Escape Artists

News:

  • Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

News

Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: EP247: Bridesicle  (Read 47376 times)

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #50 on: July 16, 2010, 04:45:22 PM
LOVED it.  Each year the pattern for the Hugo noms seems to be 4 stories that are okay but below my expectations of Hugo-worthiness, and one that is great.  The last couple years the one that I thought was great has also been the one to win, so I'm predicting that this one will be the winner.  :)

Despite the protagonist's near-complete passiveness forced on her by her situation, this story explored a lot of themes and explored them well.  It could easily have run on Pseudopod, for the idea of sharing your mind with an overbearing mother, and the hell of having to sell yourself to every schmuck who comes along because it's simply your only option.  I am glad that it ended up having a happy ending.  At the beginning I was guessing that it was just going to end abruptly after the last person to ever wake her killed her again.  

I'm not sure I totally buy the "wonderfulness" of sharing your head with your mate--it's certainly better than sharing it with an overbearing mother, but I think I'd go nuts with this as well, just at a somewhat slower pace.  I love my wife, but to get along well with her we also need to spend time apart sometimes.  Some of our tastes in books and movie coincide but sometimes they are very very different, so for me to read/listen to my favorite science fiction I'd have to force her to listen/read it too.  And I'd have to read the rest of the Twilight series, and see the movies.  And that's not even taking into account how bored she'd be while I was at work or while I was writing, and writing would be very difficult with someone watching over my shoulder.  *shrug*  but that didn't really hurt my enjoyment of the story--maybe she's the sort who never ever wants to spend any moment away from her mate, in which case that living arrangement would be fantastic.

I do agree with the comments that pointed out that the future here seems to be stuck in our current societal system, and I noticed that while reading too, but my reaction to that was "So what?"  If an entertaining and thought provoking story can be told, but it's not a society that's actually likely to spring up in our near future, that doesn't really bother me.  I've still been entertained, and I still have much food for thought.  Maybe this would bother me in a less entertaining story when I'm devoting more brainpower to nitpicks, but here it didn't bother me at all.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #51 on: July 16, 2010, 04:46:04 PM
I first hear this when they played it on Starship Sofa.  It's even better on second listen.  It's the best of the nominees so far by a huge margin.

Once "Spar" comes out, can we have a poll about which story Escape Pod listeners think should win the Hugo?  I'd like to see what we come up with.

Any chance of this poll?  I think it'd be fun if it were posted now before the Hugo results are released.

It's been up for a while now.

Oops, thanks.  I knew I should've checked before I posted--I rarely venture out of the story threads.



lmorchard

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • 0xDECAFBAD
Reply #52 on: July 16, 2010, 07:57:44 PM
Loved this story, was very nearly in tears by the end. The interplay between solitary dead and nebulous alive/semi-dead identities was wonderful.

As for the grousing here that there were no flying cars or holographic sharks:

Consider that hockey-stick progress toward the singularity is not a given, no matter how much I'm a fan of that notion.

Consider that progress may take the form of an S-curve, especially when the lifespan of a personality approaches immortality—whether embodied in original birth-flesh or as a hitcher. Lingering sentiments and traditions, even if only imposed through guilt and familial manipulation, may make for a much more conservative society.

What if freezing and hitching ended up being the only ways to lengthen the continuity of personality, and medical science hit a wall in extending lifespans?

At any rate, you can suspend disbelief and swallow anti-gravity and cavorite—do the same and imagine a slower-progressing civilization.


Listener

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • I place things in locations which later elude me.
    • Various and Sundry Items of Interest
Reply #53 on: July 16, 2010, 11:49:43 PM
Gays are still greatly maligned by society?

I don't think that's the case. I think it's more a case of her not wanting to die again, and knowing that it's mostly lonely guys coming here hoping to date, marry, resurrect, and live relatively happily. If she said she was gay... well, what would the odds be that a woman would be in the same situation?

Okay, I guess one could be, but I think the story was making a point that bridesicle places have replaced the internet as a place for socially-inept men to meet women. I mean, on the internet the women can log off, but if the men are paying for time with the bridesicles...

I just think if the author had spent time on the fact that yes, women could meet women here too, then it would've detracted from the story.

"Farts are a hug you can smell." -Wil Wheaton

Blog || Quote Blog ||  Written and Audio Work || Twitter: @listener42


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #54 on: July 22, 2010, 04:29:32 PM
I don't think that's the case. I think it's more a case of her not wanting to die again, and knowing that it's mostly lonely guys coming here hoping to date, marry, resurrect, and live relatively happily. If she said she was gay... well, what would the odds be that a woman would be in the same situation?

Okay, I guess one could be, but I think the story was making a point that bridesicle places have replaced the internet as a place for socially-inept men to meet women. I mean, on the internet the women can log off, but if the men are paying for time with the bridesicles...

I just think if the author had spent time on the fact that yes, women could meet women here too, then it would've detracted from the story.

There are plenty of socially unadept women out there. More to the point: homosexuals are, at best, 10% of the population, and more likely more like 5%. What are her chances of meeting someone who is both A) socially awkward enough to resort to a Bridesicle, B) a woman, C) gay, and D) willing to talk to her even though there's been a clerical error and she's been classed as heterosexual? B and C are rough enough, D makes her situation pretty impossible.

It's hard enough (I'm told) for gay people to meet compatible partners when both people are out and looking; imagine how hard it would be, given those percentages, if one partner had to sit still and wait to be found.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Paranatural

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Reply #55 on: July 27, 2010, 05:03:28 AM
The men were desperate, horny and shallow. The main character was confused and in love. Society hasn't changed at all despite giant leaps of technology that should have changed it completely.

The men were desperate and shallow because the Bridesicle warehouse attracted men who were desparate and shallow.
She's confused for obvious reasons, and she doesn't have enough time to complicate her reasons for loving her mate--she needs to focus her energies on getting the F out of there.

She doesn't, does she? Looks, lots of characters in stories don't 'have time' to justify their motivations and thoughts and feelings in the story, but you know what? They do it anyway because the reader needs that justification to make the story worthwhile. The knight in the battle doesn't have time to justify why he is in the battle in his own head, the author has to create it in the mind of the reader via the use of the story to explain why the hell the knight is there in the first damn place. Same with this story..but the story never makes it there. 'Oh, I love her, she is calm when I am not' is terribly weak and 2-Dimensional.

Listen, the story was well-written, I just felt the underlying plot was, at best, flawed and hampered by the assumption that carrying relatives long with you in your head in every waking moment, along with the ability to completely reform bodies of the dead and transplant their minds into the dead would result in nothing more than a pathetic dating service for the losers of the world. The ideas of 'riders' and 'preserving your loved dead ones from death its very self' are cool ideas, but instead of using them in any way that had any effect on society, these fabulous ideas were used as no more than doing the same stupid crap we do now in a slightly changed way. This is like predicting the emergence of the internet and deciding it would only be used by people who were already neighbors with each other and no one else, ever.  It's like saying the use of teleporter technology would result in nothing more than faster commute times to and from work and absolutely nothing else. It's being given the cornucopia and thinking it's worth no more than an apple and a couple of bananas.

It's like being given FTL travel and never venturing beyond our solar system. It's the creation of magic and only ever using it to do the laundry AND NOTHING ELSE.

THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.



Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #56 on: July 27, 2010, 11:11:51 AM
THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.
Keep in mind this is humanity we're talking about here. The pathetic things are the things that tend to make money.

We're talking about corporate greed paired with human loneliness. There's  no better formula for pathetic. To me that's one aspect of what makes the story ring true.



FireTurtle

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 898
Reply #57 on: July 27, 2010, 08:47:38 PM
Well. Its all been said because I couldn't get around to listening to it until today. But, I liked it. I enjoyed the psychological aspects I suppose.

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin


Paranatural

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Reply #58 on: July 29, 2010, 05:30:01 AM
THAT is the issue I have with this story. It creates a scenario with unlimited possibilities and makes sure it is only used for the most pathetic and stupid of tasks.
Keep in mind this is humanity we're talking about here. The pathetic things are the things that tend to make money.

We're talking about corporate greed paired with human loneliness. There's  no better formula for pathetic. To me that's one aspect of what makes the story ring true.

Yeah, and why were these people pathetic? Mostly because they were old and fat. So we can literally rebuild the bodies of people who have been dead for hundreds of years but we can't cut down on some guy's weight problem? Please. The story *doesn't* ring true because it ignores the blindingly obvious.



Boggled Coriander

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 545
    • Balancing Frogs
Reply #59 on: August 01, 2010, 09:44:56 AM
I've been reading this thread, and what people have said both for and against this story, and you know what?  I agree with both sides.

No question, I had a favorable reaction to the story overall.  Especially the horror of Mira's situation -- I found myself imagining me, heterosexual male me, being locked into the nightmare of having to play like I'm attracted to a man, and then marry him, just for the chance to live again.  I imagined that would be just as unpleasant for a gay woman as for a straight man.

(Now that I say it like that, I'm a little embarrassed that maybe I'm making it sound like I think a straight woman, or a gay man, would be just delighted to be in such a situation.  I believe no such thing.)

The story hooked me quickly, and I found myself utterly sympathizing with Mira and her predicament.   The story made the most lasting impression on me of any of the Hugo nominees.  It'd get my vote if I were a Hugo voter, and I ain't no Spar-hater.

But.  I realize that we only got the briefest of glimpses into the Future Society of this world, but... I was put off by the fact that there really wasn't any Future Society, apart from the dead people's ghosts riding around in their descendants' heads.  I don't necessarily need to hear about flying cars or starships or androids.  But I would like to hear about a society that is more different from our own than the Western world of 50 years ago, rather than a world where discussions of office parties and child care sound utterly the same as they do nowadays.  I found Mira's mother's attitude to her daughter's homosexuality unbelievable, for precisely the reasons eytanz gave earlier in the thread. 

My final verdict: excellent fiction, excellent horror, but somewhat so-so if I focus on the SF elements.  And yet I would have voted for it for the Hugo.  If you disagree with my choice, be reassured I wasn't a Hugo voter this year.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


mccicecream

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #60 on: August 11, 2010, 04:14:17 PM
Hi, I listen to Escape Pod and Podcastle regularly, but rarely make it to the discussion forums. I had to for this story though to say how much I liked it! I was hooked right from the beginning and the narration was clear and easy to understand. 

Just a really great story, and totally terrifying at the same time!

thanks!



ceruleangrave

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #61 on: August 14, 2010, 11:14:19 PM
I really REALLY enjoyed this story. I thought the idea of "hitching" was both fascinating and horrifying. Loved the love story and the reunion in the end.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #62 on: August 16, 2010, 04:58:52 PM
Hi, I listen to Escape Pod and Podcastle regularly, but rarely make it to the discussion forums. I had to for this story though to say how much I liked it! I was hooked right from the beginning and the narration was clear and easy to understand. 

Just a really great story, and totally terrifying at the same time!

thanks!

Let me just say that it's very nice when people like a story enough for it to motivate them to come share on the forum.  Sometimes it seems like all the first-time commenters are along the lines of "I like most the stuff on this podcast, but god I hated this one so much I was motivated to register and tell y'all."  Those tend to make me a little sad that complaints can be a stronger compulsion than praise. 

So, welcome!  :)



Maqz

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Reply #63 on: August 21, 2010, 06:41:11 PM
This is the winner, or should be.  Eerily compelling.



Heradel

  • Bill Peters, EP Assistant
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Part-Time Psychopomp.
Reply #64 on: September 05, 2010, 01:49:00 PM
As of some ungodly hour, in the continent gone topsy-turvy, this won the Hugo for Best Short Story. Other winners here (Congrats to Clarkesworld, Girl Genius, and StarShipSofa!): http://www.thehugoawards.org/

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.


Lionman

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
  • Next time, I'll just let sleeping dogs lie.
    • The Practice of IT.
Reply #65 on: September 05, 2010, 07:40:53 PM
I think my question about this story would be: So, what happens to the 'until parted by death' line in the wedding vows?  This would seem to make that...an easy means for divorce?

And the idea of hitchers made me feel a little creepy.  Now you really ARE having conversation with people in your head!

Failure is an event, not a person.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #66 on: September 07, 2010, 01:28:07 PM
Heck yeah!  The last few years I've been able to predict the winner, and the trend continues.  :)



kibitzer

  • Purveyor of Unsolicited Opinions
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2228
  • Kibitzer: A meddler who offers unwanted advice
Reply #67 on: September 08, 2010, 02:55:07 AM
As of some ungodly hour, in the continent gone topsy-turvy, this won the Hugo for Best Short Story. Other winners here (Congrats to Clarkesworld, Girl Genius, and StarShipSofa!): http://www.thehugoawards.org/

Y'all are the ones upside down.


LaShawn

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Writer Mommies Rule!
    • The Cafe in the Woods
Reply #68 on: September 23, 2010, 03:35:47 PM
Just got around to listening to this. Wow. This story absolutely chilled me to the bone. I'm actually glad it did have a happy ending--if it didn't, I think I would've been messed up for the rest of the month. What a freaky, freaky story. No wonder it won a Hugo.

--
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods:
http://tbonecafe.wordpress.com
Another writer's antiblog: In Touch With Yours Truly


Bunchberry

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Reply #69 on: September 29, 2010, 07:09:27 PM
This was a wonderful story.  The blend of fear, tension, love, and regrette and un-regretted past actions was perfect.  I look forward to more from this author.



luka datas

  • Guest
Reply #70 on: December 16, 2012, 12:33:13 PM
well told



Wilson Fowlie

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1474
    • The Maple Leaf Singers
Reply #71 on: June 13, 2013, 03:58:34 PM
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #72 on: June 14, 2013, 01:40:18 PM
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.

Cool! Thanks for posting the link.



DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #73 on: June 17, 2013, 04:02:27 PM
If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested to know that McIntosh has expanded it into a novel called Love Minus Eighty.

He talks about the book here.

Super excited about this! Just grabbed the audiobook :)


matweller

  • EA Staff
  • *****
  • Posts: 678
Reply #74 on: June 17, 2013, 04:15:41 PM
Agreed. I got some Amazon credit for Father's Day, so this one's likely to be heading to my Kindle shortly. Looks like the author owes you two, Mr. Fowlie.