Escape Artists
December 19, 2014, 08:31:35 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
Author Topic: EP314: Movement  (Read 6332 times)
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4721



« on: October 13, 2011, 11:00:25 AM »

EP 314: Movement

By Nancy Fulda

Read by Marguerite Kenner

First appeared in Asimov’s March 2011 issue

---
It is sunset.  The sky is splendid through the panes of my bedroom window; billowing layers of cumulous blazing with refracted oranges and reds.  I think if only it weren’t for the glass, I could reach out and touch the cloudscape, perhaps leave my own trail of turbulence in the swirling patterns that will soon deepen to indigo.

But the window is there, and I feel trapped.

Behind me my parents and a specialist from the neurological research institute are sitting on folding chairs they’ve brought in from the kitchen, quietly discussing my future.  They do not know I am listening.  They think that, because I do not choose to respond,  I do not notice they are there.

“Would there be side effects?” My father asks.  In the oppressive heat of the evening, I hear the quiet Zzzapof his shoulder laser as it targets mosquitoes.  The device is not as effective as it was two years ago: the mosquitoes are getting faster.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
Alasdair5000
Editor
*****
Posts: 985



WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 01:52:12 PM »

Fascinating story. I loved the way that the two different perceptions, of the heroine and her parents, co-existed but didn't communicate. There's real delicacy of touch here and the way that individual elements of the world simultaneously mirrored the story and the thought processes of the characters was fascinating. Great reading too, loved how you were able to delineate the characters with very slight vocal changes. Good Job:)
Logged
l33tminion
Palmer
**
Posts: 40


« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2011, 09:16:07 PM »

I really liked this one the third time through.  The first two times I was listening at work and too distracted to understand what was going on.

I like the subtlety, and I like the in character digressions.  Not much happens in the plot of the story, but it holds together well.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6654



WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 09:28:42 AM »

I really enjoyed this one.  A deep POV written well can make a good storyline into a fantastic story.  I'm not sure I completely understood her way of thinking, but I think that's part of the appeal, that the way of processing seems so foreign to me.  At the same time, I could grasp some parts of her alienation.  I tend to get irritated by the expected exchanging of pleasantries in conversation because it's so pointless and ephemeral, so I felt like I could really empathize with her there.

The final line of the story was really well done.  It was clear from the rest that she meant something much more when she said she didn't want more shoes, but likely her parents won't understand.  Her dad will still push to get her the surgery, claiming its for her own good, and she will have trouble articulating it in a way they understand because they are looking only at the veneer of the words, not the shades of meaning underneath.

One thing I wondered during the story:  is this some kind of altered world where evolution has been kicked up a notch?  It said that the mosquitoes had already evolved in just a few years to outmaneuver the shoulder-lasers, and the plants likewise had evolved in just a few years.  I thought it was fine that the story didn't comment overmuch on this oddity, and I think it added interesting subtext to the story.  She is very interested in evolutionary offshoots and dead-ends because she thinks she might BE one.  Like the first branch of the evolutionary tree that was capable of speech, she is misunderstood by her peers, and maybe she won't be the fittest to alter future human evolution, but maybe like speech, in the future her way of thinking will eventually become the most prevalent.

I thought the description of the brain procedure was very interesting, like bending a sapling to influence the stance of the adult tree.

And she had some very interesting insights into parent-child relationships, about how it doesn't make sense to expect the next generation to be like your generation.  Society evolves, and trying to stand in the way doesn't really make sense.  No generation is like their parent's generation.



Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
ElectricPaladin
Hipparch
******
Posts: 876


Holy Robot


WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2011, 12:34:29 PM »

To my surprise, I didn't like this one very much. Ironically, it was because I thought the author deeply misunderstood the nature of neurological illness. Autism isn't a disinclination to conversation; it's a lack of an ability. My cousin who can't speak due to severe autism isn't contemplating "something else," he's got a neurological block that prevents him from acquiring and using language normally.

Another scientific fallacy of the story, perhaps symbolic, was the thing about glass. Glass isn't a slow-flowing liquid. It's just not a crystal. It has no regular structure. That doesn't mean that it flows.

Anyway, I tried my best to focus on the story and ignore the science, but in the end, I couldn't do it. The conceit of the story - she is wrapped up in time, special and misunderstood, needing only space and time to grow into whatever she will become - was continually undercut by the flawed narrative voice (the reading, though, was excellent).

I have to admit that the story also seemed to contradict itself. Time, change, and transformation are SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT that the character can't bare to change. Um...

So, yeah, not my favorite. Sorry!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 02:15:34 PM by ElectricPaladin » Logged

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.
Kanasta
Peltast
***
Posts: 81



« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 01:25:14 PM »

Autism isn't a disinclination to conversation; it's a lack of an ability. My cousin who can't speak due to severe autism isn't contemplating "something else," he's got a neurological block that prevents him from acquiring and using language normally.

I didn't like that aspect much either. Particularly when she knows that her grandparents will think she is rude but ignores them anyway. I think if that's the case, then yes, she actually is being rude. I'd have thought the issue would be that someone with autism might not even understand the concept of rudeness, let alone know when their behaviour might be considered rude.
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 884



« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2011, 07:51:34 PM »

I loved this story. The writing and reading both made it so easy to imagine her dancing in the foyer of a beautiful cathedral. The description of her ballerina shoes molding to her feet over time to eventually become a part of her was lovely, and served as the perfect metaphor for the central conflict with her parents.

The issue of her temporal disconnect brought to mind Oliver Sacks' work on people who somehow experience time faster or slower than most of us do and how taking hours or milliseconds to do a minutes-long task causes them to view the world so differently. Makes you wonder if we appear to be in slow-motion to hummingbirds or to be moving at super-speed to sloths.



To my surprise, I didn't like this one very much. Ironically, it was because I thought the author deeply misunderstood the nature of neurological illness. Autism isn't a disinclination to conversation; it's a lack of an ability. My cousin who can't speak due to severe autism isn't contemplating "something else," he's got a neurological block that prevents him from acquiring and using language normally.

Given that the MC herself explicitly rejected the connection to autism, would taking that into account alter your opinion? In other words, if the author had written the same story but named her condition temporal disengagement would you have liked the story better for not having that distraction?
Logged
Dem
Lochage
*****
Posts: 554


aka conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com


WWW
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2011, 11:54:51 AM »

I liked this. I found it insightful and penetrating of the autistic condition from within. To address some of the criticisms; autism is a spectrum and communication - usually social - is the key problem. Sometimes language - or at least the expression of it - does not develop. More often, it does but people struggle to use it socially. Hence the MC's capacity to know that her behaviour will be annoying but being unable to do anything about it. I've come across this many times. Generally, if someone cares about whether or not another person is hurt by their behaviour, it would indicate Asperger's, a variant of autism in which people seem to want social contact but have difficulty interpreting it. One of my clients (read 'patients' - we don't use the term but I'd hate to confuse!), after disappearing without trace for several hours and being greeted by his mother as having been lost, said, no he wasn't, he knew exactly where he was at all times. Devastating logic with no social insight.
Nice work, Nancy; nice reading too, Margeurite.
Logged

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.
JoeFitz
Matross
****
Posts: 253



« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2011, 02:11:43 PM »

Wonderful reading!

The story, however, was not. As poetic, lyrical and beautiful as the language was, the Romantic idea that the MC was just misunderstood was overplayed.

I found the use of "autism" was highly distracting. Excising the whole thing would have made it a sentimental, but powerful piece.

As it was, I got the sense the piece is supposed to be somewhat of a polemic against trying to "fix" children labeled autistic. The savant is a tired trope in a all too real debate over autism.
Logged
Leo551
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2011, 02:07:12 PM »

I loved this story I understand peoples having problems with the mental disability aspect of the story. But I feel the important part of this story is that we as the human race put down people who we can not understand even when they have a gift. The chance of greatness needs to be able to grow instead of casting it down because they are different from the rest of society. I know that as an art student I am looked at as a strange oddity and even my family thinks I’m wasting though who knows I might become the next da Vinci (no I do not think of my self as in that level). 
Logged
Listener
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3184


I place things in locations which later elude me.


WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2011, 03:07:28 PM »

I enjoyed the story in all ways except one:

The parents know their child "wanders off". It clearly has happened. Why does she not have some sort of RFID chip? I mean, this is approximately 2060 (given the comment the grandfather gave about game consoles). The dad clearly is willing to make his child (who is a minor, so technically he has the right to do what he thinks is best for her) get a brain-altering surgery. What would stop him from chipping her?

This has happened in many stories other than just this one. It just struck me while I was listening.
Logged

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42
MuseofChaos
Peltast
***
Posts: 98



WWW
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 08:02:15 AM »

Thanks for all the comments on the reading, everyone, I really appreciate them.  This was my first EA project and I'm thrilled to help out.  :-)

For anyone interested, I've read a few more stories on "Cast of Wonders".  You'll recognize the host as our excellent friend Mr. Kibitzer.  :-D
Logged

Alea Iacta Est!
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 649



« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2011, 07:56:56 AM »

First the good:  Liked the reading, it was very well done, and the voice fit the character. 

Now the bad: I did not like the actual story at all.  I can see the point of looking at someone who doesn't fit into the social norms as being different, not broken, but the evolution/time theme just kept repeating, and by the end, I felt like I was getting beaten over the head with it.  I also did not like the MC, I thought she was rude, inconsiderate, and condescending.  Granted, this is somewhat typical of children, especially teenagers,(was the MC's age ever stated?) but this took "Parents just don't understand" and "Old people just don't get young people" ideas to the point of irritation. 

If I had to guess, I would say the author has an autistic child, and/or a child that loves ballet, or loves ballet herself.  I know they say "Write what you know", but there's something almost-but-not-quite Mary Sue that rankles me about this story. 

I will try going back to this story when I am in a more contemplative mood, and see if it doesn't come off as much of a "special snowflake" piece to me.
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 6654



WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2011, 09:03:51 AM »

If I had to guess, I would say the author has an autistic child, and/or a child that loves ballet, or loves ballet herself.  I know they say "Write what you know", but there's something almost-but-not-quite Mary Sue that rankles me about this story. 

Yup, in the outro it was said that Nancy has a child on the autistic spectrum.
Logged

--David Steffen
The Submissions Grinder:  Fiction market listings, submissions tracker, always free, poetry and nonfiction markets coming soon!
Gamercow
Hipparch
******
Posts: 649



« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2011, 09:35:13 AM »

If I had to guess, I would say the author has an autistic child, and/or a child that loves ballet, or loves ballet herself.  I know they say "Write what you know", but there's something almost-but-not-quite Mary Sue that rankles me about this story. 

Yup, in the outro it was said that Nancy has a child on the autistic spectrum.

I honestly didn't make it that far, I turned it off as soon as the music started, I was so turned off by this story.
Logged

The cow says "Mooooooooo"
Corcoran
Palmer
**
Posts: 30



WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2011, 11:26:54 AM »

The negative ending was brutal.
Finally she says something and you can realize what her mother will make of the sentence "I dont want new shoes"
She wants to stay the same, and her mother will get the message, I dont need new dancingshoes, because after the operation, I will
never again need new shoes. So her mother will not stop the operation any longer now that she has voiced an opinion.
Even if it will be the opposite of what she wants.

Sad sad story, good but sad.
Logged
sykoticwit
Extern
*
Posts: 5


Just a scifi nerd living in an all-to-real world


« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2011, 03:33:32 PM »

A great, if depressing, story. I loved the unusual perspective, and the feeling of helplessness the story evoked as you realized just how difficult it was for the protaganist to communicate, and just how little those closest to her cared about her desires or concerns. She was fully capable of making decisions, and if you could listen, expressing her wishes. She just needed someone to actually stop and listen to her. The last paragraph was absolutely chilling, when the author drove home the point that at the end if the day, it made absolutely no difference what she wanted, she was going to be shoehorned into doing whatever her parents wanted. And that was probably never going to change as long as she lived. I half expected this story to end in a suicide, too be honest.
Logged

"The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves."
InfiniteMonkey
Lochage
*****
Posts: 468


Clearly, I need more typewriters....


« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2011, 03:40:13 PM »

I liked the author's ability to convey a radically different POV. I found the father's impatience a mite irritating; seriously, dude, calm down and listen to her. And her brother's condition struck me as a bit of a mystery; is this a family problem? A greater problem in society? Or something completely different?


Logged
raetsel
Peltast
***
Posts: 105



WWW
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2011, 04:22:30 AM »

I didn't enjoy this story at all.

I think its biggest problem was having to overcome the dichotomy of portraying a condition of a character that has trouble with speech and language by using her internal monologue expressed as words. True, speech and language aren't quite the same thing but the character seems to take days to find the right words to speak because of all the input she has to process and yet she can produce a perfectly coherent internal story.

The other themes in the story related to the passage of time, the speeded up evolution and the fact that grandparents apparently never had any sort of online gaming all just seem contrivances to fit the writer's theme.

Finally the story adds to the "Rain Man" stereotype that people with autism are all savants in some way. It's only about 10% of people with developmental disorders like autism that have any sort of savant abilities, the vast majority don't.

The reading of the story however was very good.

Also I'll admit the final paragraph and the multi-level meaning of the phrase "no new shoes" was very clever and affecting.
Logged
SwingsetPark
Extern
*
Posts: 4


« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2011, 05:33:59 AM »

I was not put off by the author's use of "autism," as others here seem to be. When I heard "temporal autism," I assumed it was a made-up sci-fi condition.

Once I realized that the MC's disorder was a skewed view of the passage of time (and not an issue with forming words), I enjoyed it. The flow of the glass*, the appreciation of stone, the perception of macro change--even knowing that the mother would wait 12.5 seconds for an answer really keyed in for me this fish-out-of-water story. The ending was strong, but the most powerful image for me is the MC clutching her shoes in the paper sack. They seemed like her anchor through the waves of time, which was beautiful.

*I've heard that glass does flow. It's not 100% solid, and caretakers of very old homes have to flip windows periodically to make sure they don't get too thick on the bottom end. But I'm no glazier.

On a personal note, the story made me consider that maybe my wife actually does perceive time differently than I do. I might just have more patience next time. Also, my cousin is autistic, and I've wondered how he sees the world. Maybe (probably) the author didn't get it right, but I think this unique POV was worth the ride.

Kudos to the narrator. Excellent.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!