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Author Topic: EP415: The Nightmare Lights of Mars  (Read 8224 times)

Mouseneb

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Reply #20 on: October 12, 2013, 02:31:16 AM
This story made me uncomfortable due to the realistic description of an abusive marriage. So... good job? I found it a very depressing story. She has the chance to escape... and she decides to stick around and get eaten by the giant bugs.

Every day is an adventure.


Windup

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Reply #21 on: October 12, 2013, 05:23:40 AM

I am a lot weirded out by the return of the abused spouse to her "changed" abuser. Really? So, suspension of disbelief for this one is not limited to things being on Mars but abusers suddenly becoming nice because of fame? Nope, lost me there.


That didn't strike me as unrealistic.

It's my understanding that returning to a "changed" abuser is a pretty common pattern.  Many abusers are also world-class apologizers and can be shockingly charming and ingratiating in the wake of an episode of serious abuse.  For the abused, this can be the "moment of power," when the abuser is being attentive to their needs and treating them as the center of the world.  If they don't come back the relationship, they don't get that.  That's one of the reasons it usually takes multiple tries for a person to leave an abusive relationship.

Real-world, I would have expected the marriage to eventually slip back into the pattern of abuse and control; in the story, the pattern got interrupted by carnivorous bugs. 

"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."


FireTurtle

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Reply #22 on: October 14, 2013, 04:16:46 PM

I am a lot weirded out by the return of the abused spouse to her "changed" abuser. Really? So, suspension of disbelief for this one is not limited to things being on Mars but abusers suddenly becoming nice because of fame? Nope, lost me there.


That didn't strike me as unrealistic.

It's my understanding that returning to a "changed" abuser is a pretty common pattern.  Many abusers are also world-class apologizers and can be shockingly charming and ingratiating in the wake of an episode of serious abuse.  For the abused, this can be the "moment of power," when the abuser is being attentive to their needs and treating them as the center of the world.  If they don't come back the relationship, they don't get that.  That's one of the reasons it usually takes multiple tries for a person to leave an abusive relationship.

Real-world, I would have expected the marriage to eventually slip back into the pattern of abuse and control; in the story, the pattern got interrupted by carnivorous bugs. 

A fair point. Maybe it just hit to close to home for me. But, for whatever reason, a seeming period of months of good abuser behavior seemed a bit to long for me. And yes, you are totally right, the bugs did sort of disrupt the pattern.  ::)

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


Gamercow

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Reply #23 on: October 15, 2013, 02:10:56 PM
Perhaps you should listen to the episode.

After hearing your review of it, I really should.  I listened to him speak on the same subject with Phil Plait, and was left with a bad taste in my mouth.

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Unblinking

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Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 03:43:19 PM
I didn't like much of the body of the story.  The protagonist was enough of a doormat that it was really hard to relate to her, though I did feel bad for her at times. 

I kept having moments in the story where I had to say, "Wait, what?"--like how does a heavily oxygenated zone help plants grow?  They don't breathe O2, they breathe CO2, right--it makes sense that bugs would grow big in that environment, sort of like the Carboniferous period on Earth because so much of the carbon had been used up in dead tree trunks until fungus came on the scene to break them apart and get some carbon back into the system again.  (I think that's how it all went anyway, maybe I'm wrong on something)  But they didn't seem to actually have a goal of making giant super-insects, so the O2 zone didn't really make sense to me.

Also, why did the moths appear for the first time when she used the flare?  It seemed like there was supposed to be some special significance to that, but I didn't get it.  She has the flare as a common product it seemed so why has no one else attracted giant bugs when they used their flares?  How can the bugs even see the flares in the midst of a sandstorm, conditions not exactly conducive to long-distance vision?  It bugged me too the mention of a windless room which had a broken window and a sandstorm outside.

I dug the ending though, with the giant human luring light.  I wonder if the insects will just eat them all and will eventually starve themselves because they've eaten all their food.  Or if they'll be smart enough to keep some of the humans for breeding stock to make more food--they're evolving fast enough maybe they have the brains to figure out that kind of domestic farming situation.

The ending suffered from a bit of logic problem for me too, since they seem to have come up with the idea from the moth lure.  But moths are just naturally attracted to light.  Humans aren't so much.  Maybe there's some way to make a light that could lure humans, but it wouldn't be just ANY light or we'd be wandering east in the morning and west in the evening every day.  If the bugs were so smart I would've expected them to need to do some experiments and iterations with failed light configurations before the found the magic one that worked with our brain chemistry.  But the ending was funny and dark enough that my qualms with it didn't bother me overmuch.



eytanz

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Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 06:15:46 PM
I kept having moments in the story where I had to say, "Wait, what?"--like how does a heavily oxygenated zone help plants grow?  They don't breathe O2, they breathe CO2

Plants don't breathe CO2, they breathe O2. They photosynthesize CO2 into O2, which they then breathe (letting out more CO2 in the process). In most places on Earth, there is sufficient sunlight so that overall, plants produce a lot more O2, and consume a lot more CO2, than vice-versa, but they actually are engaged in both processes. Potentially, if there is less sunlight available to plants on Mars, they would need more O2 to be supplied than CO2.

So I think the story's thinking is - in order to achieve a normal growth rate, the plants on Mars need extra O2. That extra O2 then has unintended results on insects.



Unblinking

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Reply #26 on: November 04, 2013, 05:31:32 PM
I kept having moments in the story where I had to say, "Wait, what?"--like how does a heavily oxygenated zone help plants grow?  They don't breathe O2, they breathe CO2

Plants don't breathe CO2, they breathe O2. They photosynthesize CO2 into O2, which they then breathe (letting out more CO2 in the process). In most places on Earth, there is sufficient sunlight so that overall, plants produce a lot more O2, and consume a lot more CO2, than vice-versa, but they actually are engaged in both processes. Potentially, if there is less sunlight available to plants on Mars, they would need more O2 to be supplied than CO2.

So I think the story's thinking is - in order to achieve a normal growth rate, the plants on Mars need extra O2. That extra O2 then has unintended results on insects.

Really?

Huh.  I guess I don't know much about the natural sciences.  My admittedly grade school level of knowledge has failed me.  My understanding was that animals breathe in O2 and exhale CO2 and that plants did the opposite.

So, nevermind on that complaint.



CryptoMe

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Reply #27 on: March 23, 2014, 06:21:06 PM
Not too sure I liked this story. As others have said, the main character was a doormat, so I didn't like that. Then the sudden Psuedopod twist at the end didn't endear the story to me, either. So, I guess I didn't like it.



hardware

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Reply #28 on: March 27, 2014, 09:21:13 AM
OK, now I read multiple instances of complaints that the main character was 'weak' or 'a doormat', and that was a problem for sympathizing ? I tend to sympathize with the weak and abused, but maybe that is just me. But maybe that is just a side effect of needing to identify with a character, I usually don't really need that. Well, that aside, I found quite some things to like about this story, including the wicked ending and the throwback 50 B-movie style monsters.   



Unblinking

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Reply #29 on: March 27, 2014, 01:54:00 PM
OK, now I read multiple instances of complaints that the main character was 'weak' or 'a doormat', and that was a problem for sympathizing ? I tend to sympathize with the weak and abused, but maybe that is just me.  

I don't necessarily have trouble sympathizing with weak or abused characters in general.  The problem comes, to me, when I feel like the person is having no effect to drive their fate, even when they can and should have had some effect on their fate.  At some point they just kind of come off as more of stage dressing than an actor on the stage--like playing an immobile rock in a children's play.



CryptoMe

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Reply #30 on: March 29, 2014, 03:39:40 PM
I wish there was a like button for what Unblinking just said.

Trying out the forum mobile app here, so please forgive my mistakes and I can't figure out how to quote...