Archive for the future Category

The Only Certainty

Posted in eBooks, future, Scifi, Short Stories with tags , on April 29, 2015 by oneoveralpha

CertaintyOn The Day, for reasons still unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake as someone new. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

In those first hours, leaders from around the world asked in vain for people to remain calm; as if waking up in a different body was something normal, to be expected. But they were quickly drowned out by the theorists. Some claimed this had to be an act of a forgotten, mischievous god while others thought it was clearly the prelude to an alien invasion, and still others opted for it being some bizarre science experiment gone awry. Worse yet, nobody knew if this was a one-time event, or if it would keep happening every time people fell asleep. In those early hours the only thing obvious was that nobody had a clue.

And in this mass of confusion came the first video of The Change. Somewhere in Russia, a group of people had gathered together in an apartment to help each other stay awake. They were filming – the translator explained – last messages for their families. Then, in a corner, an old, frail woman fell asleep. They went to wake her only to see her skin become fluid and her body shrink even more. A few seconds later a young Chinese girl lay before them.

The camera whipped around to see several people running from the apartment. After about a minute of arguing between those who remained, the girl was shaken awake. She opened her eyes and talked to them, in Russian. According to the translators, this young Chinese girl knew everything the old, Russian woman had known.

For hours, Derrick and Carol watched the news and talked with her mother. But eventually, her mother’s phone died, and they were left alone. They sat on their couch watching the world end; holding each other and drinking cup after cup of coffee.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “The Only Certainty” on Kindle.

Duty

Posted in eBooks, future, Scifi, Short Stories with tags , , , on April 22, 2015 by oneoveralpha

duty

For safety reasons, and to avoid paradoxes, Time Travel Incorporated assigns a Guardian to all its travelers. So when there is an accident during political historian Roj Hasol’s trip back to 1968, it’s his Guardian Susan who sets out on the arduous task of cleaning up the mess.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

Number 1

As the sun rose over the ocean’s edge, Roj Hasol washed ashore in a dark blue, serge suit, a thin, navy blue tie and black wing tips. His body remembered to cough out the seawater and breathe. His body had to do this on its own for his mind was scrambled.

A few minutes later, a two-meter tall, lithe woman with pale skin, jade eyes, and short dark hair walked towards him along the beach. She wore a black body suit that fit seamlessly into her black gloves and black boots. On her hip was a holster.

Dropping to one knee she rolled Roj onto his back. “Mister Hasol, do you remember me? I’m your Guardian, Susan.”

Roj just looked over her shoulder, unaware of her existence.

“If you can hear me, I’m here to help you.” She took a small device from her belt and held it to his chest. It buzzed for a few seconds, then an indicator light turned red.

Putting the scanner away, she drew her blaster. “I’m sorry,” she said and placed the muzzle to his temple.

Number 9

The wind blew snowflakes into Susan’s face. Looking around all she saw was snow. But then a small mound at her feet drew her attention. She knelt and brushed away some snow to reveal a black wing tip. Moving to the other end of the mound, she uncovered the frozen face of Roj Hasol.

She took her scanner out and held it against his forehead. It buzzed for a few seconds, then the light turned red. Returning it to her belt, she drew her blaster and vaporized the corpse. The snow held the shape of Roj for a second, then collapsed into the now empty cavity.

As Susan stood up, she heard a bellow in the distance; a herd of mammoths were on the march.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Duty” on Kindle.

The Future is Coming

Posted in eBooks, essay, future, Scifi with tags , , , on February 25, 2015 by oneoveralpha

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. I came up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Since I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. The point of these essays is to get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

Here’s one of the essays, which was first published as a blog post.

“Cloning Humans”

Someday – almost certainly sooner than anyone suspects – a human will be cloned. There will be protests, boycotts, marches, condemnations, congressional hearings, etc., all for this one minor event. I say minor event, and here is why.

The short term issues

The biggest problem human clones will face comes from people watching too many bad science fiction movies. In those movies, 99.9% of what they show of cloning is utter crap. In reality, clones will not be mindless automatons who will blindly follow the orders of some megalomaniac out for galactic domination. Nor will you run the risk of walking into an alley where someone will jump you, and ten minutes later a clone will walk out of the alley to steal your identity. And clones will not “remember” the lives of their donors and do … whatever. A clone will just be another human. That’s it. If they can escape the mental scaring caused by “parents” or guardians bent on making them into exact duplicates of the people who donated some DNA, they will be no more screwed up than the rest of us.

Cloning will – especially at first – be extremely expensive. That combined with the fact that we already have over seven billion humans made the old fashion way begs the question, what need is there to create clones? Seriously, what will be the point? Yes, grieving families will want to replace loved ones, and companies will take their money to give them a clone who will have the same DNA as the person they lost. But the clone – because they will have lived a different life – will not be the same person. And yes, some historical figures will be cloned as well as the best and brightest of various fields, but when the Einstein clone takes up poetry instead of physics, what will be the point of continuing?

There will be clones, but they will make up a miniscule fraction of the population. But a ton of legal and ethical questions will surround them. Will the donor of the DNA have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent? What recompense will people have if they are cloned against their wishes? Will the donor be able to abort the clone, and if so, how far into the cloning process will they be able to do that? If the donor is Canadian but the cloning is done in the United States, will the clone be Canadian, American, or have dual citizenship? Will a clone be able to become President? It’s probably a safe bet that few – if any – of these questions will be answered by the time human clones walk among us.

The long term issues

Above, I said that the fictional instaclones that are ready in a few minutes or hours you often see in movies is utter crap. In the short term, that is entirely true. The technology to rapidly copy a person may be possible, but probably not for several decades at best. As such, the day may come where you could walk into an alley and ten minutes later a clone walks out to steal your identity. That could happen, but since cloning won’t be the only technology to advance, I’d think it would be far easier for the bad guys to steal your identity by hacking into your computer implants and turning you into a puppet. That will be easier then going through the process of taking a genetic sample, growing the instaclone, and then somehow giving it enough of your memories for it to pass as you.

About the only possible reason I can think of for large scale clone production, will be for people to download themselves into younger bodies. There are two ways I can see this happening. The first is a brain transplant. Now, if the clone has to grow up so the brain will fit, that will only work if the clone can be grown without a brain. But if you could make brainless, instaclones, then that may be a viable option. The second way is some sort of electronic transfer. You make a digital copy of yourself, then install it in a clone with an undeveloped brain. Of course, if you can upload your consciousness into some electronic format, then why not keep it as that in either a virtual world or by downloading it into a mechanical body? As I said, cloning won’t be the only technology that advances.

#

Basically, at some point in the not too distant future, a human will be cloned. A great deal of time will be spent demonizing that fact, but in the long run human cloning will almost certainly just be a fad.

***

If you’re curious, you can find “The Future is Coming” on Kindle.

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