Author Topic: EP530: City in the Wound  (Read 4337 times)

eytanz

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EP530: City in the Wound
« on: May 12, 2016, 01:40:56 AM »
EP530: City in the Wound

By Mike Buckley

read by Barry Haworth

This story has not been previously published.

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In the middle of the night Eztli decides to burn The Mothers. He’s a block down and they’re visible through a sliver of space between two corners, drapes of light kelping back and forth slow in the darkness.

Eztli runs, safe for the moment ‘cause it’s his street, Da is watching, but then off his block, out into the middle of the road.

A brick flies past him. He hears shouting in the rooms above The Mothers, but their boys and girls don’t make it out in time. Now it’s just him standing in front of The Mothers. There’s three in a row, their dresses shimmering and lovely, and they stare down at him, so kind and gentle. The one in front is actually crying as Eztli sprays stolen gasoline in a wide arc across them. Eztli hates her for it. He could burn her a thousand times.

The lit match hits the wall and The Mothers go up. The children scream from the second floor. Feet bang on the stairs. Eztli runs, the warmth of the fire behind him, listening to the other screams, the ones coming from beneath the flames.

That night he sleeps next to Da, the composites moving about slowly behind him, lulling. And he doesn’t dream at all.

Da wakes him the next day. The composites reach finger-like to brush his cheek. Feels like lizard skin, or what he’s heard of The Native’s hide.

“Wakee,” Da says. His voice makes Eztli’s lips go cold. “Wakee. Food for the others. At the farthest pit.”

Eztli stands in the morning light. The street is dead quiet and Da behind him moves across the wall, ticking and groaning and hissing.

“You slept close to Da last night for burning The Mothers,” Da says.

Eztli gets it: But today you gotta work.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

jaelen

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2016, 08:45:18 PM »
Hello, I'm a new forumite, though I've been listening to EA podcasts for years.

I struggled with this episode. If I ignore the hints of something bigger, the story on its own is incredibly compelling. But then the history about Endeavor crashing implied that there was some identifiable logic behind what was going on, which I had trouble finding. What are the composite creatures? Why are they pitted against each other? What is the nature of their relationship to humanity, and how did it get that way? What is Cecily, if not a human? I feel like I missed something obvious.

The ending was also a bit abrupt. What happened to Cecily? For that matter, what's going to happen to Eztli?

The episode also contained an excerpt from Echo Endgame. Alisdair said the book would be listed in the show notes, but I don't see it. I loved this, and really want to read more. I'm having trouble finding any reference to the book series online. Are links available, or at least an authoritative spelling of Danny's name?

vf-xx

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 10:11:07 PM »
Hello, I'm a new forumite, though I've been listening to EA podcasts for years.

I struggled with this episode. If I ignore the hints of something bigger, the story on its own is incredibly compelling. But then the history about Endeavor crashing implied that there was some identifiable logic behind what was going on, which I had trouble finding. What are the composite creatures? Why are they pitted against each other? What is the nature of their relationship to humanity, and how did it get that way? What is Cecily, if not a human? I feel like I missed something obvious.

The ending was also a bit abrupt. What happened to Cecily? For that matter, what's going to happen to Eztli?

The episode also contained an excerpt from Echo Endgame. Alisdair said the book would be listed in the show notes, but I don't see it. I loved this, and really want to read more. I'm having trouble finding any reference to the book series online. Are links available, or at least an authoritative spelling of Danny's name?

The way I interpreted it are as follows:
Composite creatures are the AI on the Endeavor. Damaged in the crash they battle for each other's processor space

Cecily was a cyborg/enhanced crew.

Kids were colonists that were in suspended animation (or descended from these colonists), that survived the crash.

Cecily was used as a physical trojan horse to deliver malware to the Mothers.

Per the joy's of google:
Danie Ware
http://danieware.com/
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 10:16:27 PM by vf-xx »

matweller

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 08:41:19 AM »
The episode also contained an excerpt from Echo Endgame. Alisdair said the book would be listed in the show notes, but I don't see it. I loved this, and really want to read more. I'm having trouble finding any reference to the book series online. Are links available, or at least an authoritative spelling of Danny's name?

http://danieware.com/tag/ecko-endgame/

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Danie+Ware&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Danie+Ware&sort=relevancerank

Ichneumon

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2016, 03:54:15 PM »
Very interesting world, many unanswered questions. I would definitely be interested in hearing more.
I agree with vf-xx's interpretation.

velocity

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Re:
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 11:57:28 AM »
this one wasn't for me, although it was an interesting world.  the story felt like it wasn't doing justice to what should be a fascinating setting, and I got more bored as it progressed.

Frank Evans

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2016, 12:36:37 PM »
This one was a mixed bag for me. There's a foundation here of an interesting world that I think could be expanded upon. However, when I first listened to it I came away underwhelmed. I found my attention slipping away from the story a few times and I had to force myself to concentrate on the audio, which is usually a bad sign. There was enough that seemed interesting that I went back and read the text to get a clearer picture of the story, and that helped. This isn't to say that I thought the narration was bad, it wasn't, but that maybe this is a story that's better processed through the page as opposed to audio.





bounceswoosh

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2016, 09:15:37 AM »
I had a lot of trouble following what happened - everything was just too unfamiliar. There were early hints about the space ship, but even with that, I didn't find enough to put things into focus for me. It didn't help that I heard "Da" as "Dar" and only realized toward the end that it was probably "Da" to be in parallel with the Mothers - but wait, then what's that about twins?

For me this story would have paid off if there were enough hints that I could follow the progression - so that I could piece together how we got from shipboard AIs, presumably benevolent to humans, to these superbeings that control children, allow most of humanity to exist in misery and deprivation, and are warring amongst each other. As it was, the hinted - eventually explicit - connection to a crashed spaceship seemed pointless to me. It could have been a fantasy world that had "always" been that way and made as much sense. Instead I only understood as much as the protagonist did, which is basically nothing.

Unblinking

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2016, 08:56:16 AM »
I... had trouble following this.   There were a lot of interesting components, a lot of weird imagery, but I had trouble putting it all together into something coherent.  :/   

I find that I am more easily distractible these days, taking on too many projects perhaps and find my mind wandering to those projects at odd times.  So it's possible that it's just my own distractability at play.


Dwango

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2016, 09:25:46 AM »
Hard to follow, but very tantalizing.  For me the loose threads worked in a way to make me want to go deeper into it.  The father was obviously on the losing end of the "game" as he was down to one building.  The Mothers were obviously taking up what was left in the society and the Father discovered a way to use the feelings of the child to get its own ends.  This is a chilling view of the end results of AIs manipulating the emotions of the people to their own ends.  It distills our actions down to a programming language that just needs to be figured out.  This is like the story, which name I don't recall, played on Escape Pod where a robot has married a human and is fighting for robot rights, only to find out they have surreptitiously been programming the people with gases.  In that it ends with the robots being no better than the people, becoming dictators that manipulate people more for the fun of doing it than for any cause.  In this, the brutal reality of survival has led the AIs to manipulate people in cold and meticulous ways.  They are not human and will follow their logic to the course of getting what they need, no matter the emotional toll.

I want to follow more of this, to see if the boy's rage at losing the girl he loved moves him to rebel.  Could he be the fall out of a plan that succeeded in increasing Father's influence, at the cost of creating a new enemy.  Desperation to survive, leading to a plan that ultimately could be his undoing.  Of course, he is very powerful and the boy may find himself continue to be a pawn in a bigger game.  You see how easily it is to meander into so many interesting directions with this?

Devoted135

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2016, 08:19:34 PM »
I had a really hard time shaking my initial interpretation that the Da and the Mothers were giant telepathic monsters of some kind. Like, squishy, blobby monsters. The element of gathering and eating eggs didn't help to dispel this impression. ::) Actually, I'm not sure how much the story changes (other than the ick factor) now that I know they are actually AIs. Definitely curious to know the ramifications of his rebellion, and also to know more about Cecily.

bounceswoosh

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2016, 10:08:25 PM »
I had a really hard time shaking my initial interpretation that the Da and the Mothers were giant telepathic monsters of some kind. Like, squishy, blobby monsters.

You know, I thought that they were lizards. Because there was talk about Da skittering along the wall .... and the eggs didn't help with that, either ;-)

CryptoMe

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Re: EP530: City in the Wound
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2017, 04:04:17 PM »
I also thought Da was "Dar" and so didn't equate him with the mothers at all. I thought that Da was a hive creature, like a swarm of bees or something. I did not get that he was an AI. I also didn't get that the mothers were AI's. I thought the eggs were within the body of the Native, the creature they killed when they crash landed on it, but if that is the case, why are the eggs still edible so many years later? Don't the Natives and everything organic in them decompose in any way?

All in all, I found this story way too confusing to enjoy.