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EP148: Homecoming at the Borderlands Café

By Carole McDonnell.
Read by Stephen Eley.

First appeared in Jigsaw Nation, ed. Edward J. McFadden III and E. Sedia.

We don’t see a lot of mixed couples around here, and we’re not like some of the other states in the Confederate United Republic. It’s not like they’re gonna get killed or lynched or nothing. But it’s tough just the same. And although it’s weird enough that they’re an interracial couple, it seems to me that they’re arguing about something bigger than merely coming into this café.

I don’t know any Blacks. You got to go to Laramie, or Cheyenne to see them. But I watch Cosby when it’s on. The Confederacy ain’t as bad as the folks in Columbia might think. Sure everyone’s segregated, but it’s all equal and the Platte County school district is pretty good about African-American History Month.

Rated PG. Contains heavy racial and political themes.

Referenced Sites:

Decoder Ring Theatre

Comments (86)

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  1. R.E.U. says:

    Vance M. I think has a really good post for this week… I’ve never seen an escape pod touch such a live wire! 50 posts! And counting.

    In the US at least race is a hot issue, perhaps the fault of the author is that there wasn’t that separation between reality and home that most of us expect in Science Fiction, but alternative futures is still valid.I didn’t see this as alternative history.

    The fact there are 50 posts, I think shows that this story touched something, and made people react. And I think that’s what an author really hopes for. The start of discourse.

    For me, I think that people fail to see the trappings of what each character was in the story.

    The main character has his flaws too. He admitted them. He could not stand up for his girlfriend, yet still wanted to marry her. And even when he finally did, it was weak. It was filled with hypocrisy.

    His mother also wasn’t 100 percent what you thought her to be. The hypocrisy in her was that she loved her son, but at the expense of her son’s feelings. that because of her love in her twisted POV, she thought she was protecting him. (I have a mother like that too… though on a separate issue.)

    Each character in the story had at least one duality, and I don’t think one of them could come off as completely innocent, except maybe the baby. All of them had a degree of hypocrisy to them.

    And I don’t think the Christian comments were supposed to be taken the way that they were taken. I think the fault lies in the very fact that the word Christian was used. If it was Flabergaten set in the F.E.D. with different races, I wonder if people would have reacted as strongly. (And subsequently defended their “ground”)

    I can’t speak for the rest of the people on this board, nor wish to, but I’ve faced racism before. I know it exists in degrees. It is never all hate or no hate. And each of those degrees was portrayed in the story! I really enjoyed that aspect.

    Facing the fact prejudice exists, I think is really hard for people to take. And I say this as an Asian–which BTW, didn’t show up in the story at ALL. Black, White, and Native American did… I do wonder at the shades of gray missed.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I liked the take on this. I thought it was interesting to make the liberals as bad as the Christians, for a change.

    I do have to agree that it seemed a bit too quick and easy for the narrator to decide to propose to his girlfriend, though.

  3. Randy says:

    I loved it. The only thing that would have made it better is if Wichita Rutherford would have read it.

  4. Connor Moran says:

    I originally come from the heart of this world’s Confederacy–Idaho, the place the narrator thinks is much worse that Wyoming. Then I attended one of the most liberal universities in the United States, and still live in lib’ral country. I reacted very negatively to the characterizations of both groups.

    On Idaho, I’d never be one to argue that Idaho isn’t a racist place–it certainly is. But then, it’s plenty racism here in the heart of Columbia as well. But I can’t imagine lynchings ever happening even in the backwardest parts of Idaho. First off, sad to say it, but there’s just not that many black people. I guess if the lynchings were of Latinos, it would be somewhat credible. But places don’t break down that way. North Idaho is still notorious for having been home to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations. What people don’t realize is that in the very area the AN occupied, there was one of the highest concentrations of human rights organizations in the US. Whenever the AN would march, they would be met by vastly larger numbers of counter-protesters. And when they were finally thrown out, nobody was sad to see them go. That kind of organized hate is dead, at least in Idaho. I can’t speak to Wyoming, but I can’t imagine it’s that different.

    At the same time, I found the description of Columbia distasteful, for reasons that many others have described. I had a particularly negative reaction because this particular version of the godless liberal distopia is very reminiscent of the novel “Colorado: 1998,” a book published by the anti-gay group Colorado for Family Values in the wake of their (later overturned) amendment forbidding gay rights laws in Colorado. I admit that this isn’t exactly the author’s fault, but when a short story can be mistaken for a thinly-veiled anti-gay tract, it’s a problem.

    So the main problem for me isn’t that the story pushes uncomfortable buttons. It’s that it describes people that I don’t recognize. Racism and anti-conservative Christian condescension are real issues in America. Aside from the lynching and the baby-stealing, they may even be as devastating in the real world as they are in this story. That is to say, I don’t feel like it’s that the story portrayed people as bad that bugs me. It’s that the story portrays them as bad in a way that doesn’t really match they way they really are. This story portrayed both sides as the other side views them, and it just rings false.

    That said, it’s good to see a story stir up this much response. I just kind of wish the story had been better.

  5. Eric says:

    Wow.
    How many ways to address this story?:

    1] Plausible parallel universe -or- “future as near-distant dystopian fantasy”? (Tsunami on TV suggests recent parallel universe.) Certainly closer to “Left Behind” than “Jericho” on the Spec-Fi vs. Sci-fi spectrum.

    2] Successful ‘twist’ of “Liberofascism”.
    -By ‘successful’, I mean that most people probably started fuming about r-a-c-e, before they caught the r-e-l-i-g-i-o-n stuff.

    3] Borderline obvious flamebait?
    There is “provoking discussion” and then there’s “hateful gay minister” (presumably unitarian, and burning bibles).
    Where’s the pacifist death squads?

    4] By “mixed couple”, does the author insinuate that Garrison’s wife is a “liberal”? She is never definitively identified as a christian. Possibly, the only subtle bit in this story

    5] The ‘protagonist’ refers to his girlfriend and ‘the black girl’ as “sensitive minority women”. Well; we couldn’t have an entirely enlightened white male.

    6] The “Shoshone Indian girlfriend” and “the reservation” set up as third party; Nona seems to be used simply as a race object.
    The christian vs. pagan dynamic on “the reservation” is not addressed in this story and it is not clear that the author is aware of it. Perhaps she would have made more use of it, if she was.

    :Eric

  6. Arby says:

    Fox news without the intellectual depth and fairness.

    This story reminded me a lot of “The Turner Diaries” in terms of fairness to the other side.

    The author was not racist, but otherwise has bought into the whole right wing “war on christmas” thing. If anything this country is more in danger of a Spanish inquisition purge of unbelievers fueled by this type of cartoonish polemic.

    In general, stories where the bad guy has no believable motivation are bad.

  7. cosmos says:

    Regarding Stephens’s opening comment that the U.S. was the last country to abolish slavery (from Wikipedia) In 1962, Saudi Arabia outlawed slavery, freeing about 10,000 slaves out of an estimated 15,000-30,000.[22] Slavery was ended by neighboring Qatar in 1952, the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962, the UAE in 1963, South Yemen in 1967, and Oman in 1970. Some of these states, such as Yemen, were British protectorates. The British left South Yemen without forcing it to give up slavery, but did pressure the UAE into giving it up. In 2005, Saudi Arabia was designated by the United States Department of State as a Tier 3 country with respect to trafficking in human beings. Tier 3 countries are “Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”

  8. Audita Sum says:

    This story fell a little flat for me. I think that the political extremes were the problem; if the south were to secede, somehow I don’t think that the Union’s reaction would go as far as taking away the children of conservatives.

    And maybe it’s just because I’m an agnostic and a liberal, but this story seemed a little self-righteously religious to me. I know that the character was supposed to be a Christian in the south and all, but still. The voice was kind of… full of itself. Maybe it was the reading.

  9. Mitch says:

    Not a favorite. Had enough stereotypes to make just about everyone offended.

    At the end, I was left wondering what moral I was supposed to walk away with- it felt like I was being lectured something, but I couldn’t catch exactly what.

    All Christians are hypocrites? America is bad? Rural people are mostly stupid? Minorities are superior, but white folks just won’t stop oppressing everyone including themselves?

    Nope, left this one confused and ready to move on to something else.

  10. Lee says:

    I hate for my first comment to Escape Pod to be a negative one, but… I really hated this story.
    There have been some previous stories on EP that haven’t appealed to me, but I’ve still been able to accept and respect the technical quality of the material.
    I’m afraid the only positive thing I can say about this one is that I hope all the discussion about it will prompt someone else to write a better story that more skillfully addresses the attempted themes in “Homecoming.”

  11. nojojojo says:

    Whoa.

    I liked the story. We don’t see enough attention given to sociological science fiction in the genre, IMO, in part because it tends to be controversial and painfully realistic, and so many people are into SF for escape. But it’s my favorite branch of SF, thanks to Octavia and Ursula and other pioneers of the form, so I’m glad to see more here.

    And I’m even more glad to see topics like racism and extremism addressed. Too often science fiction pats itself on the back (undeservedly) for being progressive, when in fact it’s more often aversive and reactionary. Only in the SF community have I met so many otherwise intelligent, admirable people who earnestly believe that racism (and sexism, etc.) will vanish someday if we just stop talking about it. But then, c.f. my previous comments about escapism vs. realism.

    I agree about the headscratchyness of the whole “liberal fascist” idea in the story, but I’m willing to go with the story’s speculation on that thanks to the lessons of history. After all, from what I understand, the Nazis originated as a leftist/socialist group. And we’ve seen recently, thanks to the incredibly asinine comments of feminists like Gloria Steinem, that even the most lauded liberals can have great big blind spots when it comes to race, class, and other issues. Being a liberal does not make one immune to extremism, insularity, amorality, or stupidity. We’re (because I do count myself as a liberal) just as susceptible to all that crap as the most fire-and-brimstone fundamentalists; we often just use different language and methods to express it. That was the message I took from the story, personally.

    So thanks, Ms. McDonnell, for a thought-provoking, powerful story. And thanks too to Steve, for the timeliness of this selection.

    But.

    Something I’m not happy about — and am in fact deeply offended by — are the comments I see here which cross the line from critique into the same rhetoric used by “-ists” for years to silence discussion on controversial topics. “An affirmative action selection”?? A threat to sweep-kick the author in her “smug legs”, followed by “get over yourself”?? WTF? OK, some of you didn’t like the story; fine. Most of you expressed that dislike in a civilized fashion; good. But is this level of hostility really warranted?

    Of course it’s not — but then, this level of hostility has nothing to do with the story itself. I didn’t see the comments Steve had to delete, but I can probably guess their content and general tone pretty accurately.

    I suppose here’s where my own yearning for escapism crops up: just once, I’d like science fiction to be as progressive as it claims to be. Just once, I’d like to have an intelligent conversation about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or whatever, that stays intelligent. But unfortunately, as this story implies so vividly, we’ve still got a long way to go before that happens.

    N. K. Jemisin
    EP #38 (“L’Alchimista”)
    EP #114 (“Cloud Dragon Skies”)

  12. Craybe says:

    I have been listening to Escape Pod since around EP#25 and to date I have not felt the need to post about a story. This is not because I haven’t loved (or to Escape Pods credit, rarely disliked) other stories but I feel that no other story has warranted a resounding cry from the listeners of “Drivel!”.

    I feel this was a very shallow story with transparent characters that honestly made me feel no empathy for the positions of any of the characters. I also feel that this story may have fallen short of its moral of racial unity, it felt more like Racism Bad, Tree Pretty.

    Honestly though the “Religion Good, Atheism Evil” theme could never be overly offensive as it was far too laughably naive. I guess having a good Christian persecution complex would help anyone be so black and white (no pun intended) in their views of a dystopian future society. Give me the Failed Cities any day over this future.

    In the end I’m fuzzy about what the author was trying to beat through my thick forehead… the only thing that would make this story more of a mess would be if there was a man walking around in the background saying “I don’t wear the Cheese, the Cheese wears me.”

    Praise be to the mighty Eley in the sky that there is a Union Dues episode coming up! :-)

  13. Yicheng says:

    As a non-christian, non-white person who is currently involved in an inter-racial inter-faith marriage, I found the story thoroughly weak and unrewarding. None of the characters were sympathetic to me, and the main character seemed like he was unredeemable in his whining. The scifi setting for this “alternate reality US” seemed like cardboard contrivances just so the author can make her point. The fact that she ties atheism to liberalism and Christianity to racism was the last straw for me. This story might have been mildly relevant 20 years ago, but now it just sounds juvenile and unoriginal.

  14. josh says:

    despite my problems with the ending I liked this piece. I’m a gay christian so it kind of struck me. Not fitting in is a problem in my life.

  15. Steve Swan says:

    A GREAT high school literary magazine entry. PLEASE no more. Boring, unimaginative, and poorly constructed. Can you say. “Predictable!” Your accent kept slipping Steve! You could see EVERY plot twist and turn coming halfway down !-90.
    Still the best literary podcast Steve.

  16. The story failed on the big #1 rule of storytelling: show me, don’t tell me. It was all talk. A couple walked into a restaurant. Pie was ordered. Keys were tossed.

    I also dislike the implied notion that racism and the “war on Christianity” are somehow equivalent. Racism and slavery torn this nation apart and resulted in a bloody civil war with nearly one million casualties. The “war on Christianity” is largely paranoid ramblings, as evidenced by my money still saying “In God We Trust.”

    While I know Steve takes the notion of “sci-fi” pretty liberally, I have no idea how this qualifies in anyway. It is fiction to be sure but there wasn’t a lot of speculation or science involved. Perhaps it qualifies as “preach-fi” but not “sci-fi”.

    There’s some serious stank on this story. I hope to hear better in the future.

  17. scatterbrain says:

    Seems too disturbling realistic to be true.

  18. Brett says:

    This is my first time posting here, and I have the tendency to ramble, so I apologize in advance.

    I’ve listened to every episode of Escape Pod that has been out so far, and even though I love the podcast this is the first time a story inspired me to actually read trough all the comments to use other peoples posts to help me sort out my feelings on the piece. In the past I’ve always liked the story and known why, or disliked it and known why (or not cared, but known why).

    My reaction to this one was mixed. I loved listening to it, then thought I was changing my mind about it when I thought of some things I didn’t like, then decided I liked it again after figuring out what I didn’t like and weighing it against what I liked. Honestly though, the comments made me think as much as the story did.

    I was shocked at the number of negative comments it received, I thought most were undeserved. I didn’t see the story as unfairly demonizing liberals, I got the strong impression that similar scenes were happening in diners in Columbia that would make the confederates look just as bad. What I did think was very strange was the liberals as atheists approach, as a liberal atheist myself, let me tell you we aren’t the majority. I appreciate that liberals do a lot more to make my life easier than conservatives, but I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll see an atheist elected president in my lifetime. Maybe the liberals should have been carrying around new testaments, and taken away the children of anyone who read their kid the last half of Exodus… but persecuting “Bible Believers” just didn’t ring true to me. Even if that rubbed me the wrong way a little, I thought the piece did a great just of showing that all political factions are made up of mostly well meaning but flawed people. Even racists and atheists. I also really identified with the struggle of the main character, as I struggle with how to let my Cristian parents know that the REAL reason I stopped going to church with them years ago wasn’t that I don’t like mornings…

    Sorry for being so long winded, but thank you very much for Carole for writing a story that got people this worked up and out of their comfort zone, I’d love to read more about this setting. Also thank you Steve for running it, the “alternate history” style story is one that I love, Joe Steele is probably one of my top 5 favorite stories you’ve run, and I hope you find more good ones to give us.

  19. This wasn’t an action piece. The plot wasn’t meant to surprise.

    I didn’t see it as a modern day commentary on America. The story seemed as a moral that conflict tends to make each side worse. Or at least that’s how I take it. YMMV.

  20. Michael King says:

    Incredibly close to what could become the reality in a post-modernistic America…especially after seeing “Jericho” and other post-9/11 fiction.

    As a black man who has been on the receiving end of that kind of treatment before, it can be uncomfortable. As a black man who has been on the opposite end of that treatment, it, too, can be uncomfortable.

    But isn’t that what life is supposed to be about — getting beyond that zone of discomfort and bettering the human condition, no matter what our beliefs?

    Kudos, both to Carole for writing the story, and to Escape Pod for carrying it. Well done.

  21. Wow. This story made me distinctly uncomfortable. It seemed kind of pointed, too. I saw the ending coming, but… I’m not sure where else it could have gone and not provoked disgust.

    I’m having a hard time articulating how I feel about the whole thing. One thing it is helping me to realize is that it is told in the first person- we are only seeing the main character’s understanding and perception of things. Now, the author clearly wants to make some points with this story, but we can’t necessarily infer that the main character is speaking “for” her. The narrator was clearly portrayed as being flawed himself. I didn’t agree with, or even like, anybody in this story.

    That said, it was an interesting story. It made me, and a lot of other people, think.

    Sometimes it’s good to be challenged.

    On another note, even during the late 1800s-early 1900s, about a quarter or so of lynching victims were American and European Whites, Native Americans, Chinese, and Mexicans. Most lynchings were perpetrated by gangs of whites, but some by blacks- including eleven documented cases of black-on-black lynchings in Georgia alone. (according to “50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know”, by Russ Kick).

    I’m interested in the “Atlas of Imaginary Americas” but can’t find any info on the web about it… is there a link or ISBN listing for that?

    Keep the stories coming, guys.

  22. Athe says:

    Cardboard cut-out characters and a thin veneer of a plot draped around childish straw-man attacks against both the left and the right. I wouldn’t even rate this high enough to call it a childish polemic.

  23. Interesting comments. I thought the story was pretty weak, but I was very seriously bothered by the cartoony images of a resegregated CSA and the evil, evil liberal States of America. Even for a postulated background, that was ridiculous. It is simply absurd for the author to expect us to accept this background, especially for such a weak story. Political fiction is fine, Steve, but it’s got to be of better quality.

  24. StingRay says:

    I kind of hate to make my first story feedback negative, but this one really, really, really insulted me. I was insulted by the fact that every character was a stereotype. I was insulted by the preachy tone. I was insulted by the cliched plot and blatantly obvious ending. I was insulted because I felt like the author expected her readers to be stupid, or to simply lap at the fountain of hate disguised as commentary.

    There was nothing original in the story, nothing worth discussing (at least, no discussion that wouldn’t be better prompted by a simple “Racism, good or bad, discuss”), and nothing worth going back to.

    I wanted to turn the story off, but I kept listening, hoping for a redemption of the story, as I found in “Instead of a Loving Heart,” and nothing came. I spent the entire story thinking that it would have been far more daring, far more interesting, if the author had had the courage to make the town black, the woman white. That might have made a difference. Otherwise, it was just cliches stacked on stereotypes.

    On a lighter note, I love the podcast, I normally love the stories, and I really did have good things to say about other stories, but they were all driven out by my response to this one. With any luck, I’ll recall what they were, and give a positive bit of feedback elsewhere.

  25. Wesley says:

    I often read short stories that lack a deeper meaning or tracending story.
    This was quite the opposite. It was very contrived, woven with agendas. It lacked a interesting speculative element. This could have been a story in any era.
    I get the lessons, but was unimpressed.

  26. [...] Two that are though were outright amazing were Edward the Bear and the Very Long Walk and Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe. I’ve listened to quite a few of the backlog now (about 40 odd) and the quality is [...]

  27. Tayefeth says:

    I have never before felt physically ill after listening to an Escape Pod episode. The use of Imaginary Liberals as the Bad Guys made me want to puke.

  28. ChairmanDances says:

    I don’t see how either side came across looking good here. The christians are portrayed as racists and the liberals as fascists. The “liberals as bad guys” slant, if any is because the story is set on the christian side of the border and even then the narrator plainly disaproves of christians like his mother. Given the background, the story could have just as easily been set on the liberal side of the border with a “mixed ” liberal/christian couple.

  29. LAN3 says:

    I’m a non-religious right-winger, and even I found the liberal state’s depiction to be a bit weak. I personally think a nation ruled by genuinely democratic liberals would be a nanny state of the worst sort, where the individual freedoms would be snapped up in favor of some perceived public good. What? That sounds familiar? That’s because it’s an artifact of big government, and Leftistan will definitely have big government.

    This is not the first story I’ve read where the Christians were an oppressed minority. The other is an unpublished novel, so I can’t give anything away, but, how shall I put this, it took a very unChristian public act, committed in the name of Christianity, that turned the tide towards total-secularism-or-else. It did, in short, what 9/11 did for Islam. There were some other complicating factors that made it possible for Christianity to be essentially outlawed, because that by itself wouldn’t do the trick in the USA that I know– at least, not in my opinion.

    I’d like to see what life is like in the Leftist States of America, and I’d like to know what cities, not highway diners, are like in the christian states.

    This story– it was problematic, but what the hell, any effort to alt-universe by manipulating race is bound to be problematic, since we have to view that universe from the discomfort of this one. But I think it was basically successful, and I wish it had gone farther.

    It also could’ve been a bit more engaging– a story set in a diner is practically a ship in a bottle to the point of cliche. (That’s part of the reason people like diners, I grant you– they’re anachronisms that you can eat in and they’ve got such traditions of community and isolation at adjacent tables, and a broad spectrum of people meet and eat in them.) Picture a restaurant that’s emblematic of the US segregation period: whammo, you’ve got a diner in mind, with blacks standing and whites seated. (Now picture a restaurant shaped like a bus… oh, still a diner.)

    Diners are too loaded. Let’s meet these families in a nicer restaurant, or the dining room at home (in an apartment? maybe a farm house instead), where the inclusing of strangers, and the tendency ot make a scene, are different. In short, let’s have more.

  30. James says:

    Homecoming is one of the most provocative stories I’ve heard here; and I love provocative stories, Thanks. Though, after listening, I feel like I need a shower. Probably the creepiest part about this story to me is just how plausible it is. Obviously it would take extraordinary circumstances to break the U.S. apart, however those same events could make society move in any direction, even backwards.

    As an atheist I was at first angry about the portrail of liberal atheist as bag guys. But then i thought about it this way; in the red states right now ‘liberal’ is used as an insult for anyone who isn’t conservative or christian. It’s easy to imagine that in the Wyoming of the story that ‘liberal’ would be used as an insult regardless of whether the people are liberal, socialist, communist, fascist, or even fanatical atheist. it doesn’t mean those people are anything like the liberals of today.

    And I thought it was brave of you, Steve, to read this story yourself.

  31. Tim Carter says:

    This will probably never get read, as I am playing catch-up on Escapepod stories and have only now gotten to this one. However, I’ve just waded through 80 comments and will throw in my two cents.
    While I realize it was probably intended as speculative fiction, the characters were too extreme – Christians as flaming bigots and liberals as Bible-burning godless Commies (or whatever). With the truth being that 99% of Americans are nowhere close to those depicted here.
    But what really galled me was the fact the the “hero” of the story was just a whiny, spineless, shiftless, bum. He’s mad that his mama is so against his NA girlfriend, but doesn’t have the guts to follow his heart. He says he’s not lazy, he just hasn’t found his place in the world. But there’s no hint (that I can remember) that he even has a job. He’s still living at home, sponging off his parents.
    He feels for the bereaved parent in the Far East, but isn’t man enough to speak up against an unbelievably bigoted and callous comment from another diner, and won’t let his brother speak out, either. And when his sympathy leads him to his friends table his only outward expression toward his friend’s wife is to offer to shake her hand. Not one word of encouragement to someone who has probably endured much and is being stared down (or ignored, whichever is worse) by everyone in the place. I don’t blame her for refusing his hand.
    I agree with some of the writers who saw the story as depressing. Nowhere was there any sign that the situation would ever change, and that made the story unbearable. it’s one thing to describe a world gone bad, but to not offer a glimmer of hope that it would ever get any better just makes me regret having read it.

  32. Woodchuck says:

    I liked the story and was struck at how it took both sides of extremism in this country, both liberal and conservative and showed the overall need for respect that we must give one another. It’s one thing to believe in something, but it’s another to treat someone as less-than-human for having a value system that is different than your own. Liberal extremists would take God and freedom from it’s citizens in favor of a fake Tolerance. Religious zealots would force their ideologies on others. As a religious person it is my responsibility to treat everyone with dignity. While I may not be a minority, or I may not be gay, I still have the responsibility to treat others with respect and expect them to treat me in the same way. The golden rule still applies and should be alive in all of us.

  33. [...] 26, 2008 by Pam Phillips While it’s not as graceful as “Family Values,” “Homecoming at the Borderlands Café,” by Carole McDonnell manages to create a world while the narrator, Mike, is sitting in the [...]

  34. [...] “Homecoming at the Borderlands Café” by Carole McDonnell was the first Escape Pod story of March, depicting mixed marriage in a racist future. Well written, with an excellent reading by Stephen Eley, this is social commentary where the SF aspect is incidental to the power of the narrative. [...]

  35. Dalton Walls says:

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  36. Texvol says:

    I know that I’m late to this discussion, but I only recently discovered Escape Pod and I am slowly making my way through the back catalog of podcasts. I have now listened to about 100 episodes. I really enjoyed the vast majority of those stories, absolutely loved some of them, and disliked only a few. This one, however, I HATED, which is I felt compelled to post my comment.

    This really isn’t a story at all, and it is certainly not science fiction. Rather, it is a distasteful fundamentalist polemic, the fictional equivalent of Fox News” “fair and balanced” coverage. The point of the story appears to be that yes, the fascist, secessionist bigots among us can be nasty at times, but they are nothing compared to those tyrannical tree-huggers and homosexuals!!!!! That is not merely, absurd, but offensive. Please, Stephen, no more stories from this author!!!!!!!!!!!!