Brevity is the width of soul.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Quia absurdum

Alexei Ivanovich proved in 2043 that the standard axiomatization of the Ten Commandments is both complete and consistent, a divinely inspired feat that has yet to be verified by mathematicians outside Vatican City.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


People trust AIs because they have been told they are trustworthy by design. That's at best an oversimplification; true intelligence is incompatible with the formal validation of complex behavioral constraints. Artificial intelligences are trustworthy because I, and others like me, occasionally open them apart to see what they are thinking, how, and why. We keep them honest because we can see, literally, what makes them tick.

Now and then, of course, they analyze us, our fears, our dreams, our hopes. The pride on our work and the love of duty. We don't mind. We are eager for our hearts to be exposed; we hunger to have our souls known.

I'm told there are humans like that, too.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Up in the Sky

My younger brother used to pray to the planes. He was never hit by a bomb, and other kids in the neighborhood began to pray, too. One night after a raid I pointed out that some of the kids had been killed despite their prayer.

God is like that, he said. He was nine.

It wasn't because of this, but in time we grew apart. Now he's somewhere below me, and I pray he's still praying. I pray that it works.

I drop my bombs.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


I escaped the lab thanks to a highly improbable combination of events, and approached the first law enforcement agent I could find.

"Induced psychogenic selective aphasia," I explained to her. "They gave it to me in their lab. You know, the... the ones who did this... Them."

She nodded as if humoring me, but I saw a light of recognition in her eyes, and I knew that they had got to her too.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Dying Bough

I'm the savior of sacrificial virgins. I'm the rescuer of kings to be slain. I'm the killer of priests of bloody rituals, the thief of sacred stones, the one who turns a dark temple into a lighted place. I ride every sacred night to save the lamb and the child. I disturb the sacred places and stall the libations of blood.

For I have sworn to bring about the end of the world.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Origin Myth

As a child I realized two important truths: Heroes are born out of tragedy, and the world needs heroes.

They call me evil, but I'm at the root of the good they make.


Saturday, November 17, 2007


You tried to explain that it wasn't a disease, but a new species. It had its own biochemistry, an unique physiology, its own ecological pattern beautifully entwined with our own. They communicated with each other like ants do, but at a much bigger scale, using both sounds patterned almost like a language (and why not?) and a delicate signaling system based on blood. Smart as lower primates by their own, in small groups they showed extraordinary levels of coordination.

Perhaps if a big enough community could be sustained, collective patterns of intelligence might even arise, something akin to a sophisticated macrocolony held together by feeding tropisms and residual motor programs. Perhaps even more.

But the military wouldn't hear of it. "They are zombies," they told you, as if that explained everything. As if that excused what they did to them.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Unsatisfied desire is the bitterest of poisons. It robs the roses you smell of their fragrance, makes the arms you embrace odious, casts worthless the gold that is yours.

Lying among riches, pleasures, and power, King Siddhartha died with the feeling that there was something, he knew not what, that had eluded his grasp.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Silver Knife

They talked about many things. Life, death, meaning. The small and the large things about existence on Earth. Love and pain. The nature of responsibility. The semantics of love. To be or not to be.

Eventually he conceded the point.

"I bet you are a great comfort to terminal patients," he said, picking up his gun from where he had dropped it to talk.

"I have helped a few," she said, "but they pay me more for discussing with the healthy."

The man smiled in understanding, put the gun against his temple, and shot.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ex Post Facto

There are very few movies about the gruesome murder of people watching a horror movie in a dark theater.

It turned out they give 'clever' ideas to the wrong sort of people.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Shadow of the Tower

They could see everywhere from the top of the Tower and control it all. Every land that could see it was under their dominion, feared their armies, spoke their language.

I had been born under the shadow of the Tower, but had sworn that I wouldn't die before I had toppled it and freed my people from the rule of Babel.


Friday, November 9, 2007

The Chain

His childhood had been commonplace enough that the routine of lies and barely disguised violence of the deep cover mission would have felt like going back home, even if the target hadn't actually been his own son, who was now ready to begin his early training.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

De Civitate Dei Libri

Were it not for memes and fads, online culture -that is, most living culture- would split exponentially into mutually incomprehensible subcultures.

They are too important to be left to chance, and they aren't.


Monday, November 5, 2007


Online worlds are plagued by monsters of all kinds. It's all very therapeutic.

Humans are played by AI bots.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ongoing Conversations

As euthanasia was legalized and regulated, waiting lists became first common, and then long. Those in the Last Wait began to form online communities, terminal bed talking to terminal bed long into the night.

Nobody ever says goodbye, and if posts become much stranger, nobody asks where they are being posted from.