EP069: Her

By Tobias S. Buckell.
Read by Stephen Eley.

“It’s fascinating,” Jo said, now that she had what she wanted out of me, “that the inhabitants here are the only race we know of that has their mythology dead on.”

“Huh?” I looked down at the table. I needed more beer.

“They believe they live on the corpse of a giant.”

“Maybe it’s because they do,” I said, sneaking another look back down the inner thigh that dominated the western hemisphere.

Rated R. Contains explicit anatomical imagery. On a very large scale.

Referenced sites:
Podrunner Podcast
Daily Dragon Podcast
Dragon*Con: Atlanta, GA, September 1–4

Comments (37)

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  1. Mitch says:

    Haven’t heard this one yet, but here seemed like a good place to post this comment.

    Steve –
    I like hearing in the intros about feed back you’re getting, and how that affects (or doesn’t) Escape Pod.

    HOWEVER… I rarely listen to podcasts right away. I tend to “batch” them. I’ll listen to 3 or 4 escape pod’s at once, then do a PodioBook for a while, then some Comedy4cast, etc.

    The only down side is that if I have feedback on a particular show, I’m way behind the times. Not a big deal.

    It did make me curious – do many others out there Time-Shift their EscapePod listening, or are most people listing while the bits are still warm & fresh?

    Might make for a good site poll.

  2. J. R. DeRego says:

    I time shift too. I can listen to at least three Escape Pods in a row while on the lawn tractor.

    However, if there is a Union Dues story posted, I listen to that one about 7 times the morning it’s posted before I listen to anything else.


  3. Brian says:

    I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more comments on this story, I thought it was great, in a disturbing way, or disturbing in a great way, or disturbingly great, or some combination of the above.

    I found myself taking the “Environmentalists’” side as I listened, if that’s the proper term. There should be some rule about finding gargantuan floating bodies in outer space along the lines of “If someone asks you if you’re a God..” Are you absolutely sure she’s dead and not in stasis!? Are you absolutely sure you’re not pissing off some greater being/power by digging into her!? For the love of God, the simple fact that she exists out there should be a huge warning sign! You don’t colonize her, you don’t mine her tissues, you certainly don’t build Toe Lounges and skyscrapers! If you want to make money, close the system off, charge ships exorbitant amounts of money to come in and stare at the 9th wonder of the universe, charge even more money to go hiking on the surface, But for the love of whatever put her there in the first place, Preserve Her As Is! What if her husband comes back? What happens then huh!?

    *Takes a deep breath* In short, thank you for a very imagination stirring and thought provoking story.

  4. SFEley says:

    I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more comments on this story, I thought it was great, in a disturbing way, or disturbing in a great way, or disturbingly great, or some combination of the above.

    Well, I posted it late, and therefore a lot of people who would ordinarily have listened by now may be off by a day. Or the weekend. >8->

    Thanks for the comments! I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

  5. Nice story. Not my favourite, but it’s not my least favourite either. (Does that sentence make any sense?)

  6. Lar says:

    I loved the story up until the end. I didn’t like that the author thought he needed to tell us the entire story was a commentary on our use (or should I say abuse) of “mother Earth.” I’m sure most of us figured it out on our own.

    It did have some incredible imagery though. I also loved the scene with the united religious front. What could unite all the religions of the universe? Only nudity. I’m reminded of an old saying: “Close any door and before you know it a line will form in front of it.” Might all the interest people seem to have in other’s naughty bits be a result of the fact that people are always hiding them?

    Thanks as always for the story.

  7. Jeremiah says:

    A good story, funny and interesting, and definatly worth listening to.

    I have to agree with Lar about the “mother Earth” bit. We got it without saying it outright. It wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think it was necessary.

    I do have to point out that there are religions (specifically the Buddhists) that wouldn’t have a problem with her nudity. They were specifically named, and it’s an unfortunate grouping with the religions that would have issue with that.

  8. Michael King says:

    Brian –

    I’m in what amounts to time-shift mode this week as well (though I usually listen to Escape Pod on the way to/from work in downtown Atlanta), and Lar hit the nail on the head — the Mother Earth implication was one of the impressions the story gave out of the box (along with a number of others, but I digress).

    The necessity to hit us over the head with the Mother Earth concept at the end of the story was completely unnecessary and pretty much overkill.

    Up to that point, the story created a fantastic metaphor, and provoked some serious thought about the exploration of a woman — not objectifying her, but exploring the mysteries of a woman and what’s “inside”.

    On another note, I hope you enjoyed Dragon*Con — time, money and “the real world” kept me from the con this year (as it has the past several), but who knows what next year brings…

  9. As the child of hippie parents, I’ve been steeped in pro-environmentalism stuff almost since I was born. I, myself, am certainly not *anti*enviroment (is anyone outside of Ayn Rand?), but very few of the we-should-save-the-Earth messages really get through to me.

    This is probably the very first pro-environmentalism story to ever have a real impact on me. Thank you.

    On the previous topic of commercials on the show–
    I’m ok with it. I agree with some other listeners that having you read the ad copy makes it sound a little bit too much like a personal endorsement. Maybe you could have a neutral third party that’s still affiliated with Escape Pod (not the advertiser) do the reading of the ad. I think that’s how they usually do it on public radio.

  10. I really enjoyed “Her,” but I’m surprised no one has seen fit to note the eerie resemblance of Buckell’s story to James Morrow’s religious satire, “Towing Jehovah.” In Morrow’s tale, the body of God is found floating dead in the ocean, and a group of ships is hired to tow the body away before anyone notices. In the course of their journey, they have ample opportunity to explore the corpse, which is a good 4 miles long. Buckell takes the concept of the body to the next level, but I would be interested to read a longer version of this tale. If it even approached the brilliance of Morrow, it would be a terrific read.

  11. Tim says:

    This story was very odd. Like his other story, Green thumb, I had a hard time with the premise, but I really appricated the imagination behind the story, just like green thumb. So, I seem to have a love it, and hate it, thing going with the story. . .just like his other story.

  12. Flutist says:

    I also timeshift. It’s nice to have an Escape Pod in my iPod whenever I’m really bored or just need something to listen to while I’m working. My need for more free audio fiction has actually grown to the point where I’ve been listening to the Seanachai, Psuedopod, and Sigler’s Earthcore all at once and I still can’t seem to get enough. I went through the Escape Archive on iTunes over the summer and spend hours just listening to the old episodes with joy. Thank you Steve Eley for showing me the light!

  13. Jeff says:

    I’m not sure I get this story. It’s either really heavy handed satire (raping mother earth) or I missed the point.

  14. Joe Blaylock says:

    I haven’t listened to this story yet. I have a Dell Pocket DJ that I use Gnomad2 to move data to from my Ubuntu Linux machine, and prior to Episode 70, there are some episodes that it simply won’t play. This, and the four or five prior ones, are among them.

    They seem to play just fine in Rythmbox, but like other people here, I like to timeshift my Escape Pod and listen while I walk the dog or wait for the bus, so it would be nice if it played on my portable player consistently. I’ve no idea what’s different between these episodes that don’t play and the ones (after this point) that don’t have any problems, but I thought I’d mention it.

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    The story is half done, it just cuts off. So many lose ends.

    What I want to know is why there is a perfect biological and physical representation of a giant women several millions light years from Earth on an alien planet?

    It dosen’t make sense!

    Is it a joke on us, neosurrealism or just a rip off of the Godhead books?

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