Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

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Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by StalinSays » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:27 am

Feature: Locked In by Mary Robinette Kowal
Feature: Clockwork Chickadee by Mary Robinette Kowal
No drabble for this episode.
Genres: Drama Fantasy


Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Samuel sat on the balcony, enjoying the fading light of day. When the ventilator pushed air into his lungs, he savored the salt brine from the sea. He pretended that he had control over breath, but it was much a fantasy as adjusting his wheelchair.

The start of another bed sore throbbed beneath his right hip. It would be another day or more before the sore became visible.

Episode Art: Matt Wasiela
Read by: Ray Sizemore, Norm Sherman

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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by Flintknapper » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:35 pm

Kowal is a fantastic writer. Both of these stories worked for me and I had not heard Locked In before. The stories are actually quite dark at their conclusions, but feel so warm and lighthearted in their delivery. I love the underlying sinister elements which only really come to the surface at the end of the tale. I thought the author did an excellent job in Locked In of prefacing the ending with the son's initial choice to have the father stay and watch the sunset, but it was not until the end of the story did I understand the significance of that passage in foreshadowing the conclusion.

Narration for the stories was also quite excellent. The post made me think Ray narrated both, but in listening to it I thought Ray narrated the first and Norm the second. Either way it didn't matter. They were both great.

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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by Varda » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:30 pm

I love Mary Robinette Kowal - thrilled that the Doubleheader featured her stories. "Clockwork Chickadee" was an example of excellent short storytelling. It struck me as the kind of story you'd read in a creative writing class to study things like economy of plot. Also amused at the clockwork nightingale taking a backseat in the story as usually nightingales get front billing in fables like these!

But "Locked In" scared the crap of out me. The idea of a family member using brain-computer interface technology -- something that's supposed to give people with Locked-In Syndrome a new lease on life -- as a weapon of murder is chilling. And all the more so because this kind of thing happens all too often with people whose disabilities leave them helpless. I'm reminded of a similar bit of quackery in the field of autism called "Facilitated Communication", which is a pseudoscientific process where someone guides the hands of a non-communicative person over a keyboard to "help" them type their thoughts. It basically amounts to using a human being as an Ouija Board.

So "Locked In" was scary because it's so plausible. And it's even scarier because pretty much anyone could have a stroke and wind up in this situation. For those of us who have our freedom, it's easy to assume we'd hate such a quality of life and want to die, as the son assumes in the story. But who's to say what you'd think of your life until you've been there? I recommend the excellent The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a book written through blinking by a man with Locked-In Syndrome.

This has got me feeling all fatalistic. Going to find a human to hug now. Life's short.
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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:55 am

Locked in had a fantastic twist that took me by surprise. Awesome, well done!

Chickadee was okay, it just felt like a parable. I do really like it when Norm gives a few words at the end of the story so a dummy like me can "get" it.

I feel like the DC has been doing a really good job these last few months. Great work, peeps! (No chickadee pun intended.)
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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by Theory42 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:06 am

Locked in had a great twist ending. Is it wrong that I laughed out loud in my car at the end (quite a lot)? It also struck me that this particular story is different from the norm in that its something that could feasibly happen today, in our world. Every other Norm on the show is rather implausible.

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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:06 pm

Theory42 wrote:Is it wrong that I laughed out loud in my car at the end (quite a lot)?
It depends on your state's laws and whether you were using earbuds or not. Oh wait, was this asking about those silly "moral" watchamacallits? :roll: :)

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Re: Drabblecast 285 – Doubleheader XIII

Post by Beth Peters » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:27 pm

I'm surprised this episode isn't getting more chatter on the forums! It was one of my favorite Doubleheaders ever! I wish there had been an author's note from Mary, I would love to hear her thoughts on them.

Locked In was absolutely terrifying, like others have said, because of the plausibility. The helplessness really is what makes that situation horrifying and tragic for the people in real life that endure it.

And Clockwork Chickadee was such a cute fable! I'd love to see more steampunk/fairytales of this sort, not just on Drabblecast but in fiction in general. I thought the writer did a great job of making the setting come alive, so to speak, through the story narrative and plot. Kowal's story on Drabblecast, Death Comes But Twice, is still one of my favorites.
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