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Tenth of December
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2014 Book Discussions > Tenth of December - Exhortation (May 2014)

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Terry Pearce | 763 comments Discuss the short story 'exhortation' here.

Question to kick things off (but discuss whatever you like): What do you think was going on? What exactly do the company do? Does it matter?


Whitney | 2044 comments Mod
This story nailed the corporate memo as written by the middle management flunky; trying to get people on board with the company program while obviously repressing his own feelings about what's going on. It reminds me of the memos that circulate at large companies undergoing layoffs. A kind of half cajoling, half threatening tone implying employees should be glad because what's good for the company is good for everyone. And why would anyone who still has a job complain? (Cough cough). I loved the bizarre whale story as well. The guy is trying to add a personal note to his memo, at the same time he’s found an excuse to tell his story to a large audience.

Obviously in this company there's something more sinister than layoffs going on in Room 6. I think leaving the details unspecified make the story stronger. We fill in our own ideas about what kind of nefarious activities may be going on. And I suspect many if not most people feel a resonance with their own experiences burying moral or ethical concerns for the sake of not messing up their work situation. Even if it means cleaning the shelf in Room 6.

And what’s going on with poor Andy? I inferred something horrible was happening with his home life, but clueless Todd can only interpret it in terms of Andy’s previous stellar performance. And then, again, the passive-aggressive threats about Andy's current work with no concern for what his problems may be. Because that’s how corporations work.


Terry Pearce | 763 comments I also enjoyed what was outside the story here, and the lack of explanation of the things you mention left plenty of space.

I did wonder if it was deliberate that this was placed after Escape from Spiderhead, with all the nefarious goings-on and rooms in that story. Not saying the two are meant to inhabit exactly the same universe necessarily (although would it be impossible?), but that the thematic link is nice.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2270 comments Terry, I also wondered if what Todd's team was assigned to do was the cleaning of one of the rooms at the testing facility of the previous story. And the dead whale - about which they initially felt neutral - was an analogy to the dead bodies they might be cleaning out of Room 6. It seems they had a choice - a year ago "when this whole thing started" - as to whether to be involved "in terms of ultimate good/bad/indifferent in terms of morals."


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