Author Topic: EP314: Movement  (Read 19648 times)

raetsel

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Reply #25 on: October 26, 2011, 07:57:38 PM
Well, the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution isn't complete gibberish, and certainly you can see some minor but visible changes in species within only a relatively few generations, given sufficient selection pressure.  (It took, what, ten generations to have noticeable beak differences in birds on different islands?  I remember reading a study about this...)

Yeah good point but it was a pretty specific set of circumstances and a confined environment. I think this might be the study to which you are referring? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/educators/course/session4/elaborate_b_pop1.html I got the impression from the story this was a much more general thing.



Scattercat

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Reply #26 on: October 27, 2011, 07:22:30 AM
Right.  There needs to be a very strong selective pressure to get rapid change, but nonetheless, rapid change can and does occur.  It's not just flat-out incorrect, like the glass-is-liquid thing.

I'm not sure how much selection pressure there would be in favor of temporal autism, but hey, who knows?  Maybe they live in the same universe as "'Repent, Harlequin,' said the Ticktockman."



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Reply #27 on: October 28, 2011, 02:06:00 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?

Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

The main reason I thought that is the behavior of the mosquitoes.  Her father got a shoulder laser to pick off mosquitoes as they come near him.  If I remember correctly:
-The laser is only a few years old
-The laser had been much more effective when he first got it
-The mosquitoes who attack him now are now much faster and able to avoid the laser most of the time
-I got the impression that the lasers aren't even particularly common
-Mosquitoes get swatted all the time, but they haven't evolved any new defenses against it.  They just breed enough to make this death rate insignificant
-For a mosquito to even recognize the need to dodge a laser would seem to show new level of intelligence.

Venus fly traps had also evolved drastically in just a few years as well.  The mosquito thing alone, though, made me think that this was a speculative fiction element that Fulda put in place intentionally to support her story.  And I think it worked in that respect.  So I get the impression that the accelerated evolution is in effect for humans as well as other creatures, and the protagonist exhibits a new mutation.  You might say that the brother did as well, but in that case it might not be driven by his biology but his technology, having adapted to this brain computer from a very young age.

So I think that the protagonist is exhibiting a new mutation, and she spends much of her time contemplating whether she is an evolutionary dead end or whether her condition will become more widespread if she has children and they have some kind of advantage over others.  This was strongly supported in the text, I believe, by much of her idle speculation:
-She contemplates the evolution of the plant that grows too heavy to support itself.  She considers this plant more beautiful than the others simply because she thinks it an evolutionary dead end.
-She practices forms of dance that no one has practiced in centuries, because she consider it an evolutionary dead end of the art form.
-I think it's strongly implied that the reason that she "doesn't want new shoes" is because those "shoes" (her unique mind) is what makes her the evolutionary dead end that she finds so beautiful.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 02:08:03 PM by Unblinking »



Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #28 on: October 30, 2011, 09:08:51 PM
I agree with everything Unblinking said, and I also loved this story a whole bunch (currently my favorite Short Story from Asimov's this year, from what I've read), but I do want to add one thing.

Hannah certainly finds evolutionary dead ends beautiful, one of the more interesting themes in the story, but I think the reason she likes dead ends isn't that she thinks of herself as one, it's that she thinks there is no distinction between a dead end and the first of a great new thing in the moment they first appear.  History is written by the winners, as they say, and dead ends were just innovations that lost.  Hannah likes any innovation, and considers herself, and her brother, innovations that may or may not pan out.




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Reply #29 on: November 01, 2011, 07:02:37 PM
Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

I just took it as yet another misunderstanding of how evolution actually works, and the time frames involved.  Either way works, so it is a moot point.

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Captain (none given)

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Reply #30 on: November 01, 2011, 09:55:36 PM
Having a brother with uncategorized autism, this story stuck out at me. Ms. Fulda seems to get that sometimes people just throw names at a condition just because it makes it simpler for us to have something to say rather than knowing what it really is. (By the way, this story would have made my dad cry).

Anyways, I thought this was a spectacular story for many reasons. The POV was fantastic for it's isolation from what other characters are doing/thinking/saying. Sometimes it's really difficult talking to my brother because he operates on a different level from me. I want to move faster, do more, and do it better and bigger. And in his own way, my brother is striving for more. He has this incessant need to to talk (even if he has to talk to himself or repeat himself 20 times.) Clearly, he has a different form of autism than the MC, but the principle is the same. He can't communicate in quite a way that is clear to ME, but it makes perfect sense to him. I often wonder what is going on inside his head and I REALLY wonder if he isn't doing the same with me wondering how I could be so thick as to not understand what he's really trying to get at.

Another cool thing is that I never thought of "greatness" being a factor/ function of evolution. Just thought that was an interesting idea.

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Unblinking

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Reply #31 on: November 07, 2011, 05:23:50 PM
Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

I just took it as yet another misunderstanding of how evolution actually works, and the time frames involved.  Either way works, so it is a moot point.

Fair enough.  :)  To me it seemed that the sped-up evolution was intended to be actually there.  It seemed that her observations of the mosquito's abilities were based on facts, and those facts were decidedly different than how it would work in our world. 

In our world, I'd guess that most mosquitoes that sting people end up dead.  This doesn't kill off the mosquito population because they 1.  have lots of offspring.  2.  they don't feed only on humans, feeding also on dogs and cows and birds that aren't as capable at swatting.  So, I don't see adding a shoulder laser as being a significant evolutionary drive in any case (especially when not all people use them), the slower ones would still have plenty of food.  Unless the evolution here is accelerated.

Anyway, that's not to say that my interpretation isn't wrong, it just seemed to me that facts that she observed supported a hypothesis of accelerated evolution.



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Reply #32 on: November 08, 2011, 07:47:45 PM
So, I had to listen to this one a few times before I could understand the context. I really liked it because of the subtlety of the alternate universe. Great world building. Although, it wasn't what I was expecting I enjoyed the change in pace very much.

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Dem

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Reply #33 on: December 04, 2011, 02:38:44 PM
Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Unblinking

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Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 02:57:03 PM
Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  :)  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.



Devoted135

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Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 03:35:08 PM
Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  :)  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.


Oh, you definitely exist. Only, (and I hate to break it to you like this) you seem to have recently undergone a radical species change operation... ::)



Dem

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Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 05:19:08 PM
Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  :)  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.

Think you're ahead of me in the existence stakes - I probably still have a good 14 minutes and 30 seconds of my allocated famousness to fill!

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


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Reply #37 on: January 19, 2012, 03:07:15 AM
Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.

Alea Iacta Est!


Devoted135

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Reply #38 on: January 19, 2012, 02:52:57 PM
Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.

Oh wow, that is an amazing story! *wipes tears from cheeks*



Dem

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Reply #39 on: January 22, 2012, 03:09:58 PM
Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.

There's this one as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmTXGQ2BhUA Amanda Baggs uses Second Life as a social and intellectual outlet.

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Gamercow

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Reply #40 on: January 24, 2012, 04:09:43 PM
Additionally, there's the new show "Touch", on Fox, about the autistic super-intelligent kid.  Personally, I'm going to give that one a miss, because it just looks contrived.  I'm not sure why I'm so bothered by the theme of autistic kids being misunderstood super-beings, but I am.

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Dem

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Reply #41 on: January 24, 2012, 07:37:09 PM
I'm not sure why I'm so bothered by the theme of autistic kids being misunderstood super-beings, but I am.
Probably because most of them aren't super-anything, they're just ordinary folk trying to function in a world that doesn't work according to their rules. I think ascribing special talents or characteristics can be the 'normal' world's attempt to compensate for disability. :(

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Marguerite

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Reply #42 on: February 20, 2012, 09:35:21 PM
Nancy, congratulations on the Nebula nomination!!

http://www.sfwa.org/2012/02/2011-nebula-awards-nominees-announced/

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Reply #43 on: February 20, 2012, 10:37:30 PM
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 dancing shoes, 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.

I got a more open ended interpretation. I wasn't thoroughly engaged in the story, so I missed this interpretation. Brutal. Brings it up a notch.

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LaShawn

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Reply #44 on: April 11, 2012, 06:38:48 PM
I think I would have to read this one just to get all the nuances. When I heard it, the writing was beautiful, but I found myself getting impatient because the story was taking to long to come to the decision. Then I read the comments and saw that I missed a lot of the context (I didn't get her autism was temporal). I was also hung up on the fact that for a girl who took a long time to choose her words, her inner monologue was chugging along fine. But just because it's inner monologue doesn't mean we say what's in our minds automatically (and in fact, there are people who really shouldn't say what's on their mind at all.)

So I think I'm going to reread this at a slower pace.

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Umbrageofsnow

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Reply #45 on: April 12, 2012, 05:51:25 PM
In light of the Hugo and Nebula nominations, Asimov's put a .pdf of the story up for free on their website.  They usually take these things down eventually (after Hugos and slow website updating) but for now at least, you can read or download it here if you want the actual text version.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 05:53:54 PM by Umbrageofsnow »



eytanz

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Reply #46 on: May 15, 2012, 03:13:09 PM
For what I think is the first time in these forums, an episode has been repeated and thus its thread gets re-stickied. Hopefully, some people who didn't catch it the first time round will listen to this excellent story.

For those of you who have already listened to the episode, a quick heads up - the reposted one is entirely identical, with the same intro and outro. So if you missed Bill Peters' reading of episode commentaries, here's your chance to get your fix :)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 03:16:27 PM by eytanz »



schizoTypal

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Reply #47 on: May 20, 2012, 04:48:21 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 dancing shoes, 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.

I got a more open ended interpretation. I wasn't thoroughly engaged in the story, so I missed this interpretation. Brutal. Brings it up a notch.

I, too, got an entirely different interpretation of the ending. I more viewed it as "I don't want new shoes" being a stand-in for "I don't want this." A rejection of things moving forward more rapidly than she would tolerate, and her way of taking a stand. The only way she new.



LaShawn

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Reply #48 on: June 07, 2012, 04:09:27 PM
So I listened to this again, as well as read it, since I'm going to Worldcon this year, and as I suspected, the second time around, I fell in love with it.

I love how the different elements of time, plants, atoms and the universe mesh together, and the ruminations on how quickly things change, whether it be glacial, such as glass, or evolutionary, such as how the net evolved within lifetimes. I loved the language and this time, the protagonist's inner ruminations seemed more natural to me.

Right now, this is fighting with the Cartographer Wasps story to be my Hugo pick. Cartographer's wasps was gorgeous and innovative, but there was an emotional distance that was more satisfied in this story. But this one moves at a glacial scale, which you have to match in slowing yourself down to read, whereas Wasps pulls you in and never lets you go...

AUUGH...WHY CAN'T WE HAVE BOTH?!

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schizoTypal

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Reply #49 on: June 07, 2012, 08:00:47 PM
Personally, it seems like Movement has more to offer than the Wasps does to begin with. The story of the Wasps seems very centered on purposely making the story fit a sci-fi mold, whereas Movement has a story to tell that necessitates sci-fi elements. It seems more natural, I suppose. 

So I listened to this again, as well as read it, since I'm going to Worldcon this year, and as I suspected, the second time around, I fell in love with it.

I love how the different elements of time, plants, atoms and the universe mesh together, and the ruminations on how quickly things change, whether it be glacial, such as glass, or evolutionary, such as how the net evolved within lifetimes. I loved the language and this time, the protagonist's inner ruminations seemed more natural to me.

Right now, this is fighting with the Cartographer Wasps story to be my Hugo pick. Cartographer's wasps was gorgeous and innovative, but there was an emotional distance that was more satisfied in this story. But this one moves at a glacial scale, which you have to match in slowing yourself down to read, whereas Wasps pulls you in and never lets you go...

AUUGH...WHY CAN'T WE HAVE BOTH?!