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Author Topic: EP486: Blight  (Read 6555 times)

eytanz

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Dwango

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Reply #1 on: March 18, 2015, 02:52:47 PM
What an unusually short episode, so much so that it didn't really feel like a story as an expression of an idea.  The idea of clones and disease were great,  but the characters were not really drawn out so well.  I'd like to know more of them, some back story, so I could empathize with them more.  The mode of the story also put them at a distance, with them being more like a biblical text reading.  I was confused at first as to if this would be a comedic piece or dramatic, though it decidedly ended dramatically.  The listing of the food items so dramatically listed made me smile. She found cans of beans so the "first one" could survive, and it was good was how I interpreted it at first.

I liked the ideas in the piece though.  Survival through cloning is an interesting scientific concept, as there are theories that we have two sexes to protect us from disease and, of course, genetic variations as well between children and parents.  I'm also wondering about the issues of cloning the clones, that silly "Multiplicity" movie idea that a copy of a copy isn't as good as the original.  Is it really survival when the clones are just multiples of the same person?  When the machine breaks, is it game over or would people be able to evolve to finding ways to reproduce.  Again, I loved the ideas, but wished there was more meat to the story.



SonofSpermcube

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Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 02:04:40 AM
Reminded me of a chapter in Tsutomu Nihei's "Blame!" where Killy and Cibo stumble across a similar situation; except the production of clones is automated, and the original is imprisoned in the machine.  (Also the setting is post-completely-different-kind-of-apocalyptic.)  Chapter 36, in volume 6; "Beautiful Life."  If you thought this story was grim, take a look at that one.



albionmoonlight

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Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 01:11:42 AM
This story did not quite click for me.  It felt a bit too long to be a glimpse of a world, and a bit too short to be fleshed out enough.  I, strangely, wanted it to either be longer or shorter.  But not how long it was.  I am not sure how much of that is my brain just being accustomed to "flash length" and "full episode length" stories.  For whatever reason, I didn't quite get into this one.



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Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 04:06:59 PM
This was one of those awkward lengths where it could've been very good a very short story, whizbang idea, quick character development and get out.  Or it could've been very good as a longer story, exploring more about what this situation must be like.  At the length it was, it never really got my interest, a story that didn't feel the right length for its content.

The overall situation reminded me a bit of "The Association of the Dead" by Rahul Kanakia, which takes place in a future where there are insurance plans that will make the insurance company recreate you with your last memories (everyone is heavily networked so they know when you die and they have the memories up to that point).  But a guy tries to commit suicide with an EMP gun, which doesn't actually kill him but fries all his circuits that do everything including making food, so he's stuck in this house with only his respawning selves. (Great story if you get a chance)
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kanakia_07_10/



ediblepenguin

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Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 11:21:40 PM
I have to go with the general consensus so far. I really didn't know quite what to make of this one. I kept being distracted by the total anonymity of "the first one". Was there a reason she had no form in the story? If so then perhaps more time could have been spent elaborating the point. In the real world, creation myths of any type (whether biblical, monarchical, or corporate) tend to celebrate the cult of personality with rather more mythical proportions. Admittedly the creator herself is named, but hardly celebrated as such. Why? Is it some reference to cloning as a loss of a sense of self? If so, that in itself is problematic on face value, since clones may be genetically identical, but will never be actually identical as personalities.



slic

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Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 11:54:04 PM
<hup - on the band wagon>
I don't know if I could disagree with Mur more.  My biggest issue was that the idea wasn't even clear - the title is Blight, which I understood to mean the idea of "talking to the ceiling" i.e. thinly veiled praying, and it was tangentially touched on.  Of the meagre 11 mins, it didn't even come up until near the end. 

I did like the tradition of fasting and nourishment that arose from the trials of their "creators", but overall this was not a good escapepod story

PS I always thought Night of the Comet was a satire/farce on zombie movies long, long before Shaun of the Dead.  Aluminium sheds have all sorts of awesome properties, and the ending is totally hilarious/awesome - two valley dudes show up in a super cool sports car...?



FullMetalAttorney

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Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 01:47:04 PM
I also didn't think this was a great story, even if it did have some good ideas. The interesting thought that I had was this: What happens when another civilization encounters one like this? What conclusions will anthropologists make about such a society? They will no doubt assume that is how it has always been, but the reality is it is a broken and tattered remnant of something else.



Devoted135

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Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 06:11:57 PM
Definitely a weird episode. I think it should have been a flash piece, about half its length and probably obscure their origins behind much more mythology rather than spelling the two women's experience out in such great detail.



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Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 05:06:36 PM
I also didn't think this was a great story, even if it did have some good ideas. The interesting thought that I had was this: What happens when another civilization encounters one like this? What conclusions will anthropologists make about such a society? They will no doubt assume that is how it has always been, but the reality is it is a broken and tattered remnant of something else.

That's an interesting question!  I'd love to read that.



Fenrix

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Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 06:46:07 PM
I also didn't think this was a great story, even if it did have some good ideas. The interesting thought that I had was this: What happens when another civilization encounters one like this? What conclusions will anthropologists make about such a society? They will no doubt assume that is how it has always been, but the reality is it is a broken and tattered remnant of something else.

That's an interesting question!  I'd love to read that.

James Blish wrote a great story titled "Beep" that deals with this issue, plus the language stuff from over at the "Irregular Verbs" thread.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #11 on: April 01, 2015, 09:14:10 PM
I also didn't think this was a great story, even if it did have some good ideas. The interesting thought that I had was this: What happens when another civilization encounters one like this? What conclusions will anthropologists make about such a society? They will no doubt assume that is how it has always been, but the reality is it is a broken and tattered remnant of something else.

That's an interesting question!  I'd love to read that.

James Blish wrote a great story titled "Beep" that deals with this issue, plus the language stuff from over at the "Irregular Verbs" thread.

Thanks for the tip!



Moon_Goddess

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Reply #12 on: April 08, 2015, 12:05:42 PM
I have to go with the general consensus so far. I really didn't know quite what to make of this one. I kept being distracted by the total anonymity of "the first one". Was there a reason she had no form in the story? If so then perhaps more time could have been spent elaborating the point. In the real world, creation myths of any type (whether biblical, monarchical, or corporate) tend to celebrate the cult of personality with rather more mythical proportions. .

I agree with all the comments here but this one I can understand, makes sense.

Why would you describe the first one, like at all, if you need to see the first one, look in the mirror.   There is literally no one in the world that does not know the face of the first one, and there will never been a person who does not.

Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.


ediblepenguin

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Reply #13 on: April 08, 2015, 03:55:04 PM
Why would you describe the first one, like at all, if you need to see the first one, look in the mirror.   There is literally no one in the world that does not know the face of the first one, and there will never been a person who does not.

I agree that is probably why the Bonnie wrote it this way, but I guess my question is really about the deeper issue of identity. Sure they all look like each other, but they are not the same as each other. I can't square away the one question that every citizen probably wanted answered as they grew up - "What was Mommy like?". Trying to find your identity as a child, is hard enough without adding that layer of sameness. Surely, the more they seem to be the same, the more they'd want to be different? And the more they try to be different the more they want some reassurances that they are on the right path i.e. they'd probably want to compare themselves to their "mother". Our current real life examples of what "cloned" humans look like are identical twins - sure, there are examples of twins out there that thrive on their sameness, but generally I think you find identical twins are pretty insistent about their differences.

Since I am the father of triplets, I probably have a more than average interest in the spiral debate of nature vs. nurture, but I definitely feel that for a story about a cloned civilization to work, you have to acknowledge that one of the most important issues in that society would be individual identity. Ignore that, and for me personally, the story falls apart.



doctornemo

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Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 07:43:05 PM
I have to step away from the bandwagon here, because I loved how elegant and spare this story is.
With very few words it sketched out a future, a society, several characters, and a complex mood (awful tragedy, persistent hope).

It may be that I grew up with many stories - and the reality - of impending nuclear war, so I don't need a lot of descriptive paragraphs to get into the post-atomic mood.

"Blight" reminded me of Livia Llewellyn's acidic, blindingly bleak "Horses".



CryptoMe

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Reply #15 on: February 25, 2016, 06:06:36 AM
I agree with doctornemo. I really like how much information was packed into a short space, really making me understand the horror/hope running through the story on so many levels. And I enjoyed the personal survival story of the first one. It was interesting to observe this way.