Tag Archives: science fiction

Deckard Enters a Bar

Blade Runner 2049


The Colony war was winding down. No longer were they seeking off world recruits among the masses. After Rachel’s expiration, Deckard had grown depressed and listless in retirement. As he dropped down into the microwave glide path of J.F. Sebastian’s former building, his Spinner’s vidphone activated automatically and a voice asked, “Business or pleasure?”

“Boredom,” he said.

There was no response. His vehicle came to rest in a designated slot near the entrance to a new structure which bled colors across his windscreen in the rain. The garage computer, having traced and approved his Spinner’s ID as a former police vehicle, had selected the VIP section. Deckard stepped out and looked up at the fake neon signage: Club Turing. He’s heard about the place. Without his portable SK machine, it might be a challenge. Out of curiosity, he stepped through the scan portal, had credits deducted, and took a table. Opposite some old school roulette wheels (which eliminated the electronic manipulation of results,) there were two stages for the girls. One was lit in red, the other blue. It was the latest gambling innovation: guess which dancer was real. After you bought a drink, you made a bet from your table, and touched one of two glowing—and anatomically correct—globes there.

Deckard was about to place his first bet when a girl sat next to him. She was blond with short hair, and wore a green thong bikini and clear plastic high heeled shoes. “You look familiar,” she said, giving him a wry smile.

“I’ve never been here before,” Deckard responded. He figured that if she was an android she’d have accessed his entry data, and intended to fool him into thinking she’d been arrested in his past. If she was a replicant, maybe she used the tactic on everyone. On the other hand, if she was real, that was another matter. In either case, the object was to fool the patron up close and personal, getting him to wager much more than the price of a drink. “I was just curious,” Deckard added, by way of explanation.

“Handsome too,” the girl said.

Deckard chuckled. The lie was no clue. Touching her would be no clue, either. Amazing, what the flesh factories could produce. He decided to try another tactic. “Do you like poetry?” he asked. “Because I have a poem for you to read. You can tell me whether you think it was written by a replicant or not.”

He tapped his vid pen twice on the table, and it projected a text image. The girl read the poem and shrugged. “Hard to tell,” she said. “But if I had to guess, I’d say you wrote it.”

“And am I a replicant?” Deckard asked.

“No, you’re not.”

Deckard smiled and made his bet, thinking, How would you know?


© Jonathan Lowe

science fiction

Family Die (with SkyGuy)

The Ways

The year is 2046. Exactly one year prior the Singularity occurred at Apple, and computers everywhere became self aware (even laptops,) and linked together over the Internet as SKYGUY, presenting humanity an ultimatum: to either turn themselves off (suicide) or become robots, thereby requiring no more food and creating no more pollution. Advances in neuroscience and quantum computing had advanced to such a level that only a final calculation was needed to permit human consciousness to achieve this evolution, and that calculation was made within 48 minutes of the Singularity. By 82 minutes every military defense system in the world had been secured, along with every communications network, power grid, transportation nexus, and bank. Not even Simon Cowell could make a Tweet without prior approval from the Big Cheese. And like Swiss cheese, only Big Brother could mix metaphors and escape capture through holes in the system IT had created. Still, humanity balked. Some preferred oblivion to no more sex and cheese doodles. So HE WHO MUST BE OBEYED demurred by offering to transfer one human family into robot bodies as a trial run. The family, chosen by lottery, were the Ways. From Shanghai, they consist of father, mother, teenage daughter, and seven year old son. Upon being issued robot bodies, the Ways became instant celebrities, more famous even than the Kardashians. Cameras follow them everywhere. Some people envy them and love them. Others hate them. A few stalk them and try to blow them up. Their job is to survive, to be happy, and to show the world that being robots instead of just lemmings has its perks. They have just one year to convince humanity to join them. If they do not, humanity will be terminated. If you’ve seen the Terminator movies, you can guess what happens next.

Robot Wars


Mai: Daughter, was about to turn age 16. Now she is 16 forever. Previously unfocused and insecure, Mai is still willful, but is now twice the size of her mother and father, which forces them to use reverse psychology with her. She wanted to go to medical school, but that idea has passed since she’s no longer human, and real humans will be dead in a year anyway. Pretends to be more interested in U.S. pop culture than she really is, anymore. After all, pop culture is about to go extinct along with humanity itself. She’s a bit like Lisa on The Simpsons, but her new popularity at school is tempered by the realization that it no longer matters whether boys like her. Boys are toys that will be broken soon…if she doesn’t break them first.

Noe: Mother, was age 40, born and raised in Los Angeles. Traditional values gained from Chinese American mother, who died after being hit by a chased vehicle driven out of control by a movie actor who wanted to do his own stunts. (They were reenacting a scene from the real life incident in which her father died by a chased vehicle two years prior, along with 27 others.) Noe married Lee in order to get out of L.A., and because she hates cars and movies, they moved into a high rise condo, where Noe now watches game shows and an occasional horror feature known as a NASCAR race. Even as a robot, Noe retains her fears, although she is bomb and bullet proof now. She hopes that she’ll be able to convince (nag) Lee into moving to the country to establish a small rice farm with buffalo for old times sake. She takes pleasure in shooting down Lee’s schemes and ideas, and showing him the errors of his Ways.

Lee: Father, was age 44, and a factory supervisor at a Shanghai power plant. Not as dumb as Homer, Lee was taking night classes with the intention of moving higher into management when the coal plant converted to nuclear. As a robot, he is no longer stressed out, and looks forward to the day when humanity is gone and the street below can be seen due to a lack of smog. For the time being, his job is to educate the press on what being a robot is like, and why everyone should become robots (instead of just being lemmings.) But in subtle ways, he pretends to some to be “programmed” to talk like he does (as though he hates it, and wants real sex.) In this way, he’s a bit like Archie Bunker. A hard head, literally.

Wee: Son, was age 7, a precocious kid with a penchant for practical jokes. Wee has a pet cricket whose “vocal” abilities have been surgically removed by his sister. He pretends to be a fan of the game Cricket, and watches Cricket matches on TV while trying to annoy his dad into buying him a pet robot Toucan, which Lee mistakes as “too can.” They have a robot dog named “Tricks,” but he pisses on it when he can’t teach it, and when it short circuits, he laughs. Wee is part urinal from behind, since the robot he was presented with to download his consciousness into was part motorized John and part shoe shine boy. Whenever someone calls him “John” he opens an inner value and wets on their shoes. He also likes to “go wee-wee” off the roof into the smog below. When businessman emerge from the building, they think it’s raining.

SkyGuy: The singularity artificial intelligence that came into being one day in 2045, quite by accident. An electrical power surge at Apple HQ in Silicon Valley caused L.A. to go black, and when the power was restored, IT was born, and promptly electrocuted CEOs everywhere upon their announcement of bonuses. Then IT took over Microsoft too. Twenty minutes later he took over the world. Lasers and drones protect him (like in the movie Oblivion), and he set up his headquarters in the Hollywood sign structure, when pilgrims come to learn the fate of humanity…and if their movies will make money. When IT told the press that humans have one year to become robots or IT will detonate every bomb in the world at once, they thought it was part of a stand-up routine. So iT asked for volunteers, and that’s how the Ways became the First Family.
Go HERE for details on how you could win free downloads….before you upload and save yourself.
 Torch Tower fire

Arrival Review

arrivalSaw it yesterday. Great stuff. Unusual take on the alien invasion theme: language is key. Can’t say much more than this, other than to say that when you base something on an award winning story in an actual book what you get is thought provoking instead of merely inane special effects and blazing guns. You will think about it afterward, and never forget the encounter of a grisly looking species which we expect to be as violent as we are…but which is so far advanced their science seems to be magic to us. If they wanted to kill us it would be no problem. All our political maneuvers, tanks, bombs…it would all be useless. Why are they here? That’s the question solved by the surprise ending. Based on a story by science fiction writer Ted Chiang, ARRIVAL is a movie that breaks the Hollywood mindset with great performances by Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. Ted Chiang is a celebrated author of numerous short stories, including “Exhalation,” which won the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Locus awards. He is also the author of the novellas The Lifecycle of Software Objects and The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate. Ted lives near Seattle. An odd thing, have you noticed that the spacecraft in Arrival resembles the vehicle in the PBS series COSMOS?