. I love the stories that really make me sit back and think about what actually being a person (or human being) actually requires. Fascinating. I also found the other "Wasp" species very well-drawn for such a short piece. Yes, hive and wasp is a bit overdone but the motivations, etc were well explored and it increased tension in the piece.
I liked where it ended. Exploring the experience of a many-mind is another story. I think the title reinforced this. Angry Rose acted as his conscience- or at least what he perceived to be his humanity. Once he made the decision, her feelings no longer had meaning. Oh my God, this is the first time in forever that I've felt like I could really write a paper on a story. Eep
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« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2011, 01:34:19 AM »

Another non-insectile hive mind

John Wyndham - THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2011, 12:15:48 PM »

Did anyone notice that this story was introduced as EP274, November 6, 2011?  Cat Rambo really is a writer of the future.

Hehehe! I just noticed this when I was making last week's episode. I had copied the file from the week before and the robot lady said 'November' and I did a double take. I checked other episodes and this is the only one it happened to, which I totally can't explain. It should be okay going forward, though. Good catch! Wink

I noticed, but then in the intro, Mur talked about how you could just as easily make 'New Year's' resolutions in November as in January, so I assumed it was deliberate.
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« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2011, 01:33:48 PM »

On the subject of hive minds, the fish-like Orz of Star Control II might qualify, though if you hear them explain it their form is merely the way our minds interpret the fingers of a transdimensional being poking through from another plane of existence.  If their explanation is accurate, then I don't think it qualifies as a hive mind, if they are only appendages of one actual being.  Or does it?
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