Martian Chronicles

Episodes 700 and 701 of the venerable Escape Pod podcast showcase Cory Doctorow’s Martian Chronicles novella. Cory had previously read the story on his own podcast, but this narration by Adam Pracht is very fitting.

The story uses the plight of a ship of Mars colonists to address capitalism, class and the hope offered by the idea of the co-operative.

“Do you have any idea how many workers I’ve met who are missing fingers or eyes or hands? How many of them were called whiners and sent away because they asked their employers for compensation for the machines that mutilated them?”

I shook my head again. “You don’t get it –”

“No,” Vijay said, and I heard that the calm voice he used — that he always used — was just a tight belt cinched around an enormous pool of anger. That Vijay was angry at me, at us, at the colonists. “No, Dave. I do get it. Do you know what cognitive dissonance is?”

We’d studied it in school, but I hadn’t paid a lot of attention. “It’s like when you believe something and the facts don’t agree with it.”

“That’s right. So say, for example, that you believe that the world is fair, but when you look around it, you see that you have so very much more than everyone else.” I could see where this was going. I began to walk away, but he floated and skipped after me, continuing to talk. “So you have cognitive dissonance. How can the world be fair if you have more than everyone else? It must be fair for you to have more, then, right? And how can that be? It can only be if you are better than everyone else — and everyone else is therefore worse than you –”

I reached a hatch and passed through it and moved out toward the living quarters, downhill in the gravity.

For some reason, there were tears in my eyes.

Escape Pod 700: Martian Chronicles (Part 1 of 2)

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