Brevity is the width of soul.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


After the Second Life Riots, companies understood that arbitrarily shutting down massive online worlds could quickly become a PR disaster.

Users don't mind so much being gruesomely killed in-game, though, and if you kill enough, the rest gives up and goes away.

It's what I do for a living. Now draw your swords.


Friday, September 28, 2007

As the night comes

They call themselves the Deep Greens: they graft capacitors below their skins, tattooed with haikus about the off-grid life. They feed their spartan devices with the purest of energy sources: nanodevices extract energy from the sugar in their blood.

The deepest of them, those charismatic enough, take other people's. If they do it right the donor survives, dizzied by low sugar and some blood loss.

Sometimes they do it wrong. Sometimes on purpose.

They have infrared-sensitive rhodopsin in their retinas. Not to waste watts on light, they say, but I know they are readying their eyes for the hunt.

I'm preparing myself for mine.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Words about you

All human babies are born telepaths, and then grow out of it. That's where that bit of loneliness you've always felt comes from.


Monday, September 24, 2007

The war within, the war without

The Nartherians were limbic inductors; they attempted to make us fall in love with them as a defensive measure.

They succeeded, and we killed them all. They never understood what we humans do to those we love.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Lazarus Loop

The resurrection was giving me a big headache. I had already memorized everything there was to know about my subject, but that's only the beginning of the process. To integrate the personality gestalt and bring him back to life, I would have to trick myself into believing I was him for the duration of the assigned mission. That's my job, and I'm usually very good at it. Actually, I'm the best.

But this one was killing me.

My monitoring tech shook her head and put a hand on my shoulder. "It's not going to work, Joe. Let him go."

I was about to protest that that wasn't my name, when it dawned on me that I had been resurrected to attempt a difficult resurrection. I tried to hold to the delusion that I was me, that I was alive, but in the end he couldn't, and that's how the experiment ended. We'll have to try again.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sins of Omission

You enjoy killing people, but don't want to go to jail, so you became an expert on potential suicides. Hundreds of times you have kept silent. Every time the thrill is the same.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Happiness Gambit

They had promised not to kill him, but they could still give him riches, true love, a meaningful life. Whatever it took to distract him from writing the novel he didn't knew yet he was going to write.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Close your eyes and listen to its breathing

Cities are the most complex spatially integrated organisms on Earth. They are multifaceted, evolving, resilient to harm.

The only big game worthy of the hunt.


Friday, September 14, 2007


Before casting your vote you had to click 'Accept' on an agreement not to pursue any allegation of electoral fraud.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

At the Time of the Setting Sun

An Atlantean sorcerer and a sacrifice of northern blood: those are the immutable requirements of the daily ritual that keeps the Terrors beyond the shore.

She belongs to both races and is the last of both. Every night she cuts, and bleeds, and chants, and prays she can endure a little more.


Monday, September 10, 2007

A War Against Darkness

An army of orphans, we are. We fight with single-minded dedication the monsters that took our families away. We are few, but we are all very, very good. Everyone gifted in a certain way.

So convenient. So unlikely. I can't avoid wondering if our predecessors allowed some of those deaths. If their need for soldiers was that great. But my curiosity about the past doesn't matter as much as the decision I must make now.

Our need for soldiers is great.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Sleeper

Even as they built the forbidding tower, even as they planted the forest full of thorns, even as they destroyed stories and maps, they knew it was useless, for the monster they had put to sleep was full of beauty, and princes are none-too-smart.


Thursday, September 6, 2007


"Desire." "Mirth." "Peacefulness." You felt your feelings shift and change, following the words without any delay.

"And to end the demo of the induction device," said the salesman, "let's try the impulse to buy."


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Charon's Test

I reviewed the file with growing despair. Stephen's Disease, no doubt about it: the pathological belief that one is a cyborg, a human brain inside a prosthetic body. It was new, rare, and incurable.

The program would have to be deleted, of course. I wasn't looking forward to its pleas for help.


Monday, September 3, 2007


I had long dreamed dreams of blood and revenge. All I needed was the right tool.

You understood that very well when I let you pull me out of the stone, Arthur. Now it's too late to complain.