The Thirty-Fourth Post: The One with the Creeping Dread

Well, it’s Wednesday here. Still on vacation, but like that trip to the doctor or your mom telling you that ‘we need to talk when you get home’ – or any woman in my case – there is a lingering feeling of dread. I know I still have 3 more days of vacation and Saturday and Sunday to get through… not that it’s been a chore. I finally got caught up on Boardwalk Empire and now going to work on Sons of Anarchy. When that’s done, I’m going to work on Homeland and maybe Ringer. I am going to give Revenge one more chance, but if it can’t hook me in the second episode, it’s going to get flushed out. I’m not obsessed with TV, mind you – but I have some films that I want to watch later on today and I don’t want to lose them. Just to show you that I am not obsessed with TV, I am going to go on to my other obsession.

I’ve started a new project, and I have to give an unofficial shout-out to the writing software Writeway Pro. There is setting in it that allows you to figure out how many words you would need to write a day to obtain a goal. You type in the number of words in your work and the deadline you have – adjust it so that certain days aren’t counted (I take off Sundays) and it figured out how many words you need to write a day to hit that deadline. I plugged in 30,000 words for my new project and the deadline of January 31st, 2012. Get this… I have to type in about 400 words a day in order to hit my deadline. I can do that. Seriously, I can do 400 a day Monday through Saturday. The think that is going to be tricky is trying to stay under the 30K limit. I think that’s going to be enough to tell the story. With any luck, I can get it over to Amy for editing and get some cover art done and put it out there by summer. Expect a lot of updates about this to keep me motivated.

About the story: think of it as the frenzied three-way love child of Gaslight, Event Horizon and I, Robot conceived aboard the Mary Celeste. This is going along the idea of that the Three Laws of Robotics, while very sound; don’t cover the idea of paranormal phenomenon. I don’t know if Isaac Asimov was an atheist, but the laws, while they handle conduct very well, are not very metempirical. The First Law isn’t very friendly to the idea that there are corporeal and incorporeal humans – so, how it is going to differentiate between Uncle Bob and Recently Deceased Uncle Max? Of course, Isaac Asimov was a noticed scientist, so I doubt that the idea of ghosts factored into the Laws. That notion – the idea that there is no overt mechanism for a robot to acknowledge that the thing giving it a command is indeed a human – gave me the idea for the book which is going to be titled I/O Error for now. I did have to add some definitions to the Laws and added in a new Law, but the fundamentals are still the same:

  1. A machine cannot harm, or allow to come to harm by either action or by lack of action, a human being

    1a) Human is defined as any non-permanent, non-essential person either aboard the ship or on the immediate vicinity of the vessel.

  2. So long as it does not contravene the First Law, the machine cannot harm or allow to come to harm, either by action or inaction, a member of the crew

    2a) Crew is defined as a permanent, essential person charged with maintaining the continuing function of the ship.

  3. So long as it does not contravene the First and Second Law, the machine will obey the orders of the crew.
  4. So long as it does not contravene the First, Second and Third Law, the machine will obey the orders of the governing AI.

    4a) Governing AI is defined as the current operating system in the mainframe tasked with observing and operating the major functions of the ship.

  5. So long as it does not contravene the First, Second, Third, or Fourth Laws, the machine will obey the requests of human passengers to the best of its abilities.
  6. So long as it does not contravene the First, Second, Third, Fourth or Fifth Laws, the machine will obey the requests of any legal authority.

    6a) Legal authority is defined as any single person with power granted through appointment by properly sworn-in personnel at the city, state or federal level.

  7. So long as it does not contravene the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Laws, the machine will preserve its own existence.

OK – that’s a lot of laws to go through, but the idea is similar to Asimov’s Three Laws, but I added in more definitions that would suit a litigious society. That should cover all major points of interaction, and leave enough of a loophole for me to run about in. I did some research about ghost vessels – there are a lot more than the Mary Celeste and the Flying Dutchman, which is good for me. It gives me a wider pool to draw from story wise. This story is heading right to Kindle and Nook once it’s edited. For me, this is a pure profit book and I look forward to putting it out.

Well, I have a couple of errands to run and the 400 words. To show there is no doubt – there is about 1000 words in this post and I was only blathering about this book. Just think how much I can do when I am actually writing the book.

The caffeine calls.

Good Afternoon to you, Good Reader.


Seething With Apathy

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