Robot Wants To Learn About Humint Sexual Practices: AUTONOMOUS, P. 96

Paladin. Is. An. Adorable. Robot.

Makes a pass (unprogrammed!) at his human handler, Eliasz, in a very subtle way, which does not fool Eliasz, not one bit.

Trigger Warning: Homophobia

Paladin: Some of the robots said they were learning about human sexuality. Do you think military robots need to do that?

Eliasz (Flushing): I don’t know anything about that. I’m not a faggot.

Paladin begins searching his database for uses of the word “faggot.”

He is so absorbed that even in defensive mode (activated because of an attack), 20% of his mind is still pre-occupied with searches for the word. So while shooting people in the face, data comes in and “he could start to build a taxonomy. Each use of ‘faggot’ could be categorized, and he began assigning them to subcategories.”

lol

Stay tuned.

 

 

Just Out: PRAIRIE SCHOONER, Fall 2018

Cover piece is by artist Amanda Smith.

The opening piece is Demographic Futures, a short story by Phong Nguyen. Nguyen is the author of two short story collections and, most recently, the novel The Adventures of Joe Harper.

There is also fiction by Nigerian writer Jekwu Anyaegbuna and award-winning writer Cyril Dabydeen.

There is poetry by Cave Canem fellow Mary Moore Easter, Cody Smith, and Osel Jessica Plante, and essays by Sian Griffiths (about San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House!), Caroline Crew, and Evanthia Bromiley.

And so many other fine writers self doesn’t have time or space to list, but go over to Prairie Schooner and explore for yourselves.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Paladin and His Minder: AUTONOMOUS, p. 40

Paladin and Eliasz go “undercover” to catch Jack the Smuggler, purveyor of the (illegal) Homework Drug (Which has an actual name, but please: self is teaching on-line. Does she have time to look up things? She just keeps thinking: Adderall. Adderall all the time)

  • Paladin noticed that Eliasz had changed his posture subtly, slouching and pulling his bangs over his eyes in a way that made him seem younger. He could pass for a postgraduate, and it was clear these drunk bio hackers were already responding to him as a peer. Paladin briefly admired this bit of HUMINT artistry, then considered that some of the records associated with Eliasz’s prints placed him at twenty-nine years old. Perhaps those records were accurate, at least in respect to the man’s age.

There is some really dry wit happening in the head of Paladin (who is AI). There is something really fetching about androids, robots, synths and such. Wouldn’t you agree? So much analyzing, so many surprises!

Stay tuned.

Too. Funny! — AUTONOMOUS, by Annalee Newitz

Really enjoying this novel, my third foray this month into the realm of fantasy/science fiction.

p. 59:

  • Med pushed a lock of blond hair out of her eyes and leaned her slight, flesh-covered frame against a desk. She was designed to look human, her face the replica of a woman whose image Med’s tissue engineer had licensed from an old Facebook database. Though technically indistinguishable from that long-dead human, Med’s features had a generic “pretty white girl” look that most humans recognized as a bot tell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Sunday: AINE MacAODHA

Self really likes that the cottage is full of poetry books. Every time she comes, she discovers someone new.

She found a book called Landscape of Self (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2015) by Aine MacAodha.

Here’s the first half of a poem called

To My Children When I’m Gone

Some mountains are higher than others
Winter can cause frost bite.
Without a bit of darkness
We may not appreciate the light afterwards.
Remember the good in the world
The take your breath smiles
The smile from a stranger in a strange place
The beauty in a daisy chain
The elegance in a buttercup
The wonder of a webbing spider
The warmth of a heart
When another’s fiery arrow hits it
Love and goodness costs nothing
Hatred causes illness
Treat the nature around you with respect
Treat your spirit with kindness others too
Manners are easily carried.

DSCN0173

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Academy in JADE CITY: Hogwarts in Janloon

The Year-Eights graduate. Anden, self’s second-favorite character. Well, probably her first now since . . . WAH!! Don’t make her say it.

Anyhoo, Anden is a Year-Eight. He passes all his graduation pre-trials, one by one, handily.

Now comes the test called the Massacre of the Mice (Self keeps thinking of that Dave Sedaris story about how hard it is to kill a mouse), p. 348:

At Pre-Trials the Year-Eights stood behind a table in the packed Gathering Hall and each was given a cage of five white lab mice. They were not allowed to touch the mice with anything but one finger, and the judges disqualified anyone trying to cheat by using Strength or Deflection on the small creatures. Various attempts had been made over the years to try to upgrade the popular event to be more exciting — who didn’t want to see a man try to Channel into a bull? For practical and budgetary reasons, the proposals were always overruled . . .  When the bell went off, he didn’t bother to try to touch the mice with his fingers. They were too nimble for that. He hovered both hands over the cage, quickly Perceiving all five tiny throbbing lives burning like tea lights.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

From Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway

Ordered this last week. Can’t wait to start reading.

DSCN0170

But first, self has to get through:

  • Jade City, by Fonda Lee (on the last 100 pages; so far: five stars)
  • Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz
  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells
  • Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Thursday: Tony Hoagland

What I thought was an end
turned out to be a middle.

May you ever. And ever.

 

For Sarah Balabagan, OFW, by Marianne Villanueva

FOR SARAH BALABAGAN, OFW 

Note:  OFW stands for “Overseas Filipino Workers.” As of 2010, there were believed to be close to 2 million OFWs working in almost every country in the world, including Albania, Mongolia, Romania, and Swaziland.  

You with the round face, the dark blue headscarf, I saw you first at 3 p.m.

It was a hot afternoon in September.  I’d opened Marie Claire or Glamour, I don’t now remember which, and there you were, grave and unsmiling. (But what cause would you have to smile?  I found out all, later.)

Your father’s name was Karim, and your mother’s, Bai.  You grew up in the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines.  You were fourth in a family of fourteen children.

The man who raped you was dead (I was happy to read).  You stabbed him 34 times.

You knew that most likely you were never going to get a husband. Not after what had happened.

It was the worst thing you ever imagined.  Not just the pain, no — it was worse than that.  The telling to your mother – it nearly finished you.

He gouged the skin of your throat with his long fingernails.  You were afraid, but the fear was nothing compared to your shame.

You asked yourself, “Why?”  Your brothers too said it, but they pointed fingers at your mother (who wept, who refused to leave the house for months, who even attempted suicide) and sometimes, (though not as much) at your father.

Your brothers shouted, “Why did you let her go?  To a place like that?”

The newspapers recorded every accusation.

As if anyone could ever have foreseen such a catastrophe.

The man who sat across the table from you at the police station in Abu Dhabi, the man you knew only as “Pak,” said over and over:  “You said that such and such a thing happened on such and such a day.  Why do you make up such stories?”

You said, “I swear to God – “

“Swearing is a sin.  Whose God are you swearing at?  You will be tortured if you don’t stop these lies.”

They said you would be permitted to return home, but only after you confessed.

You held out for four months.  Then, the man named Pak came again with the form and this time, you signed it.  “Now you have nothing to worry about,” Pak said.

A week later, you were in the courtroom to hear your sentence. While you waited for the translation, you imagined yourself back home.  Your lawyer patted your hand.  The look on his face was sorrowful.

Sentenced to death, he said.  “What?” you said.  He repeated, Sentenced to death.

I read how the murdered man’s sons spoke on your behalf.  Yes, they told the court.  We believe our father capable of rape.

Because of their testimony, the sentence was reduced to 100 lashes.  After another year in prison, you returned home.  You were thin and wan – Oh, you were much changed.

They said you became a singer. Your voice, though untrained, was described as “pure,” which must have pleased your brothers no end.

You became quite well-known, and sang in shows with Heart Evangelista and Dulce Amor. You opened for Dingdong Avanzado, and were invited to record a duet with the popular Ogie Alcasid.

As for your mother, she still says, over and over, It was never my idea.

You had your first child at 18.  The father was a journalist.  He left you after two years.

In your mind, you have never left Abu Dhabi. You are still in that small barred cell, shrinking in horror from the jailers who point at your shaved head and mutter curses. You will always be there, enacting penitence for an event that never ends and a guilt that never leaves.  It is there always, in your blood, as is fear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

– End

Poetry Wednesday: From Thomas McCarthy’s MERCHANT PRINCE (Anvil Press: London, 2005)

He Considers His Great Luck, 1812

(for Catherine)

The moment that is lost is hardly ever found again,
As this minute, as the century.
Your love when I found it there was a brief day
For the asking, but you and your Sisters
and the Ursulines home from Havre
Might easily have snatched you away again —

Most utterly loved woman, most Callanan-like.

Out of this harbor the unlicensed ships sail.
The wind catches them, the fingers of heaven.
Even the most skilled Master can only protect
But not bring home cinnamon, not profit.

One moment in my life I did sail beyond Roche’s Point
So that you might catch my sail, my merchant eye.

I have traded off your love all my life —
The way a Bishop, the way a good Prince ventures forth.

Thomas McCarthy was born in Co. Waterford and educated at University College, Cork. He has published six collections of poetry, two novels and a memoir.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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