Author Topic: EP395: Robot  (Read 13785 times)

matweller

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Reply #25 on: May 16, 2013, 01:41:18 PM
Hi, all.  Brand new to the forums and will certainly be a big lurker.  :) 
Your story posted this morning...take your buns over there. :P

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=7176.0



silber

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Reply #26 on: May 16, 2013, 07:37:56 PM
I really loved this story and this production.  The reader did a great job (although it was a bit hard to hear at times, i agree.  Required cranking up the volume on my player to full and even then I had to really focus to hear.)  I think a little bit of the story could have been shaved off a bit to prevent the narrative device from getting a little old, but all in all I really enjoyed it and good luck to it with the Nebula award!
"Old people don't trust robots, that's why you see them always tossing magnets at strangers in the park."  That cracked me up.  Love me some Sherman.



notquiterandom

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Reply #27 on: May 17, 2013, 06:58:38 AM
Hi, all.  Brand new to the forums and will certainly be a big lurker.  :) 
Your story posted this morning...take your buns over there. :P

http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=7176.0

Heh!  My buns caught the early train!   :D



bounceswoosh

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Reply #28 on: May 18, 2013, 06:57:04 PM
I loved the story and the reading.  I wasn't as impressed by the outro; maybe that's because my standards are rather high for Norm even since listening to my first Choadsworth adventure tale.  Also I was really confused by how the outro related to the story, which might just be my personal failing.



AM Fish

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Reply #29 on: May 20, 2013, 09:34:03 PM
My interpretation of it was that the robot was ostensibly to replace failing organs with mechanical ones -- our lovely narrator becomes a gradually more robotic cyborg. But that's obviously not how she feels about "her" new parts. She may have been right or she may have been paranoid, but I think it was a fun story either way you look at it.
What a good interpretation.  I like this because it assumes the best from the aliens as well as ourselves.  I hoped that the robot had a good reason to be eating her but I wasn't sure.  I also heard  the story with "Girl" in mind and the story seemed like a worthy homage Jamaica Kincaid's story.



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Reply #30 on: May 29, 2013, 01:12:10 PM
I heard this one on the Clarkesworld podcast a while back.  I gave it an honorable mention on my Best of Clarkesworld 2012+, and I already wrote up a section on it for my Nebula Short Story Review (where I ranked 3rd of the 7 stories)

 copied and pasted from that article (because I am lazy):
REVIEW
Written as instructions to a domestic robot that also acts as a medical aid.  The instructions make it very clear that this robot is meant to follow these instructions very closely.  The robot is meant to eat the narrator’s dead flesh as a disease eats away at her. This one sided conversation has all kinds of nuances that you are left to unravel on your own.
This was published in Clarkesworld, where I heard it on the podcast.  There are some seriously creepy undertones that seem to suggest there’s something deeper.  I’m not sure I was ever able to fully unravel them.  It served as an interesting puzzle, especially trying to understand the narrator’s motivations and personality only from her instructions.  It’s very well written, and has some definite emotional connection.  The reason I didn’t rank this one higher is that I didn’t feel there was any character or plot arc–nothing changed.  I enjoyed it for sure, but to pick it as my favorite story of the year it has to have something more.
This story also seriously needed a better title.  Single-word titles, when the word is from the dictionary, are often not very evocative.  But this is the least evocative title I think I’ve ever seen.  I saw this on a suggested reading list for the Nebula, and I knew I must have heard it on the Clarkesworld podcast but the title brought back absolutely no memory of the story.  I’m sure I’ve read dozens of stories in the last year that involved some kind of robot, and I didn’t have any recollection which one it would be.

to which Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam said:
Quote
I believe the title “Robot” is meant to evoke another story, which “Robot” is very reminiscent of: “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid. The two stories go great in tandem; I think having read “Girl” first made my reading of “Robot” that much richer.

To which I say:  "Robot" is now not the least evocative title I've ever seen.  "Girl" is worse.

Yeah, what did I miss that said there was an alien invasion? If anything, I got that we had met an alien race and there was a trade agreement between.

I don't think it an unreasonable interpretation, though I suspect it was not intended by the author.  There's enough creepy undertones in there that I'm not entirely convinced are just the result of paranoia in the narrator.



CryptoMe

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Reply #31 on: May 30, 2013, 12:06:17 AM
I have to say, I thought the narrator here was absolutely amazing! The changes in tone and volume hit just the right notes in this story and made it better for me.

I also don't understand the opinions that this story was too long. It needed to be that long to show how the narrators abilities, wants, and attitude to the robot change over time. I thought the literary device used here was subtle and brilliant for conveying the humanity of the main character.

In regards to the flesh eating, I took this at it's literal word. Not long ago, I had to deal with an amputation my mother' had for an ischemic (no blood flow) leg. The necrotic part was confined to the lower extremities, but almost the whole leg had to be removed to be sure they got all the rotting (and so toxic) flesh. Coming from that very recently, the concept of a robot that gently nibbles away only the dead flesh, leaving the healthy tissue behind, has a certain appeal for me...

Edited to fix typo
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 04:19:04 AM by CryptoMe »



Hel

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Reply #32 on: May 30, 2013, 02:42:51 AM
I hope I'm not breaking some 'no authors allowed' rule, but I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all the lovely comments on 'Robot.'

Quote
In regards to the flesh eating, I took this at it's literal world. Not long ago, I had to deal with an amputation my mother' had for an ischemic (no blood flow) leg. The necrotic part was confined to the lower extremities, but almost the whole leg had to be removed to be sure they got all the rotting (and so toxic) flesh. Coming from that very recently, the concept of a robot that gently nibbles away only the dead flesh, leaving the healthy tissue behind, has a certain appeal for me...

For what it's worth, this is the situation I was envisioning with the story.  Since amputation is open surgery it's not exactly a good option for someone with severe health problems associated with or tangential to severe arterial disease.  And actually the entire flesh eating concept isn't that much of a leap (other than the alien/robot aspect) when you consider that the FDA approved maggots as a medical device in 2004 to do just that. 

http://jpp.sagepub.com/content/24/1/89.abstract



Dem

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Reply #33 on: May 30, 2013, 08:54:59 AM

the FDA approved maggots as a medical device in 2004 to do just that. 


Over here in the UK, we've been using maggots since at least the Crimean War. Or that might have been a hygiene problem ...

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 #34 on: May 30, 2013, 02:37:43 PM
I hope I'm not breaking some 'no authors allowed' rule, but I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all the lovely comments on 'Robot.'

Helena,
There's definitely no "no authors allowed" rule.  We welcome you.  :)  Just be aware that the forum is very encouraging of honest opinions, and some authors think it's a little too honest.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #35 on: May 30, 2013, 07:00:04 PM
FWIW, I loved the story and the reading.  I thought the voice and pace were perfect.



SonofSpermcube

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Reply #36 on: June 02, 2013, 02:36:12 PM
This is the story that made me give up on second person stories entirely, when I heard it on Clarkesworld.  I hear the narrator address me and it's on to the next story.  It also made me really skeptical of domestic robot stories.  In that respect, I guess you could say it deeply affected me. 



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Reply #37 on: June 03, 2013, 02:51:48 PM
This is the story that made me give up on second person stories entirely, when I heard it on Clarkesworld.  I hear the narrator address me and it's on to the next story.  It also made me really skeptical of domestic robot stories.  In that respect, I guess you could say it deeply affected me.  

See the 2nd person in this story doesn't bother me because there is a reason it uses 2nd person pronouns (that is, it is written as instructions), and the "you" refers to someone specific rather than a general protagonist (the robot helper).  Really, it's written in 1st person, but that 1st person is dictating instructions.  Here the format makes sense because these instructions make sense in the way that they're written, and the fact that I'm reading them just means they reached the wrong destination.

The ones that  bother me is where the "you" is just swapped in arbitrarily as if it were a 1st or 3rd story.  "You walk into a bar.  You order a gin and tonic and scan the room."  



Hel

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Reply #38 on: June 03, 2013, 04:46:55 PM
Quote
Really, it's written in 1st person, but that 1st person is dictating instructions.  Here the format makes sense because these instructions make sense in the way that they're written, and the fact that I'm reading them just means they reached the wrong destination.

The ones that  bother me is where the "you" is just swapped in arbitrarily as if it were a 1st or 3rd story.  "You walk into a bar.  You order a gin and tonic and scan the room." 

Completely agree with the distinction.  I like to think of 2nd Person POV as either Hard ("You walk into a bar") or Soft (Direct Address).

Direct address usually has a defined narrator and as such is written more as a monologue with the 'You' as a second main character.

Harder direct address would look more like Tina Connolly's Hard Choices: the 'You' is a character in the story (as opposed to the reader), but the narrator is not. 

REALLY hard 2nd Person would be where the 'You' is the reader.  I never read Choose Your Own Adventure stories, but my guess is these would be the classic example (Tina's story was in a CYOA style, but I would still argue it was a little closer to a Direct Address with an omniscient narrator).

And the softer you make your 2nd person, the more it will resemble 1st. 



PrimerofinTheSequel

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Reply #39 on: June 05, 2013, 02:57:12 AM
Loved it.



Myrealana

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Reply #40 on: June 12, 2013, 04:51:30 PM
Creepy.
Creepy.
Creppy.

And, may I add -- creepy.

Good story. Made me think, which is always something I like in SF.

But creepy.

"You don't fix faith. Faith fixes you." - Shepherd Book


l33tminion

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Reply #41 on: June 12, 2013, 05:22:02 PM
Has anyone mentioned yet that this story is creepy?  Because it is!

I do like the ambiguity of whether the helper robot is a real or figurative alien invader.  Makes it all the more creepy.

Regarding second-person perspective, I guess the question is whether the perspective is trying to make the reader into a character or put the reader "over the shoulder" of another (silent) character.  In this case, I think it's the latter.  It really enhances the creepy effect because it shows (without telling) how the robot is just standing there silently (ominously!) accepting these instructions.



LaShawn

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Reply #42 on: July 04, 2013, 05:40:57 PM
This story reminded me of the ARG done by the group Cloudmakers that was based off of the movie AI. The movie itself, well I'll leave that up to you, but the online game to me was fascinating. My favorite subplot from the game was an woman whose husband lived on a different continent, so they got an android that looked just like her. The android lived with the husband and then upload the memories to the wife, who lived those memories vicariously. Over time, the woman began to suspect that  the husband is falling in love with the Android, not her. The wife descends into madness, and her last letter was the creepiest and best writing I ever read, definitely creepier than this story. You'll have to read through the game to find her last letter, but I'd suggest doing so it anyway. It was a really good game, and I wish I had known about it back in 2002 so I could play it.

But I did like this story too. And I love the narrator. Was I the only one who dog that her voice at times sounded almost robotic?

Now I'm off to read Jamaica Kincaid's Girl.

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CaptNink

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Reply #43 on: July 05, 2013, 04:59:03 PM
Really enjoyed this one! Like a previous poster mentioned, it was very creepy--I loved it.



Escapee1000

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Reply #44 on: September 19, 2013, 02:22:30 PM
This is one of my favourite sci fi stories ever. Period.

It's thought provoking that we clearly have an unreliable narrator here , and yet her most outlandish claim (that she is being eaten alive by an alien robot for therapeutic purposes) is so readily believable to the audience.



hardware

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Reply #45 on: December 17, 2013, 02:08:09 PM
Yeah, great story. Although it is clearly a sci-fi version of 'Girl', it has it's own themes and a lot to say about the one giving the instructions as well as the future society it's set in.