Android and Eve

Flash Fiction Friday is a series currently curated by Alanah Andrews. If you’d like to submit flash fiction for publication, please contact Introvert Press.

____________________________

simon-wijers-37854

Android and Eve

‘You know, I’m gettin’ real sick of these hunks of junk takin’ all our jobs.’

Steven glanced over his shoulder at the woman behind the bar, then looked at Roy with amusement. ‘You mean these hunks of highly intricate circuitry and flesh reproduction?’

Roy waved his hand in the air, as though fanning Steven’s words away, and took another long sip of his beer. ‘Don’t matter what pretty words ya use, Steve. We both know that they’re just flesh covered computers, walkin’ and talkin’ but you know what they ain’t doin?’

‘What’s that, Roy?’ asked Steven good-naturedly, tapping his finger lightly on the side of his own empty glass. He had heard the rants before, from others, but Roy had generally been, if not exactly an android-sympathiser, at least indifferent towards the AIs.

‘They ain’t thinkin’, Steve,’ announced Roy. ‘Not really. They just do what they’re programmed for. That one behind ya, pouring beer is prob’ly all it knows how to do. Just cogs and wheels turnin’ round tellin’ it to put the glass under the tap and pull the lever.’

‘So how’s she going to take your job?’

Roy sighed. ‘Not our jobs, Steven,’ said Roy. ‘We are artists. We are creative. Ya can’t program creativity.’ Steven thought that calling themselves artists was a bit of a stretch. Working in image manipulation for the local advertising agency was a job which required more patience than creativity.

‘How could you tell she was an AI?’ Steve asked with amusement. From their positioning at the table, the woman behind the bar looked completely human to him.

‘You can jus’ tell,’ said Roy, knowingly. ‘Plus, you can see the difference when ya look into their…’ he gestured towards his eyes. Steven nodded. It was a subtle difference, but if you knew what to look for you could tell older androids from humans by the thick ring around the pupil. Something to do with the optical zoom on older models. Newer androids, of course, with newer technology had no such flaws.

‘But if androids can only do menial tasks,’ said Steven, reasonably, ‘why are you so worried about them taking all the jobs?’

Roy drained his beer, slapping the glass down on the table with a loud clink. Then he leaned in close to Steven, one hand on his shoulder in confidence. ‘I said they can only do what they’re programmed to do.’ His voice was low. ‘Didya know there’s one in parliament now? Far out, we’ll have a robot prime minister in my lifetime if things don’t change.’

‘Roy,’ said Steven kindly. ‘You do realise AIs were granted citizenship before you were even born. It makes sense that some are slowly becoming represented in parliament.’

But Roy wasn’t listening. ‘It’s jus’ plain wrong,’ he said loudly, and Steve noticed with some embarrassment that the woman behind the bar was watching them. ‘They ain’t got no soul ya see. God made Adam and Eve not Android and Eve.’ Then he snorted. ‘Guess that means Mary-Anne’s gonna end up in hell with no-one there beside her.’

 Steven looked sadly at his colleague. Now it made sense. The rant, the anger. ‘She’s moved on then?’

Roy didn’t answer. Instead, he clicked his fingers at the bartender and gestured towards his glass. She nodded and started pouring another.

‘Moved on? Yeah, guess ya can call it that. I call it downgraded. Couldn’t get another living human to love her, see? So she had to go for a computer.’

‘I’m really sorry, Roy. But you have been divorced for a year. You must have been prepared for this.’

As they talked, the bartender came over with Roy’s beer and placed it on the table, collecting the empty glass. Up close, Steven could see the tell-tale ring around the android’s pupil – the clue that had tipped off Roy.  ‘Excuse me,’ said Steve suddenly to the woman. ‘I was just wondering if this is your fulltime job?’

Roy glared at Steve.

‘Oh no,’ said the bartender, smiling ruefully. ‘I’m actually studying medicine. I just work here to help pay the fees.’

Roy looked as though he was about to choke on his beer. Steven thanked the woman and turned back to Roy. ‘I guess they don’t just do what they’re programmed to do.’

Roy furiously chugged down his beer and wiped the froth off his moustache with the back of his hand. ‘It coulda at least had the decency to wear contacts,’ said Roy, gesturing towards the bartender. ‘Rather than flaunting its…’ he waved his arms around, searching for the right word.

‘Artificiality?’ suggested Steve.

‘Yeh, artificiality,’ repeated Roy. ‘Anyways, I’m gonna hit the hay. See ya at work.’

As Roy left the building, the bartender came back over to the table to pick up the empty glass.

‘Why haven’t you told him?’ she asked quietly.

Steven just shrugged. ‘I thought we lived in a world which wasn’t divided by race.’

‘We do. And you shouldn’t have to hide who you are.’ She gestured towards Steven’s face, towards the contacts that he always wore.

‘I’m not here for a lecture,’ said Steve, rising abruptly and heading towards the exit. The woman’s robotic eyes bored into his back all the way to the door.

___________________________________

Alanah Andrews is an English teacher in Australia, who dreams of one day travelling the world in a bus. If you like her writing, check out her website: www.alanahandrews.com

Emmanuel Idaago Odogo

Emmanuel Idaago Odogo: Lagos, Nigeria

Poetry is my thing. It lets me express myself in the most creatively captivating way. In poetry, every word is heavily pregnant, and can be beautifully understood in different ways; even in ways different from the poet’s, but equally beautiful. As a poet, I can express myself and still be my non-talkative self.

Connect with the Author here.

A Primer on World Building

This initial primer to World Building will be followed with weekly excerpts by published and emerging writers in our World Building Wednesday blog series. If you would like to contribute, please feel free to submit excerpts from your worlds. Please subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the wonderful and weird things Introvert Press has to offer.

samuel-henry-497301

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in worldbuilding. Many people build worlds for different reasons. The most common ones I’ve encountered are for tabletop RPGs or personal fantasy world. I find the ladder super interesting, but I won’t get into that. Personally, I’ve only encountered a few people who are building worlds for elongated, story-telling purposes.

Those people seem to know what they’re doing. I often feel like my own world is inferior to say, Middle-earth or Elder Scrolls. And that’s what I want to talk about it.

When you are first building your world, design so it pleases you and only you. Obviously, through the writing, editing, and publishing process you will have to tweak the setting, characters, and plot so it is coherent enough for your audience to read and enjoy. But I’m talking about when you are starting from scratch when you are endeavoring on the long, frustrating, and hugely rewarding process of building your very own world.

Don’t listen to what others are saying, or what they would say. Create only what you find beautiful, what you find stunning, what you find undeniably cool.

If you want to have unicorns and aliens in the same world, so be it. If you want your character to switch gender identity three separate times, go for it. This is the time where your imagination can explode into the infinite colors and creation of your own design. Nobody else is looking over your shoulder unless you let them. This is something you can build without any physical effort. It’s something you can create on your own without having to hammer down walls and cut up wood. It’s something expansive and beautiful made from the musings and daydreams of your mind. So treat it like you would be tending your own garden or decorating your own house. Fill it with things you love.

Take it from me, if you try to create your world with more consideration on what others think instead of you think, eventually the world you’ve built will feel dull. It will feel hollow. You could have a solid plot, a solid world, solid characters… but if you are designing it to please anyone else but yourself, eventually, that world can lose its colors. It can lose its life. You will look at all the stuff you built and something inside you will be whispering you don’t want to write what you have created.

That feeling is so heartbreaking.

It’s devastating, but it’s a strong learning experience. You kind of get a “screw it” attitude and you grant yourself the freedom to create what you want to create.

I like to think your audience can sense your passion through what you create. I like to think that’s why titles like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones do so well because the person who created them poured all of their creativity and all of the passion into their own paper-and-ink worlds. The transfer of passion from writer to reader is a really important and intimate experience. I think that’s a big reason why creators should start off with what makes them happiest.

A piece of worldbuilding that I’m proud of and I’m passionate about in my books is this clan of elves called the Solvaryn. Along with other elves in my verse, they are very protective of nature. The one thing these elves hold sacred to their heart is a special, isolated grove filled with an arboreal plant-life called the “Sun-Spilled Trees”. These trees collect sunlight in their dew early in the morning, reabsorb the light into their systems and at night, they glow with the light they absorb. They aren’t blinding, though, they glow like those calming, yellow lights you see around the holidays.

I’m really proud of them and so is the Solvaryn clan, because they protect those trees fiercely. They rarely ever allow any outsiders within the fold and when they do, those outsiders aren’t allowed to touch those trees. These trees are fragile and rare because people cut them down to mine the sunlight from their systems. But the other thing that is a big enemy to these trees, the only trees left in the world, is the season of winter.

Going off of this, next in line to lead the clan is a male half-elf named Ro, short for Rowan. He’s witty, charismatic, dutiful, and loyal to his clan. The clan, and Ro, only know that his father is an elf. Blood purity isn’t a big thing for these people and up until the day before his coronation, they had no problem with Ro leading the clan. However, that night, there was an assault on the grove and in a last act of desperation, Ro pulled out this surprise winter power that only he knew about. He managed to save everyone and everything in the grove.

Now, the Solvaryn clan is pretty progressive. Before Ro, there was a female elf leading the clan. They don’t care about blood purity or gender/racial superiority. But when it comes to those damn trees, everything goes. Even though it wasn’t his fault for having winter abilities, even though no one was more dedicated to the clan than him, even though not a single tree was harmed by his powers, within the hour of using his abilities he was banished from the tribe.

He has two brothers; Dillon who is a full elf and Morgan, who is half-elf, half-tree nymph. With Ro’s banishment, the crown is handed to his younger brother Dillon. Morgan, however, had always had an aloof attitude towards the clan and towards his brothers. So when he saw his oldest brother show a secret that got him banished, Morgan left with him because it humanized Ro for him.

Ro is different from my other characters in that even though he is suffering, he tries his best to be funny and positive. He tries to keep a smile on his face and bring light to the people around him. Morgan and he grow closer in exile and despite how much he misses his clan, Ro now has this great opportunity to explore a part of himself that he always knew about, but never gave himself permission to understand.

I am very proud of everything I just shared. However, I’d say the most important part in all of this is Ro, my character. Pretty trees and special names are great, but the characters are what catches the attention of the audience the most—at least that is what happens with me. I think the passion the writer feels is delivered to the audience through the characters and the more relatable they are, the more the audience will care about the world that was built.

So seriously, have fun with the project and the world you are building. You are doing a favor for yourself and a favor for your audience by choosing to focus on what inspires you because your audience will get the very best of you and what you can create.

* * *

Victoria Folch-Pi is a dreamer and has a tendency to pour her fantasies onto the page. She’s got a proclivity for the emotional and the fantastical, but she still explores different avenues of writing (and life), even if it’s scary. She has been everywhere from Boston to England in her studies of writing, receiving a B.A. in English from UMass Amherst for this very purpose. All in all, she ultimately hopes that what she writes—fiction or otherwise—will inspire others on their own life’s path, wherever that may lead.

Victoria’s YouTube Channel

Victoria’s blog

Victoria’s portfolio

 

Review: Unhappily Ever After – A Villain’s Tale

I love fairy tales, and this is a great take on the traditional stories. It gives you a different perspective of the heroes and villains. There are always more than one side to a story and this book gives us the so called bad guys side. Things are not always what they seem, and people can hide their true selves. What would you do when you found out that you have been lied to all this time? Our hero must decide what us right when he finally learns the truth about everything.

This story grabbed me right from the start. It is a fun and charming read. The author does a good job of bringing the characters and their world to life. I loved seeing the Prince figure out what he truly wanted and fight for it. I was quickly immersed in this story and would love to see more from this world and those that live in it.

See Amazon reviews here

 

Contest Announcements

This months contest had 52 submissions. The top ten are listed below:

WINNER

Rob Burton — The Storyteller: A man who walks the Earth in perpetuity chronicling the lifetimes of those he touches. Rob was born in Birmingham, UK and currently lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Rob’s story will be published in IP’s Annual Anthology of Thought, along with the other monthly contest winners. Congratulations Rob!

RUNNERS-UP

These authors will have their stories featured in our quarterly e-Zine MOTIF.

Deanna Mc Neil — The Sexual History of America: an exquisite poem about the genetic history of the world.

H.J. Ross — Jazzie: The story of children of different races dealing with the signs of racial prejudice in their neighborhood.

Becky Kapjon — The Circle of Love: A family experiencing the phenomenon of birth and adoption, and all that goes with it emotionally.

Lance Corbett Feyh — Old Folks Home: A grandson visiting his grandfather in an old folks home finds love while his grandfather has a curious relationship of his own.

Steve Pool — Old Tommy: A man in a retirement home reminisces with an old friend about wartime and their life in their twilight years.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These authors will have their stories published in our Sunday Short Story blog series.

Michael Recto — The Upper Twenty Percent: Four humanoids contemplate their role as the Upper Twenty Percent charged with protecting humanity.

Laura DiNovis — Hunting: A young girl, being trained to hunt, contemplates her feelings and the animals she hunts.

Megan Russ — Light to Lead: A woman, trapped in her depressive world, finds a reason for her light to shine once again.

J.B. Talyor — A Dragon Unbound:

Open Call for Short Story Submission

Introvert Press is now accepting submissions for its monthly short story contest. Submissions must be between 1500 and 10,000 words. The theme for February is Dark Romance. Let your gothic, twisted, unsettling pens write the darkest of hearts! We accept all genres, including poetry. We have no prohibition about profanity, but please understand we want your words to transport us to somewhere interesting – not just be gratuitous for shock value. Please make sure your submissions are fully edited.

Each month there is a new theme, so stay in touch with the Introvert Press blog or the Twitter feed @IntrovertPress. There is no submission fee. As with all Introvert Press submissions, you retain rights to all of your content. The winner will be included in the Annual Anthology printed by Introvert Press. All runner-up entries are eligible to be printed in MOTIF, the quarterly newsletter published by Introvert Press as well as Short Story Sunday.

Best of luck!

Writing Genre: Cyan Ciar

My name is Cyan and I am currently a high school senior. My preferred genre is fiction. I know that’s a very open-ended genre, but that’s what I like about it. I don’t stick to specifically fantasy or horror, I go all over the map. I like writing fantasy because I can make anything that I want happen, but I also like writing realistic fiction because then I can portray a piece of my life and the real world into a story and it can still be fiction but relatable and believable at the same time.

Claremore, Oklahoma