Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Quick Sips - Escape Pod #694

August brings only a single story to Escape Pod, but it’s a rather delightful experience all the same. The work explores what it means to just sort of roll downhill through life, taking the path of least resistance, going where the wind blows, etc etc. It introduces the reader to a great wide universe and the rather limited way that the narrator lives, drawn into things they don’t really understand or care about. Almost sacrificed for another person’s greater good which turns out to be...well, that would be telling. So let’s get to the review!


“Hunting the Might Space Whale” by Miranda Ciccone (1817 words)

No Spoilers: Told as something between a wake-up call, an it-happened-to-me, and a whale of a fish story (yes I went there), this piece finds a narrator relating their time as an undercover eco-terrorist aboard a space whaling vessel. Which might seem exciting, but for the fact that space whales might not exist at all. So really it’s not too interesting a trip. Until... The piece is short and chatty, informal and rather charming. It has the voice of someone who has waffled their way through a large portion of their life and lived to...well, not exactly regret it. But know that it’s no way to live. It’s fun, funny, and beautifully told.
Keywords: Whales, Space, Eco-Terrorism, Scale, Employment
Review: I love the way the story sets up this sort of slacker terrorist, drawn into this plot to blow up a whaling ship (that they’re on) who just sort of...well, they don’t forget. They just don’t get around to it. The piece paints itself as a cautionary tale for not taking agency in your own life, something the narrator really wasn’t good at. Which got them almost blown up in the outer reaches of the universe. But it did also get them a glimpse of the space whale. And I really like how that’s their moment, seeing this creature that they’re supposed to be saving and realizing that the mission was not only always pointless, it was ignorant. Not because protecting the environment is bad, but because they all approached it from this very human-centric angle. To them, humanity is the dominant species in the universe, with the power to save or destroy. And in reality, humanity is often...small. And it’s that perspective that can at times help people to being to look deeper into how they’re living and what they’re doing. That can prompt them to introspect and interrogate their beliefs and choices. The sheer scale of what the narrator sees is enough to change them, to give them that brush with the sublime, the unfathomable, which can often be seen as this horrifying moment, but here is beautiful and full of revelations. That prompts the narrator to take control of their life again, and dedicate themself to doing something. What that is the story doesn’t really get into, but they are going to be in the driver’s seat of their life from now on, and that’s a solid and impacting message. A fine read!


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