Author Topic: EP563: Two Steps Forward  (Read 4111 times)


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on: February 19, 2017, 10:00:47 AM
EP563: Two Steps Forward

AUTHOR: Holly Schofield
NARRATOR: Adam Pracht
HOST: Norm Sherman


I eased myself down off the running board of the ’28 Hudson sedan then laid a hand on the hood in mute sympathy for its overheated pistons. A quick buttoning-up of my topcoat and a tug on my fedora and I felt ready to approach the farmhouse.

The old woman on the veranda watched me as I drew close. Fly-away gray hair surrounded a narrow, clever face, faded housedress atop rubber boots, she was as much of a hodgepodge as I used to be. The late model Stewart Warner radio perched on the windowsill shimmied with “The Spell of the Blues”. I hummed along as the saxophones swooped and soared.

The old woman fingered the jumble of items on her lap as if looking for a weapon and I stopped a few feet from the bottom step of the porch.

“Afternoon, ma’am.” I tipped my hat, not too far, and put my hands in my pockets. “I won’t take up much of your time. Your husband built that famous automated scarecrow, am I right?” At her tightening mouth, I quickly added, “I’m not a reporter, just an admirer. I saw that scarecrow ace the dance marathon at the Playland  Pavilion in Montreal last winter. Truly hep to the jive.”  The ballroom’s mirrored walls reflecting the graceful moves of the dark-suited figure, hands as clever as Frisco twirling a chiffon-clad partner–a sight worth seeing, all right. The old woman grunted and picked up a dirty rag. She poured something golden and syrupy over it from a pickle jar, and began rubbing a coaster-sized metal disc—a flywheel? a gear?—with more vigor than necessary.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


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Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 02:26:43 AM
I saw the twist coming pretty early on in this one, but I still found the interplay between the characters enjoyable.  "A day in the life" style SF can be hit or miss, but when it's done right it's some of the most effective SF out there in my opinion, and this was a well done example of the story style.


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Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 04:30:23 AM
I was talking with this guy I know about what theme to give a fiction anthology.  He said he'd like to see one about Golems and I mentioned I just heard a story about a Scarecrow.  He shrugged and said something along the lines "that seemd pretty narrow how can they do a whole anthology about that". So I summarized this story as "Intelligent steam powered clockwork Scarecrow runs away from home to compete in the dance marathons on depression era Canada."  Only after speaking that phrase aloud did I realize the story had won me over.  This story presented pure absurdity with a sincere and heartfelt tone and I enjoyed that.  Like Vranacat I saw through the narrator pretty early on and I knew that the old woman would conclude things they way she did (why else was she polishing cogs).  As far as the plot and resolution go, I was hoping for more meaningful emotional reackoning and more specifics about their relationship, so overall I was under whelmed by the journey the characters took in the story. But the author did cram in a lot of back story.   Liked the reading, sound quality and production


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Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 08:23:14 PM
Dance, dance as fast as you can, you cant catch me I'm the...
Scarecrow = gingerbread man? I was a little surprised he didn't meet a fox.


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Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 08:37:42 PM
That was a good one!
Nice twist - I realized the narrator was the automaton scarecrow half way through.
Also the mental image of old lady making robots in her free time made me smile.

High production value - the music at the beginning and end added to the climate of the story

Narration was good.


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Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 06:05:11 PM
As far as the plot and resolution go, I was hoping for more meaningful emotional reackoning and more specifics about their relationship, so overall I was under whelmed by the journey the characters took in the story.

I actually really liked the standoffish relationship between the scarecrow and old woman (his creator). It parallels many parent/children relationships where the parent doesn't know how to express their love for the child and the child needs to figure out that the parent's gruff comments or actions *are* an expression of their love. That's what I got here at the end. The old woman, when she gives the scarecrow the other scarecrow copies, is giving him the greatest expression of her love that she knows how to give. Awesome!