Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blog Closing

Sorry for the lack of posts. My arm was finally freed from its cast and I have finally been able to draw again. That in turn has allowed me to take up an art class where I spend most of my days, which results in an exhausted mind that isn't in the mood to write Short Sci Fi Stories.

Therefore I would say this Blog is pretty much closed unless I get some particular idea or such that I have to share. Thanks to who ever read them.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Star Trek means to me

No continuation today on the Roy Griswold mystery sci fi story. Didn't have time, I was out the whole day at Octoberfest celebrating a friend of mine late birthday. I had fun.

But I'll try to make an interesting science fiction post despite this, in order to keep through my post a day philosophy.

I'll talk about a Sci Fi series I never really enjoyed: Star Trek. Naturally the show is immensely popular still today and has made an engraving of itself within our culture for many more years to come. Without having watched the series intently or even watching enough to get the overall story I know of the premise, the main characters and even several in jokes. Thats proof of the series popularity when someone who doesn't even watch it knows enough to explain what it was about (just barely).

My main gripe with the Star Trek series is simply the premise and the portrayal of it. Watching an episode it feels somewhat tedious listening to all these people on the ship talking about things I don't understand as well as the fact they don't really bother to explain it to well to me as an audience member. I have not seen the first episode, so perhaps all is explained there, but I have always found other shows to be somewhat self explanatory where you get the gist of the majority of the plot just from seeing the characters interact and behave.

I understand very well that this gives a very incomplete view of the series, and I am obviously missing something from it that makes so many people love and even obsess over it. However, the fact that I don't feel compelled to watch it more rigorously is proof that I don't feel compelled to watch it.

I basically know enough about the show in order to appreciate references to it in other works that I do watch or read more often. And to me, that is impressive in its own right. So hats of Trekkies to a show that even an ignoramus appreciates!

Hopefully I will have written another chapter tomorrow. Cheerio!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Robot Killings part 2 by Humphrey Erm

Roy Griswold was pleased that he had gotten a new office at the station. The room was newly redecorated with a red leather couch, a fine crafted mahogany desk, a file cabinet storing the old case files and an up to date computer. Except for the red color of the couch it was as if Roy had never left the force.

He took out one of the files from the cabinet and recovered the digital file from the shared hard disk. Several pictures appeared at the double click of the main folder. The majority consisted of several mechanical entities collapsed on the ground, un-functional. Had Roy not known better he would have said it was like they had the life drained from them.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come on in, the door isn't locked,"

Inside came the policewoman from the day before, same red hair and same uniform. He noticed that only a select few of the officers wore them. The others wore roughly the same uniforms that he wore when he was still a rookie cop. Not wanting to ask this immediately he asked her what her business was entering his office.

"I have been assigned as your assistant for this case as well as personal chauffeur. I was told to come here to inform you of that as well as await further instruction from you," she responded promptly.

Roy was speechless at this. A young female rookie cop was never this polite or concise when he was part of the force. He wondered what the new disciplinary measures of the police station were.

"Well, I have been curious about the different uniforms you and your colleagues wear. Whats the difference between the red and blue uniforms? Are they different ranks, divisions...?" Roy asked swirling his hands while saying it as if he was physically arranging his words to be told.
"The different uniforms are there to differentiate between the human officers and the robotic ones, blue being human and red being robot," the robot responded.

Roy looked at the newly discovered robot. He wasn't shocked about the idea of robots working alongside humans due to the fact they have done it now for 30 years. He was shocked about the fact that he didn't notice she was one.

"Really now? I never would have guessed...you sure are nicer made than the ones during my time," Roy stated trying to pass it of as a compliment.
"Recent studies have shown that human respond more positive towards sentient beings with human appearance. Thus the majority of service applicable jobs using robots have opted to use a new line of us with a new silicon based skin and facial animatronics. The fact that you couldn't tell that I was one shows the effectiveness of the new design"
"Wow, well," Roy stammered, he's never had such a long and distinct conversation with a machine before. Then again, he never really bothered to get to know one. "But whats the point making you wear different uniforms then? If people see you are wearing red uniforms don't they know you are robots?"
"This has never been addressed as a problem in my 10 years of service, whether with myself or others"
"The company where we derive from have hypothesized that you as humans don't really pay attention as long as we are made attractive enough for your eyes"

Roy's eyes immediately rose from looking at her chest to her 'eyes' at this remark. The robot continued.

"The uniforms are more for use amongst the police, so we can tell apart from each others in order to avoid confusion"
"Well, I suppose thats good to know," Roy chuckled nervously to himself. "Now I wont ask you if I can get you anything to eat"
"Good sir, I'm glad. That would have been a serious waste of food if you would have purchased some for my use"
"Umm, yeah, exactly..."
"But I do appreciate the offer sir!" and then she did something Roy had never seen a robot do before: 'she' smiled.
"Well, if you're going to work with me now I'll need to know your name,"
"My serial number is 044, but I have been given the name 'Ida' sir,"
"Well then Ida, I assume you know the nature of the last case I worked on"
"No sir. Those files were written in a now defunct program and have not yet been copied into our current one due to the initial idea of it being solved"
"Oh, and you haven't read the paper files either because they were just now brought here from the safe?"
"That is correct sir"
"Well, I'll bring you up to speed then"

To be Continued

Friday, September 26, 2008

Robot Killings part 1 by Humphrey Erm

Roy Griswold took a puff from his cigarette and blew a smoke ring. Sitting in the backseat of the car he thought what he was doing out and about at his age. He had retired from the force with full pension and no regrets, or so he keeps on telling himself.

He knelt forward to get a look at the driver. It was a young woman, a rookie by the looks of it, adorned with short red hair and a police cap. The police uniform had changed since Roy was in the force, now consisting of a red and black buttoned shirt and a similar looking jacket. The pants however were purely black except for one long red strip on the side. The belts were far more ingenious than his ever was, now adorned with special compartments for all matter of electronic devices not to mention the new stun gun.

"Were here Mr Griswold," the police officer said as the car came to a stop.

Roy was startled by the sudden stop as well as the fact that he noticed he was staring a bit too much at the woman. Saying nothing he opened the door and stepped out.

He shielded his eyes from the bright sunlight, adjusting them until he could see that he was by the St. Boniface river in the outskirts of the city. Amongst the bank there were several police officers that were observing some object that had washed up. The entire area was surrounded by police tape and several police vehicles were parked all around. The old man that was Roy started walking down from the road down the slanted ground towards the river, his legs aching all the way. When he was about halfway there another officer ran up to him.

"Excuse me, do you have permission to be here sir?"
"I would hope so, seeing that I was called here from my house" Roy replied with a snap.
"Oh, you are Detective Griswold are you?" the young policeman said with a shine to his eyes.
"So I have been told occasionally"
"Please sir, go right ahead, I'm sure you will be able to shed some light on the matter"

Roy walked past the young man and pushed himself through the crowd of police and pathologists. He took a look at what all the commotion was about.

There lay a un-functional robot.

Roy Griswold just stared at the hunk of metal and plastic. This brought back memories.

"I'm sorry for dragging you out here like this Griswold. I'm Detective Curry, and I'm in charge of this investigation" said a tall middle aged man amongst the crowd, walking around the robot to Roy, his hand held out to him.
"If you're so sorry for dragging me out here then why did you Mr Curry? You should know that I have been happily retired for 15 years now," Roy responded as coldly as he thought possible, ignoring Curry's hand.
"Yes I know Griswold," Curry said taking back his hand,"You don't remember me, but I used to work with you when you were still in the force"
"Were you now?"
"Yes, and I marveled at your amazing analytical skills and detective work. Most notably the last case you worked on before your retirement Griswold..."
The former detective turned silent after hearing that. He looked away from Curry and traced his old weary eyes over the tangled mess of a robot.

"You see Griswold, I don't think that case is truly over. If you observe the body you should notice something that you are all to familiar with" Curry continued, looking at his former mentor the same way he looked at him 15 years ago.

Roy bent down in front of the deceased, looking at the joints and wires of the individual, and then without warning kicked it so it turned around.

Protests were made and pictures were taken at this moment, but Curry tried to silence them "Calm down, its not what it looks like, he's just examining the body. Trust me, this man is a professional."

Roy pulled up the sleeve of his right arm with his left hand and plunged his hand into the center of the robot. After some struggling he pulled out what appeared to be a bullet, and on closer inspection it was specified to be a EMP projectile capsule. The photographers present immediately started taking more pictures.

"I was right wasn't I?" asked Curry, a genuine look of sorrow graced his face.
"Sadly you were, Detective Curry..."
"Would you please consider working with the investigation team once more, to try to close the case indefinitely?"

Roy Griswold took a long hard look at the capsule. He later closed his eyes for a few seconds and gave the evidence to the nearest pathologist who immediately placed it in an evidence folder.

"I will need access to all information regarding this case, as well as the old files from the ones I worked on, a car with chauffer, a new office," Roy took out a pack of cigarettes and pulled one out with his teeth,"and a light"
"Good to have you back Detective Griswold," Curry said with an exceptional smile and took out a lighter and ignited Roy's cigarette.

To Be Continued

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deforested by Humphrey Erm

Desolate. That was the only word that Keith Manall could think of after seeing the newly cut down rain forest. Standing with his back turned to an unspoiled area he contemplated whether he would be out of a job after they imminently cut down the rest of the woods. He concluded that he would have to be told what to do.

"There you are. You're Keith right?" asked a man short of breath.
"Yes, yes I am."
"I was told to find you by the foreman. Said he needs to talk to you as soon as possible," he continued, leaning down gasping for breath.
"I understand. It will just be another minute."

The man looked suspiciously at Keith at this statement. Regaining his posture he walked through the trees and out into the open field and stood beside Keith's right side.

"You need a minute?"
"If I can spare it, then yes."
"Keith, what makes you want to stand here and look at your handiwork? Whats it matter to you?"
"I'm not sure, I find it soothing to take a moment and just wait"
"Wait for what?"

The man was once more surprised by what Keith had to say. By this time he had regained his breath and took out a water bottle, took a sip and offered it to Keith.

"Need a drink?"
"Thats kind of you, but I don't need to drink"
"But you do need a minute?"

Taking the water bottle back and putting the cap back on, the man looked at the same desolate grounds that Keith has been looking at for a near 5 minutes now. Seeing nothing but remains of trees as well as carcasses of a few unlucky forest animals, the man did not understand what could make Keith stare for so long.

"Do you have a problem?" he asked less politely than he wanted to.
"No, no I don't," Keith responded "But I am troubled by an imminent one"
"No kidding? What could trouble you? Didn't get a raise this year?" the man chuckled at his own joke and patted Keith on the back.
"You know I cant get a raise" informed Keith to the man who just now understood that the joke was lost on Keith,"I am however wondering what I should do with myself after this project is over"
"What do you mean?"
"There are is only a finite amount of trees here, and thus a finite amount of time until we have cut them all down. I will be out of a job in an estimated 3 years."

The man simply looked at Keith in astonishment, amazed at what he was hearing.

"I didn't know that you thought that far ahead."

He was responded by silence. Feeling awkward the man put his hands in his pockets and whistled a short tune.

"Well, there is always the Unemployment line," the man said with yet another chuckle,"You might find another job after this is done, don't you think so?"
"No, no I don't" Keith said flatly.
"You don't huh? Come on, it cant be that hard for you to get a job can it? I mean, aren't you the most skilled in your field? I would imagine that you would have a good resume"
"Take a look at these hands"

The man took a look at Keith's hands.

"The moment I came into existence I had but one purpose. To deforest entire areas. Once there are no more forests here, I have no more reason for existing"
"Well, cant you just cut down some other things? Or maybe you can learn how to do something else?"
"No, I am beyond learning new skills. Unlike you I cant adapt to new changes. Once this de-forested world is complete, my existence is naught"

The man didn't know what to say to this, so he remained quiet.

"I will go to the foreman now" Keith said after another minute,"Don't stay out too long. Despite the empty area there are still wild animals about"
"Thanks" the man said glumly while he looked at Keith walk back into the woods towards the foreman.

The man was thinking through what Keith had said. To think that after this entire project was over Keith's usefulness and will to exist would be over. He pitied him.

But what kind of name is Keith for a robot anyways? he thought.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Domestic Disturbance by Humphrey Erm

"Father, this could make your life so much easier"
"I have never needed anyone to take care of me before, and I sure as heck don't need a hulking piece of scrap metal to do it for me!"

I observed the old man and his son bickering amongst themselves. I had recently been purchased by the son for a moderate amount of money. From the data that he and my company have given me I know of the father's sick health, and of the nature of his personality. From what my cameras can pick up, I can see there was no exaggeration in how aggressive the man was.

"Get him away from me! It was thanks to him that I lost my leg!"

He was mistaken about that. Since I was just activated 2 days ago it would have been impossible for me to commit such an act which occurred in the old man's youth.

"Father, that was a long time ago, you need to forget that and move on. This robot had nothing to do with what happened to your leg."
"They're all the same the lot of them! Nothing but unfeeling metal buckets who wish nothing more than to kill us all!"

That too was an unjustifiable claim. While my kind has caused havoc upon the human race, those units have been successfully done away with, and all succeeding units ever produced have been programmed under the Non Organic Sentient Behavioral Doctrine. I am simply incapable of hurting a human.

"Well Father, tough break. I have already paid a deposit on it, and he is programmed to be here for one month at least. Regardless of what you want, it will be living here with you."

The father went mute, looking at his son in disbelief, then turned and opened the door to the apartment building and slammed it shut. There was a general silence once he had left the street, and I turned to his son to await any further commands.

"Well, here are the keys to the apartment. You already know what to do. Get the paper, cook his meals, and make sure he doesn't get hurt. Think you can manage that?"
"I don't think Mr. Colbert. I know. Your father will be safe in my care"
"Ok, well, I'll leave it to you now then. Gotta go home to my wife. I promised this little errand would be quick."
"You do that sir."

I watched him as he walked to his car and drove of. Turning my head towards the door I walked forward and opened it. I walked up the stairs until I saw a door labeled:

Nathan Colbert

I took out the keys and unlocked the door, and entered my master's home.

I was immediately struck in the head by a steel object. The force made my body fall down towards the floor, having no time to brace myself with my hands. I felt several more blows dealt to me spread unevenly around my head and back. I tried to get a visual of who was beating me, but the assailant kept my head down with the slams.

My immediate worry was the well being of Nathan Colbert. This perpetrator may have already hurt or killed him, which would be an immense problem for my company if either was true. Since I could still speak I called out: "Mr Colbert! Are you there? Are you hurt? Please answer me!"

No response.

At this time I sensed that my inner wires were breaking and tearing as well as my oil dispenser was leaking to critical levels. I calculated that I would most probably become un-operational within the next blows and be unable to continue my duty. My mother board was being chipped away for every smash against my head, my processing power was weakening. Having been built as a domestic robot I have no tools that can harm or protect myself, nor am I particularly well made to withstand such an onslaught.

My vision is going static now, and I hear no more audio either. Taking into account how much this assailant is hurting me, I doubt that any vital hardware will make it through. This must be the end.

Amongst the puddle of black gold and chips of metal I relinquish myself to the imminent destruction, and count the blows necessary to end me. Deep within my so called mind I damn myself for not being able to fulfill my orders, and wonder about the fate of Nathan Colbert and whether he is still alive. Perhaps he needs medical attention or has been locked awa--bzzp!


Orville Colbert was reading the morning paper the day after he had left the new domestic house hold robot to care for his father. Taking a sip from the newly brewed coffee his attention turns to a moderately long article entailing details of a recent robotic murder. It read:

Yesterday afternoon a robot with serial number 3215907 was found destroyed amongst some garbage cans within an apartment complex. Police have traced the number to a domestic robot under contract to a retired man living within the neighborhood of the deceased. Within his apartment there were obvious signs of violence and pieces belonging to the deceased robot. The man has now been taken into custody by the police under suspicion of robocide.

Orville started sweating and shaking, spilling his coffee in his hand so he had to place it down. At that moment his phone rang. Walking slowly towards the phone he picked it up.

"Son, its me..."

The End.

My newfound interest in science fiction

Its amazing what some aimless wandering on wikipedia can come up with. Reading some interesting articles I come across Isaac Asimov. The man seemed to be some kind of genius of fiction as a whole, and the information available allowed me to research more into him and his writings. That being said I have now decided to try writing Science Fiction myself. Thats how he inspired me.

Thats not to say I am as talented as he is. Heck, the only constant Sci Fi stories I have actually read or watched were all Star Wars. Not that it isn't Sci Fi or such, it simply is to commercial for my tastes. It also doesn't feature any interesting tales for my imagination. Asimov's tales about robots and humans were so awe inspiring that it got me to question such concepts like "what is human" and "are we robots according to the 3 laws of robotics?". I never found such thought provoking material in Star Wars.

Don't get me wrong, I love Star Wars, all 6 episodes. Its just more of a visual splendor than thought provoking one.

That being said, I will aim to write some short stories as well as episodic content in the realm of Science Fiction. Daily unless stated earlier that I wont.