Author Topic: EP111: Mayfly  (Read 32226 times)

SFEley

  • Autarch
  • *****
  • Posts: 1408
    • Escape Artists, Inc.
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2007, 04:15:42 PM »
I wonder what it would be like to marry one of those beings. It would work out pretty well for the mayfly. Each generation wouldn't have to worry about not finding a mate at the last minute, plus she could go childless for six days if she so chose and have the baby at the last minute and the husband could take care of the baby himself for the one day needed until it is old enough to care for itself.

Good for support, perhaps; bad for genetic diversity.  It wouldn't take many generations for all the defects to come out. 

Now, an open marriage where each mayfly got sperm from wherever she needed to but came home to the same guy...  But that would be an entirely different story.  >8->
ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine

Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2007, 07:16:24 AM »
I wonder what it would be like to marry one of those beings. It would work out pretty well for the mayfly. Each generation wouldn't have to worry about not finding a mate at the last minute, plus she could go childless for six days if she so chose and have the baby at the last minute and the husband could take care of the baby himself for the one day needed until it is old enough to care for itself.  In addition, the husband could tend to such menial tasks as shopping and writing postcards so each mayfly can more fully enjoy their one week of life.

Just imagine, if you married one of these beings then in a sense you would have a new wife every week. Each progressive generation would have all the memories of the previous ones, so in a sense it's almost the same person, but not entirely. Before marrying a mayfly, the prospective husband should be aware that it does come with the fairly serious drawback of having to deliver a baby in your bedroom once a week for life.

I think an open lesbian relationship, or closed relationship with notable exceptions, would work better. With a female partner, sex, love, and companionship wouldn’t come with the risk of incest.
Both women could work to assure there was a 'willing donor' available, perhaps the less-mortal partner could provide the luxury of being a little more choosy about mates, seeking out men with slow metabolisms who might otherwise not be interested in one-night-stands.
How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?

The Word Whore

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 71
    • Air Out My Shorts
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2007, 12:44:51 PM »
I think an open lesbian relationship, or closed relationship with notable exceptions, would work better. With a female partner, sex, love, and companionship wouldn’t come with the risk of incest.
Both women could work to assure there was a 'willing donor' available, perhaps the less-mortal partner could provide the luxury of being a little more choosy about mates, seeking out men with slow metabolisms who might otherwise not be interested in one-night-stands.

I do hope Ms Lindsley is reading...
This would make a delicious sequel  ;)
Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com

eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2007, 01:35:55 PM »
It would indeed make for a fun sequel.

That said, I'm a bit curious as to why people are trying to pair the Mays up - the story itself doesn't really give any indication that they - well, at least the narrating May - had any desire for any sort of  lasting relationship. It didn't feel to me like the fact that she can't form any such relationship - romantic, friendship, or anything else - bothered her at the least. I have a feeling that she doesn't really share human social instincts to the same degree.

Let alone that, since it was implied that different generations could differ in personality at least to some extent, it may be impractical for another reason - for the POV of the partner, it could well be like dating someone with violent mood swings - one week she's really into you, the next week she dislikes you, then she likes you again, then she's indifferent.

Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2007, 01:47:32 PM »
...one week she's really into you, the next week she dislikes you, then she likes you again, then she's indifferent.
*Insert snide comment here.* ;)
How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?

The Word Whore

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 71
    • Air Out My Shorts
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2007, 02:08:53 PM »
...one week she's really into you, the next week she dislikes you, then she likes you again, then she's indifferent.
*Insert snide comment here.* ;)

<lol>  yes, that pretty much describes every relationship... i.m.l.e.

I did get the sense of longing for a deeper connection (albeit it subtle) during May's encounter with the bartender. However, this is balanced *very appropriately* by 'bred-in' knowledge/understanding/acceptance – no point in (or time for) pining. The survival instinct keeps her grounded and the ultimate focus on self-preservation, kicks in... wins.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 02:26:20 PM by The Word Whore »
Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com

wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2007, 06:38:55 PM »
I liked it.  I could see this story as a kickoff for one of our "survival" threads like the zombies and going back in time.

I would have been interested in more conflict.  All of her problems had pretty easy solutions even getting hit by a car.  What if she had ended up in a hospital?  What if the bartender tracks down her apartment and visits the daughter?

Her life seemed pretty normal...pay bills, go to the store, mail postcards, get laid...  I would think that after generations of mayflies they would develop some kind of hyper-efficiency.  At the very least they would use an online mayfly forum and automatic bill payment.  But then the story is less treasure-every-moment and more boss, gadgety sci-fi.  This and my conflict comment above were probably not the author's intention. 

Was I the only one who was wondering what the word whore was wearing when she read this?  I'm just sayin'...

slic

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 727
  • Stephen Lumini
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2007, 07:56:31 PM »
I enjoyed the story while I was hearing it, but I found that there were more and more little "annoyances" as I thought about it.  The first, most obvious one, was genetic drift/evolution.  How long had the May's been around?  For every one human generation(roughly 30 years), they go through 1560 (about 46,800 human years)- even a small drift would show up quickly.  What about other May's who left it to the last minute and ended up sleeping with some goofball loser - what "bad" genes did they get? What about mixed race babies?  Wouldn't it be slightly noticeable if next week your neighbour suddenly became mullato? 
Second, why would they spread out so far - granted it cuts down on the possible discovery, but if they had overlapping weeks - born on a Monday, born on a Wednesday - like the old nursery rhyme - they could help each other out easily (and it could be platonic - sorry, Thaurismunths).  The idea of communal families isn't new.
Third, how long did it take her to get autobill paying?  Man, I age in a much slower fashion and I got that ages ago!  I'd think they would have developed a multitaking ability generations ago - why wasn't she at least reading the book while on hold?

It really works as a "remember to cherish every day" kinda thing, but the logic falls apart too easily for me to really enjoy it.

I agree with the other comments that the twins ending seemed tacked on, and almost "extra last flip" that didn't tie into the rest of the dance routine.  There was no need for it.

Also, the generational memories got me to thinking that this is less like a Mother/Daughter relationship and more like an accelerated Dr. Who kind of deal.  It's really the same person changing bodies every week - though instead of moulting, it more of an internal transferance.  I get that the story needed to explain how an 11 year knew how to pay bills and cook, etc., but this fundamentally changed the relationship - you're not teaching me, I'm remembering being you.  In effect, the Mayfly is an immortal of sorts.
To maintain a Parent/Child idea perhaps the solution would have been a high speed language of sorts, a way they could only communicate amongst themselves, and it would sound like buzzing to any human listening to it (kinda like the Star Trek episode where Kirk gets "accelerated").
Quick aside - in three postings to this forum today, I've referenced three different ST:TOS episodes - man that was a great series!

Bdoomed

  • Pseudopod Tiger
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5147
  • Mmm. Tiger.
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2007, 11:03:42 PM »
It would indeed make for a fun sequel.

That said, I'm a bit curious as to why people are trying to pair the Mays up - the story itself doesn't really give any indication that they - well, at least the narrating May - had any desire for any sort of  lasting relationship. It didn't feel to me like the fact that she can't form any such relationship - romantic, friendship, or anything else - bothered her at the least. I have a feeling that she doesn't really share human social instincts to the same degree.
I don't think its a lack of human social instincts, rather a matter of how long they live. you cant expect anyone to feel a need for partnership when they are only alive for one week.
this follows Maslow's Hierarchy of needs.  the need for love comes after the need for food, water, sex, and safety.  Being alive for one week, i doubt any of the mayflies have any time to care about love.  They are more concerned with basic survival.  Get pleanty of calcium and protein and vitamins, then procreate, give birth, die.
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #49 on: June 27, 2007, 10:51:21 AM »
I did get the sense of longing for a deeper connection (albeit it subtle) during May's encounter with the bartender. However, this is balanced *very appropriately* by 'bred-in' knowledge/understanding/acceptance – no point in (or time for) pining. The survival instinct keeps her grounded and the ultimate focus on self-preservation, kicks in... wins.
Did you get that from her specualtion about the bartender's past? Something about him not being as young as she thought, and having an 'interesting' personal history?
I can see where the Mayflys would be envious of those with longer lives, but you're right that their biology has its own requirements while time and tide wait for no (wo)man.

I love the irony of the conversations this story has prompted.
Someone mentioned "why didn't she read the book while she was on the phone?" and others bring up the phenotypic impossibilities of it. But it's all a matter of perspective. We humans live about 4000 times longer than the Mayflys. For us that seems impossibly short. "How could they waste SO MUCH time, when they have so precious little? Don't they know they could be doing MORE with their time? Each life is so short, why are they concerned about it? Why don't they use each generation to work towards a common, greater, goal?"
I can only imagine that's what the mountains think when the look down on us. And here we are, sitting in front of our computers, passing judgment on a piece of short fiction when there's cancer to cure. :)
How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?

Swamp

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2225
    • Journey Into... podcast
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #50 on: June 27, 2007, 11:46:19 AM »
We humans live about 4000 times longer than the Mayflys. For us that seems impossibly short. "How could they waste SO MUCH time, when they have so precious little? Don't they know they could be doing MORE with their time? Each life is so short, why are they concerned about it? Why don't they use each generation to work towards a common, greater, goal?"
I can only imagine that's what the mountains think when the look down on us.

Great point!  I think that is what Steve (and vicariously, Mur) was saying in the intro with "Let Today not be wasted!"
Facehuggers don't have heads!

Come with me and Journey Into... another fun podcast

slic

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 727
  • Stephen Lumini
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #51 on: June 27, 2007, 01:23:32 PM »
My comment about reading the book (or for that matter doing anything else, like putting the stamps on the postcards) while on hold came directly from the sense of this line:
"I will spend twenty minutes of my precious time on hold, waiting to set up the account for automatic debit, a generous legacy to my grateful descendants."

20 minutes for her is well over the equivalent of a month and a half for me.  I do anything that tedious for a month and half, I will find some way to make good use of my time. And remember, this is someone with memories/experiences from many lifetimes.

Thaurismunths

  • High Priest of TCoRN
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1421
  • Praise N-sh, for it is right and good!
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2007, 02:06:10 PM »
My comment about reading the book (or for that matter doing anything else, like putting the stamps on the postcards) while on hold came directly from the sense of this line:
"I will spend twenty minutes of my precious time on hold, waiting to set up the account for automatic debit, a generous legacy to my grateful descendants."

20 minutes for her is well over the equivalent of a month and a half for me.  I do anything that tedious for a month and half, I will find some way to make good use of my time. And remember, this is someone with memories/experiences from many lifetimes.
I totally agree.
From an SF perspective it seems like she would have done something constructive with her time, and maybe she did. Sorted socks, wiped the table, made a grocery list, who knows.
But from a thought experiment perspective I think the author meant to point out how we waste our time when we could have otherwise been multi-tasking. As it is, Americans spend 60 hours per year on-hold,  that works out to something like 6 months on hold in a life time. And what do we do with those lost moments? Not a whole lot more than she did. And we get multiple tries at getting it right.
How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?

Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #53 on: June 27, 2007, 02:58:30 PM »
She doesn't perceive 20 minutes as being a month and a half; her subjective perception of it is 20 minutes. You're judging things by your lifespan. That's as unfair as a tortoise wandering up and mentioning that a month and a half of our time is like six months of its time.

Although, I really wish a tortoise would do that. Scientists, go invent a talking tortoise.

The Word Whore

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 71
    • Air Out My Shorts
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #54 on: June 27, 2007, 03:07:37 PM »

I did get the sense of longing for a deeper connection (albeit it subtle) during May's encounter with the bartender. However, this is balanced *very appropriately* by 'bred-in' knowledge/understanding/acceptance – no point in (or time for) pining. The survival instinct keeps her grounded and the ultimate focus on self-preservation, kicks in... wins.
Did you get that from her specualtion about the bartender's past? Something about him not being as young as she thought, and having an 'interesting' personal history?

I just find myself reading-between-the-lines (maybe even unfairly inventing chapters) during this *brief* encounter, which – we can all agree, in the scheme of things – is not brief at all. This is the only real "human connection" she makes, but – if it had been explored any further – it would've drastically sidetracked and altered the story.

Still, there is a definite implication that May could very well be meeting her Great (x hundreds) Grandfather and, to someone with so little 'real' human interaction, I find that far more compelling / thought-provoking (and, very sorry Heather :-[  "story-worthy") than the whole "twins" vein.


"...but that's another story..."


« Last Edit: June 27, 2007, 03:14:53 PM by The Word Whore »
Cheers,
~tWW
..................................
Air Out My Shorts
www.airoutmyshorts.com

DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #55 on: June 27, 2007, 03:10:31 PM »
There was a Ray Bradbury story I read about 10 years ago called "Frost and Fire."  It had a somewhat similiar premise to this story in that the protagonist of that story also only got to live for about a week, as did everyone else from his race.  But IIRC, I think the protagonist in that story did something magnificent, and figured out how to break the cycle (I could be wrong on that -- like I said, it's been 10 years).  It could be argued that this is somewhat implausible, I suppose...if this was a problem that the whole race had to live with for their entirety, how could this one kid break it.  But I remember really enjoying the story in college and I don't think Bradbury was ever too concerned with the plausibility.  

I like thinking about this story in relation to that one because despite some similarities, they're also polar opposites.  In this story, instead of saving the world or extending her life, May just lives it like most of us do.  We plod along, spending 8 hours at jobs we're usually not crazy about to provide for ourselves and our families and hopefully, our children can learn do it better than we did.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2007, 03:13:14 PM by DKT »

slic

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 727
  • Stephen Lumini
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #56 on: June 27, 2007, 07:45:37 PM »
She doesn't perceive 20 minutes as being a month and a half; her subjective perception of it is 20 minutes. You're judging things by your lifespan. That's as unfair as a tortoise wandering up and mentioning that a month and a half of our time is like six months of its time.

Although, I really wish a tortoise would do that. Scientists, go invent a talking tortoise.
I understood that. While she perceives time the same way we do, 20 minutes out of her life is similar to one of us deciding to spend a month and a half doing a single thing. 
"And what do we do with those lost moments? Not a whole lot more than she did." I've spent many hours on hold myself, and most often, I plan ahead.  I write an email (or check a forum :)) or have a magazine handy.  Doctor's offices, Dentist appts, bank machine lines, we all spend alot of time waiting, and many of us make use of that time.  In general, people cram as much stuff as they can into a single day.  Maybe this May is lazier than her brethern, but even setting up an email account would save all that time in addressing postcards.  I would think she would embrace any technology and/or practice to be able to enjoy what little time she has.

All I'm pointing out is how the logic didn't hold together for me.  I get the "what if" aspect, but I felt that it needed to be more thought out.  Whimsy just doesn't work for me.

Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2007, 01:45:31 AM »
I don't really agree with your logic, though.

slic

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 727
  • Stephen Lumini
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2007, 06:30:48 AM »
That's completely ok with me, but out of curiousity how do you explain that she wouldn't bother with trying to save time?


Oh and I forgot to mention, I, too, would like a talking tortoise, Scientist-person - preferably with a soft English accent, but I'm not picky.  But anything that sounds like Fran Dreser is right out!

goatkeeper

  • Guest
Re: EP111: Mayfly
« Reply #59 on: June 29, 2007, 12:49:41 AM »
I take it no one's read Suzy McKee Charnas's _Motherlines_.

Continuing to love this story, as I have every time I've read it.

Holdfast chronicles are amazing.