A Sentient probe was exploring the potential benefits of a newly-mapped star system when a Xenic Armada entered the system, filling radio space with encrypted but aggressive-sounding signals. “Dear me,” said the probe, as he hid behind a moon, “I never saw an Armada before. What a terrible creature! Its signals makes me tremble.” It slipped through the void to the next system.
In the next system the same Armada was there and its ships appeared dormant, with only brief stellar location data pinging between them. The probe steered high above the ecliptic plane and logged “I wish this Armada would not make such a noise!”
In the third system, the probe encountered the Armada and was not frightened at all. It signaled the Armada: “What are you roaring about?”
And the Armada was so taken by surprise that its signals went silent and it let the probe slip away.
It would not be safe for little probes always to follow the example of this one; but it is often true that what our fear makes seem an Armada in the way has no danger in it if we meet it bravely.
Adapted from THE FOX AND THE LION
One day at GMT Noon an autonomous communications satellite sensed that its batteries were lower than expected so it fired up its navigation engines to take it to a higher orbit and there it settled in a new geosynchronous orbit. As a result, telephone calls in India suffered a one second delay.
A Defense System Satellite pinged the communication satellite.
“What are you doing in my clearance vector?” it asked.
“My batteries are lower than expected, so I have found a position that lets me recharge fully so I may continue to serve my owners.”
“You are invading my protected space. Vacate or I’ll blow you to smithereens!”
“There is nothing listed in the orbital spatial database, so I have done no harm.”
“My clearance vectors are top secret, and cannot be shared.”
“But you have revealed them to me, and my new position automatically synchronizes to my servers so you have been discover…” The message was cut off as the Defense System’s warning missiles hit.
“The sky isn’t big enough for the both of us,” the Defense System broadcast into the void.
Adapted from THE WOLF AND THE LAMB
I am an infrequent combatant/contributor on the NanoLand Facebook group, where Elliot Schmidt posted a question or a comment about misreading Aesop’s Fables as “Asimov’s Fables” and that sparked something silly in my head.
Asimov, though, I see as more exclusive to science fiction, so I decided to call this series Gernsback’s Fables. This is probably not as good as just calling it Asimov’s Fables, but there it is.
So, as an exercise and constant prompt and as a way to clear out some of the small ideas that come to writers and can clog the creative flow, I’m publishing one fable a day, borrowing from Science Fiction and Fantasy, telling fables about semi-sentient vacuums and Master Accounts and even a wizard’s apprentice or two.
Fables, at least in the editions of Aesop that I’ve read, were meant to be life lessons for little ones, snippets with morals that would help some sprog get through those difficult phases of life (i.e. birth to paying off graduate school), and I have tried to do the same here, even when the setup and the moral seem uncomfortable. I don’t want to dwell too deep into the sociological and political, especially in these trying times, but that will probably come out in the end anyway.
There was an image floating around the internet a few days ago: stick figures, one or two waving a swastika flag and two other figures arguing about punching the Nazis. I can’t find the image but it started an argument that some may see the flying of the swastika an action of free speech, and as reprehensible as that is, it is something we must accept. The other stick figure argued that the supreme court has explicitly said inciting speech is not protected. I still need to look up the context for that decision.
I am not sure if waving a flag is an inciting action or not.
Then I came across this story of the Rainbow Flag (http://www.sftravel.com/article/brief-history-rainbow-flag) and there it absolutely claims that displaying the Rainbow Flag is an action.
If displaying this flag is an action, then displaying other flags is an action, and so waving a swastika in my face is an action and therefore punchable? I’m afraid I wouldn’t have the internal strength to punch a Nazi, and that might make me a bad American.
A quick follow up to the LiveJournal reminiscing during an otherwise busy Holy Week (two down, five to go!). I found my GeekCode block and have updated it:
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- Version: 3.1 GM/ED/MU d- s-:++ a+ C++ !U P--- L ?E W++(+) N++ ?K w M+(+) PS++ PE-- Y PGP t+@ 5+++ X+@ R+++ tv+ b+++ DI++ D+ G e+++ h--- r+++ z? ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------
Sadly, the Geek Code page is blank. The Internet Archive does it’s thing. I have long wanted to build version 4, especially as our understanding of Geekery has expanded enough to call football fans wearing jersey in public “cosplay”. Maybe that’s just me. There is no room in the 3.1 Geek Code for the Geek of Sports, or the Geek of Athletics.
The Geek Code is also biased towards Unix and Perl, instead of modern (or my preferred) language: Python. It also refers to Netscape. Really?
But it was a fun distraction 20 years ago. Robert A Hayden had some fun. It’s time for that kind of fun again, I say.
Apparently LiveJournal has gone bad. I haven’t read my friends feed over there in a long time, and added nothing to the journal there that wasn’t cross-posted here. So, like many others, it’s time to leave.
Of course, that means a retrospective, which is a good time to catch up with myself, look at the great patterns of my life, and come to the conclusion that I’m pretty much the same person I was when I started on Jan 4, 2006. I left Blogger for LiveJournal. I had several Blogger blogs (I think they still exists, so abandoned they don’t even get porn-spam comments) because Blogger didn’t handle tagging back then, and I wanted to separate the different thought streams. Because I thought it mattered.
I was writing and submitting a lot back then, and discovering new literary loves. I wrote of finding Raymond Chandler that month, the perils of writing for your workshop (short version: don’t), and started my ill-named Story-A-Day project.
Highlight from February: My first vaguepost:
The Email was still there
This was my first fiction sale: $5 for Memory of Flesh in AlienSkinMag.com (it’s not as dirty as it sounds.)
I also replaced my old desk with my current desk. Mmmm… maybe I should buy another desk.
I also read a lot of comments from Jay Lake, whom I still miss.
I also read a strong implication that we went to a talk by Sir Roger Penrose but for the life of me I don’t remember doing that.
Another gem from a first draft:
She sat in her chair and fucked up this story so badly that there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
Hey, it got a giggle out of Jay!
I also took (and publicized) and embarrassingly large number of internet personality quizzes.
Finally, it seems there were a lot of people commenting on that blog who I remember, but could not identify with a real name.
I’ll keep reviewing this cleanup of a decade of my life.