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Author Topic: EP542: The Hungers of Refugees  (Read 3527 times)

eytanz

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on: September 22, 2016, 01:15:06 PM
EP542: The Hungers of Refugees

AUTHOR: Michael Glyde
NARRATOR: Joe Williams
HOST: Alasdair Stuart

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I. Generation One

Our grandparents always said, “Take care to remember the first generation.” They came from fresh, from sunlight, whirling winds, and butterfly fields. They came from Hunger.

Generation One came from six different nations. Six nations? How long ago was this that six nations could exist, all at once? That’s what we’d ask our grandparents. They never answered satisfactorily.

Ship 13c smelled iron like death. White LED lighting glared off the walls. And it was warm, but an uncomfortable, mechanical sort of warm.

When Generation One boarded the ship, their children spent days waving and crying as Earth receded from view. To those children, loss was an old trick—that’s what their parents wrote of them in the ship’s log. They cried because they remembered their tiny fishing villages, their college towns, their cities that counted among the oldest on Earth.

The parents celebrated leaving the Camps. Finally escaping foreign soldiers quick to kill, food rations too small for mice, and the oppressive, endless heat, they laughed at their pain.

“Good riddance,” they said, “to all that.”

And that first night, a tradition began: all of Ship 13c’s residents crowded around the glass globe that overlooked the reactor core. Like campers around a fire, they told stories of their homes. How strange, how awkward, trying to tell stories everyone would understand. Which of the four languages did the most people speak? What prohibitions differed between these six cultures?

But that night they silently agreed to become one people. A people hunting for a new home.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



davidthygod

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Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 06:56:12 PM
I am most of the way through Howey's Silo trilogy.  This seemed very much, like a different take on that series.  Frankly, I would say this is way too similar to the Silo trilogy (Silos in space).  Maybe its because I like the Silo trilogy quite a bit, but this suffered by comparison IMO. 

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Frank Evans

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Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 12:59:18 PM
Quote
Frankly, I would say this is way too similar to the Silo trilogy

I don't know that I agree with this assessment, but I've only read the first of the Silo books so it's possible the next two take things in a very different direction. As it stands though, the only similarities I see between the two stories are that they focus on societies that have developed in an enclosed space. I suppose the Elder's attitudes towards the outside at the end could be viewed similarly to how the people in charge of the silos viewed the outside, but that's a fairly common theme in this kind of story and I don't think it's enough to make me want to write this story off as derivative of Silo.

That being said, I had a bit of trouble with this story on the first listen. I found my attention wandering and as a result the story didn't resonate with me. I ended up going back and reading the text, which helped somewhat.



TheArchivist

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Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 12:55:27 PM
I do like a good dysfunctional colony ship story but I found this disappointing. The style of the story telling and/or narration failed to keep my attention (I was listening while driving but on a familiar route so that wouldn't normally be a problem).

Some of the decisions by earlier generations - not even trying to understand the ship, using most of it only as a ritual punishment/test for juveniles - seemed unlikely. I wondered whether the author intended this to be the Golgafrinchan B-arc - full of not-very-useful people - but apparently that wasn't how the show's host read it. And I was puzzled by the reference to being launched in the ship by the first generation's oppressors (or did I mishear that?)

The ending had a good go at playing on the stupidity of the rulers' decisions, damning themselves and their offspring to different dismal fates. Unfortunately it also felt a little too unresolved to me. But then, I find a lot of stories these days have endings that don't satisfy me, so maybe I'm just awkward that way.



Unblinking

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Reply #4 on: September 29, 2016, 06:01:55 PM
Good story overall, and the long oral history of a broken society on a colony ship is a really interesting premise.  I was hoping for something a little less bleak in the ending, but I guess I'm not sure what that would be given the rest of it.



Father Beast

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Reply #5 on: October 07, 2016, 11:34:31 AM
I also read the Silo series, and correctly identified those also as being generation ships.

In the end, it doesn't matter that the leaders of the ship community walled up the opening, since any survivors of those who left the ship would inevitably make an eventually larger civilization themselves, rendering the ship community mostly irrelevant. In time, the outside population will break into the ship and discover either corpses or survivors, and learn the secrets of the firstcomers.

Failing to interest me, somehow.



Charisntma

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Reply #6 on: October 08, 2016, 01:59:04 PM
I had a hard time feeling sympathy because of the implied idiocy persisting through generations: for hunger to persist through the generations, people must have been having more children than they knew could be sustained without hunger.  The hunger is self-inflicted.  If the story had addressed the reasons for that choice, I might have found it more satisfying.  As it is, I was distracted from the story line by that gaping hole in world building.



acpracht

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Reply #7 on: October 12, 2016, 01:50:32 PM
I had a hard time feeling sympathy because of the implied idiocy persisting through generations: for hunger to persist through the generations, people must have been having more children than they knew could be sustained without hunger.  The hunger is self-inflicted.  If the story had addressed the reasons for that choice, I might have found it more satisfying.  As it is, I was distracted from the story line by that gaping hole in world building.

Which to me raises the more current question of why people have more children now than can be sustained... Will human nature change that much because the "ship" is so much smaller than the planet-sized vessel we are on today?



Charisntma

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Reply #8 on: October 15, 2016, 07:07:52 PM
Which to me raises the more current question of why people have more children now than can be sustained...
The reasons I have come across so far are
a) they don't think about it,
b) they care little about delayed consequences,
c) they believe the planet can easily support 50 billion people as it is,
d) they trust that technological progress will provide,
e) they don't see why they should restrict their reproduction for as long as there is anyone else who doesn't.

Will human nature change that much because the "ship" is so much smaller than the planet-sized vessel we are on today?
No, but of the above reasons for not dealing with the problem, a) to d) are excluded by people already being hungry and nobody doing anything to increase food production.  Even e) may not apply.  We are not told how large the population is.  Reference to camps suggests tens to hundreds of thousands, but the story is written as if everybody knows everybody else, which would mean up to 150.  Even if it's 5000, they should be able to come close enough to a consensus that I expect a social norm on limiting reproduction would be pretty rigidly enforced.  After all, they do enforce norms on how much anyone may eat.



Devoted135

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Reply #9 on: January 26, 2017, 07:02:29 PM
This one started out strong, but ultimately I had a hard time getting past the various plot holes already pointed out. And then the ending was just depressing. :-\



CryptoMe

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Reply #10 on: November 29, 2017, 08:48:10 PM
I did not like this story. It was hard to get into and keep the generations straight in the beginning. Like other forumites, I could not comprehend why the different generations did what they did.

I think TheArchivist comment below may actually explain a lot about this story for me....

I wondered whether the author intended this to be the Golgafrinchan B-arc - full of not-very-useful people