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Author Topic: EP665/EP500: The Man Who Lost the Sea [Flashback Friday]  (Read 9457 times)
eytanz
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« on: September 04, 2015, 01:46:52 PM »

EP500: The Man Who Lost the Sea

by Theodore Sturgeon

Read by Anson Mount

---

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 11:07:57 AM by divs » Logged
matweller
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 01:52:44 PM »

If you enjoy the episode and the narration, be sure to stop by Anson Mount's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/ansonmount1 - and/or Twitter - https://twitter.com/ansonmount - and let him know. He's been promoting the show heavily on both, and we really appreciate it!
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Thunderscreech
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 02:56:40 PM »

What an amazing choice for 500, bravo.

Thank you for this.  Timing-wise, itbfeels like the yang to Andy Weir's The Martian's ying, perhaps a happy accident.
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wintermute
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 05:17:44 PM »

I'm still trying to sort out what I want to say about the story. Maybe I'll come back if I think of something more profound than "Wow".

But because this is episode 500, I might as well reminisce a little, as I might have had I phoned in.

Escape pod was one of the first two podcasts I listened to, the other being the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe; I don't remember which of those two was first, though. I started listening with episode 101, The 43 Antarean Dynasties, and after that there was no way I wasn't going to keep listening. I went back to the beginning and caught up, and listened to PseudoPod and PodCastle when they got spun off, so in total I'm pretty sure that Escape Artists have provided me with about a billion hours of quality entertainment, and introduced me to countless authors I'd never have otherwise heard of - Mur Lafferty, Cat Rambo, Kameron Hurley, M. K. Hobson, N. K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal...

Episodes that have stuck with me include Even Vadsø Thaws by Bruce Holland Rogers (Ep 40), How Lonesome a Life Without Nerve Gas by James Trimarco (Ep90), Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt (Ep 105), Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush by Derek Zumsteg (Ep 115), Friction by Will McIntosh (Ep 144)... I'm going to stop there, because I could literally list half the episodes and not feel bad about it. But if you want to go back and listen to something you've not heard in years, you could do worse than choose those ones.

Anyway, Thank you so much for everything you've done. Escape Artists makes my life unquestionably better. I'm counting on you to keep going until at least the heat death of the universe. AT LEAST.

PS: I still kinda miss Steve. It would be cool if he could drop in for a narration or something, but I mostly hope he's doing well. Special thanks to you Steve, for all the good times.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 08:14:26 PM by wintermute » Logged

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HeartSailor
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 11:13:59 PM »

This was awesome!

I read this when I was much younger- in my teens I think.  At that time, I thought that the story was tragic (still do) but honestly I did not get all the nuance.

This time around I am fascinated by how the man perceives his situation in the context of his life.  Hey, that's the way we all perceive our own situation.  Sturgeon is so adept at painting a portrait of the inner man, leaving the situational expose until the end.  What wonderful craft! 

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the image of the water on top of a waterless vista.  I especially enjoyed the metaphor of the amoeba for fear/panic.  The man tapping into the notion of a boy to center himself and come to grips with his fate is brilliant.  If I could ever write like this...

Coming back to the now.  When one starts a journey of exploration, the end is not known.  Steve Eley started this journey 500 episodes ago.  Who would have thought that Escape Pod would grow into a community?  Congratulations to everyone at Escape Artists! 

Great and apt last line in so many ways: "God, we made it!"
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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
Moritz
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 12:22:21 PM »

Congratulations for 500 episodes!

I had difficulties following episode 500, because the second person annoyed me too much. Will listen to it again.

Concerning my escape artists journey: I found out about podcasts in 2008 and started listening to Pseudopod first (and also I should be writing, Writing Excuses, and some others). In 2010, when I picked up a new job in a different city, I switched to Podcastle and went through the back catalogue. I'd listen to it on walks to work, during sports, or while doing chores. Still stayed away from Escape Pod, just because the amount of episodes intimidated me. In the summer of 2013, when I had managed Podcastle's and Pseudopod's back catalogues, I started going for Escape Pod, starting with Episode 001 - and I finished the back catalogue today!

My favourite EP episodes so far have been... difficult to say because my folder with "great episodes" also includes the ones I didn't get and need to listen to again... EP 107 - Eight Episodes, EP 176 - How The World Became Quiet: A Post-Human Creation Myth, EP 286 - The 76 Goldwater Dime, EP 343 - The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist bees,  EP 345 - The Paper Menagerie, and EP 424 - Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince.
It seems I like fantasy and experimental storytelling...
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:14:15 AM by Moritz » Logged
TrishEM
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 02:39:46 AM »

This was so very worth the wait. I've admired some of Sturgeon's other work (e.g. Thunder and Roses), but I'd never run across this story before. BRILLIANT. The gorgeous prose; the rippling memories, metaphors and interpretations, and finally the gleaming, reflective light of revelation; culminating not in despair, but the defiant jubilation of "We made it!"
Wow.
Great selection for the 500th episode.
Also, Anson Mount was pitch-perfect as far as I'm concerned. When I heard his name, I was kind of expecting a gravelly Bohannon-style narration, but of course I quickly heard how wrong I was, as he's obviously an actor of many voices. I'd love to hear him read more stories if y'all can get him again.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2015, 10:17:42 AM »

I think I enjoyed this story overall.  It took me a while to really sink into it, but I think that's because most of my listening time is while driving and it's easy to lose patches of time here and there as I'm trying to navigate a difficult left turn or am cursing at someone who cuts me off.  With most stories I can still pick up the thread easily enough, but because this one had a lot of intersecting but often unrelated-seeming threads, if I lost a little time suddenly I'd go from the kid talking about a model to the diving incident or back to Mars.  Maybe it would've been just as hard to get a grasp on if I'd been fully listening, as the narrative style seemed to be aiming directly for a semi-rational but confused state and I was also in a semi-rational and confused state.  In the end I think I tied it all together--this is all a jumbled narrative happening as he dies of anoxia after a crash landing on Mars, yes?

The narration was fantastic, well done Anson Mount.

And I loooooved the fan call-ins after the show.  So cool to hear people's voices, especially when associated with familiar forum names like TrishEM.  And I think this is the first time that my voice has been heard in the podosphere.  Smiley  What a wonderful idea for a 10th anniversary tribute.  Of course now that I heard it I wish I'd talked about some of my favorite episodes and authors and etc, but I barely remembered to call in at all and just ducked into my car for a quick call when I remembered it randomly at an inconvenient time.  Tongue
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Devoted135
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2015, 09:13:22 PM »

Congratulations on 500 episodes!!! Cheesy

I found Escape Pod in 2009, somewhere in the 190's and have been a fan ever since. Of course I went back and listened to the backlog once I got hooked, so I feel like I got to experience the whole journey even if it wasn't in real time. I must admit to hoping to hear Steve's voice, but I agree with wintermute and really just hope that he is doing well.

The story itself was difficult to concentrate on, I kept having to rewind and reorient myself. But the prose was beautiful, and the confusion seems entirely appropriate now that I know the ending. I'll definitely be listening again. Speaking of which, that was a seriously fantastic narration! Wonderful commemorative episode all 'round. Smiley
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TrishEM
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2015, 01:46:43 AM »

I'm a bit irked with myself for forgetting one more thing I should have mentioned in my congratulations-500th recording: I also really love the Escape Artists forums! Being able to participate in fascinating (and almost always cordial) discussions with people who are thinking deeply about what they've been hearing -- people coming from a variety of perspectives and therefore offering insights that often just wouldn't have occurred to me -- really deepens and enriches the story experience.
And, of course, sometimes it's just fun to squee together!
So I thank everybody: creators, interpreters, editors, facilitators, and fellow listeners and commenters. Here's to another 500.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2015, 10:13:31 AM »

I'm a bit irked with myself for forgetting one more thing I should have mentioned in my congratulations-500th recording: I also really love the Escape Artists forums! Being able to participate in fascinating (and almost always cordial) discussions with people who are thinking deeply about what they've been hearing -- people coming from a variety of perspectives and therefore offering insights that often just wouldn't have occurred to me -- really deepens and enriches the story experience.
And, of course, sometimes it's just fun to squee together!
So I thank everybody: creators, interpreters, editors, facilitators, and fellow listeners and commenters. Here's to another 500.

Ah, darnit, I should've mentioned the forums too!  Hindsight, 20/20, etc....
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Uncanny Valley
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 01:42:19 PM »

Loved this one!  Sturgeon is one of my favorites, and "More Than Human" is just about my all-time favorite book.  I hadn't actually read this one before and it was great and such a nuanced story.  Anson Mount's narrative was brilliant!  congrats on 500!
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jphenney
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2015, 02:21:39 PM »

Great Story, Keep them coming!
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Izmir
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2015, 05:06:27 PM »

Absolutely beautiful. Great episode to cap off 10 years.

I was left haunted by the imagery and storytelling. Great narration as well.
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ElectricPaladin
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2015, 11:45:05 AM »

Like a grim version of the Martian! I loved it.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2015, 10:39:47 AM »


This was so very worth the wait. I've admired some of Sturgeon's other work (e.g. Thunder and Roses), but I'd never run across this story before. BRILLIANT. The gorgeous prose; the rippling memories, metaphors and interpretations, and finally the gleaming, reflective light of revelation; culminating not in despair, but the defiant jubilation of "We made it!"
Wow.
Great selection for the 500th episode.
Also, Anson Mount was pitch-perfect as far as I'm concerned. When I heard his name, I was kind of expecting a gravelly Bohannon-style narration, but of course I quickly heard how wrong I was, as he's obviously an actor of many voices. I'd love to hear him read more stories if y'all can get him again.


Anson Mount read a Kelly Link story for Pseudopod this past February and another story "Face Change" in 2013.
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hardware
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2015, 02:35:43 AM »

First of all - many congratulations and thanks for the 500 episodes - I've only been along since ep 235 (On The Human Plan) but it feels like even longer. I don't really keep track of my favorite episodes, but you have certainly opened my eyes to some good contemporary names.

And this was a good one - very well written and a perfect balance of SF and literary sensibilities for my taste. It kept me wondering without losing me. Narration was also excellent.
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SquidDNA
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2015, 06:27:41 PM »

Time for an open letter I guess.

I cannot adequately express what it means to me that Escape Pod ran this story at all, much less for their 500th episode. I've been re-reading this story since I was a child, and while I wouldn't claim to have many absolute favorite things, I can say this is the only short story which will ensnare me and force me to read from start to finish if I happen across it. I have fantasized at times about scraping together a sufficiently tempting wad of money for the express purpose of throwing it at Escape Artists, with the caveat that they have to run this story (although I am sorry to say this sort of gesture was always doomed to remain a fantasy.) It should be obvious that this story is so close to my heart that I don't think I can speak rationally about it. I won't try, other than to say that the reading was as I have heard it in my head, and so perfect.

EA podcasts have helped me through tough times, whether simply entertaining me, fascinating me, or inspiring me. To hear this story on Escape Pod's 500th episode feels like the greatest imaginable gift I could get from a podcast. Thank you.

I guess I have to re-up my subscription.
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Not-a-Robot
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2015, 04:50:23 AM »

There are stories were you go - "Yeah, I could write that" - and there are stories that take your breath away and you go - "Wow, I could never do that" - this was the latter.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2015, 09:19:31 AM »

I'm guess this story was unpinned from the top of the board because it's the lowest episode number, but it actually was published well out of order, maybe it could stay pinned until the order of publication comes around?  Smiley
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eytanz
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2015, 02:15:55 PM »

Sure, why not?
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Chairman Goodchild
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« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2015, 07:54:41 AM »

Fantastic choice for a 500th episode.  Loved it.

It's amazing how on the nose this story was for being written in 1959, and how modern the prose is.  That first line really drew me in.  "Say you're a kid, and one dark night you're running along the cold sand with this helicopter in your hand..." and the way it plays with pronouns all the way thru the piece.  It's a piece of hard science fiction written about the first landing on Mars in the year 1959, and it doesn't come off as being dated.  With changes to a few details, this story could be published today, and no one would find it anachronistic.  To write something like this before the first man in space and have it ring true today is a feat.  

Fantastic story, and if I had to make one negative criticism of the episode in general it's that it really would have been nice to have gotten Steve back for the 500th episode.  I was really hoping to have him drop in and say hi.  But I'm sure there are many circumstances that I know nothing about as a listener, so perhaps that was simply impossible.  
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 06:10:12 PM by Chairman Goodchild » Logged
literatish
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« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2015, 02:44:57 AM »

I loved the gradual piling up of details about the narrator's past and his current situation. I loved that he was trying desperately to force himself to think of the sea, not only because of his love for it, but because of everything it taught him about survival and powerlessness. I loved the structure of the story, and that the reveal waited patiently for the very last line, and the huge welling up of emotion that the narrator experienced in that final moment of realization and release. This is a beautiful story.

And the narration was flawless. Norm's commentary was just as flawless. The call-ins and letters were lovely. I look forward to the 500th episodes of Pseudopod and Podcastle, and the 1000th episodes too.
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Lisa3737
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2015, 08:54:40 PM »

Everything about the 500th episode was GREAT!!   A big thank you!
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Moritz
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« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2015, 09:03:01 AM »

So I first posted I didn't really get the story the first time. The second time, I was commuting to work, didn't finish it right away. Well, work is a 14 minute walk from home... I continued listening later during lunch break and tried to understand it, but failed again. Today, I went to the gym and worked out on a cross trainer for 35 minutes. That gave me the peace of mind to really get into the story and finally understand it. I am really glad I gave it a third chance, because it was an amazing story!

I'll echo previous comments in that it's not dated at all and a great example of "hard SF". Thanks Escape Pod!
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Kabal
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2015, 10:29:57 AM »

This is probably one of the best stories I've ever read. I can't believe it didn't win the Hugo. Granted Flowers for Algernon is also a great story but I'd place this one above it.
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jaxdracon
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« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2015, 02:14:36 PM »

Same here.  My two favorite stories on Escape Pod, both for content and narration.  I love so many things about this story: the setting sneaking up on you, the use of 2nd person POV, the sparing yet metaphor-rich language, the plot's relevance 56 years later, the conflation of themes of death and hope. And Anson's delivery was just perfect. WTG guys.
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CryptoMe
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2017, 09:42:05 AM »

Unfortunately, this story was not my cup of tea. The story idea was great, but it was the writing that did me in. I don't disagree with all the praise that people had for the writing, it really was technically well done. But for me, the final result was long, meandering, and frankly dull. As I said, not my cup of tea.

That said, I really, really enjoyed the calls and letters from listeners at the end. Big congrats to Escape Artists for reaching their 500th episode!! (Though as I write this, the 600th episode is about to come out). I've been an Escape Pod listener since 2006 (I think EP#83: Ulla, was my first). I was introduced to Escape Pod, and podcasts in general, by a friend on a long car trip and have been enjoying EP ever since. My favourite EP story is probably EP#222: Infestation. My favourite flash story is Standards (from 2008). Thank you EP for so many years of good stories.
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TrishEM
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2019, 01:15:17 AM »

I had deleted this after listening to it twice back when it came out, but now that you've reissued it, I've decided to keep it on my podcatcher forever, or at least until this phone dies in a year or whenever.

It's simply an astounding piece of writing, astoundingly well read.

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CryptoMe
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« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 05:02:36 PM »

LOL! Interesting to read what I wrote the last time I listened to this story. Even more interesting that my opinion has not changed. Good to know I am consistent.  Wink
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