Author Archive | Mark A. Rayner

It’s morning in the Singularity

cyborg at sunrise

Bob was not a happy cyborg.

He’d had to skip is plasma bath and neural detox that morning because his dick of a boss, a narcissistic self-sustaining photosynthetic artificial intelligence named TODD-bot, needed him to come to work early. And he was late. (Clearly his autonomic clock was in need of some debugging.)

But the early morning sunrise was suffused with peace. Bob watched the local star come up, even though the TODD-bot would rag him mercilessly for the wasted microseconds. (Approximately 300,000 of them, assuming it was only his internal alarm clock that was on the fritz.) His Nazi-3000 Hyper-Optics were capable of discerning all wavelengths of solar electromagnetic radiation, but Bob especially enjoyed the colors that his original eyes would have seen, if he still had them.

He remembered the simple joy of bacon and eggs for breakfast. That first sip of coffee. As if sensing this memory, his cybertronic neural implants signaled his FEED mechanisms, and injected protein slurry into his InCavity. His tastebuds were long gone, so he could only imagine how nasty it was. (And god help anyone who had to smell what came from his OutCavity.)

A Canada goose honked in the chill morning air, and Bob felt that old familiar despair. His implants had anticipated that already, and his morning protein slurry had been dosed with antidepressants, antipsychotics and for good measure, a shot of Nazi-3000s patented Assault Dopamine for Children (it’s “ragerrific”.)

Then, Bob was intensely aware of the weapons array sticking out of his trundle, looking like a toilet plunger, and all thoughts of the sunrise were erased. What kind of idiot designed something with a toilet plunger sticking out of it? he thought, really grooving to the Assault Dopamine for Children.

He would find the humans that did this to him, and . . . he couldn’t help himself. Bob felt himself utter the hated words:

Ex-ter-min-ate!

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Discover a friendlier AI in The Fridgularity, as it takes over the Internet, and locks all of us humans out of it. Oh, and it has access to the world’s nukes, but still. Friendlier. Honest. Available on Amazon Kindle for $4.95 and now, for all the other e-readers, on Smashwords (same price, $4.95.)

As robots go, Alltop is pretty funny. Excellent dalek pic by Johnson Cameraface on Flickr.

Clown Apocalypse

clown apocalypse

Years later, the survivors discovered the Bozo Virus got its start at Escola de Clown de Girona, near the end of semester.

The “Esclowna” was a kind of university/prep school for the international clowning set. The buffoons-in-training lived in common dorm rooms, and shared everything, so the virus spread easily within the school. There it incubated. (The school was at least 30 kilometers from the nearest village in Spain.)

They developed flu-like symptoms, and then recovered, but of course, everyone at the school was a clown, or a clown-in-training, already. So the worst of the symptoms went unnoticed, until after they matriculated. When the school year was over, the faculty, staff and students went to their respective home countries, throughout the world, and began to perform as clowns: at birthday parties, in old folks homes, in circuses, at rodeos, and on the street.

At first the virus was spread by contact. Then it mutated and became airborn. By the time authorities realized they had a pandemic on their hands, the virus had mutated again: you could catch it by even seeing a clown. By then it was too late. Only the most extreme coulrophobes and the naturally immune were spared the ravages of the disease: first flu-like, then the outbreaks of Red Nose, Sad Face, Happy Face, and of course, the grotesque, frizzy, multi-colored Goofy Hair.

The economy ground to a halt because of employee absences as the victims of the Bozo Virus spent their days making balloon animals, pulling down one another’s pants, and stuffing too many of themselves into small vehicles. (Many of these victims suffocated, instead of suffering the fate of the rest.)

The infection rate was 99 percent, and except for a few cases where it was possible to restrain the victim, lethal. The Bozo Virus was a cruel task-master. The infected could think of nothing else but clowning. Every moment they were conscious, they spent coming up with routines, acts, and “bits”. They didn’t eat. They didn’t drink. They only slept when their bodies ran out of energy. Eventually, they succumbed to the diesease, and no amount of horn honking could rouse them.

The survivors all agreed it was a tragedy. Hilarious, but a tragedy.
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How Landon, Ontario got its name

The Thames River, London, ON

Here’s a little snippet that didn’t make it into The Fridgularity. I cut the description of Landon, Ontario’s founding because it doesn’t really add much to the story, though it’s fun for anyone who lives in the real place, London, Ontario. Folks who have lived in London, Ontario (known to some as the Forest City, and others as the “For Rest” City), or even anyone who’s spent a bit of time visiting will probably enjoy trying to spot the various locations in the city. Most of the places are fictionalized — like the founder of Landon — but they’re based on reality.

Maltley Village in Landon, Ontario
The neighborhood wasn’t as architecturally interesting as Old North Landon, but Maltley had been consistently ranked in the top ten neighborhoods to live in Canada. Of course, only residents of Maltley were aware of this fact. Blake … arrived at the village itself, two blocks of storefronts, most of which he had never been in as they were either hair salons or little knick-knacky gift shoppes. (Definitely shoppes, not shops.) … Past the village, Blake walked down a steep cobblestone pathway to a park that ran along the river. Native Ojibwa called it the Askunessippi, or ‘antlered river’, but Blake thought the early French explorers had captured its essence a bit better in naming it La Tranche, or The Ditch — the river was barely navigable by canoe, being so shallow.

The discoverer of Landon, Jeremy Tombes Landon, dubbed the river the Medway, after the river that ran through his home town of Rochester, England. Landon actually wanted to name the town Rochester, but that had already been used in New York State, and Landon still had hard feelings about the American revolution, so he’d graciously agreed to name it after himself instead. Blake always thought that was real big of Landon. The park was one of many that wound itself through the city along the Medway River, and even if it was a bit muddy, it was pretty in the morning sunshine, lined with bright red and gold maples, amber ash, and rusty oak. It would have been perfect if not for the raven that stalked him.

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You can get The Fridgularity on Amazon, on Kindle, and now on all other ebook formats via Smashwords.

Alltop stalks humor. Photo by Chen Vision via Flickr. Originally published November, 2012.

Unwanted Christmas Gifts Through the Ages

Vincent, without the lower half of his earIn 1170, King Henry II says, “What a parcel of fools and dastards have I nourished in my house, and not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk.” Said fools and dastards decide that this means they should kill Archbishop Thomas Becket.

In 1600, Queen Elizabeth grants a formal charter to the London merchants trading to the East Indies. This doesn’t work out very well for the East Indies.

In 1777 George Washington’s Continental Army is given “cozy winter quarters” at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

In 1888, artist and talented loon Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear, to give to a prostitute named Rachel, who worked at a brothel nearby. Um, thanks, but does it come in, like, not bleeding?

In 1912 the Parisian literary review, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, rejects an excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Doh!

In 1915 Sir Douglas Haig is made the commander-in-chief of the British army in France, and eventually gives his soldiers the thoughtful and exploding gift of the Somme.

Make the season more merry with some satirical fiction …

Another parcel of fools and dastards can be found at Alltop. Originally published December, 2008.