We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin


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Post November 09, 2004, 09:48:07 PM

We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

My word, what an interesting setting!<br><br><br>It makes my brainpan feel rather addled--I haven't come up with anything this original in a long time... I'm quite jealous.<br><br>I have to ask--what was the inspiration for this? Given the text, I'd have to guess tequila, but I'd love to know the real answer.<br><br><br>Top marks on world building. The clinic feels like a real place, although it is not described in much detail. Also, since Ursula cannot stand the smell of the new patient, clearly more of the senses have been brought into play, and I like that. (I missed when her olfactory input was turned back on that she could have noticed the smell in the couches, however.)<br><br>I wondered why Ursula could be fixed up in most other ways, but not in her short term memory, but it did help make her interesting. <br><br>The plot was rather simple: rude patient arrives, receives treatment, and escapes justice before skedaddling, and then everything goes back to the way it was. This simplicity was, in my opinion, the only real drawback to this story. By that I mean, it was such a good setting, it seemed a shame to have such a simple plot play out in front of it, as if the story couldn't reach it's whole potential that way.<br><br>Now, if this was a setting for a series of stories... That would be something to write home about, and I hope Greg doesn't abandon such a grand setting. It cries out to be visited again.<br><br>Hmm... an Al Majius series, an Al Rice series, and a Munsfeld clinic series, too? You can almost hear Cary diving under his desk… :)<br><br>Nate<br>
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Post November 10, 2004, 04:14:56 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Hmm. I suspect the influence of Red Dwarf and / or Douglas (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).<br><br>From the sound of it, Usula's hippocampus has deteriorated, so the mechanism through which she can learn and remember new things is shot. Memories in her artificially augmented long term storage are safe, but nothing new can be recorded -- current experience fades quickly, like a phone number you remember just long enough to dial. Viz. the movie Memento for an even more disorienting take on this problem.<br><br>The title, I would guess, might be a Philip K. Dick tribute (from We Can Remember it for You Wholesale). Come to think of it, the style and overall effect of this is rather reminiscent of some of Dick's work; after a few pages, you start to feel a bit 'floaty', disconnected from what passes for reality around here.<br><br>As with 'Wingles and Wafoons', a death- or death-like penalty is meted out for less-than-mortal sins. You'd think these stories were set in Texas when Dubya was Governor! (Oops. Is that Homeland Security pounding on my door? What are they doing in Canada?)<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>
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Post November 11, 2004, 09:36:58 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Phew! That'll be my 2 comments then. Thanks Robert and Nate.<br><br>
I have to ask--what was the inspiration for this? Given the text, I'd have to guess tequila, but I'd love to know the real answer.
<br><br>That's hard to say. The original idea was the isolated clinic. After thousands of years, the 'people' have become a bit 'cooky'. Occasionally, customers arrive and the workers try to deal with it.<br><br>
Top marks on world building. The clinic feels like a real place, although it is not described in much detail. Also, since Ursula cannot stand the smell of the new patient, clearly more of the senses have been brought into play, and I like that. (I missed when her olfactory input was turned back on that she could have noticed the smell in the couches, however.)
<br><br>Glad to hear that. Although the place in never described in detail (and I never conceived it in great detail), when I am 'there' I don't want to leave. It should be daunting place, but I feel at home there.<br><br>
Now, if this was a setting for a series of stories... That would be something to write home about, and I hope Greg doesn't abandon such a grand setting. It cries out to be visited again.
<br><br>Well, I didn't write it with the intention of producing a series, but it's funny you should say that, because on writing it, I also thought that it made a good setting for a series of episodical stories, not only because it is an interesting setting, but, as you mention, things go back to 'normal' between events and there is a huge timespan over which stuff can happen.
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Post November 11, 2004, 09:46:03 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Hmm.  I suspect the influence of Red Dwarf and / or Douglas (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
<br><br>Hands up! There was no conscious attempt to make a similar piece to either, but I suppose it's all in there somewhere.<br><br>
From the sound of it, Usula's hippocampus has deteriorated, so the mechanism through which she can learn and remember new things is shot.  
<br><br>Eggsactly, problems with the hippipotocampy... what he said. Didn't want to bore my readers with my vast technical knowledge of the brain and medicine! :)<br><br>
The title, I would guess, might be a Philip K. Dick tribute (from We Can Remember it for You Wholesale).  
<br><br>Well, it'd be stretching the truth say it was a deliberate tribute as such, but I was aware that it had a simlar ring to it, and in both stories 'doctors' perform rather incredible transformations of their patients, with variable results.
Last edited by Greg_Guerin on November 11, 2004, 09:47:49 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post November 11, 2004, 10:54:59 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Well, I didn't write it with the intention of producing a series, but it's funny you should say that, because on writing it, I also thought that it made a good setting for a series of episodical stories, not only because it is an interesting setting, but, as you mention, things go back to 'normal' between events and there is a huge timespan over which stuff can happen.
<br>Not only that, but in true "ship show" tradition, new characters and storylines can literally walk in through the door at any time. It's a place that was known throughout the galaxy. Surely there are more people out there than Gus who need fixing up. Think a space-based but deranged ER or St. Elsewhere (did they have that one in Oz?).<br><br>Nate
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Post November 11, 2004, 11:51:22 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Not only that, but in true "ship show" tradition, new characters and storylines can literally walk in through the door at any time. It's a place that was known throughout the galaxy. Surely there are more people out there than Gus who need fixing up. Think a space-based but deranged ER or St. Elsewhere (did they have that one in Oz?).

Nate
<br><br>Yes, both, but I'm not a big TV hospital drama fan. :)<br><br>The Looooove Boat... mmm hhhmm hmmhm ladidi dada deeee....
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Post November 12, 2004, 01:10:40 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Then there were the Sector General stories by James White (although this would be more like a cross between the current TV series Nip/Tuck (about plastic surgeons in LaLa land), Scrubs (frequently goofy interns doing their residency under a very competent but humorously abusive mentor), and Deep Space Nine / Babylon Five). The characters who never learn anything from their experiences (but have a good excuse) would be a new angle, of course.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post November 18, 2004, 11:39:15 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

We can Remake You is a nonsensical fun-filled tale of a farcicle future with lots of chuckles. Highly enjoyable. I'd give it an A.<br><br>Just curious--Did some of the names come from The Munsters (especially Herman?)<br><br>Donald
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Post November 19, 2004, 12:12:13 AM

[quote author=Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

From the sound of it, Usula's hippocampus has deteriorated, so the mechanism through which she can learn and remember new things is shot.

Robert M.

<br><br>Yes, I suppose someone with a hippopotamus brain might have trouble learning and remembering things. :-(<br><br>
You'd think these stories were set in Texas when Dubya was Governor! (Oops. Is that Homeland Security pounding on my door? What are they doing in Canada?)

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<br><br>Relax. It's probably the democrats bringing you an application for U.S. citizenship so you can vote in the next election! :-)<br><br>
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Post November 19, 2004, 12:21:38 AM

Re: [quote author=We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

... I suppose someone with a hippopotamus brain might have trouble learning and remembering things. :-(
<br><br>Don't be silly. The Hippo Campus is the site where most of the buildings of Hippotamus University are located. What with the underfunding of public post-secondary education in North America, it has been deteriorating for many years (obviously impairing the learning process on a grand scale).<br><br>Robert M.<br>
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Post November 19, 2004, 01:40:54 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

We can Remake You is a nonsensical fun-filled tale of a farcicle future.
 <br><br>Phew. Yes. :)<br><br>
Just curious--Did some of the names come from The Munsters (especially Herman?)

Donald
<br><br>Err, no, I'll ask for help if I ever invent a set of characters that far gone...<br><br>Brian is an anagram of 'brain' since this is all he is.<br><br>Entralia is based on 'entrails'-- you can see his.<br><br>Usula, Herman and Gus just popped in to my head and felt right!<br><br>Thanks for the comment (more always appreciated--they're nearly as addictive as lettercol stars...)!
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Post November 22, 2004, 12:01:32 AM

We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

<br>yes, also thought of Douglas Adams when reading this, and imagined the two main characters, Usula and Entralia, to look like the robots from AI. was Entralia thus named for his see-through tummy? and why "Usula"?<br>anyway, very humorous, had more than a few good laughs, and highly creative. liked Herman, actually waited for him to wake up, but would have loved to hear a few F words out of him for believability's sake. and Gus, well, he and the Inrarnians were a bit too gross for my liking, but then i was getting ready for lunch.<br><br>as for you, Rob, of course homesec's in Canada. Ever heard of Eminent Destiny? Or was it Domain?<br><br>Lee

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Post November 22, 2004, 11:20:53 AM

We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

<br>was of course talking about MANIFEST destiny. too much coffee and cigarettes.<br><br>Lee

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Post November 26, 2004, 01:35:20 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Frankly, I'm out of my element when it comes to science fiction so I can't comment with much confidence. <br><br>Although I know a wry sense of humor when I see one. <br><br>This reminded me a bit of early 1970s sci-fi. Don't ask me what that means cuz I don't know. But I think of that Bruce Dern flick and greenhouse space ship and that weird-ass TV show about the space Ark and those two people wandering its near empty and speaking to the old dude in the monitor ("Can I be of assistance?") Anybody remember that? Anybody? Bueller?<br><br>Having said that (whatever that was), the setting was unusual without being intimidatingly far out. And the characters all retained their humanity despite being without much of their human-ness. There was a loneliness underlying all the repartee.<br><br>Perhaps I missed something, but I wasn't sure why the patients (inmates) were running the clinic (asylum).<br><br>Anyway, this was a fun and basic story, yet a certain complexity made it pretty compelling.<br><br>Dan E.<br><br>

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Post November 26, 2004, 03:19:58 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Perhaps I missed something, but I wasn't sure why the patients (inmates) were running the clinic (asylum).
<br><br>Basically, the clinic was once very busy and therefore presumably full of patients and many 'medics' etc. The unsaid development was that as business declined and the place sort of got forgotten about, the staff gradually left, until only these few remained, those who had nowhere else to go or were loyal to the place, and they just had to run it as best they could, hence the cleaner who does much of the organising. Which is the other thing-- all of the characters began in some staff role, although in Usula's case at least, this was after arriving as a patient. I imagined that Entralia began as underling staff and opted for some 'mods' along the way.<br><br>In other words, the characters are there and running things by default!<br><br>Thanks for your comments.
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Post November 26, 2004, 10:25:18 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

... This reminded me a bit of early 1970s sci-fi. Don't ask me what that means cuz I don't know. But I think of that Bruce Dern flick and greenhouse space ship and that weird-ass TV show about the space Ark and those two people wandering its near empty and speaking to the old dude in the monitor ("Can I be of assistance?") Anybody remember that? Anybody? Bueller?
...
Dan E.

<br>The movie was the 'classic', Silent Running, with music by the great Peter Schickele(sp?), a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach, and effects by Douglas Trumbull (who worked on Star Wars Ep. IV, back when it was just Star Wars). Trumbull also did the effects (such as they were) for the TV series, The Starlost ... The promo for The Starlost that ran at TorCon II actually used footage from Silent Running.<br><br>The Starlost was the subject of a satirical novel called The Starcrossed, by Ben Bova, who was nominally the science advisor for the show, and more than one rant by Harlan Ellison, who wrote the pilot script (Phoenix Without Ashes, a Hugo winner) and then saw the series become what it became ...<br><br>Man, Canadian sf TV production has come a long way from The Starlost ... we've had Andromeda (occasionally cool) and Earth: Final Conflict (likewise), the earlier seasons of The X-Files, and we now have Stargate: SG-1, The Dead Zone, and Smallville all shooting up here. (We've also had Mutant X, Lexx, and a few others I'd just as soon forget about, but so far we haven't been guilty of much in the way of 'reality' shows.)<br><br>Thus endeth the major digression. We now return you to our regularly scheduled thread, 'Greg sure writes weird stuff', already in progress.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post December 01, 2004, 02:08:12 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Okay, the last story for November and what a doozy! I could almost hear the laugh track. Definitely crafted in the Douglas Adams' style of writing. I particularly liked the concept of Brian. Instead of having a sentient computer wired to the entire clinic, we have a creature's skin stretched across the entire clinic. A nice twist.<br><br>Interesting use of the "♫♫♪♫" characters as well. I've seen musical scores inserted into writing, but not generic notes approximating a musical sound.<br><br>Edit: the musical notes don't show up, although they copied and pasted just find in the editor.
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Post December 01, 2004, 10:57:12 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Interesting use of the "♫♫♪♫" characters as well. I've seen musical scores inserted into writing, but not generic notes approximating a musical sound.
<br><br>I whacked a few odd characters in there without warning the editors. Glad the musical notes came out. I think the original text had some weird characters for Gus's first 'words' but I didn't really expect them to come out in html and it looks good without them anyway.
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Post December 04, 2004, 09:27:17 AM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

Very interesting story Greg. I like the way it ended, almost like it was just another day at the office (thanks to Ursulas memory loss). It also seems fitting, that after screwing everyone over, Gus is on his way to gettring his just desserts.<br><br>Kevin
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Post December 09, 2004, 02:38:06 PM

Re: We Can Remake You by Greg Guerin

A Dick clone....yup, I see that too! Nicely done!<br><br>Great worldsetting? Sure is...want more of these and even some 'new' chars too!!! How about an intern comes to do his time...or a lottery offering Ed McMahon has $$$ for one of their "complete biochemical changeover" templates or some such thingy! Ummm...loved Usula and the Dr was a hoot!<br><br>And never read any Adams...but if this is like his work, gotta try him next!<br><br>Job well done, Greg....can't wait for the next "chapter"<br><br>:-)<br><br>Jim<br><br>PS Robert...the reason why the US film companies come to Canada (i'm a canuck who worked on movie shoots in the Toronto area btw) is that our $ is so much less, which makes their production budget stretch so much further...!
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