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EP061: I Look Forward To Remembering You

By Mur Lafferty.
Read by Daisy Ottmann, Anna Eley, and Stephen Eley.

She smiled at last and gave a satisfied little sigh. He was just as she’d ordered. Without raising her eyes to his face, she asked, “So when do we begin?”

“We just have some paperwork to go over,” he said. He bent over to pick up his bathrobe and Susan stared as his muscles flexed. Kevin slipped the robe on with the slow grace of someone who was unashamed of his nakedness. “Once we take care of that, I’ll go back to headquarters and take my trip back to 1992, find your younger self, and seduce her.”

Rated R. Contains profanity, sexual content, and nonlinear temporal prostitution.

Referenced sites:
David Drake: Obituary of Jim Baen
John Ringo: Letter to Jim Baen
Baen Free Library
Baen Webscriptions
The World Turned Upside Down
Not Done Living

Comments (46)

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  1. Lee Murdock says:

    I started listening to this and was happy to see Mur published again and thought it was a funny and thought provoking story and then at some point things changed and I found myself crying in the car. Not a bad cry but a good cathartic one. I dont know why but you really got me with this one. Thank you Mur and thank you Steve for bringing this to me week after week. You are my hero.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I liked this one a lot! I always like “butterfly effect” stories, somehow.

  3. Lar says:

    What a great story. Bravo Mur! Kudos to the readers as well. Using different narrators for the various points of view was particularly effective.

    And I have to agree with the caller at the end of the show. I do not suffer from a disability myself, but I do find the accessibility of the podcast one of the key features allowing me to enjoy it. My schedule is such that I just don’t have time to sit and read much fiction. But, I can listen to Escape Pod during my morning run, or on my way to or from work. Without this format being freely available, I simply wouldn’t be able to enjoy these fine stories. Thanks to everyone at Escape Pod for the fantastic work that you do. It is appreciated.

  4. pete says:

    That was a great story. It was fuuny and touching.

  5. l.m.orchard says:

    I’d almost forgotten why this title sounded so familiar! Mur mentioned having made a sale with this story back in April, and the title had me biting at the bit to hear it.

    Now, I see that it was well worth the wait – especially in the story itself, but as well in the performance of it.

    Excellent job, all, as usual!

  6. Pete Butler says:

    Yes! Another keeper from Escape Pod! A fun, witty, and uplifting story. Lots of good moments, like the crying girl introducing herself as Erica (that’s when I was hooked, by the way) or Kevin’s dawning realization after he bursts in on the post-coital couple that he was well and truly hosed. Very well done; kudos all ’round.

  7. Antony Ward says:

    I have been listening to “You Should be Writing” for a while now so came here through there. I was amazed by this story, and as such have spent the rest of the day listening to the Escape Pod back catalogue :) Great work Mur, I look forward to more inspiring works.

  8. ~eriC says:

    I liked this one, There’s just one thing that kind of nagged at me. At the end she’s had this altered life, due to a mistake made by Kevin. Did she have a fuller life due to the mistake? Yes but the love of her life created by this mistake was beheaded!…if only there was some company with a time machine that could change the course of events. Seems like that would have been a freebie.

    ~eriC

  9. The Temporal Police says:

    ~eriC,

    That is a slippery slope there. How do you stop the death of the husband? Convince him not to go on the trip? Then the people he was helping don’t get helped, the embassy still gets overrun and someone else gets beheaded in his place. And to top it all off, you remember it all. That might be a little difficult to live with. I might be tempted, but I figure his self-sacrifice was one of the things she loved about him. She just couldn’t muck that up, even if it was an option.

  10. the Pink Geek says:

    This story was fantastic! It was noticabely Mur, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Also, thanks to Mur for adding this to the “Geek Fu” feed. I had heard of Escape Pod before, but with so many subscriptions already, had never checked out the podcast. That has now changed and I am a fan.

  11. ThePete says:

    So, my iPod died recently. I’ve been slowly catching up on past Escape Pods and just finished this episode–good stuff all around! I’m usually bored by time travel stories, but this one was new and interesting to me and, IMO, the characters shined. I, too, understand the romantic powers of anime and other geek media. My wife and I met 9 years ago thanks to scifi Britcom Red Dwarf :)

    Great call at the end, too. Technology really is a wonderful thing as is this podcast. Thanks for all of your hard work, Steve!

  12. Joseph says:

    Hello Steve! I really love this podcast that you’ve been running here. I’m a scifi/fantasy fan, and I really love to read a good, thought provoking story on a regular basis. I just recently discovered Escape Pod and already I’m a devoted listener. I appreciate what you’re doing both to provide enlightening and entertaining fiction, and also your well thought out comments at the beginning of each show. You are a great person and I enjoy listening to what you have to say.

    That being said, I was a little bit dissapointed with the podcast this week. Specifically, I was dissapointed with the sexual content. When I started listening, I had to turn it off ten minutes into the show. I later skipped ahead to the last ten minutes, just to catch the ending and see how it finished. I may be in the minority here, but I think it’s wrong when sexuality becomes a major element in fiction – at least, the way that it’s most commonly treated in fiction. Certainly it’s not something that ought to be ignored, but I feel there are right ways and wrong ways to treat it.

    In the first place, the sexuality of our era has had, among other things, a tremendously destructive impact on our society. I have seen dozens of examples in the lives of my friends where extra-marital and pre-marital sex has either destroyed families where families previously existed, or has thrown individuals together into unstable, unsecure positions where lives have been ruined. I feel that strong, stable families are an important part of our society, and I feel that literature that emphasizes extramarital and premarital sex without also showing the negative impact is irresponsible. Kind of like a movie of the war on terror where the United States is portrayed as the hero nation without any mention of the negative and questionable impact that the US has had in the world, before and after 9/11. As fiction, it just doesn’t ring true to me.

    Second, my feeling on sexuality is that it’s kind of like butter – it’s good when taken in small amounts with something more substantial, but not very good by itself. This story is almost completely built on sex, and to me, it’s like eating a quarter inch thick piece of toast with a half stick of butter lathered onto it. It just doesn’t taste very good.

    Despite my criticism of this past show, I really appreciate what you’re doing here with this podcast! I remain a devoted listener and I hope to hear many good stories in the future. I hope, however, that you will make sure to balance the overtly sexual contents with plenty of other stories that I will find more meaningful, enjoyable, and edifying.

  13. Don says:

    This was a beautifully brilliant story.

  14. Laura says:

    This story was fantasitc, as I have come to expect from both Mur and Escape Pod. Bravo, Bravo, Bravo

  15. CrazyDave says:

    First up: Joseph, please don’t critasize things unless you experiance them. Fine say you couldn’t listen to it as it offended you, but why go on tirade about extra-marital sex?

    For the first time since I found escape pod I’d let a 3 week backlog build up. I’ve only just got around to catching up. I’d like to add my voice to those who say it was the secod escape pod to cause their eyes to well up some what.

    (Possible spoilers, I’m trying to be vauge)

    You can see what’s comming, but when you realise her pain you think she really might take the other path.
    Comedy and tragedy work well together; each throws the other into sharp releif, and the whole is more emotional than the sum of its parts.

  16. Joseph says:

    CrazyDave…thank you for your comments…

    But let’s imagine what it would be like in a world where nobody passed judgement on anything until they had “experienced” it. How would our criminal justice system operate? Juries would have to say “I don’t know if murder is wrong because I haven’t experienced it.” College students would never be able to choose majors because, having not experienced any of them, they would not be able to pass the judgement that would allow them to say “that’s what I want, and this is what I don’t want.” And, taking it to an extreme, people would not be able to get out of bed and seize the day because, having not experienced that day, they wouldn’t be able to judge whether or not it would be worth it to get out of bed and seize it.

    Of course, I do not advocate either extreme. I feel that there needs to be balance between being open to experiencing new things and being able to pass judgement. Which is why I listened to the first five minutes and the last five minutes of this story before passing judgement.

    As for why I expressed my other comments in my post, it was because of this comment that I heard from Steve Ely in his commentary to the story Tkt, tkt, tkt:

    “I think it‚Äôs a sign of a healthy culture, if everyone feels that some parts of it are alien to them. It‚Äôs not something to be fought ‚Äì it‚Äôs something to be celebrated ‚Äì because we‚Äôre all, all of us, aliens to somebody else.”

    My essential question (and it is really a question, since I didn’t listen to the whole story here) is: is it possible to separate the things that make this story good from the prostitution and sexual content? Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it isn’t, but you can maintain 95% of it while removing most of the offensive sexual content. This is an honest question I am thinking about as a writer, because some of my stories contain sexual content – though I portray that content in a much different light than Mur does in this story.

    And, if Mur is reading this – please don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any less respect for you as a writer. Your podcast “I should be writing” is a tremendous help for me and I enjoy listening to every episode. But I have some criticism of this story, not of you, and I hope you’ll take it constructively and don’t let it get you down, because that’s certainly not how I mean it.

  17. PaulJ says:

    Whether sexual content is ‘offensive’ is a matter of opinion. Steve prefaced this episode with a clear warning about its content, and the warning is also at the head of this page. He does this so that if you find such content offensive you have the option to avoid it.

    Given such a warning, any criticism of the story on the basis that it has sexual content is clearly invalid, especially without listening to the whole thing. We’re not talking about murder, or college courses. This is art, which is subjective, and therefore by definition has to be experienced in order to ‘pass judgement’ on it.

    In answer to Joseph’s question, it seems to me that the story’s plot depends on the idea of a time-traveling prostitute. Taking out the sexual content would be possible, but then it would be a different story. In any case the sexual content in Mur’s story isn’t explicit, only referenced, and could therefore be described as inoffensive.

  18. CrazyDave says:

    The point that you DO have to experiance art before you can critque it is a new point to me. And a good one.
    Further thoughts on this. I think “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a pretty good way to make the world go round. I’d want to be prevented from hurting people (lock up the murders), causing too much offence (content warinings), but not from expressing myself (censoring stories for being too sexy).
    Further further thoughts. The sex in this story is explicit only in the sence that it is not implicit. To Clarify: There’s no “They went upstairs for a ‘coffee'”, but no “she reached out and grabbed his %GH%&768^

  19. Mur says:

    Joseph-

    Thanks for the consideration, but I’m really fine. I am not the story, my story can’t entertain/please everyone, and once it’s published, there’s not a lot I can do about criticism even if I wanted to. Arguing wouldn’t get me anywhere.

    I’m of the “don’t explain, don’t apologize” camp. I’m thrilled that many people liked it, and if you didn’t, then there are a lot of other stories on EP that are likely to entertain.

    I’m glad you like ISBW though. ;)

    Mur

  20. mamaloo says:

    I’ve got to object to Joseph’s point that sex is destructive force in our culture. Sex is something people do with each other out of mutual choice (and that means that forcibly having intercourse with someone is not sex, it’s rape, so let’s just leave that junk out of the discussion). If people choose to have unhealthy sexual encounters, it’s not the sex that is the problem, it’s the emotional fortitude and strength of character of the individuals involved.

    Mur’s story involves two people consenting to have sex.

    And, my own further thoughts: you can’t actually claim to know whether the sexual content was extraneous or even deeply integral to the mechanics of the story if you missed the meat of the story. If you haven’t even heard the middle of the story, how do you know there is any sexual content there?

    Count me in as another person who was moved to tears (however brief they were) due to the wonderful story writing. Mur is such an excellent author. I hope she has many more stories accepted by Escape Pod.

  21. Jeremiah says:

    Excellent story, and I was one of those that cried. I felt it coming, the fact that Paul wasn’t going to be there when she woke up, and I cried even before I should have because of it.

    An excellent story, well read, and well put together. Creative initial idea, too.

  22. Joseph says:

    CrazyDave – how did I violate the golden rule? I am an aspiring writer, and as such, I have sent out my story to dozens of friends and acquaintances to solicit criticism. The criticism I give here is one criticism that I have actually received and wrestled with – and I’m glad that I received it. I’m not at all saying that stories like this should be censored, and I never have. I’m just giving a perspective from another side of the spectrum, in the hopes that it will help people here to understand a different point of view on this issue. You’re right, I’m not in a particularly good position to give an artistic critique of Mur’s story, but my objective here isn’t just to give a criticism of Mur’s story specifically, but a general criticism of stories that portray sex in this way.

    Mur – I think your position is the best one. I certainly don’t expect you to please everyone, and would be quite dissapointed if you did. But hopefully you can learn something from everyone. That’s what I try to do – don’t try to please everyone, but be open enough to learn something from everything. Keep up the good work!

    mamaloo – the problems I have witnessed that stem from sex in our society have to do with its consequences. Just because people consent to have sex with each other doesn’t mean that they are immune from suffering tragic consequences – unwanted pregnancies, STDs, adoption/abortion issues, dropping out of school, who’s-your-daddy, etc. I personally have many friends whose lives have been turned into a mess by the consequences of irresponsible consenting sex – I see it everywhere. If you have a different opinion, that’s fine, but I hope that you will also take my perspective into account here.

    And I’m not here to start a fight, so please don’t take me that way.

  23. mamaloo says:

    “irresponsible consenting sex ”

    Thanks for making my point Joseph. It was not the sex ruining your friend’s lives, it was their irresponsibility.

    And, further, to think that the protrayal of sex and sexual acts is somehow a new thing is rather a sheltered view. It’s a rather American conservative view uninformed by actual literary and art history.

  24. 3CountyLaugh says:

    I find this discussion deeply interesting and wanted to add a couple of cents to the pot.
    Joseph – I really would like to understand better what you mean by “think it‚Äôs wrong when sexuality becomes a major element in fiction”. What about it is “wrong”? Certainly I can understand a position of not enjoying it, or finding it to be a cheep literary device… but actually finding it wrong in a good/evil sort of way I’m afraid I don’t parse and would be intrigued by some clarification on your personal definition of wrong as you used it here contextually.
    Next bit of clarification. You mention the destruction of families and lives ruined. Why do you choose sex as your boogey man? If I am reading between your lines correctly then what ruined these families was an inability of partners to either commit to monogamy or to participate in respectful polyamory. This seems to be a failure of trust and communication, sex seems to me to have nothing to do with the actual issue… sort of saying because you have a running nose we’re going to amputate it. Please clarify why you feel that sex, specifically, is the cause of this type of issue? Regarding the lives ruined… that seems to me to be a symptom of poor education (catching STDs, fatal or otherwise), poor support, either familial or governmental, (becoming pregnant and attempting to raise a child in an unstable environment). Again I see a symptomatic approach, not a base cause.
    You mention desiring “stories that I will find more meaningful, enjoyable, and edifying.” Again I am intrigued by your alien point of view. I would really like to know how would describe what types of stories would fall into those adjectives. They are clearly personally powerful to you, but as they read in context, I would read them as “anything not involving sex” and I doubt that is correct. Would you please clarify what you mean a bit more specifically?

    I myself am rather rabidly sex positive, but that means educated, responsible, consensual and ideally spiritually enlightened pleasurable experience. I really do find your view point to be opaque so I am hopeful you will see my response as both respectful and inquisitive into the nature the alien I see in the text. :)
    Thanks!

  25. Joseph says:

    Thanks 3countylaugh! Of course, I enjoy having a respectful discussion with anyone almost anytime.

    I think that the best thing I can refer to you is a talk that was given by one of my church leaders, Gordon B. Hinckley. It prettymuch answers most of your questions, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything that is said in it. Here’s a link: http://www.watergeek.net/church/talks/Hinckley%20-%20peace%20and%20freedom.pdf.

    Basically, my personal beliefs are that sexuality is a very sacred thing that should only be expressed within marriage, and that it is best for one to place many guards against exciting one’s sexuality, in order to preserve this sanctity. Many problems, such as unwanted pregnancies, abortions, broken families, etc, can be directly connected with the violation of these principles. I see “sex” as the root of these problems, and not simply a stem of them, because I can see many problems that would have been averted if moral standards governing the expression of sexuality had been observed. Sure, there might be other causes associated with these problems, but the best solution, in my opinion, is simple – morality. What’s more, when one’s sexuality is excited, it becomes a very powerful and uncontrollable force. And it becomes an addiction.

    My objection with much of the literature and media in our society is that it completely ignores the sanctity of sexuality, which throws our culture into a vicious cycle: books, music, television, and other media portray immorality as something acceptable and enjoyable, which leads people to commit immorality, which causes us to devalue sexual purity and sates our appetite for more immorality, which causes the media to show more of it, etc. In the end, the family, the basic unit of society, falls apart because of this cycle, and civilization itself begins to self destruct.

    This doesn’t mean, however, that I believe that sexuality should be totally eliminated from good literature. Sexuality is a very significant part of being human. I do, however, believe that good literature should not contribute to this vicious cycle.

  26. TrippyZ says:

    This story should be subtitled; “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.

    Thanks Mur, Steve and the rest of the team for another great production.

    Thanks also for the news about Jim Baen, I didn’t realise he had gone. He will be missed.

  27. Tim says:

    Ah, this is so refreshing to have a mature discussion about sex without any name calling, kudos to all involoved. Now my two cents.

    In the context of story I think the sexual part was justified. If I understood it correctly this woman was a virgin, she had experenced everything in life execpt that one close encounter with a man. In that context, is what she did really wrong? To be honest if I were a virgin at her age yeah, I’d probably do that same thing she did if I could.

  28. WOW! What a great story! Thought provoking.

    And as a response to the other comments about the sexual contents. I think that thinking the sex is bad is a typical US view. I live in Sweden and we see sex as a positive and natural force.

    I love your show, Steve!

  29. Mitch says:

    One of the things that I highly appreciate about EP is the warnings before episodes that have non-G (PG?)content. Without it, I would have bailed a long time ago for more “safe” podcasts.

    I chose not to listen to this particular episode, but thought I’d chime in here as it seemed the right place.

    I agree the the sentiments of Joseph above. Sex is a highly moral and personal topic for many people. EP may choose to walk through that territory, but it’s a mine field for some.

    For me, it’s a lot like your (SFEley’s) philosophy about marketing & kids. I don’t like marketing in my face all the time, and I certianly don’t want my kid exposed to it when he’s not prepared to handle it. Long term exposure to agressive marketing leads to unhealthy expectations and shopping habits. And for me, it’s the same thing for sexual content.

    ….aaaannnnd that’s my $0.02.

  30. Maia says:

    Absolutely wonderful, heart touching story.

    I’m a mother of teen & ‘tween aged daughters amd also happen to work on a University campus. While I don’t think it was a story appropriate for children, I do feel it was absolutely fitting for the tale. Sex in college happens – ALOT! I went to a small college that seemed filled with adult administrators and faculty who tried to pretend that was not the case, but that didn’t change the reality then, nor will it now.

    This debate touches on an old nerve for me… I just strongly feel that rather than chastising the world for it’s corrupt influences on their precious little angels, parents need to recognize that bad things have always existed and be engaged enough in their children’s lives – even when it ain’t easy or comfortable. So then you can not only prepare the next generation for the reality of this mean ol’ world, but also produce thinking human beings that can affect positive change by their educated perticipation in it.

    Be involved, know what you’re kids are into, reading, listening to and watching. Just don’t seek to fault someone else’s form of expression because you’re not on task as guardian. Pretty much all of us face corruption and ‘bad influences’ everyday, but that exposure can show you who you are and determine where you stand in response to the encounter – if you’re not obsessing too much about why you’re having to deal with such devilry instead.

    “People who shut their eyes to reality simply innvite their own destruction”
    ~~James Baldwin

  31. Hey Mur, great story! I was hooked from beginning to end.

  32. Chris Lester says:

    Hi Mur! I’ve been listening to ISBW for the last week or so, catching up on old episodes. I finally got around to listening to this one, and I was impressed! Cool concept, amusing characters and, unlike some of the people here, I don’t think the sexual content was overdone at all. Great story, and I’m definitely going to add Escape Pod to my podcatcher.

  33. Janni says:

    I liked this one!

    Making someone laugh and cry at the same time is always a lovely thing, when done well.

  34. […] This week on Retrieval Detachment: Time Machines And Your Corporation – How To Survive In The New Chronology. We discuss the concepts behind the Escape Pod stories ‚ÄúParadox And Greenblatt, Attorneys At Law” by Kevin J. Anderson, and “I Look Forward To Remembering You” by Mur Lafferty. […]

  35. Michael says:

    I just posted a review and advert for Escape Pod–something I had been meaning to do–on my own website, and named this as my favorite podcast so far. It was deeply touching, deeply moving, and the choice of different people reading each character was inspired. I remember mentioning it to several people when I heard it. So it is kudos to Mur Laffery for writing and Steve Eley for arranging this fine work. I am surprised there was any controversy about it at all. It should win an award.

  36. Samantha says:

    I generally detest horny people interrupting perfectly good sci-fi and every story where people forget their job or danger or whatever and drop to the floor to bump and grind.

    However, this story is ABOUT sex and love and all that rot, and I must say the anti-sex comments really blew me away with their sheer alien mentality. Not that I’m unfamiliar with it. My family is southern baptist and I was politely ‘removed’ from a Kampus Krusade for Krist ‘open discussion’ about safer sex (which amounted to a lot of fear-mongering and removal of anyone who challenged their rather bad math)

    Sex doesn’t ruin lives. Good grief. You might as well say fast food ruins lives. Given health concerns around fat, salt and sugar intake, or the many food-poisoning events that have killed people. Not to mention the choking hazards, and the dangers of the driving and eating.

    If you fear sex, don’t have it.
    Personally, I find casual dining much more dangerous. :)

  37. […] Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Earl Newton from Stranger Things. We speak about a wide variety of subjects related to releasing an HD video podcast. This interview was recorded on July 17, 2007 so technically this was the first place, that I know of, he announced his sponsorship by Lulu . TV. The episode of Escape Pod mentioned is Episode 61, I Look Forward To Remembering You. […]

  38. […] not a subscriber to Geek Fu or Escape Pod and you want to hear the story I sold a while ago, “I Look Forward To Remembering You,” well, click that link right there.    My Story on Escape Pod 61 [35:50m]: Play […]

  39. araña says:

    samantha, you are so right, it’s not even funny.

    this was a great production, kudos to steve and company. i can never get enough of anna’s accent.

    keep it up; you’ve unleashed my inner sci-fi junkie. :))

  40. […] has also had several great stories on Escape Pod. My favorite is “I look Forward to Remembering You,” which is scheduled to become a video on […]

  41. […] has also had several great stories on Escape Pod. My favorite is “I look Forward to Remembering You,” which is scheduled to become a video on […]

  42. scatterbrain says:

    Some said this made them cry, but I didn’t.
    I guess I couldn’t cry at anything I hadn’t heard before in some way or another, but the story was excellent.

  43. Amelia says:

    I, too, felt there was something wrong with the way the sexual content was portrayed in this story, but it really did not have much to do with the extra-marital sex.

    What it was, however, was the nonchallant treatment of sex within the story. The very fact that the main character immediatly shifts from the girl who wouldn’t put out(and got dumped because of it) to the girl who is all about having sex in a matter of nearly half an hour is rather unbelievable. It seemed to me that she was the sort of girl who, at the very least, would want to get to know the guy before she put herself in such a position. And the fact that she initiated it makes it even more unbelievable.

    Yes, she did ‘suprise herself’ when it happened, but I do not think that justifies the action. We are given not explanation for the change, either before or after it happens. And, to be blunt, to push the explanation off on ‘even suprising herself’ is just sloppy writing. The same scene could have ended with her simply kissing him (which we know she did with her last boyfriend, so that isn’t at all out of character) and then it be implied that, later on in their relationship, she had sex with Paul.

    The idea of the story is that she wanted to have had sex before she died, she did not have to have sex right at that moment. It would have been far more believable, and also a far better story, if it hadn’t happened so fast.

    However, this may just be my opinion. I do realize that this story was released in July of 2006 (I just recently discovered I Should Be Writing and am going through the old available shows) however, if anyone stumbles across this later and would like to respond, that would be wonderful.

    ~Amelia

  44. […] has also had several great stories on Escape Pod. My favorite is “I look Forward to Remembering You,” which is scheduled to become a video on […]

  45. […] week I’m going to download Escape Pod #61, reacquaint myself with Mur’s story, and begin the adaptation […]

  46. […] You” has been published twice before, in audio form at Escape Pod and in text form at Hub Magazine (PDF Download). Both are free and available now, if you’d […]