Episode 198: N-words

By Ted Kosmatka
Read by Kim The Comic Book Goddess

First appeared in Seeds of Change, 2008.

They came from test tubes. They came pale as ghosts with eyes as blue-white as glacier ice. They came first out of Korea.

I try to picture David’s face in my head, but I can’t. They’ve told me this is temporary—a kind of shock that happens sometimes when you’ve seen a person die that way. Although I try to picture David’s face, it’s only his pale eyes I can see.

My sister squeezes my hand in the back of the limo. “It’s almost over,” she says. Up the road, against the long, wrought iron railing, the protestors grow excited as our procession approaches. They’re standing in the snow on both sides of the cemetery gates, men and women wearing hats and gloves and looks of righteous indignation, carrying signs I refuse to read.

Rated PG-13. Contains racism and genetic engineering.

Comments (55)

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  1. Natasha says:

    I’m only partway through listening to this, but finding the narration so excruciating that I came here to read the comments and determine if it’s worth getting through. Looks like a no.

    Seriously, the narration? It sounds like she’s reading an erotica story. Too breathy, too slow, too luxuriating in its own drama.

    There are too many other, better, stories to spend any more time listening to this one.

  2. Bruce Nielson says:

    Am I the only one that noticed that this story could, without any change whatsoever, be framed as a white supremacist tirade?

    We have a light skinned blue eyed race that is superior to all others that will grow to dominate the world via intermarriage (and their desirability for intermarriage with other races) until all other races are extinct or otherwise dominated. The other races try to contain them by using quotas and various other forms of “affirmative action” and cultural outrage because this white skinned race will so obviously going to end up dominating everything if nothing is done.

    I am not implying that the author secretly intended this, but clearly the story can be taken either way, and this scares the living daylights out of me.

    Did anyone else catch this besides me?

    Needless to say, this is an extremely thought provoking story precisely because it turns our understanding of racism on its head by introducing a truly superior race. (And one that we have a natural prejudice against, no less, because of the way we are used to thinking of Neanderthals.) Brilliant work. The most thought provoking story I’ve listened to so far on Escape Pod.

  3. Pandora says:

    I loved this story. Several previous commenters have done an excellent job of recapping why this is a thought-provoking and fascinating story, so I’ll just say that I agree with their comments on why this was a great episode.

    I actually enjoyed the narration very much. I didn’t find it too slow at all – it provided the deliberate pacing needed for a story with this much gravity and emotion. It gave the listener time to absorb the information, and reflect upon his/her own feelings about the events that were occurring. People nowadays often forget what it means to sit back and give enough time to be drawn into a story. I felt that the narration added a thoughtfulness to the story that would have been lacking if it had been read faster.

    Excellent choice for Escape Pod. Here’s hoping that you will share more stories by this author, and more readings by this narrator.

  4. Wow. Thank you, Pandora.
    (The Narrator, who also wants to point out to one commenter that this WAS a straight read. :) )

  5. [...] can listen out this story on Escape Pod, a flash fiction audio podcast that first got me interested in listening to short [...]