Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Excerpt From An Untitled Android Novel

This is an excerpt from an as-of-yet untitled android novel I plan on releasing fairly soon.

Thematically it's very different from my previous novelette, The death of Death. It's more adult in tone and subject matter. Aside from a couple of changes in wording here and there this resembles the final product.

So far I'm loving the characters and I'm having loads of fun writing it. I especially like the dynamic my main protagonist has with his android assistant. I hope you find it enjoyable as well.

“You’ve had sexual relations before, correct Mr. Okamura?”

I felt insulted that a grown man would ask another grown man that kind of question, but as I still looked like a stereotypical nerd––unkempt hair, slightly dumpy appearance, and glasses, the mark of a true dork, and the fact that I’m Asian-–it wasn’t out of the ordinary. It was the year twenty-one sixteen, one hundred and sixty some odd years after the first usage of the word ‘nerd’ and it still carries with it the stigma of a sexless human male.

But more importantly, what was he getting at? I didn’t want to answer but I did anyway.


“Then I assume you must be familiar with the concept of delayed sexual gratification as well?”

I was feeling more than a little uncomfortable at this point. I quickly answered,  “Yes,” hoping that this conversation would reach its conclusion sooner rather than later.

He made the long trek back to his desk at the end of his office. As I understood it, I was the first one to visit since the completion of its renovation. It was unnecessarily large and hugely artificial, just like this man’s personality. It wouldn’t surprise me if he were compensating for a lack of something larger elsewhere in his life––physically or mentally.

He made it back to his desk and poured himself a drink. He lifted his glass in an attempt to offer me one, the glint from his glass as the morning sunlight hit it for a moment blinded me as he did. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had done that on purpose. I knew that he knew it was difficult for me to see him perform this gesture due to the distance between us and the amount of back light provided by the sun shining through the ridiculously large window behind him that drowned out his image. I declined, to his delight no doubt. He wouldn’t have to waste his valuable alcohol on me.

After he took a swig of whatever type of libation filled his glass, he continued.

“You must be wondering––if I’m so eager to see your creation––why then am I waiting so long to have you show it to me.”

“A bit, yes.” I answered shortly.

“Well, I liken this to delayed sexual gratification.”

I really, really wanted him to reach his point.

“I so want to see your creation very badly, Mr. Okamura. But, as I see the silhouette of it just behind my door, I don't know how much longer I can wait. If you’ll allow me to continue with the metaphor…”

––I didn’t see what other choice I had––

“…all these days, weeks, and months of waiting have been like the physical act of copulation itself, and I see this morning as the culmination of said act. The point of….”

He paused for a second. I don’t have the proof, but I felt as if he wanted to say the word “ejaculation”, but he did not.

“…Euphoria,” was what he spoke instead.

He might as well have said “ejaculation.”

“So, I’m going to walk to my chair and sit and finish my drink. And when I do I’m going to sit this glass on this table. And when I do that it will make the sound of glass hitting wood.”

I knew he was speaking in that manner for effect, but it felt like he was describing it to an infant. His tone was unmistakably condescending. I don’t think he had experience speaking to scientists, or to humans for that matter. That, or he just didn’t give a fuck how he spoke to adults.

“And when you hear that sound, that will be your signal to open that door and bring her in to meet me. Do you understand the sequence, Mr. Okamura?”

Again, I know he spoke that way for effect, but I still wanted to drive my fist into his creepy face for it.

I nodded to show that I understood him and he started his sequence.

I watched him as he walked to his chair and took a seat. He put his feet up on his desk as he took his first sip of insipid alcohol.

He drew the cup from his lips and stared strangely at me. It was a look that made me feel like a young girl being leered at from the other end of a compartment on a public train by a lecherous old pervert. I didn’t know how I should have reacted so I sheepishly looked down at my shoes. He then made a grunting noise that signaled that he wanted me to continue looking at him, and so I looked back up and tried to remain as expressionless as possible. It would have been difficult to see, but I didn’t want him to accidentally see the disgusted look on my face if I had made one.

I watched as he took more sips from his glass. All in all it took three gulps for him to finish the contents of that cup––and as he finished he purposely slammed down the cup on he top of his desk with force to make sure I would hear it.

I then took my cue and placed my hand on the security plate. The door slid open to reveal a large nondescript metal container, a slender android standing next to it. I signaled to my android helper and he slid the container in to the room. I looked at Mr. Axell who was now sitting forward in his chair with his eyes wide open, a very hungry expression appearing on his face. My assistant, Cran, started to bring the container forward but Mr. Axell stopped him.

“No. Right there is fine,” he said.

Cran looked at me and I looked back. He seemed just as confused as I was.

“Open it. Slowly if you can,” said Mr. Axell.

I am afraid this lid only has one speed, Mr. Axell, a speed that I cannot control,” Cran answered back, very matter-of-factly. I could feel Mr. Axell’s disdainful stare burning a hole right through Cran’s metallic head. We shrugged it off, and I signaled Cran to listen to Mr. Axell’s instruction. He entered the button combination on the face of the container and it opened with a long and piercing hiss. The lid slid upwards revealing the silhouette of a human-like figure, packed in a memory foam block.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Think a Lot About Death

I think a lot about death. Daily, in fact. Not because of some overwhelming desire to achieve the state of it myself well before my time, but it’s interesting to think that we’re born and have this consciousness that we get used over a lifetime, and then, suddenly one day, hopefully a long time after the event of your birth, it extinguishes and ceases to be. It’s something that is not quite fathomable, a concept that is extremely difficult to grasp. But, as the wonderful Mr. George Carlin put it, death is the fairest thing we have because we all get it once. Precisely. Every flora and every fauna. Every single one of us gets a nice big heaping bowl of death. Serve with milk and it’s delicious, so I hear.

If you think about it, though, it might not be as hard to fathom as we think. After all, we all experience it, in my opinion anyway, in some form every night, and we call that form sleep. I think there’s a reason death is compared to it. The big sleep, eternal sleep, we call it, and sometimes, we, as well as many a fictitious gangster refer to it rather humorously as sleeping with the fishes.

In sleep, we lie down, shut our eyes and shut down our consciousness for hours at a time. Death, I think, is like that period in between our waking hours and sleep: assuming we don’t dream, or, at least assuming we don't remember doing so, there is blackness that happens that we don’t experience. We simply stop noticing life. That is what I imagine death to be like. If all goes well, at the end of sleep we wake up with the sun blaring in our eyes, begging us to be aware of the world again. I also used to compare death to shutting off a television set. You push a button, it goes black. If only it were that easy for us. If that were possible, though, I’d personally like access to that button tremendously hard to acquire. In fact, it should be limited to myself and should only be achievable by using some kind of fingerprint scanning technology.

Some people die naturally of things like old age or cancer. Others die rather unnaturally, e.g., being hit by a bus, or choking on toothpicks. I, myself, would rather meet my demise naturally, as toothpicks don’t particularly agree with my digestive system.

There are other aspects of death that I think about often. Throughout my short years I’ve regrettably lost contact with a couple of friends due to what I think are trivial reasons. I often wonder when I perish, if it’s before them, upon learning of my demise, would these friends simply not care, or would they regret letting something so small getting in the way of our friendship and show up to my funeral to say one last good bye. For context, the loss of friendship was often due to tiny spats, misunderstandings or slight differences in personalities. I did not, for example, stab their family members with ice picks, or callously kick their pets in the ribs, both of which would be perfectly acceptable reasons to severe a friendship. But, I miss them and I plan to reach out in some way in the near future, if only to send them an invite to my funeral. 

I sometimes think of suicide, it’s unavoidable, especially because of the recent tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing, but I don’t believe I could ever go through with something like that. Mr. Williams could. I can’t. A friend asked me the other day what my motivation in life was, and, after a insincere response of “I can’t answer that,” I truthfully answered, “Experiences, art, film, music, friends, family, technology, reality, all that good stuff.” There are too many exciting things happening with technology, science and art that I can’t take myself away from it all, too many advances, too many minutes of movies being filmed, too many words of books being written. I can’t be leave yet. 

I also wonder, when I go, did I make some sort of positive impact in this life that I can be proud of? Negative impacts are abound, of that I’m sure, and they are regrettable. But, I hope I have left some kind of positive stamp, whether with my words or my actions, no matter how small. I try to open doors for people whenever possible. I offer smiles to strangers here and there, even though it sometimes pains me to do so, being as uncomfortable with social interaction as I am.

So, will I have left a stamp? Mr. Williams obviously and inarguably did. Will the one I make be as big? Probably not. But I’ll try my best to make one before I go.

I think so much about death that I wrote a tiny story about it. Some think, according to reviews, that it’s a good story to read if you’re coping with it. I can’t be the judge of that. But download yourself a FREE copy and tell me what you think. It’s available on Amazon and Smashwords.