Friday, February 14, 2014

At 130

I'm on the road this week and so am sharing an updated story. I'll be reading this piece live at Boskone's Flash Fiction Slam on Sunday morning. If you're in Boston, feel free to say hi!

At 0: the first computer fills a large room with thousands of coiled wires, billowing steam and punch cards. It crunches numbers. It will help perfect the hydrogen bomb.

At 20: government workers rely on computers the size of desks for data entry and records.

At 25: 72% of respondents don't know what a computer is.

At 35: an assassination plot is stopped thanks to information shared between computers in different countries. They're connected by some kind of web.

At 40: diagnostic x-ray machines enable physicians to see inside their patients. Many patients fear side-effects.

At 50: fearing children who are not computer literate will be left behind, an affluent school district takes out loans to buy as many computers as it has pupils. The computers outweigh their incoming class.

At 55: multiple miniature cameras are deployed inside a surgery patient, minimizing size of incision and granting a radical vision of the living body.

Also at 55: a teacher receives a phone call in his pocket.

At 60: a student finds an answer on her cell phone faster than the teacher can pull it up on Encarta.

At 65: a physician releases nanomachines into her own bloodstream. They collect images and data about her cardiovascular system that she releases to the public domain.

At 75: a protein-based computer smaller than a pimple is revealed in the brainstem of a leading mathematician. It solves equations as fast as he can think them.

At 85: legislation to ban “internalcells” is overridden in the Supreme Court. 49% of respondents disapprove. 32% are undecided. Wall Street sees record highs.

At 90: fearing children who are not e-literate will be left behind, parents race to implant “cell chips” into the heads of newborns.

At 101: the first class of children whose motor skills are entirely pre-programmed by their “cells” attend their first day of school.

At 120: less than 3% of respondents under twenty do not have “at least some” of their emotions digitally regulated.

At 130: the prodigy who bought too much, including a large room full of wires and punch cards, executes a command. Everything turns off. He goes outside without shoes or socks and feels the grass between his toes. Without wifi, his natural hearing is so weak that he misses all the grinding and screaming around him. He wonders what this feeling is called. For the first time in his life, auto-fill does not answer his question. For the first time in his life, he has to wonder.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's been a while since I've won a Liebster

My buddy Margit Sage bestowed a Liebster Award upon me last week. These awards are really little blog hops and tend to be fun. While I’ve won this one a few times, the Liebster has never looked so pretty. Look at that sweet new badge! 

These things always have a few rules. They can be simple, like these:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate a few other bloggers who’d enjoy it.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

It’s an unspoken rule of mine to change the rules of all of these games. It’s a flaw in meme theory I like to exploit. Did I change these? You’d have to read Margit’s post to know. Speaking of Margit, let’s dig into her ten questions.
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