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Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:03 am
by tbaker2500
Richmazzer wrote:I had a different impression of the virus than Abbie. I thought the virus could infect anyone, but only children were the vectors. Adults died when they got it from a child, children grow up and transition into wild primitives. Nobody on the first colony was infected until their first children were born, then the virus could take hold on both children and adults.
If I were to be a little negative, I think this is the problem I had with the story. The virus mechanics weren't clearly explained. I sounded like they were explained, but when asked, none of us could say for sure what the mechanics are. To me, that got in the way of the story.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:18 am
by alhilton
I was thinking about this story again this afternoon (sign of a good story), and the literary author that most came to mind was not Milton but William Blake, specifically "Poison Tree." The concept of Eden as Satan-trap seems especially apt for this story, with the New Concordiate playing the role of Satan.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:23 pm
by strawman
I think that this story is deep and beautiful, but a bit difficult. You need to think about it. It's like Milton's poetry, in that respect, and if there is a metaphor in the story, that is it. Paradise Lost is an appropriate key to the story, but it isn't easy and obvious like most modern poetry. As I understand it, Milton's and the Emissary's and the Ship's conception of human value is that Story and Mission and Purpose are identified with capacity, which really is an inhuman measure of usefulness. The virus produces "diminished capacity". Emissary remembers that he has forgotten his real name, which is "his own story".

So the story is about the modern tendency to equate human worth with human capabilities rather than the name and unique story of the individual. And sending Milton back on the ship is Emissary's hope that she will be healed and get her own story, because if the Council cannot cure her, they themselves will suffer diminished capacity and death.

Innocence is having no story, so you are "Not". That has some interesting facets to it as well, since it is stories that differentiate humans from animals, and the human soul is received by the breath of God (at least in Milton's worldview), whose name is "I Am", the opposite of "Not".
(This part is my interpretation).

If you want to spend some time with this story and let it sink in, you may find yourself, as I did, wishing Jay Lake lived in your neighborhood so you could hang with him.

I don't subscribe to a lot of podcasts, so I don't know if I'm missing a world of this level of art and philosophy out there in flash fiction land. But I have listened to a few, and been disappointed I have found so little that qualifies as great. Frankly, most of it has seemed like a waste of time, which is why I haven't listened to more.

I hope Jay has listened to Clown Eggs and this story. Would love to hear his opinion of Norm's interpretation of his work.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:46 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
I didn't get it. This is one of the few Drabblecast stories that left me feeling completely indifferent, but, after reading some comments, maybe I should listen again.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:22 pm
by normsherman
strawman wrote:I think that this story is deep and beautiful, but a bit difficult. You need to think about it. It's like Milton's poetry, in that respect, and if there is a metaphor in the story, that is it. Paradise Lost is an appropriate key to the story, but it isn't easy and obvious like most modern poetry. As I understand it, Milton's and the Emissary's and the Ship's conception of human value is that Story and Mission and Purpose are identified with capacity, which really is an inhuman measure of usefulness. The virus produces "diminished capacity". Emissary remembers that he has forgotten his real name, which is "his own story".

So the story is about the modern tendency to equate human worth with human capabilities rather than the name and unique story of the individual. And sending Milton back on the ship is Emissary's hope that she will be healed and get her own story, because if the Council cannot cure her, they themselves will suffer diminished capacity and death.

Innocence is having no story, so you are "Not". That has some interesting facets to it as well, since it is stories that differentiate humans from animals, and the human soul is received by the breath of God (at least in Milton's worldview), whose name is "I Am", the opposite of "Not".
(This part is my interpretation).
Wonderful analysis strawman. That's a really insightful framing of the story. I think if anyone was lost on first listen, give it another shot with strawmanz review in mind.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:23 am
by alhilton
strawman wrote:If you want to spend some time with this story and let it sink in, you may find yourself, as I did, wishing Jay Lake lived in your neighborhood so you could hang with him.
Jay Lake _does_ live in my neighborhood (and ROU's) - in Portland, anyway. I know people who know him, and I've followed his LJ for a year or so but have always been too shy to go up and introduce myself. I should. He's a nice guy. He's been battling colon cancer. His most recent book, Green, has a strikingly gorgeous cover.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:19 am
by strawman
Abby, I'm surprised to hear you think of yourself as a shy person. But I hope you can go up and introduce yourself. Get ROU to go with you if you need to. At least you could convey thanks from Drabblecast. It wouldn't hurt him to know that Ship is praying for him.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:04 am
by alhilton
strawman wrote:Abby, I'm surprised to hear you think of yourself as a shy person. But I hope you can go up and introduce yourself. Get ROU to go with you if you need to. At least you could convey thanks from Drabblecast. It wouldn't hurt him to know that Ship is praying for him.
Bwahahahaha! I think he would find that amusing. :D

Now what would lead you to believe that I am anything other than a wall flower in RL? ;) Perhaps I should actually meet ROU as well...before I end up leaving the state for work or something.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:58 am
by strawman
I thought you were an ER Nurse?

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:06 pm
by F5iver
FWIT:
Maybe this disease attacks cells with shortened telomeres, which happens as we age.
This would produce some interesting results:
--Clones would be immediately affected, since their cells are as old as the being they are cloned from (like Dolly the sheep).
--People with unusually short or long telemeres could either 'go' early or end up like the freak in the story, somewhere in the middle.
Several aging-related diseases, plus heart disease - are related to telomere length.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:18 pm
by alhilton
strawman wrote:I thought you were an ER Nurse?
Close. ICU. Actually, I'm about to graduate from anesthesia school. I haven't been in the unit for a couple of years now, but it's easier than trying to explain what I'm actually doing.

Anyway, I pinged Jay on his LJ, so maybe he will come say hi to us. At least, maybe he'll get a kick out of the thread.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:26 pm
by alhilton
F5iver wrote:FWIT:
Maybe this disease attacks cells with shortened telomeres, which happens as we age.
This would produce some interesting results:
--Clones would be immediately affected, since their cells are as old as the being they are cloned from (like Dolly the sheep).
--People with unusually short or long telemeres could either 'go' early or end up like the freak in the story, somewhere in the middle.
Several aging-related diseases, plus heart disease - are related to telomere length.
Oo! I like that. One thing that bothers me about the virus is that no natural reservoir is ever postulated. Viruses don't just hang out. They're not really alive, and they can't reproduce without a host. What species is this virus actually evolved to infect? Does the species have telomers? Perhaps it's a dumb question. Maybe it's just a plant virus that jumped species or something, but it's behavior seems so specific that you'd kind of expect it to exist in local ape-like creatures. Or maybe it's not a virus. Maybe it is a bacterium, which really might have been hanging out, minding it's own reproduction until the settlers came along.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:43 pm
by F5iver
Or a prion that's been living in a commensal or even beneficial relationship, but when it jumped to humans the result was parasitic.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:52 pm
by alhilton
A prion isn't alive, either, though. It's just a mis-folded protein.

The disease described in this story does sound like the sort of wacky brain mush caused my prions! All the prion diseases sound like science fiction when you describe them.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:05 pm
by F5iver
alhilton wrote:A prion isn't alive, either, though. It's just a mis-folded protein.

The disease described in this story does sound like the sort of wacky brain mush caused by prions! All the prion diseases sound like science fiction when you describe them.
So I think we got a winner here.
Go-go Science! You win again, my sweet.

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:32 pm
by jaylake
Man, you guys are amazing. Yes, you got my intention regarding the general course of the disease, and the direction of Milton's thinking at the end. For what it's worth, I invariably believe that the story belongs to the reader, but it's always a treat when my vision and the reader's vision line up well. If you've got any direct questions for me, fire away. (And here via ahilton.)

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:59 pm
by Phenopath
Hi Jay, I have two questions, firstly why was Emisary fascinated/obsessed by Milton (was it a function of his mental decline)? Secondly, are you coulrophobic?

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:03 pm
by normsherman
Science babes are hot

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:26 pm
by F5iver
normsherman wrote:Science babes are hot
I'll bring the lab coats, you supply the test tubes and we got ourselves a party.
Woohoo!

Re: Drabblecast 133- Over the Walls of Eden by Jay Lake

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:08 pm
by alhilton
F5iver wrote:
normsherman wrote:Science babes are hot
I'll bring the lab coats, you supply the test tubes and we got ourselves a party.
Woohoo!
Count me in! I'll bring the Michael Jackson drugs!Let us dismember drosophila and make sweet punnett squares together.