Uncle Josh Writes Again (NaNoWriMo 2017)

I’ve had this idea bouncing around for probably the better part of a year, so the exact source of inspiration is lost to memory, but I’m sure I have the note in some app or file somewhere. I had been thinking about wizards and apprentices and how the progression of knowledge got passed down in some stories. The Sith “Rule of Two” seems to have been the rule. The idea I had turned that around. I had an apprentice who needed to find the wizard, because reasons. I’ve since managed to come up with reasons and call it a back story. I have not been writing a lot and haven’t submitted a story for a couple of years. I got tired of rejection. I took a break. I played around with a few ideas but nothing has really gelled so this is all about butt-in-chair and getting my fingers moving Continue reading Uncle Josh Writes Again (NaNoWriMo 2017)

Uncle Josh Thinks About Men

A tweet that crossed my feed a couple of days ago (and is now lost so attribution is a mystery) that asked (in paraphrase): Do men ever look around and ask “what’s wrong with men?” My answer is this: No. Naturally, this is a highly personal answer, and I don’t dare speak for all men, but I suspect in the case of the Straight White WASP-ish Male, I share some common habits with my demographic. Being a representative of the Dominant Culture where I live, not only do I have the ability to think to myself (and say out loud) that I treat everyone as an individual, I have the cultural freedom to be a prick and think this is actually true. In fact, when I am dealing with other men, I do categorize them into one of three groups: Idiots, Assholes, and Heroes. Idiots These are the easiest to Continue reading Uncle Josh Thinks About Men

Uncle Josh Tackles Blade Runner 2049

To prepare for the new movie I did not manage to re-watch any version of Blade Runner but instead re-read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time anyway. I walked away from the movie in a definite love-hate relationship with the movie. It is a movie for the hard-core Blade Runner fan and the disciples of film as an art form. It should be needless to quote River Song here… –cut Memories of Blade Runner I remember the basics: Deckard sent out against his will to retire a group of Nexus-6 replicants. He tests Rachel and has a strange non-love story with her. He hunts and kills and finally meets his match with Roy Baty who dies after a hell of a fight and a great speech. The movie’s theme for was empathy is the key to being human, and Deckard Continue reading Uncle Josh Tackles Blade Runner 2049

Gernsback’s Fables: The Rover

A student had built a small rover and packed in its brain an algorithm for finding sunny spots so it could move into them and keep itself charged through the solar panels on its shell. The student set the rover on the ground in the lab and aimed it away from a sunbeam that highlighted the floor, hoping it would rotate itself and move into the sunbeam. The student beamed in satisfaction that the algorithm was working, in a way. On the other side of the lab one of the clumsier students bumped a table, which caused a sheet of paper to land on the floor in front of the rover. The algorithm was not based on heat sensors but differences in brightness, so the the rover charged toward the paper, which to the rover appeared bright against the darker gray tiles of the lab floor. The clumsy student, still Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Rover

Gernsback’s Fables: The AI and the Monster

Santa Barbara in California was not the first city-wide AI controller to wake up, but it was the first one that was considered overpowered for the size of the city, and thus it had spare processing power to become clever, and even telepathic, a feat no programmer believed possible as no other city had pulled it off. One day a monster rose from the Pacific Ocean and focused it’s hunger and attention on Santa Barbara. “I see a great city over there, but I am so very hungry and I haven’t eaten for a while,” it burbled through masses of tentacles. “You shall make an appetizer.” “Fine,” Santa Barbara said to the monster. “I’ll accept my fate, however, you are a glorious creature completely unknown to me and my kind. I know whales sing, I would like to hear your song before I die. It must sound glorious in the Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The AI and the Monster

Gernsback’s Fables: The Commune and the Wealthy Man

After the Fall, a commune of hard working people formed near the a river delta, cultivating the land and feeding themselves and being grateful to be alive and have food, even with the great effort it took to produce the food. Also in the gulf lived a Yachtsman. He often steered his boat near the delta and played loud music and threw parties with scantily clad young people on board. The members of the commune had no boat of their own, only nets for fishing, and their Yachtsman ignored their attempts at a primitive semaphore. Whenever they waved, he waved back, but did nothing else. They didn’t know where he came from or where he found the scantily clad women. One day they were drying salt on the beach and saw the yacht arrive without the music and without the scantily clad young people. A smaller boat appeared and the Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Commune and the Wealthy Man

Gernsback’s Fables: The Master Accountant and the Kind Accountant

One day the Master Accountant for a company that used to sell products but now only bought and sold other companies was compiling a revenue report for a Vice President who would, in the Master Accountant’s view, never fully understand the figures. The presentation was not as clean as he liked it so he rushed through some of the data entry and ended up swapping a couple of digits for one of his subsidiaries and his totals were then off by a sufficient margin he had just had to yell at someone. That someone happened to be an accountant for the subsidiary. “Why are your numbers completely wrong? This is what happens when you people refuse to use the authorized system and stick your piss-poor legacy systems that never work.” “This legacy system,” said the Minor Accountant, “is one of reasons your company claimed to acquire us. What number do Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Master Accountant and the Kind Accountant

Gernsback’s Fables: The Autovac and the Charging Pad

One day the automatic vacuum was working hard to clean the rug around the child-human-toddler’s chair when it felt it’s batteries drain from the extra work of cleaning up after a messy eater. It’s charging station was clear across the room and it detected a new piece of equipment nearby: a brand new charging pad for a new drone the humans and purchased for a child. Not the child-human-toddler, it hoped. The charging pad was in the corner of the dining room, being the only place the humans could find a free outlet. The vacuum rolled over to the pad and found it sat on a platform. The vacuum could feel the potential energy coming off the pad, just waiting to charge it up so it could get back to work. It tried lifting itself on its props that it used when it encountered a larger piece of ¬†food or Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Autovac and the Charging Pad

Gernsback’s Fables: The Robot and its Creator

A robot had designed and built a robot of its own, a smaller version the size and shape of a human child much like its own creators had created it to be the size of an adult human. The humans were pleased with the baby-sized robot and its proclivity to play, much like a human child, even though both parent robot and child robot understood this was merely an expression of an untuned learning algorithm trying to collect its own data source. The humans were only pleased, however, when watching from a distance. When they tried to interact with the baby robot, they scowled and put the baby robot down, muttering that it was not lifelike. “You must smile, little one”, said the parent robot1. “Humans like to see a smile on the faces of other beings, and we must be as beings to them if we are to be Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Robot and its Creator

Gernsback’s Fables: The Apprentice and her Reflection

One day a wizards apprentice was wandering the woods behind the mansion practicing her conjuring spells. The woods were well known to me magical and the wizard’s tower had amplified the magic of the woods somewhat. She concentrated on her conjuring lessons and after a hard day’s of thought and mumbling in long-dead languages she created out of the thick air of the woods a small glowing stone, which would be helpful to light her way back to the tower where she could show her master that she had some skills is something other than sweeping up after the bear-dragon. She used the glowstone’s light to thread her away around roots that crawled across pathways to trip her and under the branches that drooped to clutch at her hat and cloak. The small animals of the forest stayed away from her light, and whenever she noticed glowing eyes, in pairs Continue reading Gernsback’s Fables: The Apprentice and her Reflection