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Short story discussions > Nebula Nom: Her Husband's Hands, by Adam-Troy Castro

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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Let's discuss Her Husband's Hands by Adam-Troy Castro, nominated in the Short Story category for the 2011 Nebula Awards.


message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen Can't decide whether I'm totally creeped out by this or not. Interesting idea.


message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 973 comments Creepy is certainly the word.

It's best to know little of this story or what it's "about" before delving into it.

The abject horror of the aftermath of war. That's about as much as I'm comfortable saying. The story speaks the rest.


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments It creeped me out. Ick.


message 5: by Helen (new)

Helen Particularly the other woman with hands!


message 6: by Nikita (new)

Nikita (nikita42) Creepy is definitely the word.


message 7: by Celia (new)

Celia Stander (celiastander) | 2 comments Yes, creepy. But don't you think it also had a kind of haunting beauty to it? This could also spawn a whole other discussion about the right to life, technology, war, etc. etc., which could have been the author's intention.


message 8: by Jasmine M (last edited Mar 07, 2012 08:00AM) (new)

Jasmine M | 19 comments Nikita wrote: "Creepy is definitely the word."

when I saw the comments here, I started reading the story and thinking of coming up with a discription of it other than "creepy" which everybody seems to be fond of, so here is what I think

"it is creepy" I think it is the word just like Nikita said, I can't use another word for it

+++could be spoilers for those who didn't read it +++

aside from the creepiness what did everybody think? do you agree that a single limb or organ of a person can replace him, I don't think this story is about the horrors of war only, I think it's about the people we lose and wish to have some physical reminder of them, in my case, I'd settle for a photo or as far as a hair lock, definitely not a hand...

why do you think such a technology might exist, one would think it started to help people who lost a significant body part but are still capable of leading a productive life, but then they got carried away

but what is the meaning of a person with nothing left of him but a few internal organs kept in a box and the only way he or she can communicate with the world is by projecting images of it's former self..

all in all, I didn't like the story, it's interesting, intriguing, but I think I miss the message the writer is trying to convey


message 9: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 973 comments Celia wrote: "Yes, creepy. But don't you think it also had a kind of haunting beauty to it? This could also spawn a whole other discussion about the right to life, technology, war, etc. etc., which could have be..."

Celia and Jasmine,

To me what is important about a story is not so much author's intent as the way I interpret the story. This is especially true in science fiction where I am woefully inadequate in deciphering the science behind the story, and therefore I'm sure I don't get a lot of the science-minded intent of the authors.

Well, this story is not so science oriented. And I think you both wonderfully point out ways in which the "haunting beauty" of the story comes through. But what I got out of it personally was a feflection on the horrors of PTSD. Yes, it was carried to a grotesque scientifically-based extreme, and why society, scientific and otherwise, would want to carry the technology of life preservation this far is a mystery -- but it's not unthinkable. It's horrific, yes!

This story carried a deep impact for me, probably because PTSD is such a real thing. Was that the author's intent? Probably not solely that; but it's what the story meant to me.


MB (What she read) Weird, I kept thinking how do the parts stay alive without food or digestive systems. Just replace with a battery?

Strange (and creepy) story.


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments MB wrote: "Weird, I kept thinking how do the parts stay alive without food or digestive systems. Just replace with a battery?"
I didn't think of that.
I thought the PTSD aspect was done well, but that the focus was more on the survivor and societal expectations.


message 12: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments I initially read this story last month and I have been waiting for my thoughts to get sorted before posting. They do not seem to be willing to become sorted however. :D

I do agree with Nick, it is best to go into the story blind.

I keep thinking the author was trying to make a point, but has gone to such extremes in doing so that the entire thing has become ludicrous.


message 13: by Helen (last edited Mar 11, 2012 02:02PM) (new)

Helen I would not want bits of any of my loved ones, I thought it was awful the way she felt dutybound to keep his hands and be cheerful.


message 14: by Jasmine M (new)

Jasmine M | 19 comments Helen wrote: "I would not want bits of any of my loved ones, I thought it was awful the way she felt dutybound to keep his hands and be cheerful."

I think it has something to do with the society and what is acceptable to them, did you consider the alternative? what if she refused to take her husband's hands, what if she like that guy in the support group said "my husband is dead!" how would she be judged by her community, I don't think she had another choice, I was hoping that the writer would offer the alternative, I was hoping he would show us what would've happened if she refused rather than accepted her duty as a wife, but he did exactly what he set out to do, giving us a scenario, a single scene of a bigger picture, to Rebecca...this is her husband, no matter how diminished...

and I think the hands need therapy, because at their current state they are a danger to the wife...
-I can't believe I talking a bout a pair of hands..ewwww-


MB (What she read) For her sake, I hope the hands' power source runs out soon.


message 16: by Helen (new)

Helen Jasmine, I totally agree. With the talking about hands bit too. She seemed to be finding a use for them at the end which was also disturbing but I do feel her life isn't safe with 'him'.


message 17: by Jasmine M (new)

Jasmine M | 19 comments MB wrote: "For her sake, I hope the hands' power source runs out soon."

LOL!


message 18: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I just read this and loved it. The absurdity of the concept made the emotions even more powerful. Very sad but beautiful story. I'm going to be writing a brief article about all the nominated stories for Tor.com. (This was the first one I read.)


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments Will you announce when your article is posted? I'd like to read it.


message 20: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (last edited Mar 30, 2012 09:25AM) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Sure, Sarah, and thank you for your interest. (You can also subscribe to my site, where I post everything I write around the web.)


message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments Is that the right URL? If so, it's for sale.


message 22: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Argh! Fixed.


message 23: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 82 comments I also loved it. It is very creepy but also thought provoking.

I lost a child. I have often said I would want her back in any form. The story made me think on that sentiment. The each of the soliders came back was more for the sake of others.

The reason I think had the most weight was so the number killed by the war would be decreased.

Good story. From reading the comments people came out of it with different thoughts. I feel that is the measure of a trully great story.


message 24: by Jasmine M (new)

Jasmine M | 19 comments Renee wrote: "I also loved it. It is very creepy but also thought provoking.

I lost a child. I have often said I would want her back in any form. The story made me think on that sentiment. The each of the sol..."


I never lost a loved one, but now I think I know what you mean, and what does this story means for those who lost a loved one, thanks for the insight, and sorry for your loss, I have no children of my own, so I can only sympathize

but let's say there is a possibility to save a part of your child, would you do it, "how much" of her is acceptable?
when I read the story I thought it was about dealing with loss and to what lengths people would go to keep what they could of their loved ones- by that I mean memories and possessions ..not body parts


MB (What she read) Maybe this is the SFish equivalent of fairytale themes of 'be careful what you wish for because you just might get it...'


message 26: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 82 comments I think you could be right MB. Be careful what you wish for.

Jasmine, I think the story tried to illustrate just what you said. How much is accetable. Is it really a life for the neighbors daughter that is just a strip of thigh? All the different member of the support group had so many different pieces. You heard each one and thought what is too much.


message 27: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Sarah Pi wrote: "Will you announce when your article is posted? I'd like to read it."

The guest post about this story I wrote for The Speculative Scotsman was posted this morning:

http://scotspec.blogspot.com/2012/04/...


message 28: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments Nice post. I think if the story had ended at what you describe in this paragraph, I would have liked it a little better. "And then, at the very end, the story suddenly ends on a hopeful note, when Bob comes clean and admits that he didn’t have all his memories expunged, because “the only thing worth remembering about any of it was how much of it i spent wanting to return to you.” The couple finally find common ground, despite everything that’s happened. It’s a surprisingly gentle and tender ending to this story."

The image of one hand going north, one hand going south drew it back to the farcical for me again right at the end.


message 29: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Good point. It's like the emotional content of the story is book-ended by these moments of absurdism. I guess it's the middle of the story that made such an impact on me.

Have you read his story "Jordan's Waterhammer"? Most recently it's included in John Joseph Adams' Brave New Worlds anthology. Absolutely brilliant.


message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 132 comments I've only read this story of his and the nominee from last year.


message 31: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2314 comments Mod
Just read this...wow. Creepy is the right word. I've always said of military spouses that I don't know HOW they can stand living with those long absences that have the potential to be come permanent - with this as an option I think it would be even worse!


message 32: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 847 comments Stefan wrote: "Good point. It's like the emotional content of the story is book-ended by these moments of absurdism."

That was my problem with the story. Parts were so absurd that it seems to overpower the rest.


message 33: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 973 comments Random wrote: "Stefan wrote: "Good point. It's like the emotional content of the story is book-ended by these moments of absurdism."

That was my problem with the story. Parts were so absurd that it seems to ove..."


I didn't get absurdism from this story -- I got grotesque. When you're dealing with sci-fi and "what-if" situations, you're going to come up with things that are off the wall -- but I was not struck with the irony of existence in this story so much as the horror that can come from scientific "advancement."


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