Episode 61: Excision by Scott H. Andrews

Medi is a vivomancer with a desperate dilemma. She’s the only one who’s ever saved a man from a deeply infected wound. But it was a fluke. Now, her old professor has called her back to the college. They need to discover how she saved the infected patient, and they need to do it fast.

Also, Rish and Big talk about atypical endings, surprising endings, brave endings, anything but happy ones, really. And they bring you the somewhat-anticipated second part of the Irrational Fears discussion. Grandparental discretion is advised. Outtake

Special thanks to Nicole Suddeth for producing and editing today’s story, and to Marie Brennan, Kate Baker, and Kerry Watson for lending their voices to today’s episode.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.


Related Links:
Scott H. Andrews’s Site
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Marie Brennan’s SIte
Kate Baker’s Site
Music in today’s episode was Midwives by Frozen Silence.
Some sound effects were provided by freesound.org.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


7 Responses to “Episode 61: Excision by Scott H. Andrews”

  1. Kelp, gentlemen, is seaweed.

  2. In regards to Abbie’s post: Not just seaweed but Seaweed that wraps around your ankles while you swim in the ocean. It’s not a fish, but it makes you think of tenticles grabbin at you. Okay, maybe not you, but it does me!

    Now, for the story. It wasn’t my fave, because it made me sad. But it was interesting and the magical elements held my interest. You don’t have to like a story to know that Mr. Andrews can tell a story well.

  3. Nicole Suddeth Says:

    In regards to the garbage disposal being a bit intimidating…yes very much so when you initially reach in it. BUT the fear seems silly when you pretend its a dinosaur eating all the scraps left in the sink. Dino sound effects required.

  4. My grandmother used to call her garbage disposal “the goat” (seeing as it ate everything). When I was a little kid, I actually thought that was the technical name for the devices.

    The story – boy, that was a downer. I really liked the idea for the universe, though. I was a little unclear about the nature of the infection. At first, I thought it was rejection (and resulting sepsis) from these limbs they were grafting on. But then it turns out babies and other people who don’t have grafts can get it. This makes me think it’s infectious. Yet no one seems concerned that about exposure to a contagious disease. I didn’t understand that part.

    For horrible real life stories about grafting, google Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov. Ground-breaking organ transplant research, but the two-head dogs were pitiful. There are pictures.

  5. I thought the story was really well-done. It created a rich, gritty texture and a vividness of detail that made me feel as if I were really there. Moreover it did that in an extremely efficiently, considering the story’s length.

    It also presented an extremely realistic and convincing magic system, wherein the magic was given the respect it deserved and not just treated as a convenient plot device for getting people from point A to point B.

    It got you to care about the characters, and accomplished that through good old fashioned good writing.

    One theme that the story was clearly exploring was ‘Pain and Suffering’. Writ large, that was expressed through the unending war. The author made the WAR the backdrop of all of the story’s events. This was quite clearly intentional on the author’s part.

    Writ small, ‘pain and suffering’ was examined 1) through the accounts of those who had undergone grafts, 2) from the perspectives of the healers, and 3) from the reactions of those whose loved ones were suffering. Each of those perspectives had something special and unique to tell us about what was going on.

    ‘Pain and suffering’ and ‘War’ were important themes in the story, and the plot and its ending fit with those themes. Yet, I still wouldn’t classify the story as a tragedy. Not unless the fact that everyone’s life ends in a death is somehow considered tragic. The story, the protagonist, and the narrative voice were too realist to be really tragic.

    In my view, the tragic element of this story is the war itself. The war imposes pain and suffering on people. For the time being they find themselves unable to stop feeding the beast of war. And they all try to make their lives in the face of war.

    But the protagonist, I think, found a kind of wisdom through her experience, painful though it was.

  6. I didn’t like this story. The Mehdi character was good, and the concept of a medical fantasy was a cool one, but I could tell what was going to happen once the Scholast’s urgency came out. Once I knew what was going to happen, I didn’t care, which meant that the other characters — the non-Mehdi ones — didn’t keep my interest enough to make me enjoy the rest of the story.

    The narration was far too fast, though the character voices were good and, except for (what I personally thought was) an overuse of walking sound effects, the production was great.

    On fears: my wife was debilitatingly-afraid of vomit until she got pregnant and had really bad morning sickness. She’s still afraid of things that look like statues cracking and crumbling away.

  7. Well, I must say that this story did not deliver, based solely on the title. Of course, I listen to a lot of Norm Sherman’s stuff, so my expectations are for more gross outcomes.

    That being said, I really enjoyed the story. Yes, it was a tad predictable, but most short stories are if you read/listen to enough of them.

    I liked how their science is magic to us. Nigel made a good point about it being an important part of the story, not just fluff.

    My thoughts on the process failing is this: The size of the patient actually was the key in that it takes longer for the body mass to heat. A rabbit in hot water will gain heat faster than a man will in the same water.

    Or, maybe I’m just overthinking it. Nah, I’ve never been accused of that…

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