Author Topic: EP628: The Endangered Camp  (Read 4524 times)


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on: May 21, 2018, 08:42:38 PM
Escape Pod 628: The Endangered Camp

AUTHOR : Ann Leckie
NARRATOR : Ibba Armancas
HOST: Divya Breed


After the terrible push to be free of the Earth was past, we could stand again. In a while, the engineers had said, everything would float, but for now we were still accelerating. We were eight in the small, round room, though there were others on the sky-boat–engineers, and nest-guardians examining the eggs we had brought to see how many had been lost in the crushing, upward flight. But we eight stood watching the world recede.

The floor and walls of the room were of smooth, gold metal. Around the low ceiling was a pattern of cycad fronds and under this scenes from the histories. There was the first mother, ancestor of us all, who broke the shell of the original egg. The picture showed the egg, a single claw of the mother piercing that boundary between Inside and Outside. With her was the tiny figure of her mate. If you are from the mountains, you know that he ventured forth and fed on the carcass of the world-beast, slain by the mother, and in due time found the mother and mated with her. If you are a lowlander, he waited in the shell until she brought the liver to him, giving him the strength to come out into the open. Neither was pictured–the building of the sky-boat had taken the resources of both mountains and lowlands.

On another panel was Strong Claw, her sharp-toothed snout open in a triumphant call. She stood tall on powerful legs, each foot with its arced killing claw, sharp and deadly. Her arms stretched out before her, claws spread, and her long, stiff tail stretched behind. The artists had worked with such skill that every feather could be distinguished. Behind her was the great tree that had carried her across the sea, and in the water were pictured its inhabitants: coiled ammonites, hungry sharks, and a giant mososaur, huge-mouthed enough to swallow a person down at a gulp. Before Strong Claw was forested land, full of food for the hunting, new territory for her and her daughters yet unhatched.

A third panel showed the first sky-boat departing for the moon that had turned out to be farther away than our ancestors ever imagined. That voyage had been a triumph–the sky-boat (designed, all were ceaselessly told, by lowlander engineers) had achieved a seemingly impossible goal. But it had also been a disaster–as the mountain engineers had predicted, and the lowlanders refused to believe until the last, irrefutable moment, there had been no air on the moon. But as we had now set our sights on Mars, the artist had left off the end of the tale, to avoid ill-omen.

The engineers had used mirrors to cast an image of the Earth on the last, blank panel of the curved wall. It was this that held our attention.

As we watched, disaster struck. A sudden, brilliant flash whited out the image for an instant, and after that an expanding ring began to spread across the face of the world, as though a pebble had been dropped into a pond. Almost instantly a ball of fire rose up from the center of the ripple and expanded outward, obscuring it. I blinked, slowly, deliberately, sure that my vision was at fault. Still the fire grew until finally it dissipated, leaving a slowly-expanding veil of smoke.

There was silence in the sky-boat for some time.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!

Michael W. Cho

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Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 03:17:56 PM
Enjoyed this story a lot! She truly is a master, to take such an out-there premise and craft a tense, interesting, and poignant tale.


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Reply #2 on: May 25, 2018, 02:35:29 PM
I for one would enjoy more stories about post apocalyptic space chicken dinosaurs going to mars. Good episode this week.


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Reply #3 on: May 25, 2018, 07:44:30 PM
A nice take on the extinction of the Dinosaurs. More dinosaurs in space please  ;D


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Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 05:04:08 AM
I enjoyed the story, and I really liked how the different cultures had interpreted/evolved the story of The Endangered Camp so differently.


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Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 02:02:45 PM
Lots of fun concepts all thrown in together, which should have made for a great story, but somehow didn't hang as well for me. Maybe I'm just biased, because the science of the impact wasn't done very well. As a planetary impact scientist, I was a bit disappointed there....

Michael W. Cho

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Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 07:33:31 PM
I enjoyed this story a lot. I disagreed with the host's interpretation that the MC was a symbol of man's hubris. Going back to a destroyed planet didn't seem to be the right play to me, and even though we know Mars doesn't have an atmosphere, they didn't--they were explorers. FWIW, my 9-year old daughter agreed with me. Although she prefers to believe the story was about griffins, arguing that it was never explicitly stated they were dinosaurs!


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Reply #7 on: June 10, 2018, 03:01:30 PM
I really enjoyed reading this!!


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Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 07:06:18 PM
This was a fun read! I just had a hard time imagining the "sky-boat"


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Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 10:00:56 PM
I loved the origin story that lead to the writing of this tale! Imagine if we did discover dinosaur (or griffin!) bones on Mars.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 06:37:45 PM by Katzentatzen »

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."


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Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 06:24:00 PM
It was a good story that I liked well enough. What really did it for me was the realization that it was actually about dinosaurs and not alien bird people. "Ha! Dinosaurs," is pretty much my takeaway thought from this one.


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Reply #11 on: October 13, 2018, 01:02:11 AM
This was delightful all the way around.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”