Escape Artists
November 22, 2017, 09:39:42 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: The FINAL ROUND of the PseudoPod Flash Fiction Contest has begun!
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: EP507: The Call of the Sky  (Read 2186 times)
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 5857



« on: October 22, 2015, 09:56:52 AM »

EP507: The Call of the Sky

By Cliff Winnig

Read by Marguerite Kenner

This story was originally published in the anthology When the Hero Comes Home: 2[/i[.

---

The army hospital’s underground floors reminded me of Pluto Base, a place I’d never actually been. I’d never even been off-world, but I remembered those claustrophobic beige corridors. Two years before, I’d synced with a bunch of my alts home on leave after basic training. Today for the first time I’d be meeting one who’d seen combat. More than that, one who’d become a hero, the only Teri Kang to survive the Battle of Charon.

We wouldn’t be syncing, though. Not this time. Not ever. Before she’d escaped the doomed moon — the moon she’d given the order to destroy — she’d been bitten. That’s what the G.I.s called it when Hive nanobots infected you: being bitten. Like it was a zombie plague or something.

Hell, it might as well be. Soon the only other Teri Kang in the universe would lose her fight with that infection, and the army docs would euthanize her. Under the circumstances, even coming home had been an act of courage. A lot of G.I.s who got bitten went AWOL rather than face the certain death of returning to base. Not for the first time, I wondered if I had such courage lying latent within me.

Flanked by MPs, I followed a nurse down hallway after hallway till we arrived at my alt’s room. Well, the room next to it, since she was quarantined. A smartglass wall separated me from the sterile chamber where the other Teri Kang would live out her last few hours.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
Logged
Father Beast
Lochage
*****
Posts: 501


« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2015, 05:48:53 AM »

I have maintained for years that most sci-fi gets clones wrong. a clone is not the offspring of the original. A clone is the sibling of the original, just as in identical twins (Natural clones).

This principle also applies to copies in other manners, such as in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Second Chances". The poker scene in that episode displays classic sibling rivalry between the two versions of a person.

This story gets it right, in that she treats her alt as a sister, who might make odd choices, but has the right to make choices for herself.

I liked this.
Logged
matweller
EA Staff
*****
Posts: 670



WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2015, 09:42:47 PM »

Interesting point. I think this was kinda the best of both sides too, though. They get to be sisters, but they also get to sync and live each other's memories. It's like virtual narrow-span immortality, which could be better than life extension in a lot of ways. And even though they're unique, the space faring sisters are enough alike that they fall in love with all of the alts of the other
Logged
TrishEM
Peltast
***
Posts: 150



« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2015, 06:37:15 AM »

I think the habit of writers treating clones as the offspring of the original is partly due to the expectation that clones would be created at the request of the adult original, and thus be the age of a child rather than the closer age range that would cover most siblings.
I think it also reflects the real-world expectation of many parents that their children will/should grow up to be carbon copies of themselves, however wrong-headed that is. A clone would let the parent duplicate his/her genetics, even if the environment of growing up can't be duplicated exactly.

I do like the treatment here of clones as siblings -- not unique, but it's done well here.

But it's a grim universe! It seems crazily optimistic to think that giving up and letting yourself be assimilated will be a way to change the enemy from within. In fact, it seems more like lying to yourself as a cover for extreme Stockholm syndrome of identifying with your invaders/assimilators.

Nicely thought-provoking.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 09:32:36 AM »

I loved the worldbuilding here, the conflict of meeting the warhero version of yourself that you expected to be able to absorb into yourself but because they're in quarantine you'll never get the opportunity, the dynamic of a mass of copies marrying another mass of copies, trying to figure out how to combat an assimilating alien race (though I tend to agree with TrishEM that absorbing into them with the intent to change from within is probably delusional... but if the spread of these beings is as inevitable as it sounds, it's worth a shot anyway).

I admit that I was so enamored by the worldbuilding that I was less interested in what the protagonist actually chose to do.  But... that's not a bad thing, I was thoroughly entertained, and there is plenty of cool food for thought here.

Logged
Dwango
Matross
****
Posts: 161



« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 02:26:34 PM »

I would have liked it more, but I thought the characters were weakly defined and the reasoning made little sense.  So the enemy assimilates other being into themselves, but they make some people sick, or were people killing them?  There was the theory that the enemy could just go straight to earth, but chose not to in order to ensure that all people are assimilated?  Maybe the idea that they are collecting some people to understand the human strategy makes sense, but collecting all of the species would seem a lot easier if they went straight to the homeworld, leaving the rest stranded, to be picked off at will.

Then there is the boyfriend who is practically a throw away.  The protagonist is leaving to protect him at the end, but sure has no qualms leaving, no doubts.  I also wonder about marrying a group of clones.  If they are people, and anything like twins, they would want to be individuals, not part of a group.  I know, because my mother is a twin, and they have their own lives and interests.  I don't think one would feel too special to be married along with a group of your clones.  These quirks make them seem less than human too me and hard to relate to.

It is an interesting future world and one that really has potential.  Ideas such as creating clones to fight wars, but having an enemy that can turn them against you, and get your secrets to boot.  The ideas of personal identity and relationships.  I just had a hard time investing in the characters this time.
Logged
Father Beast
Lochage
*****
Posts: 501


« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2015, 05:34:28 AM »

Interesting point. I think this was kinda the best of both sides too, though. They get to be sisters, but they also get to sync and live each other's memories.

Kind of reminds me of the supercomputer "minds" of the Culture novels, which ran their ships, habitats, and whatever. In one case, when a ship was lost and believed destroyed, they commissioned another ship with the mind a backup of the lost one. When the old one turned up alive, they just kept the two going. They became close brothers, and often synced to keep each other up to date.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 09:49:36 AM »

So the enemy assimilates other being into themselves, but they make some people sick, or were people killing them? 

The enemy assimilates other beings into themselves through a nanovirus plague.  But the assimilation takes some time.  During that time it's standard procedure to quarantine the person and kill them before the end, I think, to prevent them from becoming the enemy.

I also wonder about marrying a group of clones.  If they are people, and anything like twins, they would want to be individuals, not part of a group.  I know, because my mother is a twin, and they have their own lives and interests.  I don't think one would feel too special to be married along with a group of your clones.  These quirks make them seem less than human too me and hard to relate to.

The copies in this story were significantly different than twins.  Twins don't share memories.  The copies are exactly the same person until the branching point, while twins were never the exact same person (despite identical twins sharing DNA, a person is defined by more than DNA).  It makes sense that they are much more similar to twins but that, if their life experiences differ greatly their personalities will diverge somewhat.
Logged
El Barto
Peltast
***
Posts: 132


« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 12:39:38 PM »

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit.  The idea of separating into "alts" to experience different realities and then re-integrating to share them is the high tech version of siblings going to different colleges and then coming home at Thanksgiving to swap stories.
 
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2015, 12:46:32 PM »

I found the alt tech very intriguing in the most practical of ways.  I often wonder "I wonder what would have happened if I had made this choice instead of that".  Not that I dwell on it, but I wonder.  Even in minor things like "which route to work is faster?" one can take two different routes on two different days and time them but the conditions are entirely different at each of those times so a single trip of each is not conclusive.  To more obvious ones like picking a college major or picking a city to move to or choosing whether to go into the military.  I think it would be pretty cool to be able to split at some important point and see what would happen either way and learn from either route.  That's an epic ability.
Logged
TrishEM
Peltast
***
Posts: 150



« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 05:47:16 PM »

With all the people talking about how interesting the idea of alts is, I'm taking the opportunity to remind everybody of EP398, Subversion, by Elizabeth R. Adams. It's really intriguing and often funny. If you missed it the first time around, I highly recommend listening.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8657



WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2015, 10:17:34 AM »

With all the people talking about how interesting the idea of alts is, I'm taking the opportunity to remind everybody of EP398, Subversion, by Elizabeth R. Adams. It's really intriguing and often funny. If you missed it the first time around, I highly recommend listening.

That one did cross my mind as well, but I didn't think to mention it.  Good call.  Smiley

Also, that other one shares a name with the software-versioning utility I use at work.  Not that that has anything to do with anything, mind you.
Logged
Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 10:06:32 PM »

I like this version of cloning or "alts" because it allows them to be contemporaries, living parallel lives rather than sequential ones. I was less enamored with the actually story. I quite doubt that humanity will be able to fight them from the inside, though I suppose that tens or hundreds of copies of one person may have a better chance due to sheer volume. If that was the strategy though, it either wasn't said or I missed it.

Also, it was weird to me how she was willing to leave her fiance almost without saying goodbye. Up until that point all of the relationships had seemed deep and strongly tied, so that one struck me as odd.
Logged
hardware
Matross
****
Posts: 192



« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2015, 05:49:59 PM »

I think what I appreciated in this story is how life interfered with how technology should have worked - normally she should have shared all these experiences with her alt but war and distance allowed them to grow apart, and then find each other in a possibly more meaningful (but also more melancholic) way.
Logged
shanehalbach
Peltast
***
Posts: 155


Clockwork Lasercorn


WWW
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2016, 10:03:00 AM »

This Chicagoan is going to pretend that "Geeardos" is a deep dish pizza place in this fictionalized Chicago, rather than a Californian mangling the name of Giordano's  Wink  Grin
Logged

Devoted135
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1252



« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2016, 09:37:29 PM »

This Chicagoan is going to pretend that "Geeardos" is a deep dish pizza place in this fictionalized Chicago, rather than a Californian mangling the name of Giordano's  Wink  Grin

Gah! I had managed to forget about that one... Undecided
Logged
CryptoMe
Hipparch
******
Posts: 875



« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2017, 06:17:36 PM »

I didn't care for the ending. I don't see what was resolved by the MC deciding to go fight, even if it was "her way". I would have liked to see a lot more about how she was going to do that.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!