Author Topic: EP250: Eros, Philia, Agape  (Read 35195 times)


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Reply #50 on: August 16, 2010, 05:17:58 PM
I actually enjoy the phrase excruciatingly pale. To me it suggests "so pale he/she is rather painful to look upon".

But is there such a thing as being so pale to be painful to look upon?  At best, I'd say it's a distracting exaggeration.

I'd say there is. Not literally, of course. Its hard to express what I mean, something along the lines of so pale as to be jarring. 


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Reply #51 on: August 16, 2010, 05:25:31 PM
I don't always have to like the characters in a story in order to enjoy the story, but as a general rule, if I want to punch them all in the face for the way they're behaving, the odds of me enjoying the story are pretty low.  (I blame a scarring experience with Death of a Salesman in high school.  You know that scene from Clue, where Mrs. White goes into her whole "flames on the side of my face" bit?  Yeah.  Like that.)  Basically, I need a reason to care what happens to the characters, and liking them is the commonest and most comfortable path that can take; if that fails, then I need curiosity, or a desire to see them get their comeuppance, or (sometimes) a non-character reason like a fascination with the world.

Good answer, I agree with this.  Characters don't have to be likable, but if I care enough about them then I will keep listening to find out their fate.

I'm afraid I just may not be a fan of Swirsky's work.  Maybe I'm partially saying that because the long Swirsky Podcastle story that ran the same week left me equally cold.  I gave it a listen for 15 minutes or so, but I just got sick of the moping moping moping and didn't want to listen to moping for the rest of the episode.  I realize that people in real life too, but it's just not interesting to watch at length.  In general I'm just not that big of a fan of novellas because almost everyone I read is at least 4 times as long as it needs to be, and this dilution of the great ideas makes it less interesting for me.  This is true for me with novellas in general, but this one was compounded by all the moping.

It was a good ten minutes in before I realized Lucien was artificial--that was too long for that to go ambiguous, though I seem to be the only one who had that problem so I may have just missed some important clues.

And there were some parts in the part that I listened to that induced groans from the choice of wording.  "Excruciatingly pale", as I mentioned earlier, is one of these.  That particular phrase could work in a comedic setting because it's just plain silly, but in a story that's trying to take itself seriously it just doesn't work for me.


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Reply #52 on: August 23, 2010, 05:25:02 PM
Sorry - I just got to this today, and gave up after about fifteen minutes. Previous comments clearly demonstrate that the story has lots to offer discerning listeners, but sadly not me.

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Reply #53 on: September 26, 2010, 01:13:02 AM
I almost gave up on this story after 15 minutes but the concept eventually grew on me and gave me a lot to think about, in ways that I haven't seen much discussed in the comments here so I'll add my two cents.

To me the story was about love and how some people think that if they love someone that should be enough to make them stay.   And how some people think that if you do enough things for someone else and help them in some big way, they "owe" you their love as here where the woman kept going on about how she couldn't understand how the robot could leave her after she grew to love him and after she gave him his freedom and his conscious free will. 

But love doesn't work that way.  And sometimes the more you do for a person the less they want you.

Frankly, I was surprised and disappointed that she didn't give him full control of his free will until after she married him.  After all, when he was saying "I do" she had to know that it was his programming saying it and not his true essence/free will.  To me that felt like her hedge against the risk of giving him that power and then asking do you want to get married -- because he might well say "absolutely not."

I don't want to speculate too much into the author's intent but I don't think we were meant to like the woman in the story.   Rather, her whiny un-likability made it OK for us to think, "good for him" about the robot when he decided to leave.   And the twist of the little girl added heartbreaking complexity.

Overall, a good story for thinking, though I would have enjoyed it more at half the length.   


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Reply #54 on: October 06, 2010, 09:07:31 PM
I usually listen to my Escape Pod episodes in batches, and this was my favorite out of the recent dozen or so stories that I had queued up. 

I liked the masterful way the author painted the characters and made them 3-dimensional and (as other have said) human.  I was all set to despise Adriana, but after the first 25 minutes, I started to relate to her as a very wounded but ultimately redeemable person.  Lucian was amazing.  I've always thought that AI's in general were hard to depict and write in sci-fi stories because they are by definition, not even remotely human.  Although technically I guess Lucian would an AL (Artificial Life) in that he was specifically designed to emulate a human being, I still found his characterization convincing both as a human and as an AI.

I have to also wonder if this story could have worked the other way: with a human male and an AI female.  I'm leaning towards no.  The sexual slavery element and the ostracism of socially-inept males would have probably permanently detoured the story from being relatable.


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Reply #55 on: October 08, 2010, 10:08:00 PM
Fine story.  I greatly enjoyed it already on podcast, on  Don't know why Escape Artists seems to be repeating stories already podcast elsewhere these days -- there's little need to.  Just give a shout out in your intro if you wish, and post your own stuff.