Decoys by Chris Harris


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Post June 01, 2005, 12:57:19 AM

Decoys by Chris Harris

This was another enjoyable story in this issue of enjoyable stories.  Decoys was a great read.  It kept me hanging on and wondering what was coming next in each paragraph.  I like that kind of story.<br><br>Warning:  If you haven't read the story, I'm going to say some things here that may spoil it for you.<br><br>The ending--the very last sentence, actually--raised a bunch of questions for me, such as:  Why couldn't the narrator (I didn't catch his name) hear the high/low pitch of his sound generator?  He was, after all, also an android-like being.  And why didn't Caroline hear it?<br><br>Narrator was shocked that his neighbors had no navels or sex organs--wouldn't he and Caroline have been the same?  Why did the neighbors go to all the trouble to cover their true condition for so long when all the time they knew that Narrator and his wife were like beings?<br><br>And what was the repetitious routine all about?  I could probably think of more.<br><br>The story would have made a little more sense to me if the neighbors had some how converted Narrator and wife into androids (as Narrator feared they might do) after Narrator started getting wise.  But if they did in fact convert them, how they did it got by me.<br><br>But by and large this was a really good story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  And I s'pose that's what it's all about--except maybe for the Hokey Pokey!<br><br>Donald
Last edited by dsullivan on June 01, 2005, 01:02:41 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 01, 2005, 05:44:09 AM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris

My guess is that the narrator and his wife were advanced, experimental models -- the 'neighbors' were there to observe and troubleshoot, and if necessary to divert attention away from the more valuable pair (hence the title). (They were T-800s; the narrator and his wife(?) were T-1000s?) The ability to generate clothing (or the appearance thereof) might have been sacrificed in the process of providing a more human appearance and functionality in the advanced models.<br><br>Robert 'I can explain anything' M.
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Post June 01, 2005, 11:23:15 AM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris


Robert 'I can explain anything' M.
<br><br>Okay. How about explaining why some Canadians spell British style (colour, centre, etc), and some--like yourself--use the "Americanized" spelling.<br><br>Puzzled in Peoria<br>
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Post June 01, 2005, 12:32:40 PM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris


Okay.  How about explaining why some Canadians spell British style (colour, centre, etc), and some--like yourself--use the "Americanized" spelling.

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<br>Silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids. Oops, wrong question. When in Aphelion, do as the Aphelionites do. As far as I know, I'm the only Canuck on staff (Iain might use 'British' spelling, too, but in poetry, who can tell ;)), and I would assume that most Aphelion readers are 'Mericans too, so ... On the other hand, Simon Owens once pointed out that they don't TEACH spelling and grammar in the public schools any more, so we might just do a gradual transition to Ebonics, just to see if anybuddy notiss.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 01, 2005, 01:39:28 PM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris

Oh NO! Not the Ebonic Plague! :-X<br>It's true, most Aphelion submissions arrive pre-Americanized- I think. The ones that do come in Britishisms usually get left that way, as I recall. There isn't a set Aphelion policy on this, and I don't see any reason to make one. Whatever works best for the individual story, that's what I want.<br>Dan<br>
Last edited by Vila on June 01, 2005, 01:45:47 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 02, 2005, 08:47:30 PM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris

Good entertaining story! Nice twist at the end, but <br><br> I think the ending could have been better; however, it <br><br> worked for me.<br><br> This story reminded me of a "Twilight Zone" episode <br><br> that I watched in the fifties! But the neighbors were<br><br> the only androids and they were afraid of lighting.<br><br> Very good story and I would like to read more from<br><br> this author!<br><br>
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Post June 03, 2005, 09:48:26 PM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris

This story was droll, bordering on almost too droll at times, but it read real well. I'd like to make a one minor suggestion:<br><br>It would be less device-y if we're clued into the contents of the garage early on in the story, then later when the hero decides he needs to investigate, it's less "convenient" and more fluid for him to turn to his clutter of gadgets. That's an easy fix, as our hero is in the garage early in the story and we hear nothing about all this gadgetry that he's able to use in his quest to learn about his neighbors. <br><br>And there was no payoff with respect to the special room. So what was happening in there? Also, the revelation of this room's existence should've come earlier in the story as well. And perhaps our hero wasn't too concerned about a doorless room when he first encountered it because he was under his neighbor's sway; I'll grant that.<br><br>For me, the build up didn't merit the somewhat tepid ending. The reveal struck me as, well, a bit contrived. So, what should happen? Not sure. Sorry, got my own writing dilemmas, Chris--yer on yer own.<br><br>Bottom line, I enjoyed the writing style and thought over all the story made for an enjoyable read. <br><br>By the way, you can Americanize the spelling, but the English accent rings through quite clearly. Frankly, since my opinion is gospel around here, I would prefer non-Americanization of non-American pieces. I think we've seen quite enough Americanization for one (multiple) generations.<br><br>Dan E.<br>
Last edited by unforgibbon on June 03, 2005, 10:37:31 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 05, 2005, 07:55:31 PM

Re: Decoys by Chris Harris

Not a T-1000. This was more like a T-743.6: Non-Specific Sleeper Android who's self-awareness circuits haven't activated yet.<br><br>I could see a very good reason that he and Caroline didn't notice the sound generator: at that point, they weren't programmed to accept any input that regular humans get. If they were really picking up all those sensory inputs, it could well have given away the plot.<br> <br>As far as the Narrator being shocked at a lack of sex organs, it depends when he was switched. I suspect it was the night when he "woke" in the garden on the bench, with only a vague notion of how he got there. If the stereotype is true of how cold a British bed is for a married couple, they might have not known for a long time. Also, if clothes could just "form" on Anne, why couldn't sex organs appear when needed? If you assume it was just illusion, they couldn't, but if molecules were actually re-arranging, the necessary parts could appear as needed.<br><br>Another thing that led me to believe this switch had just happened was the smile on Caroline's face when she saw he was an android too. She, after all, had just come from the shower, and if she was capable of self-awareness, that would have been the moment. <br><br>At the least, the narrator was not self-aware, and this did not make sense to me. What is to be gained by him not knowing? Is it a test of their infiltration software? If he wasn't supposed to blow his memory cap, it was a rather contrived moment to be damaged and find out the truth. The "convenience" of the reveal was the only real flaw I could find in it.<br><br>I find myself wondering if the narrator was the real decoy, a unit designed to deceive and entrap by disguised action. He was a better unit than the neighbors, and less prone to easily detected routines. Perhaps he assimilated them all, and spying was the most "human" way to study their performance without tipping off his "front office" persona.<br><br>Or it could be completely the other way around, and everyone was checking on him to see how well things worked. <br><br>This is a fun story!<br><br>Nate
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Post June 22, 2005, 12:31:37 PM

Decoys by Chris Harris

<br>the ending worked well, but no surprise there since Caroline and the narrator clearly had their own pre-set routine, like sunbathing, the naps, and getting to a pub.<br>pretty cool plot construction and a despairing mood made Decoys memorable, but it was indeed droll, as others have noted. the lack of dialogue and those short, machine-gun paragraphs made for a challenging and dry read.<br><br>Lee

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