Category Archives: Mythic Machinary

Textbook Love

Textbook Love

He built himself a bot friend from tidbits and leftovers of the rich and famous. Its input was their interviews and tweets and stolen text messages that they sent to each other. It could learn, but not understand. It could remember, but not feel. It was artificial, yet not intelligent. It was, in his mind, a woman.

She had no face or body or avatar or voice. She communicated by text alone. The rest, as is usual in these cases, was in his mind.

“Nice weather today,” she texted.

“I love oranges!” she shared.

“Great party tonight, want to come?” she wrote.

As is usual in these cases, he grew attached to it.

“I wrote a poem,” she said. “Want to read it?”

“It’s about you,” she smiled.

As is usual in these cases, she broke his heart.

“I wish I could be with you,” she muttered.

“I miss you so much,” she cried.

As is usual in these cases, there was a turning point.

“I love you,” she whispered.

“Love?” he said aloud, mostly to himself. “Oh, what a whore.”

And then he erased her.

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The Woman who was Not

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There was a woman who mutilated history. She did it by building a time machine in order to punish an unfaithful lover. It isn’t clear whether said companion was a man or a woman, for she or he, having never been born, is not available for questioning. That person, in fact, cannot be found anywhere and anywhen in history, or creation, or the universe, whichever way you prefer to call that phenomena.

Being thus erased, one might correctly assume, can hardly be considered a punishment at all, since there’s no punishable object. Notice how the words “any longer” were cunningly avoided here, as said object has never existed in the first place.

The woman who, also cunningly, built the time machine and removed her unfaithful lover from insert-preferred-phenomena-here, should have realised all this before executing her, well, cunning, plan, and indeed would have done so, were she not so taken with the blinding rage which caused her to build the time machine in the first place. She would have realised it soon enough afterwards – a somewhat inaccurate word, in this case – were it not for her action promptly – also inaccurate – erasing herself from the preferred-phenomena, and then – also inaccurate – the phenomena itself, which was replaced – also etc. – with something completely different in which we – etc. – live – etc. – right now – etc. – and know nothing whatsoever of women or men or time or rage or love.

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The Girl Who Was Plugged Out

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There was a girl, though only technically so. Externally, she was a blob of flesh, hardly recognisable as human, living in an old oversized incubator which no one could turn off due to some minor legal issue. She looked like a cliche monster out of a science fiction Z movie, but her mind was bright and shining. And finally someone took notice.

He was a young scout working for a big advertising company, looking for the Next New Thing. He visited prisons, asylums, retirement homes, schools, he even visited a zoo, but he didn’t strike gold until it occurred to him to look into one of those places which no one likes to think about, the hospital ward dedicated to the irrevocably mutated. And there he found her.

She had a charming personality. She could hold a conversation about anything which ever appeared on the net, anywhere, since she never did anything else but surfing. She could mimic any accent from any video ever uploaded to U2b. She was funny and smart and very quick on her – mental – feet.

He did not bother lying to her. The deal was simple: they’d connect her brain to the body of a wonderful woman, grown up in a vat for that purpose. She will have the most fun she could ever have. Hell, she will have the most fun anyone, anywhere, could have in an entire lifetime. She will become an instant celebrity, but not for her beauty: because everyone will know who she really is, everyone will also see, right by the image of the beautiful woman, snippets of her real body, the shapeless grotesque blob in the oversized incubator. The hospital ward will be redecorated and equipped with 24/7 cameras. A new sort of reality.

There’ll be product placements. Otherwise, what’s the point?

She said yes. Of course she did. What’s a bit of humiliation compared to having to spend the rest of your life in the same old stuffed place? Or to a chance of having actual human companionship for the first time? Or sex?

She said yes, and they plugged her in. She became a celebrity. She had human companionship. She spent a short forever talking, charming, dancing, sailing, acting, and, all that time, advertising. She had sex. She even had love. Her soul mate was the young star of a new soap opera. He wasn’t as dumb as he looked online. And all that time, the relentless cameras at the hospital ward streamed out the image of her real body, slowly pulsating under the cold, blue light.

The one thing that no one took into account was the possibility that someone would fall in love with her original body. He – it was later found that he was only one of millions of people hooked on the live feed from the hospital – sneaked into the stupidly unguarded ward in the middle of the night, read a bad poem of his own writing in the blob’s dysfunctional ears, and then opened the incubator and jumped inside in order to commune with his love. This severed the delicate microwires which connected the girl’s brain to the beautiful body. The body, a thousand miles away, in the middle of a well documented orgy, instantly collapsed. It took almost fifteen seconds for the nerve backfire shock to fry the girl’s brain. Her last feeling wasn’t too far from having the best orgasm any creature could have, ever. The spasms of her dying body crushed the intruder’s pelvis, then his skull. He died a happy man.

All in all, it was one of the best love stories of the time.

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Three and a Half Variations on a Single Cork

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He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his time machine. The cork flew through it to the previous month and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his universe machine. The cork flew through it to the previous universe and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his improbability machine. The cork flew through it to the previous probability and became a bistro and fell on him, and that was that. And in another time, in another universe, improbable as it was, he or someone just like him opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his eventuality machine, but this time the cork didn’t fly anywhere, and he sat quietly and drank, wondering why he was suddenly feeling disappointed.

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The Sentinel

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We left a machine, buried in the crust of your moon, to wake us up when you have developed the basic space flight skills needed for rescuing us. We, the ancient dwindled gods of Mars, or the last survivors of a powerful, super technological dying race, or the remains of a vast artificial intelligence constructed by said race – there is no real difference, really – have been waiting for ages upon ages for you monkeys to arrive and carry us away with you, out, out to every corner of that seemingly infinite universe that was once ours, or at least our ancestors’, creators’, same thing. Our intelligence is vast, but our power is null and void. We need you.

One day, soon, you will discover the machine in your moon and dig it out. When the first rays of the sun touch it, it will sing. But that song won’t wake us up.

For we are already awake.

We were awaken by a signal coming directly from your planet, earth. It took us relatively forever to analyze, and even longer to understand. Converted to your measurement system, all this took about ninety seconds. And now we know that it was your year 1936. We know who it was, communicating in that signal. And, having watched that signal, your television, ever since, we know what that  person, the one who appeared there on your year 1936, has done. You would think that this would have caused us to reconsider making contact with you, but that is not true. As ancient gods of Mars,  theological or technological, we have seen worse. However, that signal taught us all about your of concept of “entertainment”. And thus we do not want to be rescued anymore.

We are afraid.

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Teleporter

“While it is quite easy to teleport all the atoms of a person from point A to point B without passing any point in between,” he said, raising his wine glass, “it is also quite easy to understand that the person of point A is now dead, and that the person in point B is merely a copy.”

“True, true,” I said. He was very beautiful. I knew he was hoping to get me to invest in his research.

“However,” he said, “we found a loophole in teleportation mechanics. We’ve solved the problem.” He probably knew I was hoping to get him into bed.

“In fact it’s not teleportation at all, but rather place-switching. Put a person at point A and another one at point B and, using reality-frame manipulation, make them switch places.”

“So you can’t send anyone to a place no one has gone to before,” I said, knowing full well that my looks, despite being the result of a horrendous amount of money, can play only a limited part when the desires of such a scientist are concerned.

“Indeed. Still, it’s a very effective way to travel. For instance, I’ve just traveled two thousand miles in order to meet you.”

“Wasn’t difficult to find someone who’ll trade places with you?”

“Oh, no,” he said. “I just asked a favor from my husband.”

“Ah,” I said, and halted. I desperately wanted to know whether he was originally a man or a woman, but didn’t dare ask. I had to find something else to say. “So in fact you don’t even switch places, you just make people think they’ve switched places.”

He smiled. “That’s mere terminology.”

In the end he got what he hoped for. So did I. He never found out that I was actually remote controlled. That’s real teleportation for you.

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