Author Topic: EP583: The Librarian  (Read 4489 times)


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on: July 14, 2017, 03:08:42 PM
EP583: The Librarian

AUTHOR: Andrew Kozma
NARRATOR: John Meagher
HOST: Mur Lafferty


People call Matt a librarian, but he doesn’t mind. He takes care of the books, so the name makes sense, even if most of that care involves cleaning up their shit and piss, and feeding them nutritious glop in those moments between hits. If he can convince them to eat. If they aren’t so taken over by ledge they don’t move for months at a time, muscles withering like grapes on the vine.

Matt feels more like a drug dealer, even though he is, at best, an enabler. The libraries spit out blue wedges of ledge for anyone to pick up. He’s tried to get rid of the the libraries before, herding them away from the centers of human population, but no matter how far he drove them, a few days later they’d return to where they’d been, their stubby little crab legs clicking on the concrete. And because the libraries follow demand, the streets outside Heyman’s are littered with the little fuckers. He’s just thankful they don’t come inside—some latent biological programming keeps them from entering buildings.

Matt stores the books in what used to be Heyman’s Department Store, a four-story monstrosity which probably took up an entire city-block on Earth, in whatever city it was taken from, but here it’s lost among randomly scattered skyscrapers, row houses, suburban nuclear-family homes, churches, clubs, and sports arenas. He thinks of it as a temple. Or a museum. He tries not to think of it as a tomb. Most of the time, he’s the only non-ledged human there.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


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Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 11:54:11 AM
This story was based on such an intriguing and original premise and given how difficult it is to be truly original in the sci-fi genre, that's impressive. But I did wonder at the advantage for the aliens, of accessing the Galactic Library through a human interface over, say, a computer one.
Putting that one question behind me, however, I loved the characterisation of Matt and the slow reveal of his motivations and I loved this fascinating world and would very much like to learn more about it.

I have to say the narrator added so much to my listening pleasure, too.



Scuba Man

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Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 03:29:43 AM
This story had a William Gibson, Neuromancer vibe to it. People who plug in and then have their physical body cared for by a third party.

I didn't figure out what exactly the library creatures actually were. Biomechanical ledge dispensers? Ticket vendors to the Encyclopedia Galactica? In my minds eye, I pictured them like the multi-foot luggage in the Discworld series.

Meh. This story made me smile. Now, if you shall excuse me, I'm going to sip a pangalactic gargleblaster and read my copy of THE book.  ::)

I'm a stand-up philosopher until 2024. Then, I move onto my next gig. I'm a gentleman forester and farmer. I also enjoy jumping into Lake Huron and panicking the fish.

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Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 09:36:38 PM
Weird, weird good weird. I find Scuba Man's reference to Douglas Adams appropriate as this story could easily fit into the Hitchhikers Universe, it is just that bizarre with what seemed like a touch of horror; which I liked it. Unfortunately I do not have a recipe for the Pangalactic Gargleblaster, perhaps I should stop by Heymans myself.
Always like John Meagher's Narrations.


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Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 10:17:36 PM
Always like John Meagher's Narrations.

IKR? It's been far too long since we've taken advantage of that voice...



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Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 05:33:57 PM
Yeah, pretty cool story! This is the kind of world building that makes me remember why I'm a sci-fi fan in the first place. I liked how humans called all the crazy aliens names after ubiquitous human things, instead unpronounceable names in the alien languages.


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Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 03:34:45 PM
As a wannabe librarian I found this concept v e r y  u n c o m f o r t a b l e. In my worse moments I could see wanting to take this drug myself. My most fulfilling jobs have been in positions of improving the accuracy of databases of information, but if this is the logical conclusion... *shudder*
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 03:59:37 AM by Katzentatzen »

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Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 02:25:36 PM
This story was sort of disgusting and weird and very alien, but I suspect this is by design.
Why would humans be compatible with some alien drug?

But it works well if you accept it as a plot device.

Narration was good.


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Reply #8 on: December 13, 2017, 04:34:32 AM
I found this one very hard to get into, because there were a number of familiar words that were used for very different and unfamiliar things. I eventually did sort it out and appreciated the bizarre and rich world building that went into this story. But in the end, I felt unsatisfied. With all that is going on, the MC just heading out to find his love is just not enough for me. And it's not very clear to me that the replacement kid will stick around after all, so all around unsatisfying.