Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Roadside Rescue" by Pat Cadigan

There is something deeply disturbing about Pat Cadian's story. Set vaguely at some point in the future in which alien races have become common to Earth, it involves a chance roadside encounter between Etan Carrea, whose vehicle has broken down and an alien. The alien, as we find out from it's Limo driver, is fascinated by the sound of the human voice, almost to the point of a sexual fetish. To this end, Etan is coerced into talking with the alien, in a scene that brutally parallels rape in many ways. It's truly quite unsettling.

Unsettling, but I'm not sure there's really much else there. Of course, the story is only about six pages long, so how much could there be, right? I guess what I mean is that I'm not sure what Cadigan's goal was in creating this story other than to explore the idea that, since aliens could very well be vastly different from us in terms of gender, sex, and sexuality, that violation could take place in many forms. Perhaps this thought is enough to carry the story, and I will admit that, due to the tense and tight writing style, it did compel me to read on. However, after finishing the story, I can't help but wonder what the point was. What should I take away from this other than aliens are quite possibly capable of being just as debased and depraved as human beings? And, if that is what I should take away from this, is that enough?

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