Thursday June 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

It's been longer than I'd realized since we did the Random Book prompt, so that's what we're up to today.

Choose a book as randomly as you like and make use of its first line in your prose today. Take it from there, as your imagination dictates, but as always remember to give credit where it's due. For mine, I chose to skip the introduction and go straight to the first chapter - do whatever works best for you.

Another busy morning at the bakery. I think the summer rush is beginning to build. For now, though, my focus returns to the farm as I'll be up early tomorrow to pick raspberries (and maybe some cabbage and broccoli) for this weekend's market.


This is Your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe

It's not easy being a parasite. For starters, not a single person out there reading this has any sympathy for me. Well, except for those of you currently under the control of a parasite of your own. But do you really even count?

Yeah, it's fun to be in charge of something so much larger than myself. But it is seriously hard work. Every little thing that happens while I'm behind the wheel? I gotta make sure it happens. Look left. Look down. Lift leg. Put leg down. Pick that up. No, with the other hand. That hand already has coffee in it.

It's exhausting!

And once somebody figures out I'm charge (because some nosy bugger always does) - look out! Here come the doctors and the pills and the needles (I hate needles). So now on top of all the stuff I'm already in charge of I've got to fight off this pesky crew of chemicals that want to evict me from the penthouse.

I dunno, man. Maybe I should figure out something else to do for a living. Kick my stress levels down a few notches. I gotta relax before I lose it. A vacation would be nice. Find a nice beach, bask in the sun...

Actually, this could work. I could be a tropical parasite! I hear those guys do pretty well for themselves. If your host manages enough free will to head for the airport, you just switch to a new arrival. Endless vacation, if you do it right.

Yup, that's the way to go. Now I just need to get this fool to book his stay in paradise.

Okay, lift foot. No, the other foot! Okay, now lift that foot. Reach for the laptop. Not with the coffee hand! Oh for crying out loud...


Greg said...

You should take a look at Parasite Rex as well sometime, though probably not while you're eating! I do find these parasite fascinating, though very slightly terrifying as well :) I rather like that you've chosen to write from the parasite's point of view, and I definitely like that the parasite seems to view the human as a kind of holiday home. I could quite imagine a parasite like that, and I think I know a few people who may already have one! The humour here -- slightly black, everpresent -- works very well as well; there's a definite hint of "Why can't you just leave me alone?" coming through, which I suppose most parasites must feel eventually!

Gate of Horn, Book of Silk by Michael Andre-Driussi.

The overture to what has been an epic of effort is just a few simple statements: Put that down! Stop what you're doing! Who gave you that in the first place?!
It's taken nearly twenty-seven to develop the Mombot. Building the body was relatively easy: we took inspiration from the cartoons of the sixties and The Jetsons in particular: we modelled the Mombot after Jane Jetson. Sure, Rosie would have been easier, but we wanted a Mombot that little girls could aspire to being. Building the AI took longer, that took nearly 11 years as well. And then it's taken another 8 to perfect the Mombot persona.
We started with an existing persona that we'd developed for the Department of Defensiveness: the military drone persona. It identified people well and responded in the right ways. We immediately removed certain things, like "Target acquired and identified" as its greeting, and replaced it with something more mom-like: "What do you think you're doing traipsing mud over my good carpet?" Three years later we vice-versaed because it turned out kids understood "Target acquired and identified" better, and husbands responded to it faster.
The fine tuning was difficult. Adding in nagging was easy: that was mostly vocabulary and modulating the voice into a whine. Persuasion was really hard: for a very long time the Mombot's default reaction was to persuade with force no matter what we coded or replaced in the hardware. We lost eighteen test children during that period, and in the end we only managing to get continued funding by setting the prototype Mombot on the funding council.
I still hear the screams sometimes, when it's late and we're trying to recode the Mombot's way of handling lies.
But overall we've done a good job and the Mombot is now being mass produced and sold to the public. They're proving very popular; even though they're expensive they're being delivered all over the country and "I love my Mombot" is the most popular Facebook group ever.
So, now that the country has its mothers back, we'll turn our research into why all our women now die in childbirth.

Marc said...

Greg - I think I'll save your recommendation for later, but I thank you for it all the same :P

And thank you again for the kind words! They are, as always, much appreciated.

I think my favorite part of yours was the section about the kids understanding and the husbands responding fast to 'target acquired and identified' :D