Author Topic: EP647/EP501: Imma Gonna Finish You Off (Flashback Friday)  (Read 14120 times)


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Escape Pod 647: Imma Gonna Finish You Off (Flashback Friday)

Escape Pod 501: Imma Gonna Finish You Off

Author: Marina J. Lostetter
Narrator & Host: Alasdair Stuart

This story was first published in Galaxy’s Edge magazine, January 2014.


On the examining table lounged a body.  It was an unremarkable body–rather wrinkly, with an inordinate amount of hair in all the wrong places and too few clothes for most people’s liking, but otherwise nothing to write your congressman about.  The only thing special about the body was that it was dead–a problem that Detective Harry Sordido hoped would resolve itself quite soon.

“Will he just get on with the coming back to life already?” Harry huffed, checking the glowing numbers embedded in his left wrist.  With his right hand, he patted his ample, middle-aged girth.  “He’s not the only victim I’ve got to question today.”

“I’m not sure what’s the matter with him,” said the medical examiner, lifting the dead man’s wrist between two thin fingers.  “He should have let out a nice scream-of-life by now.”  He let the limb flop back to the sanitary paper.

“What do you think it was?” asked the detective, “Accidental? Experimental? Purposeful?  What do you think he died of?”

“You’ll have to ask him to be sure.  He was found out on the sidewalk.  No indications of violence or a struggle, but he does look a tad flaccid.”

“Ah, disgruntled lover, then.”

“No, I mean on the whole.  Like he’s been wrung out.”

They both stared at the body for a long while.

“You don’t think he’s really–?” began Detective Sordido.

“It is starting to seem a bit permanent.”

“That’s impossible! No one’s really died for damned near a millennium.”

The examiner shrugged.  “There’s a first time for every eventuality.”

“What was his name again?”

“Mr. X is what it says on his bio-tat.  Here, I’ll show you.”  The two men moved to the once-ambulatory end of the body, and the examiner held a black light over the pad of X’s right foot.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

Listen to the original episode!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 08:30:13 PM by divs »


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Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 01:13:36 PM
I laughed right through this one! i loved it!

Of course the Blood Bot was made in Transylvania! And how could you possibly have a Heart Bot that doesn't throw a tantrum if it doesn't get a hug?

A great take on immortality, too. The idea of never dying, never ageing, and always regenerating back to how you were when immortality happened... Under those circumstances, I'm not at all sure I wouldn't welcome a visit from Blood Bot.

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Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 06:57:54 PM
I'm sorry, I hated this one with a burning and steadily intensifying passion. The worldbuilding was tendentious and unconvincing, the characters were contrived, the central mechanism bore no inspection at all (an easily defeated immortality system has not previously been defeated; people accept an absurd totalitarian government that amounts to the author's joke about sociology; and an apparent immortality disease that prevents children from reaching adult maturity, prevents adults from procreating, and is imposed upon the unwilling is somehow accepted), the humor so appreciated by SpareInch fell completely flat for me, every time, to the point of annoying rather than amusing, and the eventual reveal of the villain managed both to be obvious and to make precisely no sense (you can skydive sans parachute and walk away, but a modestly sized robot can suck all the blood out of your body with lethal effect through a needle designed to take a tiny sip? Ever tried to drink a few pints throw a narrow straw?). And no-one has previously discovered the anti-immortality effects of exsanguination, or perhaps decapitation?

Everything about this story struck me as the author trying to be clever, in a very self-congratulatory manner. Trying, and failing. They desperately needed a jaundiced eye from a reader/editor.

On the other hand, the reading was very well done.


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Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 08:57:23 PM
Moderator's note:

I understand that you disliked the story, and that's fine. And your comments on your reaction to the story, while strong, are also fine. But the following crosses the line:

Everything about this story struck me as the author trying to be clever, in a very self-congratulatory manner.

Please do not make negative aspertions on the author's intentions or attitude towards her readers. That counts as a personal attack and is not allowed here.


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Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 08:23:07 AM
I think I fell between the two extremes expressed so far. It mildly amused, but no belly laughs. Yes the world building doesn't really hold up under close examination, but neither does the world building in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Bill the Galactic Hero. Because, comedy.

Didn't feel I wasted my time listening to it, but didn't really hit my buttons either.

(The pervasive air of stressed confusion in Alasdair's reading was lovely though ;)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 08:25:44 AM by adrianh »


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Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 04:56:39 PM
I enjoyed this story, and was particularly entertained by Alasdair's reading.

I listened to half of it on the way home from work, and was interested enough to sit at my kitchen table and listen to the rest before starting dinner.

Sure, when I stop to think about the premise, certain aspects start to fall apart. I question the society and the functionality of an immortality virus that can repair a sky-diving accident, but not rapid exsanguination. But, in the moment, I chuckled, and that's good enough for me.

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Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 11:16:58 PM
Put me in the "loved it" camp


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Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 04:14:03 AM
I thought this story as cute and funny the first time I listened through. Attacking the robot with garlic made me snort water out of my nose. The world, though...

I thought the world this story was set in was worthy of Pseudopod. The author mentioned parents spending the last 900 years changing diapers--does that mean there are those permanently pregnant? What about those dying when the virus struck, are they permanently gasping their last breath? The apparently 15 year old doctor shows that the mind grows and learns, so are those in diapers learning and growing and unable to express there thoughts and feelings?

When it comes to the question of who wants to live forever, I stand with Freddie.


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Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 02:04:58 PM
I'm also in the "loved it" category: the narration was perfectly suited (I like adrianh's description of "stressed confusion") and the story was a romp.

Like: some days I'm in the mood for the movie Happiness and sometimes I'm in the mood for The Mummy. This romp hit me at the right time.


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Reply #9 on: August 06, 2015, 01:50:30 AM
Definitely enjoyed this one, although I agree that the world it was set in was positively horrific. The society that created the Imma virus (clever title, btw) must have been perfect, therefore no more progress can ever be allowed?? ??? >:( Enforced homelessness instead of actually solving these social ills? Plus the implications of having to spend eternity in whatever "body age" you happened to be at the time, whether a toddler, teenager, or octogenarian... So yeah, worthy of Pseudopod.

Setting that aside though, I enjoyed the main character aping the detectives in the movies he had watched, and fell on the *amused* end of the spectrum when reacting to the Dracu-bot.

Am I the only one wondering where episode 500 got to? Did I miss some sort of twitter announcement? There wasn't anything on the website...


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Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 05:52:29 AM
'Murrica am I right? (i duno I'm canadian).
super cute story if you don't think about how horrible immortality really is, especially in a stagnant culture.
loved the blood bot, loved the reading.


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Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 07:29:03 AM
Am I the only one wondering where episode 500 got to? Did I miss some sort of twitter announcement? There wasn't anything on the website...
If there was an announcement about 500, I missed it too. Hopefully all will be revealed to us in good time.

Regarding the story, I definitely agree about the horrific nature of this society, although Alasdair's reading was a spoonful of sugar that helped the creepy/absurd medicine go down. Plus, I giggled quite a lot at the hug-needy HeartBot.


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Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 04:41:49 PM
I've been assuming that Episode 500 is so full of awesome that it has bent space and time and has ended up in THE FUTURE… The Future… the future…


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Reply #13 on: August 15, 2015, 03:23:32 PM
What a wonderful, bizarre, strange story! I loved in particular how the author conveyed with little absurdities that society was completely screwed and everyone was insane. The ending was uplifting and - odd for a story about immorality - life-affirming.

Additionally, I like to imagine that the rest of the world is coping with immortality just fine, and America is a global pariah filled with crazy people. Maybe Mexico and Canada even host a sort of "underground railroad" to help free transhumans trapped in America and bring them to communities where they can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society elsewhere.

It's not exactly a quibble, but I'd like to log for the record that I don't personally think that immortality will make us crazy. Personally, I don't think I'll ever stop being entertained by the world. There's so much cool stuff in it! I suspect that the feelings of ennui and weariness that come with age are as much a result of built-up experiences as they are of biochemical changes in the brain and body; if we were truly immortal, we'd never change in that way, and wouldn't necessarily experience this sort of sad relationship with eternity. But that's my personal experience, and it didn't really effect how much I loved this take on the challenges of immortality.

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Reply #14 on: August 22, 2015, 03:09:34 PM
I'm in the "kind of liked it" group.

The science behind the immortality virus doesn't really hold up- how can cellular machinery be prevented from allowing normal growth but at the same time be allowed to undergo almost the exact same processes for cellular regeneration and replacement? 

If we willingly suspend disbelief here, then some interesting things happen.  What happens to these folks if deprived of food?  Of oxygen?  One might suppose logically (yeah, I know, disbelief - and logic- is suspended for the moment) that the body would put itself into a stasis where no energy is expended or consumed above what is needed to repair DNA/RNA, etc. 

In this case then interstellar travel becomes quite possible.  Put folks into an O2/food deprivation stasis, throw them into a space-can (I would think no atmosphere needed) launch them off into the starry void and millennia later, whenever you get where you are going, give 'em a little O2 and food, fire up the ol' cellular machinery and you're off to the races for colonization.  Hopefully these voyagers would not run into an advanced race who would think it a neat hobby to collect these space cans full of these beings who, no matter how much you poke them, make then breath ammonia or stretch them seem to revert back to the same shape you found them. 

Anyone want to travel to the stars?

Back to reality....

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.  Thomas Merton


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Reply #15 on: August 22, 2015, 08:53:43 PM

I enjoyed it.



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Reply #16 on: August 25, 2015, 02:52:44 PM
Fun. Forgettable fluff - but still fun.


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Reply #17 on: August 26, 2015, 10:50:56 AM
Just thought that I would post to prove that I am definitely not a robot.

This story was not my sense of humor, but there was one joke that I thought very funny.  I believe it was:

"...apparently Wine Baron is on job that nobody ever gets tired of."


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Reply #18 on: September 02, 2015, 07:01:29 PM
I enjoyed the line, "There are only two things to be sure of in life:  taxation and the government taking things from you."


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Reply #19 on: September 02, 2015, 09:47:37 PM
Wow.  I love the unique dystopian universe that Marissa has created for us.  An immortal world that must not change…yet requires change to keep it sane.  A perfect paradox!

Her story not only explored how we might personally deal with immortality, but how government bureaucracy can even muck up the concept of eternity.

The natural tendency of government is to overreach with their rules and regulations to fumble toward their own concept of “the perfect society,” interfering with our individual ideas and freedoms along the way.

How many atrocities (and basic everyday cluster-mucks) have been committed under the banner of “for the greater good”?

The characters in this story did not appear to have much say in the matter of this government-mandated perfection.  But to a degree, we still do.  Are we going to voluntarily give up our personal freedoms just because Big Brother has promised us a "free cookie” for life?

The next step might just be an eternal and frigid assignment to Alaska on the “Deadliest Catch” express.


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Reply #20 on: September 03, 2015, 03:12:22 PM
I enjoyed this one a lot.  Sure, you can poke holes in the premise.  Justifying the plausibility of the premise was not its purpose.  This wasn't a cautionary tale about the dangers of immortality, it was a tale that told of a possible governmental reaction to immortality, that may or may not be plausible.  Does it look like a horribly irrational reaction?  Sure.  I'm glad that we can, in real life, depend on the government to not do horribly irrational things that also coincidentally uphold the status quo of filthy rich people continuing to be filthy rich people. 

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the perspective of someone who is temporarily filling the role of detective but who has mostly known of what detectives do from watching TV shows about them trying to perform that function by investigating murder in a world where murder is generally considered impossible.

The hug-hungry heartbot was hilarious.

The Transylvanian vamp bot was borderline too over-the-top, but for me it balanced on that edge between funny and getting to be a little annoying well enough.

Good stuff!


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Reply #21 on: September 11, 2015, 08:16:49 PM
I understand that many people enjoy looking into the deeper holes of plots, sometimes I like to join them in the incessant picking at the story scab. However, despite the holes and implausibilities this episode got me where it counts. That is giggling helplessly in front of a Teavana in the local mall as concerned mothers pull their children away hoping that I am not contagious. I believe that means a job well done.

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Reply #22 on: October 17, 2015, 09:41:20 PM
I did not like this one at all.  There was so much about it that grated and made no sense.

In a world where AI has been outlawed, presumably for a hugely important reason, how could someone in the role of a law enforcement officer find someone breaking what would presumably be their society's most serious law, and ignore it?

The main character's to fight a small medical robot seemed crazy to me.  I can perhaps understanding being worried that the robot could be quick with its needle, but the main character is a human with feet and could presumably get away easily.   And didn't the character actually get away into another room and close the door?  Was the little robot breaking down the door?

And in perhaps the most infuriating plot hole, the law enforcement officer with a biophone BUILT INTO HIS HEAD couldn't call for backup or dial 911? 

All that said, I am delighted that some other EP listeners liked this one even though I did not.  We are a diverse bunch.


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Reply #23 on: October 11, 2018, 09:20:18 PM
I was really interested in the beginning with the morgue scene and the detective trying to figure out how to conduct an investigation, but feel like the story took a strange turn with the sentient robots. I think there was enough going on in the story without them. The little dracula was cute/funny/terrible but I thought the story was going to go in a different direction and was kinda sad it didn't.


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Reply #24 on: November 01, 2018, 03:41:52 PM
I remember this one so vividly. I can even picture where I was when I heard it the first time. It seems like it was on too recently to be a "flashback".

Never-the-less, I enjoyed this one again. It was fun and frivolous.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 03:40:19 PM by CryptoMe »