Sunday, June 04, 2017

AE Reads Skiffily Episode 7: "Her Husband's Hands" by Adam-Troy Castro

science fiction literature podcast
Episode 7 of AE Reads Skiffily is recorded, edited, and published. This is a science fiction podcast that features readings of speculative fiction stories from around the (English-speaking) world, and inspires artists, listeners, and other sorts of entities with ears. Gather round and listen to a story about a woman whose husband has come back from war missing pieces of himself.
In light of the recent Memorial Day holiday, the story chosen for this episode is "Her Husband's Hands" by Adam-Troy Castro, which was first published in Lightspeed Magazine in October of 2011. This story is about a woman whose soldier husband is killed in combat, but brought back via digital backup to operate what is left of his body, the eponymous hands.

Episode 7 features another first for AE Reads Skiffily; after Mona and I finish reading the scifi story, we discuss some of its content and weigh in on issues the speculative fiction story brings up, such as dealing with the grief of others, whether a copy of you can really be you, and how people respond to grief (see show notes below).

If you think you can handle a science fiction podcast with readings of literature and at least one the player below to listen here or download directly from PodoMatic for later listening (runtime 0:50:05). PodoMatic also has an app that you can use, which I am sure has some nifty features to help you subscribe to podcasts.

There are some adult issues in the story, and I think one or two naughty words. Not surprisingly, "Her Husband's Hands" features dead hands moving around. So be warned if you don't like certain words or if the thought of mobile body parts freaks you out.

Please don't be afraid to shower me with comments. You can comment below or contact me on Instagram (@aeusoes1) to let me know what you think of the podcast. Do you like the idea of a discussion so that the podcast is more than just a "glorified audio book" (in the words of a local Phoenix comedian)? Let me know if there are any stories you think should be featured on the podcast. Mona is an enthusiastic seamstress, so you can also see her stuff on Instagram (@sewagainstthegrain). You can follow my podcast at PodoMatic here or subscribe to AE Reads Skiffily on iTunes. If you are an inspired artist, please share a link to your art on Instagram or Facebook, either tagging me or using hashtag #skiffily. You can also find me on Tumblr here. Thank you all for listening. Keep drawing. Keep reading!

Show notes

I won't spoil the discussion, but for those of you who have already listened, you know that I mention a few science fiction pieces in Episode 7 of AE Reads Skiffily. Here is more information on them for you to enjoy them yourselves:

  • Jon Varley has a whole series (called Eight Worlds) that, among other things, features digital copies of people's consciousness being implanted onto clone bodies when someone dies. The story that comes to mind most prominently is "The Phantom of Kansas" (1976).
  • Cory Doctorow's book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) is about a post-scarcity society that includes serial immortality through force-cloned bodies and freely available digital backups when someone wants a new body or dies.
  • While I didn't mention it by name, "Another Life" (2008) by Charles Oberndorf includes the same sort of technology as Varley and Doctorow's settings, but the technology is much more expensive and therefore out of reach for anyone except the wealthy and members of the military.
  • The recent 2017 Phoenix Comicon featured a screening of Mirrored, directed by Bradford Hill. This short film presents the serial immortality technology as illegal for reasons unexplained.
  • The Sixth Day (2000), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by Roger Spottiswoode, also has the technology of digital backups and force-grown clones. Like Mirrored, this technology is illegal.
  • There is an episode from season six of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "Second Chances" that features a perfect copy of one of the crewmembers, Riker, stemming from a transporter action. Star Trek likes to think up incredible technologies that are hardly used to their fullest potential, but every once in a while the show's writers considered the implications of the power given to these future people.
  • Greg Egan has a number of stories dealing with consciousness. The one I referred to in the podcast is "The Extra (1990), which was made into an episode of Welcome to Paradox in 1998.

If you would like to make computer-generated files for your own amusement or your own podcast, you can do like I did for this podcast episode and go to This text-to-speech converter.

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