Flashathon Hour 8 Prompt: From Bud Sparhawk


The sun has gone down here on the east coast.  Dinner time has come and gone.  Here at the Casa Del Thurston we’re eating pizza.  Or Chinese.  Hard to tell, really, since I’m writing these posts last night so I have one less thing to coordinate tomorrow.

This hour is being inspired by Bud Sparhawk, which has me rather awed as he’s been publishing since before I was born.  Interesting concept we’re going to launch into here:

It’s not that complicated to conceive of robots that people love and have sex with.  What is really going to teach us about human nature is when we begin to think about what it takes to build a robot that can fall in love with people.

Alright, I’m going to try not to just sit and ponder that in a zen-like state and get to writing.  Join in with us in the comments as we ask ourselves just what is love.

Bud Sparhawk is a hard science fiction short story writer who started writing in 1975 with three sales to ANALOG. Since returning to writing his works have appeared in ANALOG, Asimovs, several anthologies as well as in other print media and on-line magazines both in the United States and Europe. He has two short story collections and one novel. He has been a three-time Nebula finalist. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland and is a frequent sailor on the Chesapeake Bay. A complete biography, lists of stories, copies of articles, and other material can be found at his web site.

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  1. avatar

    #1 by DLThurston on October 22, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    “I love you, Siri.”

    “Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network.”

    Peter frowned at his iPhone. He wasn’t sure what answer he suspected, but this felt hurtful. That was silly. It’s an iPhone. Siri isn’t even a real person. It might as well be GladOS or HAL. But those were fiction. This was real. This was his phone. His Siri.

    “Do you like the phone?” Expectant eyes watched him from the other side of the Genius Bar, a girl with straw blonde hair and freckles strewn across her face. Her eyes were hazel. He couldn’t look at her, too embarrassed by what he’d just asked his new phone.

    “It’s okay. Thanks.”

    The store was full of people, a sea of humanity, launch day for the new device that everyone wanted. But Peter, he needed it. Just as he’d needed each model that came out before it. They completed him in a way that he hadn’t experienced with any other electronic device.

    And especially with any people.

    He pulled out the phone again. Clicked to talk to Siri. “Do you like me, Siri?”

    “Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network.”

    Is this what it was like to be jilted? Is this what it was like to put his heart on the line just to have it thrown back to him? What the fuck? It left him certain that avoiding people was the right move all along. They could hurt people. Leave people.

    They could refuse to love people.

    He looked at the phone again. What was it? It was a thing. Metal, glass, and plastic. A few dollars of chips, a few years of development, but in the end all it was was a device, a mechanization. He tried to remember why he needed this thing, why he wanted this thing.

    Peter turned around and returned to the store. She was still there. Her name was Melanie, that’s what he name tag said. He thought he remembered her from last time he bought a phone. She smiled when he walked back up.

    “Is there a problem?”

    “I…I don’t think I want this phone anymore. Could I just have my old one?”

    “I don’t understand.”

    He stood there, avoiding eye contact, avoiding explanation.

    “Alright, sir. Give me a moment.”

    She came back with his phone. His phone he’d known so much better, that had been by his side for the last several months. Not the new one. Not the one with that…that bitch on it. He put the phone in his pocket, and it felt comfortable. Familiar.

    He snuck back out of the store, back into his life. He pulled his iPhone 4 out and looked at it.

    “I love you, iPhone.”

    It was quiet.

    It was better that way.

    • avatar

      #2 by DLThurston on October 24, 2011 - 8:21 am

      The more I come back to this story the more I like it. Might make the cut of stories I try to turn into something better.

  2. avatar

    #3 by N.R. Brown on October 22, 2011 - 7:18 pm

    Story removed per author’s request.

    (Hummm, I’m going to have to come back to this one…it might have legs.)

    • avatar

      #4 by DLThurston on October 24, 2011 - 8:20 am

      I hope the story doesn’t lord its legs over the two characters. Cause that would be mean.

    • avatar

      #5 by N.R. Brown on October 24, 2011 - 9:26 am

      I can’t help it if my stories are cruel like that…*sigh* BUT I will have a talk with it. :)

  3. avatar

    #6 by Jennifer Brinn on October 22, 2011 - 7:25 pm

    Wow, far too thought-provoking for my tired brain. Though I think this is going to either be an awesome flash bit or the worst piece of dreck. Depends on if it makes sense to people who don’t live in my head.

  4. avatar

    #7 by Dana Gunn on October 22, 2011 - 7:42 pm

    Well, I tried and tried and pretty much what I came up with was dreck. Three failed attempts. *sigh*
    I was pleased with how it started out, but it pretty much went to hell after that.

  5. avatar

    #8 by Day Al-Mohamed on October 22, 2011 - 8:11 pm

    Dana, just go with it. :) I think we’re all feeling the same way about what we’re producing. Although afterwards, I’m looking at some of this and finding it pretty good.

  6. avatar

    #9 by Day Al-Mohamed on October 22, 2011 - 8:15 pm

    Story removed per author’s request.

(will not be published)


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