Author Topic: EP598: On the Fringes of the Fractal  (Read 4172 times)


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on: October 20, 2017, 01:17:23 PM
Escape Pod 598: On the Fringes of the Fractal

AUTHOR: Greg van Eekhout
NARRATOR: Tina Connolly
HOST: Mur Lafferty


I was working the squirt station on the breakfast shift at Peevs Burgers when I learned that my bet friend’s life was over.

The squirt guns were connected by hoses to tanks, each tank containing a different slew formula. Orders appeared in lime-green letters on my screen, and I squirted accordingly. Two Sausage Peev Sandwiches was two squirts from the sausage slew gun. An order of Waffle Peev Sticks was three small dabs of waffle slew. The slew warmed and hardened on the congealer table, and because I’d paid attention during the twenty-minute training course and applied myself, I knew just when the slew was ready. I was a slew expert.

Sherman was the other squirter on duty that morning. The orders were coming in fast and he was already wheezing on account of his exercise-induced asthma. His raspy breaths interfered with my ability to concentrate. You really have to concentrate because after four hours of standing and squirting there’s the danger of letting your mind wander and once you do that you can lose control of the squirts and end up spraying food slew all over the kitchen like a fire hose.

“Wasted slew reflects badly on you,” said one of the inspirational posters in the employee restroom.

Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!


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Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 02:42:58 AM
I'm so happy she got the dog back. Living counterculture is difficult, but there didn't seem to be any room for growth in the society the characters were living in. The fact that she never saw her family, just bathroom doors, kind of haunts me. I'm happy she had the personal connection with her friend and her dog.

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

Michael W. Cho

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Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 06:28:39 PM
I enjoyed this salvo of satire that hit home so mordantly, and the strain of humor, a kind of wickedly knowing middle grade. I was a little afraid it would not end as well as it started (because how could it? the beginning was awesome!) and I thought it did peter out there a bit. Still, Greg is incredibly creative, funny, and inventive, and I'll be checking out his stuff in the future.


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Reply #3 on: November 21, 2017, 06:29:45 PM
This almost deserves to be in Pseudopod... That unending, characterless, suburban sprawl is my nightmare. I thought the clickbait class titles were a nice touch. I think if the characters kept searching, they could find an edge. The system or the overlords or whatever must be extracting resources from somewhere to keep that labyrinth going.
But really great story!
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 11:12:47 PM by Ichneumon »


  • Hipparch
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Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 04:54:49 AM
I enjoyed this one too. Suburban sprawl is my nightmare too and I love that the MC's here were so subversive to it. True stains. ;)