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Author Topic: EP508: A Day Without Sunshine  (Read 1371 times)
eytanz
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« on: October 29, 2015, 10:42:38 AM »

EP508: A Day Without Sunshine

by Esther Saxey

Read by Amanda Ching

---

I don’t waste time. I study, I work hard, and when I go out I can squeeze a month of clubbing into one night. Tonight I’m squeezing it in a nasty place in Peckham, South London: no air, and the walls are sweating. I can’t get drunk–I’ve got a lecture tomorrow morning–so I’m dancing myself stupid, twisting my head so quick that my braids twat me in the face.

But across the delirious dance-floor, in the far corner, there’s a pool of stillness. Nobody dancing, everyone chilling, and you, leaning on a wall. You’re a little guy with lush brown eyes, gazing all around you.

I fight my way through the dancers to get to you. I get tangled in arms, fingernails up in my face, but I finally reach you.

“I’m Michelle. I’m doing law. You a student?”

You’re Hesham, twenty-eight, from Cairo. Not studying anything.

As I look at you, my skin tingles. Then I hear a police siren wailing past–of course, we’re next to the fire exit. That’s why there’s a pool of coolness round you.

“This is all excellent,” you say, waving an overpriced beer bottle at the terrible club. I laugh.

“You must be on some good stuff, fam.”

“I’m not! I like places where everyone’s having, oh, as much fun as they can.” You sound shy, formal. My Ma would call you “well brought up”.

Later, you sneak into my sweaty arms. You’re shorter than me and kind of delicate, but you don’t make me feel clumsy. Just strong, as though I could scoop you up.

Like I said, I don’t waste time. “Are you going to invite me back to yours?”

I reckon you’ll get ripped off by the flaky minicabs hovering outside. But you find us a proper black cab. We sit on opposite sides of the big back seat. Up the mangy Old Kent Road we go, across the dark river with both banks twinkling. Past the City, castles of light.

The taxi metre ticks up and up. “Hesham, I can’t split the fare on this!”

“Oh! I should have said. I’ll get it.”


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


« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 05:40:24 AM »

In Orson Scott Card's The Worthing Saga, this idea was explored in macro, with people up for a year and down for a year, and not being able to maintain friendships with people not on the same schedule.

This story explores it more in micro, with one person experiencing less time passing than another. It was telling that he never had any news.

I thought it was pretty good.
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Chairman Goodchild
Peltast
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Posts: 159



« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2015, 01:26:44 AM »

It was short and sweet and to the point, and I liked it.  It was a well-done piece of fiction.  

If I had access to a machine like that, I'd invest everything I had in long-term investments and then set the machine to defrost me when I was rich.  
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adrianh
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2015, 03:58:48 AM »

A lovely little tale that shows the disfunction of obsession. Nicely done.
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Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 09:44:52 AM »

This was solid and concise, well told throughout.  I can see how this tech would be tempting to skip over the winter, skip over parts you don't want to experience.  Though I'm very much an introvert that I never feel like I get ENOUGH time to myself, rather than the reverse.

What an awkward relationship problem to have one person constantly around the other, but have the other person barely see the other.  The bit about "not having to be clingy" because he's literally always around her from his perspective was particularly apt.  And she has broken up with him so so long ago and he's still basically trying to heal from the fresh wound.

A bit of the theme did make me think of the Adam Sandler movie Click, which involved a magic remote control which let you skip over the parts of your life you wanted to skip, and the tendency for addiction and detriment as a result.  Not derivative by any means, it just crossed my mind.
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skeletondragon
Palmer
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 02:17:52 PM »

I think it's really telling that Hesham doesn't remember his dreams. It's not even that he's using the pod to escape reality- he's using it to stop existing for awhile. This is the kind of thing that people in the deep throes of depression want to do. He's also afraid of growing old and dying. I wonder if, without access to pod technology, he would just be straight-up suicidal, because really, pods sound like an ideal suicide fantasy. Quick, painless, oblivion, and you don't even actually die - you're just gone, and you could come back...but you probably won't. 
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hardware
Matross
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2015, 05:58:08 PM »

Well written and to the point, but maybe a bit too message-oriented and one-note for me. Short as it was, it was pretty obvious early on where this were going and what that point was.
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Devoted135
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Posts: 1252



« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2015, 10:53:36 PM »

This is one of those technologies that I sort of hope never gets invented because, as this story demonstrates, how creepy would that be?? We humans are already plenty good at escapism (hi, internet!) and don't need a way to literally turn it all off.

I did think that the story explored the consequences of this technology really nicely, especially the subtle "haves and have-nots" element. The quoted section above also brings out an amusing consequence of not really ever getting out. Hesham is so tickled by this obviously sub par club scene, probably because he hasn't been to all that many bars...
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CryptoMe
Hipparch
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Posts: 875



« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2017, 08:35:40 AM »

I really liked this story. I particularly like the juxtaposition between the person who is so enthralled (literally enthralled) with this technology that they use it all the time and the person who is so repulsed by it that they can't even tolerate someone else using it. And the exploration of a relationship between two such people was just brilliant. Thanks!
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