Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whenever I read a work of fiction, I like to have some background information about how and why it was written. So for others who enjoy reading about such things, here's the background on "Just One of Those Human Things."


Decades ago, I read a black-and-white short story in Heavy Metal. I can't remember what it was called, or what it was about. If I ever come across it again, I promise to come back and give due credit. At any rate, I remember that there was an android (humanoid robot) dressed up in World War II British combat gear. He was patrolling a sort of wasteland planet, reminiscing to himself. At one point he came across a human, and shot him, crying, "Human filth!" This android bears very little resemblance to the end character of Sir Aloysious, but over the years, my mind often thought back to him. Who was this lone, robotic patroller of the wastelands? Where was he? Why was he there? I resolved to answer these questions, someday.

The story took on a number of forms. At first, Aloysious was just a robot, and did not have any human attachments at all. He was also on his own. I don't remember what exactly triggered the moment Hannah came onto the scene. But once I added her, the story took on another dimension that it definitely had lacked.

I can't deny, having just read it, that Don Quixote does not bear some influence upon the story. After all, it's the tale of a robot who is convinced that it is something it is not. But there's no shame in that.

I'm a big Doctor Who fan, especially of the Tom Baker era. At one point over the years, I came up with the question, "What if the Doctor was killed leaving K9 stranded, and he went crazy and convinced himself that he was the Doctor?" This sort of twisted fan-fiction experiment helped carry the story through points where I was stuck.

Last but not least, users of social media will probably recognize that the AI's are a satire of online arguments, especially those on Reddit. After the last election, everyone on the internet seems to be fractured into camps of us vs. them, and incapable of discussing anything without first attacking those who have a different viewpoint. Besides, I like the idea of artificial intelligences arguing with each other non-stop about which of them is the most human.

That's about it for now. I'd like to say thank you to those who have so kindly reviewed it. Each Amazon and Goodreads review is a huge help. (Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.)

 I've just finished the first draft of my next short story. It's almost 16k words, so it's actually what you would call a novelette. It's a sort of Catholic-Horror-SciFi-Noir, so there will be a little something in there for everyone. Stay tuned!


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