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StarShipSofa No 276 Ken Liu

Home Forums Podcast Aural Delights – Episode Feedback StarShipSofa No 276 Ken Liu

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    Coming Up

    Fact: Looking Back at Genre History by Amy H Sturgis 03:20

    Main Fiction: “The Message” by Ken Liu 18:00

    Fact: Gaming the Future by Simon Hildebrandt

    Narrator: Nicholas Camm

    The Message by Ken Liu first appeared in Interzone Magazine



    I enjoyed this story more than any I’ve heard in quite awhile. This does not mean I haven’t enjoyed others heard – just that this one really struck a chord.




    This story certainly struck a chord for me, too, eps. I think it gets you even more if you have children of your own.

    Part of why I chose it for this week – I thought it was a good downbeat following Stratmann’s humor piece the week before.



    Mike Boris

    I too enjoyed this story.   I had read an article about the trouble of trying to identify toxic sites so that the warnings could be understood long into the future, given language changes, methods of recording info, etc for future generations on Earth, let alone alien species.

    I enoyed the depiction of the site.  Large dry moats, spiked ground…. c’mon! Take the hint!  Unfortunately, I too would have fought my way to the center…and fried. 

    I’ve often wondered about universal concepts.  Math (think the sides of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey) and, in this case, chemistry.  Elements are, elemental.  Every species with the potential for nuclear waste would know the structure and properties of fissionable materials.  Huge orbital shells.  Brillient.  Someone call the NRC about digging a few moats around Yucca mountain.



    Boris, that reminds me of someone’s idea about communicating with aliens: carving a giant triangle into a big forest, so as to be visible from space.  Proof that intelligent life capable of doing basic math was there.

    I’m divided on this story.  Like Adam, I’m a parent, so the plot caught at my heart.  But I was surprised that nobody detected the radiation ahead of time.  Surely the ship AI had the tools.  Or the lander, or hoverbikes.

    Evil thought for the morning: perhaps they did.  The ship AI knew, and concealed the information.  Julia was a murderer.  Heh.



    I suppose I read that bit as the radiation that downed the ship also took out the detection equipment? (and it was not until repairs were made that Julia could sense them again).

    The Hal-ish option seems possible, though, too, especially considering the daughter’s manipulation. Hrm.



    That would have been more damage that the story described, though.

    Moreover, if the father’s specialty is exploring the ruins of civilizations, wouldn’t he and his AI be used to scanning for dangers?

    …unless it’s a thick metaphor for blindness and obsession.

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