Archive for the ‘stikist’ Category

Forking – episode 4

Monday, November 16th, 2009

This is the fourth and last episode of Forking, a short story in the ‘philosophy fiction’ genre.  If you haven’t yet read Episode 1, start here.

Forking 4 composite 3Roger Beethey shows up late, with a blonde.  Elliot gives him a pleading look.  “Relax,” says Beethey.

“You said it would be a skeleton crew,” Elliot complains, gesturing to a clump of technicians.

“It is.”  Beethey nudges the blonde.  “This is Sylvan.  He’ll do your faces.”

The Elliots exchange glances, and stand up.  “This isn’t a game,” one says angrily. 

“You’re right, it’s no game,” Beethey hisses.  “You chose us, a US major network, over your socialized Canadian TV, because you wanted the exposure.  Well if you want our exposure, you’ve got to get us our ratings.  The network doesn’t even know what it’s invested in, because of your paranoia about leaks.  They’ll be watching with interest, and if I don’t come up with a professional product” – he draws a line across his throat – “I’ll have to pull your stunt right after you. (more…)

Forking – episode 3

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

This is Episode 3 of Forking, a short story in the ‘philosophy fiction’ genre.  If you haven’t yet read Episode 1, start here.

Forking 3 composite 3Getting into the Institute turned out to be easy.  Arriving in a crowd from the bus, he found the iid-controlled gate held open for him by a smiling girl.  Security at that boundary is given low priority.  The ‘free-campus’ tradition.  Half-hidden in a big armchair in a departmental Reading Room – not his own department’s – he checks the messages on his phone.  Nothing new that matters.  He re-reads Elliot’s reply to EB, agreeing to meet before class.  Elliot must be in his car by now, probably in slow traffic on the Expressway.

Elliot forwards another copy of Elliot’s message to EB, adding a note at the top.  “BTW, I hope it goes without saying that I take issue with Dalton.  I notified the board that he he’s a lightweight, unsuitable for that job.  Between us, he’s a dick-head!”  Elliot pictures EB’s reaction when he reads it.  He feels strangely exhilarated, and almost giggles.

With a few minutes to kill, Elliot wanders out of the Reading Room.  He notices the libertarian, Wade, coming down the corridor.  Wade nods to Elliot in passing.  Only since Elliot gained tenure – over Wade’s opposition, he is sure – does the old anarchist grant him even that much recognition.

A suitable target.  Elliot saunters after him. (more…)

Forking – episode 1

Monday, October 26th, 2009

“Forking” is the story of a man who is accidentally duplicated.  It is both thought experiment and short(ish) fiction.  The thought experiments of philosophers are often thin stuff, which fail to paint a coherent, credible picture.  Because readers’ imaginations are undernourished by the lack of detail, so are their philosophical conclusions about the possibilities being described.  Fiction invites readers into a more richly imagined world which can engage them on several levels – emotionally, aesthetically, intellectually, morally – as they are engaged in real life. If a story is well told, readers’ judgements about it should be close to what they would think if they were to live in the world it portrays.

Forking 1Finally an email from Dalton, on the last possible day.  With misgivings, Elliot opens it.  Nothing at all in the body, just Dalton’s signature and the animated IGo logo scrolling endlessly across the page.

Elliot opens the attachment – his own presentation – and starts flipping through it.   Dalton’s markup starts on the fourth slide. “DATA VOLUMES?  NOOOOO!!!!” in 60-point Arial.  Wincing, Elliot flips to the next slide.  A fat red X covers all five bullet points.  Next slide.  Another X.  The next slide has another note.  “FORGET DATA VOLUMES.  ENERGY IS MEANINGLESS.”

Elliot snorts, then closes his eyes.  He can feel pressure building behind them.  Energy is….   How could anyone say that?

Dalton sat on it for a week, more than a week, and now this is his feedback.  Who is this prick?  Just a flak, a lobbyist hired for the PR push the board insisted on.  Dalton impressed the board; he was the man. A dumb flak who can’t use the shift key.  (more…)