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Author Topic: EP089: Bean There  (Read 6337 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: January 19, 2007, 08:26:36 AM »

EP089: Bean There

By Jack Skillingstead.
Read by Jim Van Verth (of The Vintage Gamer).
First appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, April/May 2005.

“You call it crazy,” Aimee said. “I call it Evolution.”

With a capital E. The famous newsclip seen around the world. The aliens arrived neither as an invading force nor as beneficent galactic pals. By their own description they were ‘Harbingers.’

Famous network interviewer: “Harbingers of what?”

Alien: “Evolution.”


Rated R. Contains sexual imagery and themes, and lots of caffeine.



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« Last Edit: January 19, 2007, 03:04:26 PM by Russell Nash » Logged
Hazimel
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2007, 01:00:24 PM »

I enjoyed this story. It had a lot of emotional realism to it that rang true. There was a surprising amount of depth, I felt, for such a short story. Maybe if I hadn't been so distracted by thinking about Steve's intro comments, the story might have had more impact, but that is more about my peculiar interests. In spite of the realistic relationship, it was just a bit flat for me at the end. But it was an enjoyable story with a different feel from most EP tales.

I'll post over in the general Scifi-fantasy section to talk about Steve's intro.

-Bryan in Sacramento
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Thaurismunths
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2007, 01:47:32 AM »

Another well-written and well-told piece.
I wasn't disappointed by the ending, and really enjoyed how well the relationship between the two characters was portrayed. Though I'm a little lost on the whole "hangover" thing. Was that him 'waking up' or did something else happen?
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Shaun Farrell
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2007, 01:26:47 AM »

I also liked this story. It could have gone darkside fast, and I'm glad it didn't. As an annual passholder for Disneyland, I got a kick out of the ending. Too bad the real opening day for Disneyland was somewhat of a disaster with attractions not working properly. Or so I've read.
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2007, 08:39:48 AM »

Yeah, I remember that conversation in Jurassic Park, where John Hammond, the park's creator, is trying to downplay the disastrous events of its opening...

Hammond: "When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked."
Ian: "Yeah, but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2007, 02:34:20 PM »

Yeah, I remember that conversation in Jurassic Park, where John Hammond, the park's creator, is trying to downplay the disastrous events of its opening...

Hammond: "When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked."
Ian: "Yeah, but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."

If they updated the ride based on the current movies, maybe that would change!
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Ryuujin
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 06:54:35 AM »

Pretty sweet story, this one.

Although I have to admit, I'm slowly but surely getting more and more tired of those "uuuh, we can't handle progress/evolution so we will try to avoid it at all costs", and x minutes later: "uuh, progress/evolution is goooooooood"..

Kinda bugs me, I don't really believe that the human kind would be able to not handle evolution/progress, but I suppose I'm alone in that opinion.
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 07:11:07 PM »

In the end it seemed to be a whole lot of confusing elements; Evolution, weird art, the weird place jumping -  did not seem to give me much to focus on. Actually, it took me a while to actually figure out where the story was heading to. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 12:45:28 AM »

I liked it. I think the part was nice for me was the whole statue in the marble riff. It made the story work for me. It felt like a metaphor in someway and the metaphor made would could have been a sort of lost and depressing tale suddenly resonate for me.

Kudos.
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TechNoir
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 12:49:06 AM »

as an added note the bit at the beginning talking about the state of the scifi short fiction magazines really hit me. I went out and bought issues in three of the mags i grew up reading. I plan on subscribing to them which I have not done since i was a teenager. One quick request on the spreading the word front. Is there somewhere online where we could see th essay you noted and perhaps link to so other folks will know whats going on?
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 05:05:48 PM »

This story kept my interest,  I really liked the hinted at alien-ness, and the transition from "real" to changed-reality was well done.

As to the printed magazine...  That medium is dead, it just does not know it.  In a world where they are handing out free laptops to kids in school, we will soon  be reading all text on a screen of one sort or another.  The digital magazine will continue but the dead-tree concept is dead, it might just take a few years for it to stop twitching.
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 11:02:44 PM »

I could come or go with the story.  It was fine.  Nothing pissed me off, but nothing blew me away either.  I like stories about human society once the aliens show up.

But I did want to comment on the SF magazines from the intro.  Every once in a while I see one on the newsstand and pick it up, and I am almost always disappointed in the quality of stories.  There might be one descent story per issue, but I need to spend an hour or so reading dumb ones.  And I paid for it.  I think I get around the same amount of story per month from Escape Pod, it's free*, and I can listen in the car, so it does not take up time when I should be doing something else. 

I wonder what the stats are comparing the popularity of SF books to magazines.  Are the book declining, too? 

Congrats to Capt. Eley for getting 20,000 downloads!
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scottjanssens
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2007, 12:24:03 PM »

I wonder what the stats are comparing the popularity of SF books to magazines.  Are the book declining, too?

It's my understanding that individual titles are selling less, but there are more books available and the overall number of sf books sold are rising.  Relatedly, the overall percentage of readers is decreasing although the actual number of readers is increasing (since new readers are gained at a greater rate than they are lost but not at a rate as quick as the population growth).  Aren't numbers fun?  Smiley
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scottjanssens
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2007, 12:27:50 PM »

Every once in a while I see one on the newsstand and pick it up, and I am almost always disappointed in the quality of stories.

Is it always the same magazine?  If so you might want to seek out a different 'zine.  If you're in North America, the "Big Three" all have distinct and different focuses.  A lot of people who like Analog don't like F&SF or Asimov's.   The reverse also seems to be true.
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2007, 11:37:22 PM »

This story was just beyond awesome for me.

In the recent years I've grown more convinced that universe is in-fact here to help us with our experience and we are in the driver seat. I really felt that the author was trying to introduce this cosmic truth in as popular manner as possible.

I'm going to scout the Internet right now and check out other works by this author.

As to supporting the genre, may I suggest to put up Amazon.com links for each Escape Pod directly to authors other works there or to collections of 'The Year's Best Science Fiction' and alike, where such works can be found. This should support both EscapePod (via referral fees) and the authors, hopefully. That, of course, in addition to my endorsing and recommending that everyone subscribe to the wonderful SF magazines that were mentioned.  Cool
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2007, 08:21:21 AM »

I thought that this story was interesting, but I wanted more depth and explanation about what the evolution meant. I loved the idea of the social ramifications of it, the way it spread. But I felt sort of lost in the main character's malaise the whole time. Sort of tired, and unwilling.

maybe I just get too emotionally involved in the main characters. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2007, 04:12:28 PM »

Am I just being over-literal or did anyone else think that this came over as a drug story?
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Ocicat
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2008, 08:10:59 PM »

Okay, just listened to this in the archives.  I've been listening to one a week, going forward for a long time now.  At this point I'm up to where story threads already exist, so I might dig 'em up every once in awhile.

Am I just being over-literal or did anyone else think that this came over as a drug story?

Only a lot.  Let's see, Grateful Dead appearance, check.  And what could the capital letter E symbolize?  Hum, no idea.  But in the end it's a consciousness raising story, and drugs are (I'd say) a valid way to raise consciousness, if used well.  The story was about not limiting your potential, and having the courage to step out of your comfort zones.

And it was good, in a trippy sort of a way.  Could have been better - it was a bit repetitive for my taste, got kind of old listening to the narrator whine about the the idea of a world with no rules.
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2010, 01:09:50 PM »

As to the printed magazine...  That medium is dead, it just does not know it. 

I sincerely hope that the medium is not dead.  I read stories online, but nothing beats holding it in your hand.  I don't think on-screen reading will ever completely replace physical printings in my library, unless I have no other way to get reading material.
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2010, 01:13:15 PM »

This story was okay.  I neither loved nor hated it.  What was with his sudden strange behavior in the middle when he stopped going to work and stopped talking to her--it seemed ominous but then nothing ever tied back to it.

A couple things did bug me, though:
1.  The word evolution used in ways besides the Darwinian definition.
2.  Messing around with the space-time continuum's got consequences.  If you start having time tourists like this going to Disneyland, they're inevitably going to mess something up.
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