Author Topic: EP471: Shared Faces  (Read 3972 times)

eytanz

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EP471: Shared Faces
« on: December 05, 2014, 09:52:04 PM »
EP471: Shared Faces

By Anaea Lay

Read by A Kovacs

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Dora’s favorite thing about Justin was that he liked to talk during sex. A good conversation turned him on, and he’d keep it up until the breathless, incoherent stage right before the end. They weren’t at that stage quite yet. Soon. At the moment she was nibbling the flesh at the very top of his thigh.

What’s the spot for the sexbot to spot the spot of the plot damn spot

You’ll never get it out

The music fell from the speakers in a manic rush and Dora shifted her pace to match it. Her skin tingled in response to his arousal, her body automatically configuring itself to comply with the program they’d designed together before starting.

“Ugh, I hate this song,” Justin said.

Dora tightened her hand around him as she let go with her teeth. The conversation kept her mind engaged, prevented her from slipping completely into brain-dead-Bot mode. “Really? I like it. It’s catchy.”

“It’s awful,” Justin said. “Haven’t you seen the video?”

She had, and he was right, it was awful. A Sex Bot got jealous of her primary client’s human lover and attacked her. As if the heart-break of watching the client defend the lover weren’t enough, the video went on to lovingly depict the brutal punishment and dismantling of the offending bot. Dora’s skin went clammy-cold when she’d watched it.

“Yeah, but the nastiness isn’t in the actual lyrics, and it is really catchy.”


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

dromeda

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 06:54:08 PM »
I really liked this one. It's easy to see the racial parallels, but when has SF never had racial allegories? It's also personally affecting, being from a group that is often stereotyped and fetishized (nice bit with noting intra-bot stereotyping), so it was really good to hear. Well done.

bounceswoosh

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Re:
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2014, 02:10:54 AM »
I saw this much more as a story about gender and sexual roles than I did about race. A lot of Dora's struggles to not give in to her people pleasing programming - dead on.

albionmoonlight

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2014, 10:10:22 PM »
Powerful story.  The first commentor here sees metaphors for race. The next one for gender.  I see metaphors for rape and sexual assault victims.

And I think that we are all right.  All of that is going on in here.

One of the things that struck me as very true about this story was the throwaway line about how humans had started to emphasize the ability to dream as one of the defining characteristics of large mammals.  Because bots do not dream, so it provides great neutral-seeming ammunition for the argument that bots are not really human/sentient/deserving of rights.  That is exactly how humans argue.  Know where you want to go.  Then manipulate the facts and arguments to lead you there.  Then pretend that you are just following the facts and arguments to their logical conclusion.

Chairman Goodchild

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Re:
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 12:07:05 PM »
I saw this much more as a story about gender and sexual roles than I did about race. A lot of Dora's struggles to not give in to her people pleasing programming - dead on.

Dora's boyfriend seemed to be a bit damaged too, and I don't think that he deserved to have her walk right out on him, after all, he was trying to do right by her.  But then again, Dora was not in a great frame of mind to begin with.  And that's a character's motivation within a story, so I don't have a problem with that.  

It's interesting that the story doesn't go into Dora's past, which is conspicuous by its absence, and an interesting narrative choice.  Had Dora's past been delved into, it would have greatly changed the story.  As it is, the audience can only wonder why she is the way she is, and why she's not still working as a happy sexbot.  

As a side note, and not to be taken as a negative criticism of the story, but 'sexbot'?  These 'bots' have bones, tendons and blood, require food and by necessity, eliminate waste, are completely sentient, and have normal cognitive responses, apart from what's hard-wired into their brains.  They don't seem the slightest like robots to me at all.  That really increased the creep factor of this episode by a huge amount.  

But then again, that's pretty easy to read as an allegory for the sex industry as it exists today.  This story was really multi-layered.  It worked well. I was very happy with this episode of Escape Pod. Unconventional and thought-provoking, and I really enjoyed that.  

Fenrix

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Re:
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2014, 02:25:52 PM »

Dora's boyfriend seemed to be a bit damaged too, and I don't think that he deserved to have her walk right out on him, after all, he was trying to do right by her.  But then again, Dora was not in a great frame of mind to begin with.  And that's a character's motivation within a story, so I don't have a problem with that.  


I'm not sure we saw enough to know that he's damaged. I took away from this that he was well meaning but fetishized his relationship and exoticized his girlfriend. I'd go with confused and not quite certain of his motivations or desires.
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bounceswoosh

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Re: Re: Re:
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 02:28:35 PM »


I saw this much more as a story about gender and sexual roles than I did about race. A lot of Dora's struggles to not give in to her people pleasing programming - dead on.

Dora's boyfriend seemed to be a bit damaged too, and I don't think that he deserved to have her walk right out on him, after all, he was trying to do right by her.  But then again, Dora was not in a great frame of mind to begin with.  And that's a character's motivation within a story, so I don't have a problem with that.  
Whoa. Deserve? Your comment here is problematic. "I don't want to be in  this relationship anymore" is a perfectly valid reason to break up with someone. They are not owed an explanation that they have to accept - in my experience, trying to explain just drags out the pain. And the fact that he is trying to do right by her? Irrelevant, as she still feels like shit around him. He can't get past his programming, and it hurts her.




Unblinking

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 03:28:30 PM »
I liked it.  A well-written story about the social programming we all have and that we can all choose where to go with the flow and where to push back.  It's never easy, and you've got to pick your battles, but I'm glad that she was pushing to find who she actually wanted to be and work toward being that person.  I though it was especially interesting to see her relationships with Justin and with the valkyrie (blanking on the name at the moment)--neither of those others wished her ill, but she was cognizant enough of her own self to recognize that being around those two people was interfering with trying to figure herself out and so she ended both relationships to try to work that out for herself. That's not something that's easy to recognize, and it's even harder to take action when you know the others might not understand, even more so when you've been programmed to put others comfort before your own.

Chairman Goodchild

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2014, 01:07:18 PM »



Whoa. Deserve? Your comment here is problematic. "I don't want to be in  this relationship anymore" is a perfectly valid reason to break up with someone. They are not owed an explanation that they have to accept - in my experience, trying to explain just drags out the pain. And the fact that he is trying to do right by her? Irrelevant, as she still feels like shit around him. He can't get past his programming, and it hurts her.

I meant not breaking up with him but ending the relationship by literally walking out the door.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 07:19:41 AM by Chairman Goodchild »

hardware

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 10:53:08 AM »
It's nice with a story about social problems that manages to clearly show the issues while not painting the world in black and white, good and evil. I could feel with all the characters in the story, and I never felt preached to. So yeah, I liked it. Sure, the robot programming metaphor is very obvious, but also effective.

Max e^{i pi}

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 05:38:12 PM »
I had a couple of misconceptions going into this story:
First, I heard Robot Lady say "Escape Pod episode Four Hundred SeventyOne, Shared Feces" and I was all "Whaaaaaaaaaaat?" ???
I thought I had misheard, but then I heard Alasdair say the same thing (it's not my fault his accent is different from one I grew up with and so it sounds weird to me :-[ ) so I looked at my phone and saw the episode title. That brought me to misconception number two.
I thought it might have something to do with John Travolta, Nicolas Cage and a brilliant FBI scam.
So I was totally unprepared for self-aware sexbots.
Once I got passed my initial confusion (only a couple of minutes) I really got into it and started to enjoy the story.
I think that this story, like any good allegory, can allude to whatever you want it to. Racism, sexism, slavery, the sex industry, politics, xenophobia.... whatever floats your boat. And that's the mark of good speculative fiction: it holds up a mirror to some aspect of our society and forces us to reexamine ourselves. And if you can do that while telling a riveting tale of self-discovery? Then well done.

And one last thing,
As a side note, and not to be taken as a negative criticism of the story, but 'sexbot'?  These 'bots' have bones, tendons and blood, require food and by necessity, eliminate waste, are completely sentient, and have normal cognitive responses, apart from what's hard-wired into their brains.  They don't seem the slightest like robots to me at all.  That really increased the creep factor of this episode by a huge amount. 
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Devoted135

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2015, 06:43:58 PM »
I appreciate stories like this that make us take a look at ourselves and our society and re-examine whether we are creating new classes of modern slaves. The current sex trafficking "market" stuck out to me as a parallel, but all the others already mentioned are each equally relevant. Nicely done! I do wonder about the title, since I can't figure out what it's alluding to, and a couple weeks after I listened it did absolutely nothing to remind me which story it belonged to.

adrianh

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2015, 12:40:33 PM »
I do wonder about the title, since I can't figure out what it's alluding to, and a couple weeks after I listened it did absolutely nothing to remind me which story it belonged to.

I took it to refer to the different models of sexbot (all the Valkyries, etc.) — both the physical resemblance, and as a metaphor for the "coded" similar behaviours.

Scattercat

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2015, 01:36:53 AM »
I do wonder about the title, since I can't figure out what it's alluding to, and a couple weeks after I listened it did absolutely nothing to remind me which story it belonged to.

I took it to refer to the different models of sexbot (all the Valkyries, etc.) — both the physical resemblance, and as a metaphor for the "coded" similar behaviours.

And that the sexbots ARE US ZOMG!!!11eleven. 

They look like us, they act like us, but we don't treat them like us.
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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2015, 04:27:29 PM »
I appreciate stories like this that make us take a look at ourselves and our society and re-examine whether we are creating new classes of modern slaves. The current sex trafficking "market" stuck out to me as a parallel, but all the others already mentioned are each equally relevant. Nicely done! I do wonder about the title, since I can't figure out what it's alluding to, and a couple weeks after I listened it did absolutely nothing to remind me which story it belonged to.

Yeah, not an amazing title.  The title doesn't evoke the story for me and the story doesn't evoke the title.  It is an unusual enough phrase to be readily Googlable, so that's something.

UnfulredJohnson

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Re: EP471: Shared Faces
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2015, 09:19:24 PM »
I liked this. Ofcourse you can draw all sorts of parallels, to the robot movement. Both gender and race are obvious ones, but really it could be any minority. Not really a big fan of so called 'message fiction' but I'm not sure this qualifies, and if it was then it had a good message. It didn't lose itself in its own agenda. It came across as very measured. And it was the ending that really sealed the deal for me. She broke up with her boyfriend, but she also broke up with the valkyrie. She recognised both as toxic, and instead of throwing her lot in one way or the other she just went off by herself. And that is a message I can get behind. Five stars.