How I choose to remember.

I'm not really sure how to begin. As I sit down to write this, my Aunt Dee Dee has been gone for about three hours, and I've finally wrapped my head around what she meant to me. I've decided that I'm not going to remember the years she spent in a hospital bed following her stroke. I'm going to edit all that right out of my mind, because I can. It's my mind, and those are my memories to let go of. 

I'm going to remember her the way I want to remember her. I'm going to take another look at all of the ways the she's impacted my life, to show everyone how much caring and loving people can be passed on to the next generation.

I love my aunt Linda, or Dee Dee as we all called her. I say "I Love", rather than "Loved", because you don't stop loving someone once they pass on. I love her as much as I knew how, and much of what I know about loving and caring for people came from her. Now, I have all of these great memories of her, and I'm sacrificing all of those visits where I just sat next to her bed in the care facility to give all of the great memories I have with her to expand in my mind and continue on. 

That way, Dee Dee will never change. She will always be that person in my life that felt like a second mom, that person that showed me that a birthday cake didn't have to be just a birthday cake. If you cared enough, a birthday cake could be a car, or a superhero, or whatever you wanted it to be. I've tried to keep that magic going, by making my son's birthday cakes extra special. I'm sure you've all seen them on facebook. I post a lot of pictures. So yes, you all have her to thank for that.

She will always be the person that loved decorating hard boiled eggs for Easter, and helping the Easter Bunny hide them all over her house for us to find. Real eggs, that's what jumps out at me now from those memories, with the little shrink wrap sleeves, and whatever messy new decorating kit we wanted to try out that year. I know the last few years we used plastic eggs, because somewhere along the way we lost the time or energy to spend an afternoon decorating them, but I'm cutting those memories out. I'm substituting the real eggs (that I never ate) for the plastic ones that marked the time when we all had to start growing up. 

In the summer, my brother Wayne and I would mow the lawns around her house, and if any of you have seen them, you know it's a several hour job, even when you drive as fast as we did. In my memories, she never gave us hell for racing the riding lawnmowers around the back yard, even though I'm sure she saw us doing it, and even though I'm sure she probably did tell us to cut it out every once in a while. She didn't tell us we couldn't do it anymore when one of the lawnmowers was too roughed up to rise to the bell again, she just bought another lawnmower. In my mind, the grass was never greener than it was when we used to mow it around her house. She always overpaid us, and after a while we stopped trying to talk her out of it because she would never give in. She was the most stubborn person I've ever met. Wayne, I'm pretty sure that's where Van gets it from. I hear it skips a generation or two. 

Every year we would go up to her house to do the "Christmas Cooking", but usually all we ever made were cookies and Chex Party mix. We had to bake cookies a few weeks before Christmas, because we made so many of them that we needed to give everyone enough time to eat them all. The flour got all over the place, falling off the sides of that square folding table from the hall that we had to use when the kitchen table wasn't big enough to contain it all. I remember my son Skyler helping for a couple of years, though I'm not sure if he was old enough to help much the last time we did it, or if that's the way my mind wants it to have happened. I don't really care if it's a memory that my mind has created, connecting two of my favorite people in this world. If writing fiction has taught me anything, it's that the stories that mean the most to us, that teach us the most about the kind of people we want to be, don't have to be entirely accurate. 

See, it doesn't make those memories any less important or powerful to remember them the way you want to. So I'm editing them in my mind, remembering my son there with us, old enough to help in the making of the cookies, even thought the exact sequence of events may have been a little different. 

I remember the year that she bought all the kids new wallets for Christmas, then forgot where she put them. I don't remember if she ever found them, but it doesn't matter. The laughs we had over it were worth more than any gift. 

I remember setting up her ceramic Christmas Village, though I think we only ever found the ambition to do it once or twice. I remember helping her decorate, winding garland and ribbons all over the deck, and connecting so many of those free standing light up figures outside that in places the wiring required us to be creative. 

I remember her holding her dogs, Buddy and Clyde, the way they always fought to make sure that they could both be in her arms at the same time. She hardly ever pushed them away, no matter how often they clawed her arms up trying to be the one that was a little closer to her. She loved them for who they were, claws and all. 

That was who she was. 

That is how she will always be in my memories of her, and that's a big part of why I try to be more like her. Almost nobody loves like that anymore. She loved her nieces and nephews more than most parents love their own kids nowadays. She always made sure I had enough to eat, no matter how many times I lied and told her that my mother didn't feed me. She always made sure the world was a little brighter, a little greener, and a little more fun. I choose to remember all of the fun we had, the lessons she taught me, and how for the years we all got to spend with her, she helped to teach us how good the world could be, if we just loved each other enough to enjoy it a little more. 

That's how I will remember her. Skyler and I love you Dee Dee, and we'll always remember why.


The Burden of Science Fiction

I want to start this post by acknowledging the weight of it's title. It's a heavy concept to ponder as a writer, that Science Fiction has a world burden. We're used to being the dreamers, the "what if" engine of our generation. But if you really look at what I just wrote, you've already accepted the mantle I'm proposing, without even feeling that weight pass to you.

The ability to dream IS the burden. If you have the ability to invent, to bring something into the world which did not exist the moment before, then you should already feel a compelling urge to do so. Most people that I would identify as "Content Creators" do so, or at least began to do so, for the joy that arises from a pure act of creation. Only later does the fulfillment come from the enjoyment it brings others, and the monetary rewards follow that. It's the process, and there's really no way around it. If you try to shortcut the process by skipping the intermediary steps, say, to create something that will make you wealthy, without taking any real joy in it, that wealth will most likely be either nonexistent, or short-lived. If you try to make things that you yourself don't care for, but believe that others will, it will also become less likely to succeed.

Even when a creator ends up making something that they later grow to despise or regret, during the creation process they still enjoyed it. The lead singer of Oasis, Liam Gallagher, grew to despise their hit song "Wonderwall", because people enjoyed it so much that was all they wanted to hear from the band. That song created a shadow that rendered much of their later work inconsequential, because it was so good. Creating a song must be an awful amount of work, and you would assume that if he hated it from the start, it never would have escaped the attic of his mind.

 Like much of the country, I'm looking forward to tonight's premiere of COSMOS, brought back through the combined efforts of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan, and Seth Macfarlane (Yes, that Seth Macfarlane). To gear up for it, I sat down and watched Neil's Lecture at the Library of Congress, a deeply passionate presentation meant to inspire our nations Congressmen and women to increase funding to NASA. (Embedded to your right) He gave many compelling reasons why, and even called out society's motivations for not doing so earlier. I've heard most of his argument before, and agree with him, but the premise that inspired this post on science fiction was the one regarding a governments responsibility to spur the dreams of a nation, to make the "long bets"
in funding that private industry just can't justify.  

 He argues that private (at least companies controlled by a balance sheet) industry cannot invest heavily in research that might pay off for 50 years when their competitors are investing in things that will pay off before their next quarterly report. No business can stay competitive that way. He (correctly, I believe) posits that governments are the only entities with both the resources and longevity to see these sorts of investments through. He goes on to draw parallels between Faraday and the modern electrical grid, between the inception of quantum theory and it's relationship to modern technology.

The following excerpt is very illuminating- At some point, someone came to Faraday and asked him, "Is this what we pay you to do, to pass wires around magnetic coils on your desktop?"

And do you want to know Faraday's response?  "I'm not sure what sort of benefit this research will bring, but I'm sure you will tax it."

And he was right. Everyone pays taxes on their electrical bill, everyone pays taxes on generators, and everyone pays taxes on products with electric motors. It's that kind of foresight which our country lacks right now among people with power. There are always going to be dreamers, and it's not only important that the dreamers have a direct line of communication to "decision makers". Often, it's enough just to inspire those who will do the research that will bring about these advancements. That is what COSMOS is about, and that is what science fiction is about. COSMOS is about presenting what we know, and inspiring people to find the answers that we don't know.

Science Fiction is about presenting possibilities, about setting a bar out there in the rarefied air of research done to advance understanding, knowing that the practical applications will come later. As William Gibson, an incredibly influential science fiction author, wrote-"The street finds a use for things." We've become a nation of short sighted, spoiled children. I don't say that as an insult, just as a frame of reference. We want to see the benefits NOW, and it's been that way long enough for children raised in that environment to become politicians. Even now, if someone announces an impressive scientific breakthrough, a large portion of the response publicly is, "I don't want to hear about that, just tell me when I can buy one."

That's why the recent "HUVr" hoax video was so effective.(Again, embedded below to your right) Our generation has wanted that product so badly for so long, we were willing to overlook our previously singed fingers to believe it. It looked close enough to real that our desires overrode our pragmatism.

That is the power of dreams. If 11,000,000 views in five days are to be believed, there is still a need for dreams. Not every dream can pay off, but I will make you a guarantee-One day, an actual hoverboard will exist. It will be made, and it will be sold, because people will buy it. It will drive it's own micro-economy, because it has always looked like so damn much fun to ride. Owning one will never put food on your plate, it will never allow you to overcome an illness (unless that illness involves a lack of mobility), but it will exist because it has captured the imagination of generations of science fiction fans.

Just like the burden I spoke of in the first paragraph, I've managed to sneak the endpoint of my argument under your nose, probably while you were busy watching the hoverboard video above. Science Fiction matters, perhaps more so than any other genre, because it doesn't outline the past, or another potential present. It explores the possibility of the future.

It does so with no regard for budgets, and no regards for the research necessary to bring it to reality. It takes no more effort to write about life in the future than it does to write about the culture of a foreign country, but the potential benefits are much greater, in my opinion, because if something you've dreamed up inspires a reader to become a scientist, even if it's subconsciously just to bring about your fanciful inventions (hoverboards, faster than light travel, artificial intelligence, etc), then you have indirectly made the world a better place, and your contribution will send ripples forward through time, like a "creationary butterfly effect" that will inspire new creations based upon the creation you inspired.

 Now, thinking about it in that context will make it a heavy burden indeed, but I'd like to remind you that all that is required of you to bring these things about is to do what you're already doing. Dream, imagine, and write it down in compelling stories that make people wish they were there. None of us can know what repercussions our thoughts and lives may have moving forward, but so long as you are doing the thing that inspires you, it can't help but inspire others.

 As science fiction authors, we occupy one of the few angles where we can create ideas like this and not be constrained by what we believe to be impossible. We're not bound by budgets, political consequences, or even the burden of inventing the inner workings of our creations. We don't need to understand how things work, we don't have to figure out how to pay for them, or even convince others that it's worthwhile. We can create, purely and joyfully, and send our creations into the world, trusting and hoping that they will one day find their ways into the hands of a scientist, or someone that will one day become one, and that one day they will have been inspired to create that technology.

 That's my dream, and if you've chosen to write science fiction along with me, I feel pretty confident that is your dream as well. So continue dreaming, do your part in bringing tomorrow twenty four hours closer to today.


Study, son. (A Poem)

I've always been a big fan of trying out different styles of writing, as a means of expanding my horizons as a writer. I've written short little pieces, most of which I will never share, to try out ideas or new styles. Some of them work, some of them don't, but I'm trying to be more transparent about my process in the hopes that I might share something that helps get someone else over the hump creatively at some point.

The Poem below stems from a recent conversation with my son about school, and I thought he raised a few valid points (The dialog below isn't his, but it's written in a spirit I think we can all identify with). I laid in bed a day or two ago, and realized that the apathy of the youth towards education really has justifiable roots in reality. It's a conversation that we seem to have repeatedly, from one generation to the next, but things keep going downhill. I realized that the reason everyone talks about their childhood like "The good ol' days", isn't just that they had fewer cares and more fun, it's that society has actually has been worsening for generations, and each successive generation really DOES have it worse than their parents did. I'm not talking about hard work. The kids today have less of an idea of what hard work is, at least in a manual labor context, than what we do or our parents before us. 

I'm more interested in the WHY behind that. Evolution is a slow process, so I'm more inclined to think the reasons are societal as opposed to genetic. We aren't really teaching each generation to be lazy (well, some must be), but I'm of the mind that each generation has seen things come to pass like the loss of retirement savings after working for all of your life, having your job outsourced to cheaper labor elsewhere, etc, as a far more damning reason as to why the youth of america just don't want to work like they used to. Though it's not always the case (I happen to be lucky enough to work at a company that is much better than most in this regard, though I've had plenty of shitty ones in the past), by and large companies don't take care of people like they used to. They haven't show their workers as much loyalty as in the past, and the younger generation sees this, and causally, doesn't see the benefit to working a full time job for 40 years and think it will be enough for them.

Once I made that connection in my head (yes, this sort of stuff is in my head at one in the morning when I can't sleep), I decided to try it out as a "spoken word" free form poem, which I've pasted below. Let me know what you think?

Study, son.
By: Christopher Godsoe

"But school is boring, dad! "
You say like we haven't all been there
"My teacher hates me, he wants me to fail"
Well, the world hates everyone,
Bob and weave, stick and move

"I don't need to be rich to be happy"
True enough, at least it used to be
The world has lost its middle
Pass by the skin of your teeth?
If I can pay my rent, I'm still free, right?

Can the world really hate me?
It just don't give a shit
It cares what you do with a gift,
Not that you have it.

Think biology is tough?
Try customer service
Where you get to say/think,
"Thank you sir/kiss my ass"
At least three times before lunch. Everyday.

Watch the clock tick by
Sixty seconds closer to freedom
Flip that burger, answer a phone
And try to keep your shit together

Unemployment is at 10%
Welfare abusers making out like bandits
A hand out, a hand up
What's the difference?
When the ladder has been pulled up

Why work so hard?
A voice inside you
Your fathers
It worked for him, it will work for you
But the world ain't flat anymore

You know that hill you walked to school?
Uphill both ways, in the snow?
That's what opportunity looks like now in
America. Life,  liberty,  
and the pursuit of the Almighty dollar

People don't take care of each other anymore.
"Gee, you work real hard...
That's why I need you right where you are
Just keep up the good work,
but no raise. We need all hands on deck."

Yeah, the minimum wage went up once
I remember that week
The price of bread and milk doubled
Paint over the mold,
But don't fix the leak

Break your back for a pension
For an honest life's work
Maybe it will even be there
If you get lucky and retire
On a year of made quotas

They say the youth don't want to work for a living
That may be true, but do you think maybe
They've just seen their parents
Get robbed of their keep once or twice
And they've decided not to play that game

Minimum wage,
Minimum respect
Remember that movie
where the burger cook owned a house? 
Wouldn't that be nice

A shitty job is like the time out chair
Except the time out doesn't end
You get to see all the fun
everyone else is having
While you live with consequence

So study,  do your homework
Show us all what got
Discover what you love and do it
And I hope never understand
Just what the hell I'm talking about

Do I have a good job?
Yeah, I do 
But that kind of luck is drying up
They don't trust regular people to make decisions anymore
And they won't pay you a livable wage to push a button

So does a Dean's list certificate
Mean you've got it made? 
Have you not been listening?
They hand those out with flash cards now
I said THINK

They'll test you, and test you
To make sure 
you're a good little robot
So don't complain to your teachers
They're in the same Titanic you are

Study, son. But know
That not everything you need
Is in the manuals they will give you
They ripped out the chapters on free will
and buried them. Because digging is hard work

Open your eyes up and listen
open your ears and see
Always make up your own damn mind 
You're either buying the life you want
Or you're being sold something else

Don't be afraid to fail
there's still respect to be found
for those willing to make a wrong choice
for the right reasons. But pay attention,
and don't make the same mistake twice

What's true in you, is true
Trust your gut, learn all that you can
Make choices and don't look down
That round world you're on, the one that turns?
Means tomorrow you get another chance

If I've taught you to take more
than what someone is willing to give
Than I've taught you enough
But learn more than I have to teach you
Study, son.

AR Face Skinning Web App-FaceSubstitute

Here's a short video of me playing around with FaceSubstitute, a cool web app that let's you replace your face with another's. It's a cool (albeit limited to the face) demonstration of what I refer to in pre://d.o.mai.n as a "AR skin". And it's surprising how well it can work at times. Imagine this technology built into sunglasses, running from a wireless connection to the cell phone in your pocket, and you will have a sense of what I'm referring to in regards to the augmented reality scenes in Club BIO in pre://d.o.mai.n.


Excerpt-pre://d.o.mai.n, Chapter 3


I decided it was time to start giving everyone a sense of what they will be getting in a few weeks. Below is Chapter 3-in it's entirety. Let me know what you think, and be sure to join in at the facebook event if you haven't already, to keep up to date on all of the upcoming shenanigans by clicking here!

Book one of the d.o.mai.n series


Christopher Godsoe

Chapter 3

The box under the shipping paper was blank cardboard, making Miles wonder why they even bothered wrapping it at all. He could think of far better choices for decoration than flat brown paper that matched the flat brown cardboard underneath.
One of his favorite games growing up was to try to guess his birthday and Christmas presents based on the shape, size, weight, and balance of the package. It annoyed his parents to no end growing up, mostly because he was really good at it. It was a compulsion he sometimes wished he'd grown out of, but once again he couldn't resist the mystery of the package in his hands.
He made a show of taking in every detail of the box while Skyler anxiously waited for him to open it. It was sealed with blank shipping tape, and the outside of the box offered no clues either. The exterior of the packing paper had been blank as well. If the packing paper had been blank, and the exterior of the box had been blank, then how did the package arrive at his Aunt and Uncle's house? A mystery. Miles loved a good mystery.
They could have always shipped this inside of a larger box, he supposed, but that wasn't the option his mind was first drawn to. It was unnecessarily complex.
Some of the more technologically advanced, environmentally conscious companies had developed ink designed to disappear at predefined intervals. The ink would fade a few days after a mail order package was scheduled to be delivered. The reason for that being that once a package had been delivered, or served its initial purpose, the decorative elements and shipping information that had been printed on the box days before would disappear, facilitating reuse and cutting down on landfill waste.
The technology was fairly new, and still hadn't been adopted widely. The list of companies that shipped their packages this way could be counted on one hand, and Miles knew them all. He doubted that his twelve year old nephew would hand him a present from one of the three largest sex toy companies in the world, which employed the technology more out of discretion than out of environmental consciousness. He didn't think that Skyler would give him a selection of health food from the sole online grocer that used the ink. That left one possible option.
Once Miles had that part of the equation nailed down, he was pretty confident what was inside the box.
He tried to look his cousin in the eye, but Skyler took a sudden interest in the traffic outside and said,”Just open it!"
"Okay! I'm opening it!"
Miles tore open the packing tape and flipped open the box top, laughing. After a short struggle with a flat black sleeve, he freed the foam clamshell within. The sleeve bore the words "Kincaid Industries SideARM SA-301" repeatedly in a diagonal pattern in gloss black.
He'd been right, and a triumphant smile creased his face as he placed the foam onto the tabletop and lifted the top half free.
Inside, he first spotted the black anodized aluminum rectangle with rounded edges- the SideARM. He almost didn't dare to touch it. He'd wanted one for years, but had given up that dream shortly after his mother had gotten sick. It was a mobile computer, designed by Kincaid Industries to replace the old touchscreen cellular phones that his parents had grown up with. It communicated wirelessly with a pair of included glasses , using various discreet sensors to collect data from the environment around you.
It could see what you saw, hear what you heard. It also knew where you were, which direction you were looking, and could even place virtual objects in the users field of vision to interact with, such as ethereal keyboards or web browser pages. "Augmented Reality" was the technical term for it, if Miles remembered correctly. "Reject their reality, and substitute your own," had been the tag line.
He'd seen the commercials.
Miles only knew a fraction of what they could do, but he and Skyler had devoured every bit of information on the net. There seemed to be no limit to what a SideARM would let you alter when it came to perception. Like your car, but want to see what it would look like in a different color? You never had to look at that faded baby blue again, the glasses could shift the color from light blue to anything you wanted, and maintain the illusion forever, so long as you wore the glasses. Want to kick up your sex life with a uber-realistic role-playing session? You could replace the face and skin tone of your significant other with whoever you want. It might only be an illusion, but you could do a lot with illusion. As long as anyone undertaking such a virtual infidelity kept the proportions of their reality in mind, the effect was seamless.
You could even use the system to land micro-temp jobs, like what SideARM owners called “swarm security.” Since the cameras were constantly online, you could “turk out” or lease your point of view for an hour or two at a time, serving as undercover surveillance that the employer would need to neither insure nor provide benefits for. All of that, with none of the upkeep of an installed CCTV system. Since they employed multiple people off the street at any given moment, it was impossible to tell who was security and who was shopping. There were no blind spots to such a system, and that uncertainty for would-be thieves was often enough to reduce crime to negligible levels.
As Miles lifted the glasses from their slot in the packing and slid them from their protective pouch, he remembered his old desktop at home. The process of packing it up, carrying it, and setting it back up at all of those retro LAN parties growing up made him question several times if it was even worth the effort. Now, all it would take is a few flicks of the hand, maybe a spoken word or two, and he would have a simulated computer sitting in front of him that would put his old desktop to shame.
Miles was completely blown away. He sat there in front of Skyler, the SideARM in one hand, the glasses in the other.
“Happy Birthday!” Skyler shouted, completely oblivious to the onlookers that had begun to stare.
Miles slid the glasses over his eyes, but it was more to hide his budding tears than anything else. When you go for so long with so little, your reactions to things change. What would have been a nice gesture a year ago, one that Miles could have hugged his cousin for and laughed about, now caused him to fight back tears. The momentary affectation of the glasses gave him the second or two needed to get his emotions under control.
He looked over at Skyler, and recognized the sensors carefully embedded into his glasses as well, the red ring lit around the center camera as required by law when recording. Miles could only shake his head. He'd been so preoccupied with his own issues lately that he hadn't picked up on the real reason why Skyler had begun wearing glasses. He'd been wearing his own pair of augmented reality lenses for weeks.
He lowered his gaze back to the slab of aluminum in his hand. The name "SideARM" wasn't a Kincaid Industries designation, at least not initially. Hackers, ever the early adopters when it came to new tech, had taken the system's processor architecture, ARM, and added the “side” part. It was an obvious homage to the pistols carried by police officers. It was an apt comparison, since the little rectangles were powerful, portable, and gave them a considerable edge in whatever form of information warfare they found themselves involved in.
Skyler started to notice the attention their impromptu birthday party had aroused and closed the empty box, handing it back to Miles.
“I think we should get out of here and activate it.”
Miles pocketed the SideARM, tucked the empty box under his arm, and left with his cousin. They stepped outside, and a short walk later came upon an open air restaurant in the square that served as Bangor's cultural hub, one that was still serving breakfast.
Neither of them had eaten, so Skyler bought them both large stacks of waffles with fruit and whipped cream. Skylers parents had money, but he never lorded it over Miles. He understood Miles and his parents were too proud to accept much in the way of help, so when he wanted to do something small for Miles, he just did it without asking, hoping to avoid making a big deal out of it.
Miles hated the part of him unable to resist the gift of the SideARM. For the past year, Skyler and his parents tried to help whenever possible, but all his parents would allow them to help with was the periodic home nursing care. This gift, the SideARM, wasn't something that they needed for his mother or to pay bills. This was for fun, and there hadn't been much in the way of fun in his house this past year. If they'd chosen anything else, he might have been able to turn it down, but the SideARM was the one item that could make him swallow his pride.
They retrieved their orders from the counter and sat down at a booth near the back. Miles removed the aluminum rectangle and placed it atop the table.
“How long have you had your SideARM?” he asked Skyler.
“A while, I wanted to tell you, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise.”
Miles took the glasses off to get a better look at them. The flat black finish of the frames contrasted well with the lens, a seamless panel of mirrored smoke almost impossible to see through in broad daylight. The only indication they were anything more than sunglasses built to a high safety spec were the latex eye cups that were designed to seal out ambient light from his eyes and the small black oval at the top center of the single lens. He had to look close to spot the two optical sensors to either side of the central infrared one. They were unassuming parts, but extremely good at their jobs.
The lens wasn't really designed for more than the minimum amount of visibility required by law. The translucent lens functioned as a seamless computer display, a place where the footage captured by the minuscule cameras would be mixed with computer generated imagery to craft impressive augmented reality visuals. When the glasses were on, your reality was mediated by the SideARM, and moving around with them on required that you trust the system not to let you walk off a cliff someone had obscured with virtual ground.
“Is there any trick to turning these on?”
"There's a button on the inside, near the right hinge."
Miles pressed the button and looked around. A frenetic array of commands scrolled along every flat surface in sight. He lifted the square breakfast container on the table, angling it back and forth. The words seamlessly textured its surface, judging the angles perfectly as he tilted it to maintain the illusion that the words were printed onto the thin cover.
“Loading?” Miles asked.
The words disappeared, and Miles was left with the same view of the restaurant he had before he had turned the glasses on.
“I expected things to be a little more....busy. How does it work?”
“Just focus on someone with your eyes. To start, try to pick out something small on them, like a button or a pin. The system will recognize what you are looking at and offer up options.”
Miles concentrated on a woman that happened to be walking by at that moment. She was carrying a white plastic bag, with just enough translucency that he could see a receipt through it. Her face blurred minutely, not enough to rob her of her beauty, but enough to make identification difficult. He'd heard of this, a provision of privacy law that required all recording capable smart glasses to carry facial obscuration software. It was designed to protect the identities of anyone opted into the governments “Identity Shield” list. Of course, as the law was written by the government, it did not apply to them, just private citizens.
Miles focused on the receipt, and a virtual copy flew up to him, hovering in place. When he turned back to the woman, her shopping bag was intact, along with the original copy of the receipt. Intrigued, Miles began to read off the items listed on it, noting the hypocrisy of the government. They would allow receipts to be read through a shopping bag, but not facial recognition.
Amber's Funhouse, LLC
1 pair of lace thongs
1 lace bra-size 36C
1 10oz bottle - “Solstice” Perfume.
1 8oz bottle - "Alice in Wonderland" Lubricant
3 "Romantic Interlude" Scented Candles
He was sure someone must have mentioned that credit card receipts were an easier means to identity theft than scanning someones face, but he supposed that was what you got when politicians cared more about justifying their existence than actually providing solutions to problems. The more he thought about it, the more out of touch the people running the country seemed technologically.
Looks like someone is planning a fun evening,” he said to Skyler.
Can I see what you are looking at?” Skyler asked him.
Sure, if you...”
Skyler cut him off.
Wow. I should have guessed.”
He didn't think Skyler needed augmented vision to see his face had grown red. He decided to change the subject.
What else can this thing do?”
Well, if you're going to go to that kind of trouble, you might as well have her model it for you.”
The young woman’s clothing dissolved, much the same way the plastic bag had, to reveal the undergarments she had purchased. None of this was actually happening. It was all an illusion created by the SideARM, but it made Miles feel like he was doing something wrong. At the same time, he couldn't deny the baser parts of him enjoyed the view. He hadn't felt that combination of emotions since Junior High, when he sneaked into the rafters overlooking the girls' changing room at summer camp. He decided against sharing that story with Skyler.
His dream at that age had been to have x-ray vision, and now he had it. Well, not exactly, but the closest mankind would probably ever get without dangerous levels of radiation. His cousin was looking in another direction, understanding that at twelve years old he was perhaps a little young to be looking at the lithe body striding through the square, sun glinting off her perfectly toned skin. The confidence attractive women generally exhibit is often lost when they are nearly naked in public settings, and Miles thought that was too bad.
Confidence had always been a quality he found incredibly sexy in women. Even talking to them on the phone, you can generally tell a beautiful woman from an ugly one by the confidence in her voice. It was a classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Was the woman more attractive because of confidence, or was she confident because she was attractive? Miles thought the answer was yes.
It had made him feel less concerned about Skyler having this ability when he saw that Skyler still understood the propriety of his age. He looked at Skyler with the pride of an older brother. Skyler turned his head at the same time, as though he could see that Miles had finished gawking at the woman. Something about how their heads had moved in sync felt strange, like Skyler had known the instant Miles had started to turn his head.
Skyler shook his head and blinked. “That still takes a little getting used to. It's like an out of body experience. Makes me dizzy.”
Miles smiled at his cousin, and it was his turn to shake his head. Skyler hadn't needed to look at the woman directly because he had been watching her through Miles' eyes. Miles was too amused at his cousin to lose any of the pride he'd felt.
So, you can hijack another users point of view? Please tell me there's some kind of lockout function on that. I don't want you or anyone else to accidentally jump in when I'm taking a leak.”
Well, it's a little more complicated than that. You have to be on my approved user list, what Kincaid Industries calls your “friends list”. Not just anyone off the street can do it. Plus, you have to give someone verbal permission.”
"Alright, let me try.”
Skyler turned his head to look at a blank space of wall scheduled for renovation. Soon it would be filled with seamless displays playing a video loop simulating a tropical beach. The store would sell clothing inspired by West Coast beach lifestyle, and the storefront was designed to appear as though the mall had an opening in its wall onto the sand.
For now, the walls remained blank, except for a small red dot in the upper left corner of one of the panels.
Can I see what you see?”
Miles grabbed the arms of his chair, the change in perspective giving him the momentary sensation of vertigo.
I see what you mean, this is disorienting as hell.”
Miles let go of Skyler's view and returned to his own. He held to the chair for a few minutes with his eyes closed until the feeling passed.
When he opened his eyes, his view returned to normal, and Skyler was already clearing the table.
Let's get out of here, I need to talk to you about something where there aren't so many.....witnesses.”
Miles scanned the restaurant and the surrounding area. There was no one within a hundred feet of them.
"What witnesses? Dude, we're alone. Spill it."
Skyler leaned in conspiratorially.
"It's not exactly legal if you know what I mean."
He glanced up, his eyes darting to tops of nearby buildings and poles where surveillance poles were mounted. Constant surveillance of public places had been a more or less accepted hazard for decades. If Skyler didn't dare risk his message to the maelstrom of data collected by the cities surveillance stack, it must have been bad.
"SideARM, give me the location of every audio unit in my area."
A round marker highlighted cameras and microphones in the area, but none of them were within range of their secluded corner of the plaza.
"See, we're safe."

Skyler shrugged, and started talking.

pre://d.o.mai.n giveaway begins November 25th!

I will be putting the entry form for the giveaway in multiple places to make it easier for everyone to enter- It won't matter which portal you enter through, they are all the same form and will all enter you into the contest in the same fashion.

  1. At the bottom of this post
  2. On the official d.o.mai.n page at the top of this site
  3. On my author page-Click Here
  4. Links shared through Social Media

As I said earlier, they are all the same official form, just shared across different places on the internet by magic. OK, maybe it's not magic, but it's pretty close. They will all go live at the same time. 

Here's a video I recorded at 2 in the morning (That's why I sound/look like I'm recording a video at 2 in the morning in it) to talk a little bit about it.

Holy hell. I sound like Kermit the frog at 2AM.

There will be another video posted on November 25th to explain what you can do to enter, explain any last minute details and answer any questions posted to the official Facebook Event page for the launch, which you can reach by clicking on the button below. I want everyone to be able to enter that wishes to do so, and I am also willing to give whatever assistance I can to any bloggers, book reviewers, or friends wishing to help. 

  • If you want to host an interview, and have some questions typed up to send me, send them 

  • If you would like an excerpt to post on your blog, or just want to host a prewritten synopsis with informative links (which I will have ready in a few days), I will help you in whatever way necessary to make it happen. 

  • If you want to share the links to your facebook friends or twitter followers, but aren't quite sure how to go about it? Just ask, and I will help walk you through it. The book is written, I have the time, lol. 

Actually, I'm supposed to be starting the sequel for this years NaNoWriMo, but it's probably not going to happen this month. I would rather try to bring this book to everyone's attention, and sneak in writing time when possible between now and Christmas.

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