Escape Artists



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Author Topic: EP390: Cerbo un Vitra ujo  (Read 38585 times)

Mary Robinette Kowal

  • Extern
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  • Posts: 10
Reply #140 on: June 06, 2013, 03:11:14 AM
Also, hi Mary!  And thanks for stopping by.  We can be a contentious lot, but I love the discussions here.

Hi! Part of why I like EscapePod is because of the committed audience and the active forum discussions.


  • Palmer
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  • Posts: 37
  • I May be Addicted to Words...
    • Cynandre
Reply #141 on: June 06, 2013, 08:42:12 PM
And, as to the story itself:

I think it was done well.  Yes it was dark.  No, I probably won't listen to it again because it's a very emotionally raw story.

Was she a victim?  Well, in the sense that she is doomed at the end to an unpleasant fate, I guess so.  But I respect her dedication, her love, and her fortitude, even if there's a possibility that she could've found a way to meet her goal without killing herself in the process.  I'm not even convinced that she could've done it any other way.  Time was of the essence, she thought she had to act quick before he was lost forever.  Hacking takes time, less time than showing up on the doorstep.

I was surprised that the rape was the thing that many people reacted so strongly too.  Rape is a topic which I'm not comfortable with in a story or elsewhere, and has to be used very carefully.  But being uncomfortable with it doesn't mean it shouldn't be talked about.  Rape happens in the real world, and to exclude it from fiction would be to deny its existence.   This story is about rape of multiple kinds.  The doctor cuts people apart and sells their pieces to people who are bored with their own parts--the loss of control and pain inherent in these acts is rape.  Why in the world would the doctor who has not hesitated to do this to random strangers whenever the opportunity arises, draw the line at sexual rape?  "I'll happily leave you senseless and suffering for the rest of your unnaturally prolonged life, but when it comes to sex, no means no."  For him to do anything but gratify his own urges at the cost of others in every possible way would be out of character for him.  I'm not saying that it's wrong to react strongly to the sexual rape when the rest of the story already had the body harvesting aspect, I just don't understand that view at all. 

By the time she was halfway through the story I didn't feel that romantic love was driving her, but compassion for a fellow human being.  She knew deep down that something had gone horribly wrong and she wanted to spare him that pain however she could.  She took on pain of her own in the end, but it takes a noble person who would cause themselves pain to spare another the same.  She is well and truly doomed at the end of the story, but her actions were not for nothing.  She has done nothing to stop the doc, and maybe she could have stopped him in some way, but in her rush she committed to her goal until there was no possible way out.  Even if she killed the doc, there is clearly a huge societal problem here that stopping him would do nothing to solve.  The villain is just one cockroach thriving in a world of cockroaches, squashing him makes little difference to society.  But she can make a difference to this one person, and she does.  To her that matters.  To him that matters.  That has to be enough.  It's like the parable about the person throwing beached starfish into the ocean--she can save one starfish but she can't stop the tide from going out.

I don't think she saw the final line of the story as a surprise.  She saw it as inevitable.  At that point it really doesn't matter, because she's done all she can do and she has made peace with it.

Thank you. Sometimes I do not have the words and you put them out there the most clearly.

Insanity takes it's toll. Please have exact change.


  • Matross
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  • Posts: 192
Reply #142 on: November 04, 2013, 01:10:49 AM
Long thread here, which wasn't that surprising given the nature of the story. When you write explicitly about sexual abuse, you should be prepared for strong reactions. But I like an author who is ready to take risks, and this was exactly that. I will not say it was entirely successful, in fact, perhaps the most disturbing part might be that I just listened to this story and it didn't really mark me. It did remind me of Breaking The Waves, the Lars von Trier movie, which also hammers in the theme of sacrifice, although I don't think it was as well handled here as in that movie. There was no attempt to build up psychologically believable characters, perhaps explained by it being a re-telling of a children's fairytale, but in the end that removed a lot of impact for me.