Author Topic: EP594: The Spice Portrait  (Read 15520 times)


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on: September 29, 2017, 07:02:10 PM
Escape Pod 594: The Spice Portrait

AUTHOR: J.M. Evenson
NARRATOR: Stephanie Morris
HOST: Divya Breed


They said my love for my daughter was excessive, that I made her weak by kissing her and singing in her ear at night.

They also said I killed her.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


  • Peltast
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Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 03:11:27 AM
well. I cried.
an excellent story.


  • Extern
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Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 01:26:07 AM


  • Palmer
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    • Lord of the Moon
Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 07:19:58 PM
Dark as a very dark thing in a very dark place.  This one wasn't for me (I kept looking at the remaining time to run, wanting it to just hurry up and get to its inevitably grim conclusion).  Powerful, yes, but not my sort of thing.  Still, as Serah Eley used to say, next week there'll be a whole lot of new words in a different order :). ; (Former) Editor of TBD magazine:


  • Palmer
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Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 12:52:38 AM
well. I cried.
an excellent story.
Me too, zoanon.  Moved to tears by the unexpected sisterhood of rebellion.  Yes, Raj, dark, but with a definite glow of hope. 

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." A.Einstein


  • Matross
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Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 09:45:41 PM
Quite grim, and a heart-ripper. The bittersweet ending was all I could ask for.

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


  • Matross
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Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 06:49:04 PM
I didn't really see the hope rays...
Yes, suffering can bring people together, power of the sisterhood and all that. But there was no indication that things were going to get any better in that world.


  • Hipparch
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Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 06:14:13 AM
This was horrible!! Well written, but, wow, what a horrible society.
And I agree with what Ichneumon said; this story didn't offer me any hope. In fact it made me wonder why anyone would have a child in this society at all (and I'm not one of those people who thinks that about our current society, so that is a big statement for me). Or why anyone would even stay alive in it, for that matter. I actually felt relief for the MC at the end because she gets to leave.

This story was just far too bleak for me. Clearly the writing was good, to elicit such a strong reaction in me. But please don't do that again....


  • Palmer
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Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 09:12:14 AM
I have some feelings about this story. I feel the oppression of women was laid on too thickly. It was as though the world was built by repeatedly asking the question - what would make this world worse for the women? Because the world was so cartoonishly evil I found it difficult to see the characters as people rather than as puppets in a morality play. It was just too much. These women were allowed no education, they were allowed no possessions, their work was pure drudgery and their daughters were expected to work full days at a ridiculously young age. I find the idea of kitchen workers who get no special access to food kind of ridiculous. That's the classic benefit of working in the kitchen.

My main complaint is that I feel logic was sacrificed so that oppression could be maximized. We were told Rabia was bitter because the Lawgivers (probably men) had decided her beauty might cause rivalry between men. As a result she had no husband and could not have a child. That's reasonable. But in a world with those rules where is Naz' husband? The existence of Damla proves she must be married. So why is she living with her mother and not her husband? Why don't we see Damla's father? The story makes no attempt to explain this contradiction. The only reason for it that I can come up with is that every element of the story has to add to the women's oppression, nothing can be allowed to mitigate it in any way.