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    "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

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    Nathan James Norman
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    "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 17th 2014, 12:33 pm

    The latest episode (22!) is now live! It'll be up next week on the CGC feed. To hear it early, check it out here.
    http://www.untoldpodcast.com/home/untold-podcast-22-graxin



    Jump below here for story discussion!

    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 17th 2014, 12:34 pm

    *****************SPOILERS BELOW***********************









    So...

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 17th 2014, 12:34 pm

    So, was XV justified in what he did?

    If so, why?

    If not, what else could he have done to preserve and defend and protect beauty?

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Drew.Rub on June 18th 2014, 4:38 pm

    Just got it on my podcast feed, so looking forward to listening to it this week.

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 19th 2014, 11:36 am

    Drew.Rub wrote:Just got it on my podcast feed, so looking forward to listening to it this week.

    Great! Let me know what you think! (And we'll get the conversation rolling)

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Rohelf on June 23rd 2014, 3:59 pm

    Nathan James Norman wrote:So, was XV justified in what he did?

    If so, why?

    If not, what else could he have done to preserve and defend and protect beauty?

    Here's my alternate suggestion- collapse the entrance to the cave.  (In fact, that's what I thought XV was going to do at first.)  As it is, no one but XV is getting to enjoy the beauty of the cave anyway, so why not seal himself inside and preserve the status quo without bloodshed?  Or, if he's worried that the other bots will break open the cave to retrieve him, make an even bigger sacrifice- seal himself out.  If XV sees the contents of the cave as so amazing they're worth killing and possibly dying for, then better they should be preserved for some future civilization able to appreciate them than risk them being destroyed purely for the sake of his own enjoyment.

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 24th 2014, 1:23 pm

    Rohelf wrote:

    Here's my alternate suggestion- collapse the entrance to the cave.  (In fact, that's what I thought XV was going to do at first.)  As it is, no one but XV is getting to enjoy the beauty of the cave anyway, so why not seal himself inside and preserve the status quo without bloodshed?  Or, if he's worried that the other bots will break open the cave to retrieve him, make an even bigger sacrifice- seal himself out.  If XV sees the contents of the cave as so amazing they're worth killing and possibly dying for, then better they should be preserved for some future civilization able to appreciate them than risk them being destroyed purely for the sake of his own enjoyment.

    I think this was the turning point in XV's character.
    Either of your options would have been morally viable (although sealing himself in the cave might be eventual low-power suicide?!).
    But either sacrifice was too much for XV to make. Both would result in the end of his enjoyment of beauty.
    I'm with him up until the final scene, though. Destroy the harvesters. But kill the humans? (and... maybe it was wrong to "kill" the harvesters too... they did have limited intelligence).


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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Drew.Rub on June 24th 2014, 1:47 pm

    Here's my thoughts

    1) Murder (of the humans for sure, of the harvesters to be questionable) to protect something as inanimate and ephemeral as beauty is just simply wrong. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to use an overused phrase. And while XV may have been the only thing to consider the sphere's as beautiful, there's no justification for murder.

    2) an alternate choice of collapsing the tunnel while inside is ultimately a self defeating option. There's no guarantee that the "beauty" XV found would ever be seen again. And XV would then get to enjoy that beauty for a limited amount of time before his untimely, and permanent, shutdown.

    3) An alternate choice of collapsing the tunnel while outside it also serves no benefit. Either the harvesters (or other humans) eventually dig up the spheres, leading to their potential destruction or preservation; or the spheres would remain buried for an indeterminate amount of time, possibly forever.

    XV found something of beauty. the decision to destroy anyone that might ruin that beauty turned XV from something potentially beautiful itself (for sharing the experience) to something ugly (selfish, IMHO).

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  mindspike on June 24th 2014, 3:08 pm

    Loved this story, "Graxin". I first read it in the "Ether Ore" compilation. Most all of the stories in that one are well worth reading.

    Some interesting reactions here, and a few ways of reading the story for underlying theme.

    Idolatry. As in John Buchan's "The Grove of Astaroth" something of great beauty is found and is at risk of destruction. This thing consumes the finder and changes him for the worse. This reading is understandable given the common reaction to XV's decision to kill the humans. We are conditioned to think this is an immoral action. This could be a valid reading, but it is not, I think, the best one.

    Evolution. XV was created for a single purpose. Without intent by the designers, XV develops independent thought as evidenced in his obsession with music and his moral evaluation of his purpose and the purpose of his creators prior to his discovery of the chamber. XV has spontaneously evolved into a sentient being, who then makes choices that result in the destruction of others based on system of self-gratification. Again, a possible valid reading, but not the one I prefer.

    Election. XV was created and given a purpose. During the course of his existence and apart from the intent of his creators, he comes to an awareness of the futility of his nature and his purpose. When XV encounters something unique, he finds new purpose and acts in service of that purpose. Metaphorically, XV is a child who comes to a realization of his own sinful nature and has a supernatural encounter that gives him new purpose. XV is different from creation (election) is drawn to an encounter with the supernatural that changes him (justification) and makes a decision to explore the choices and ramifications of his new existence (sanctification). This is my preferred reading.

    But wait, what about killing the humans! That's murder, and murder is evil!

    If you wish to pursue that argument, both XV and the harvesters are presented as unique individuals. For the purpose of the story, destroying the harvesters carries the same moral weight as killing the humans. Having established that, we must still view XV's destructive actions as morally justified in the preservation of his new purpose. Both the harvesters and the humans present a clear and present danger to something of immense value. If XV were protecting a child, we would not debate the morality of killing those who threaten to harm the child. One of the benefits of spec-fic is that it affords us a step away from issues we are socially conditioned to pre-judge.


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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on July 1st 2014, 10:49 am

    mindspike wrote:
    If XV were protecting a child, we would not debate the morality of killing those who threaten to harm the child. One of the benefits of spec-fic is that it affords us a step away from issues we are socially conditioned to pre-judge.

    Except that protecting beauty is not analogous to protecting a person.  Very Happy 

    But I love your analysis of the story! And your various "reads" of it!

    That's what I love about "Graxin" it is a simple, but VERY challenging story.

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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  mindspike on July 1st 2014, 12:27 pm

    Nathan James Norman wrote:
    mindspike wrote:
    If XV were protecting a child, we would not debate the morality of killing those who threaten to harm the child. One of the benefits of spec-fic is that it affords us a step away from issues we are socially conditioned to pre-judge.

    Except that protecting beauty is not analogous to protecting a person.  Very Happy 
    But I love your analysis of the story! And your various "reads" of it!
    That's what I love about "Graxin" it is a simple, but VERY challenging story.

    Thank you.

    But for the purpose of the story, the cave and its contents are a unique and irreplaceable find that give XV new life. The interpretation that he is protecting something beautiful for the purpose of enjoying it comes from the reader, not the source material. XV is protecting something that has its own intrinsic value but is itself defenseless, even placing himself in a position where he will not be able to interact with it in order that it might be preserved. Is that not what we do for our children? Is that not what we do for other people?

    This is not a diatribe on the beauty of nature or the value of treasure. XV's actions arise from moral certainty rather than enacted principle. We clearly see this evolution in his character from the beginning of the story. And it is challenging. I think it's meant to be.


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    Re: "Graxin" by Kerry 'Amish Vampires in Space' Nietz

    Post  Nathan James Norman on July 2nd 2014, 10:30 am

    mindspike wrote:We clearly see this evolution in his character from the beginning of the story. And it is challenging. I think it's meant to be.

    Absolutely. The challenging aspect is one of the markers for good art!

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