N2 P2

After an awful time last week, I try to crawl back into the cockpit and see where in the hell this flight is going.  Oh, yes:  time to get started on Part Two.  Let’s start with a little exposition.  After that, I’ll – as I do – fill in the backstory, then come back to “realtime.”

I’ve looked down from the Blue Mountains toward Pendleton over a dozen times.  It’s breathtaking.

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Death

By and large, this weblog is about my writings of Machine Civilization… hence the name.  Still, every now and then some RealLife breaks in.  This is one of those times.

Having successfully fought sarcoma just over a year ago, my mis-aptly named dog, Lucky Star, a schnoodle of only nine years, will be dead in 3-7 days from another cancer, of his upper spinal cord.

My house is a veritable Iliad of woes right now.  For those who are followers of The Way, please pray for my wife and daughters, who are besides themselves.  Me?  I’ll just keep buggering on.

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Half-halt

Any successful, sudden, military advance and breakthrough must be followed at some point by a pause:  you can only outrun your lines of supply for so long.  So, too with stories.  I took an half-hour around noon to think about what I’ve written in Nichole’s second book while sitting on my back deck and taking the view in.

Something was off.  In the timing.  I could not put my finger on it, so, ignoring the nice day, I went back inside and put a pen and notepad next to my netbook and used ‘Find:  “month”‘ to search through what I’ve written.  Sure enough, there was a two month discrepancy.  I’ve re-written that section and even went back to my ‘Friend & Ally’ manuscript and made two minor changes there, as well.

I also went on to write a page and a half of notes about Part 2/3 of the new book (the newer book, I guess I should say).  It’s hanging together better:  the ‘barbarians’ new leader, called Ruin, is much more politically savvy than the guy from ‘F&A.’  So much so that he will win, to his later surprise.

Nichole is smarter, faster, stronger than any human.  But she’s also isolated, even with her human allies.  The men about the Mayor and the tribesmen closest to Ruin function the same way as a General Staff does, and it is very, very difficult for an individual to beat a good staff.

The coming week, even with sick dog’s appt Tuesday afternoon, is a working vacation:  my boss is off.  I expect much productive time!

001

At 19,074 words, the raw manuscript of Part 1/3 of Nichole5’s second book is complete.  While trying to keep it light-hearted and romantic, I had no choice but to lay some groundwork for what’s coming:  Nichole & John Brunelli personally reconning what’s going on across the Columbia River, to the far northeast of the City.  Teresa both a passive informant as well as secretly excited at the possibility of succeeding her father in power*.  And finally the simple girl, Mackenzie:  who just wants to make beautiful art, about to become a double-agent.

Nearly 20k words, and not one battle!  I must be thinking back to my roots as an author!  Wonder what that bodes for Part 2/3?  Will it open in the middle of combat, or will things continue to progress slow by slow?  The world wonders.  And for Nike and Zom’s?  I’m not remotely close to looking past that curtain.

*I recalled the scene from Robert Graves “I, Claudius,” where, some days after being picked to be Emperor by the Praetorian Guard, Claudius meets with a select few of the Senate leadership:

A senator:  “You are not fit for this job!”

Claudius:  “I agree.  I am old; some say I am without my wits.  But I am alive while dozens of my family went to the grave with theirs fully intact!  You say I have no experience… do you have more?  I’ve been in the Imperial Household since my birth, watching how it works.  Do you know more?”

Expect Teresa (via Nichole) to have a similar speech in Part 3/3… if she’s still alive.  Also, I hope in this installment I’ve captured Nichole’s recognition of the moral grey zone she’s stepped out into, by asking what she does of her friend.  I realized, just now, that she’s created a box of safety around her boyfriend.  Good Lord, but that’s going to backfire.

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Life Imitates my Art, again

In chapter 10 of my forthcoming book, Friend & Ally, there’s an exchange between Nichole and her human friend, Mackenzie, who’s a wonderful artist:

“Oh.” Another bite. “So you’re an… android?”

“Yes! Completely self-aware and a fully stand-alone machine! But…” She looked about conspiratorially, leaning a little forward. She was very happy her friend leaned in, too! “…I’d rather stand with my friends than alone!”

Mackenzie leaned out, laughing out loud for once. A bit of crepe fell out of her mouth.

When she started on her second crepe, Nichole had them amble east and north, toward the river. Mackenzie could guess why. Indeed: coming to Naito Parkway, she spied Kongo’s mast in the distance. But, for now, she was too taken with the new world being opened up before her.

“Not at all!” Nichole had replied to her. “Several of my siblings are quite taken with art! My eldest sister, Hajime, does oil painting! If I can get some time on the PSU satellite links, I’ll try to print some copies for you!”

“That would be nice.” To look at art made by someone who wasn’t human… Mackenzie shuddered slightly in anticipation.

“You okay?” Nichole asked. They walked close to one another under her umbrella; typical for Portland, mostly cloudy had become light rain.

“Yeah.”

While horribly mischaracterized by the media (c’mon, Popular Mechanics!) as AIs, these are merely expert systems, using heuristics to create paintings the programmers want to see.  Real art by real AIs?  I seriously doubt we’d understand it.

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Friend for dinner

Work sucked less; dog still not well.  After work had to walk to my car in the rain.  I’m writing books set in Portland, so I regarded it as theater training.  Still maneuvering my way to the conclusion of Part 1 while at the same time laying the groundwork for Part 2

I want to show that Gil and Nichole love one another, but at the same time I want to show that they both know there’s something very odd about their relationship.  In other words, it’s a pretty typical guy-gal thing.

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Prednisone & Gabapentin

For the dog, not me.  I’m for the cheap wine, with some occasional gin in the warmer months.  See, for example, my recent post on Instagram (@machciv).  The story below follows immediately on that from my last blog post; I’d seen all of it, but was just too tired.  Bad news at work, bad news at home… it piles up.  Instead, let’s have three friends drink tea and nibble cookies on a rainy, Portland, Sunday afternoon!

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