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Clarkesworld Podcast September 2011: Pack (Robert Reed)
Pack (Robert Reed)

Read by Kate Baker.

An indifferent hermit finds themselves drawn into the family life and politics of a local tribe of backward tool users.

Baker seems to think the person inside the fortification is an AI and the dogs are actuallu humans but lines like "A bullet can't pierce armor, but it takes courage, waiting to be shot," make me think the hermit is a human and the dogs are modified dogs, uplifted and then abandoned. The neighbor woman certainly seems to be human.

Speaking of the neighbor woman

lines like "Indeed, she wore almost nothing. Boots suitable for long hikes rode the otherwise naked legs, and her exposed chest was burnt scarlet by the sun, and strung around her neck was a steel collar adorned with savage barbs [...]" and earlier the scenes with "She was the very young one, my dog's favorite mate," related to an issue I've been having, which is that some of my reviews get flagged as violent porn and dropped into the spam bucket; this is a reflection of how software sometimes fails to address the realities of the modern publishing industry. Given that a fifth to a third of fiction involves some kind of manpain-inspiring act of violence against women, spam filters need to be set so a bit of gratuitous (but plot significant enough to be mention in a review) misogynist S&M won't set them off.

On a related note, I may start using the same policy I used for Seeing Ear Theater.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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Yeah, when I listened I was thinking trans-human in the hermitage, and uplifted dogs outside. Probably post-apocalyptic, given how far apart the trans-humans seem to live.

Could just be the end of a long decline in population. They don't seem like people who would have a lot of kids.

Nod. Are they long-lived? I don't recall now if there was any mention in the story.

Not that I see in the text version. Speaking of the text version:

"I was thinking about empires," he said. "Did you know? The greatest empire ever began by drinking wolf's milk."

"That's an interesting perspective," I said.

"Do you know which empire?" he asked.

"Rome," I said. "Romulus and Remus."

Heh. Yeah, no. I don't know of any measure where Rome is the greatest empire. Well, "Greatest empires based in Rome" or "Sharply reducing excess population of Celts", sure. But by population? Wealth? Contribution to human knowledge? Look elsewhere.

Greatest empire in Europe? Places rumoured to be outside Europe don't count, of course.

Also, how well educated is a feral sentient dog going to be?

Not that I'm speciesist. Some of my best friends....

Edited at 2013-11-02 04:35 pm (UTC)

Greatest empire that inspired horrific practices in later empires! (The Napoleonic Code and, er, the Godwinizer. Maaaaybe the US, though I couldn't possibly comment on that one.)

Didn't Mao draw inspiration from the Legalists?

No idea. I went to school when the existence of non-Western civilizations was not acknowledged, except in cases of "tee-hee! aren't we better than *those* people."

edit for grammar!fail.

Edited at 2013-11-02 04:52 pm (UTC)

Same here, although I remember when we covered contact with China, one of the paintings we were shown of a meeting between Chinese functionaries and European traders managed to make the Europeans look like the kind of people where after shaking hands with them you need to count your fillings.

So, 100% accurate, then.

Yeah, I wish I knew what the title of the painting was.

It's one of the longer lasting ones, anyway!

Greatest in terms of being unjustifiably called "Greatest," of course...

Barbed steel collar over a sunburn -- yeah, that sounds totally sexy.

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