The Traveler - A Science Fiction Short Story, available as a DOWNLOAD at Amazon.com (USA only). Click on Image.
I have always been interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and exploring future science. This story attempts to deal with possible interrelationships between AI and Human intelligence. How would memory and identity interact and how would a scientist, or any other person, even detect that a relationship may exist on a human cognitive level?
Excerpt - The Beginning: He started over again for the eighth time. Or was it the eighteenth time? Or the eight-hundreth? He didn't know for sure and it really didn't matter. What mattered was the map. Was it the eighth map? Or the same one seen eighty times? That didn't matter either.
New or old, it was a clean map, no marks on it anywhere, no cues traced in color for him to follow, no scribbled clues on the margins to point the way. It was always the same each time he started out after he had been killed. No matter how far he had gotten the last time, if he had been killed, the map was always clean the next time...and the starting point was always different.
He picked up the red pencil. Strategy, he thought. Make a plan. Follow it. Don't get rattled or move erratically and get lost like you have before. Don't get confused at transition points. He tried to think. Which would be best? Go as fast as possible, pushing the red pencil quickly along, looking ahead as much as possible for turns and intersections, getting as far as possible before he made a mistake or faltered? Or would it be better to go more slowly and deliberately stop before his fingers tired and his eyes got lost in a tangle of lines? Hobson's choice. Who was Hobson?
The WritersNet Anthology of Prose reverses the trend of the publishing industry expanding onto the Internet. What began as an on-line evaluation and editing workshop on the WritersNet website turned this trend on its head when the best of the material submitted by writers across four continents, both published and unpublished, both previous best-sellers and those seeking their first appearance in print, was published in this two-volume anthology. This project not only showcases the widely diverse talent of new and established writers and has established a new common-purpose dimension of community among the writers participating in WritersNet, but it also serves the community at large, as all profits above production costs are being donated to the Salvation Army in remembrance of the events of 9/11.
The resulting fiction collection of sixty short stories by fifty-three separate authors provided in this volume one of the anthology, WritersNet Anthology of Prose: Fiction, is much more eclectic than is normal with such works. These stories defy the normal "common thread in content" rule. You can find something here to entertain you-and to make you ponder-no matter what your reading pleasure. Explore and enjoy.
The Story About The Story
Quite recently, an item in an European news broadcast caught my attention. After several hundred years, with a great deal of ceremony and royal pageantry, England was returning The Stone Of Scone to its "rightful" owner. the country of Scotland. During a war several hundred years ago, England had stolen The Stone Of Scone from Scotland. Apparently, believing that it contained some mysterious mystical power and great religious significance, the kings of Scotland had placed it beneath their thrones. The British, in turn, placed it under the seat of their coronation throne in Westminister Abbey, quite literally "sitting" on it as the Scots had, thus deriving some sort of power from it . . . truly "a seat of power."
What is this thing that has so much value as a symbol of power? Why does it have so much religious significance that mere possession of it can provoke great wars and determine rulers? That is even more interesting.
Although the truth about The Stone Of Scone is wrapped in the mists and myths of history, the generally accepted story is that this stained, gray, rough, very unremarkable rectangular stone is the very stone that the biblical Jacob first used as a pillow, then placed as a pillar to mark the spot where he had a dream about a Ladder descending from Heaven and the Angels ascending and descending upon it. (Genesis 28, King .James translation).
And how did the Scots come into possession of this sacred object, this great biblical treasure that had supposedly sat, unmoved and unchanged, outside of the town of Bethel for several thousand years? According to the story, while they didn't find the "Holy Grail" they were seeking, they found the stone during one of the Crusades in the Holy Land and, without another thought about it, triumphantly hauled it back to Scotland with them. Polite words for this might be "desecration" or "looting", but they seemed to see it as "rightful repossession." Wars are like that, you know.
This led me to wonder about certain things. Where does the significance in all of this lie? In the event that occurred? (A dream). In the actual place it occurred? (Bethel). Or in the stone that marked the place (allegedly The Stone Of Scone)? For me, the significance lies in the fact that so many wars have been waged, so much blood shed in the name of God. God seems to have many faces and is called by many names. .. and I think of the parable of blind men trying to describe an elephant. •• the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
Here then is my story "Jacob's Ladder." When you finish it, I hope you are left with a bit of wonder about the ultimate fate of a terilla mat . . . . ABK
Stories, essays and articles featured in this issue: Adelle Bradford--About Small Things, Kasin Hunter--Naked Armadillos are Wierd, Shawn Nacona Stroud--Natural Evolution, Eric Vance Walton--Opposable Thumbs and Other Desires of Miles the Cat, Daibhidh MacAdhaimh--They Started Laughing Again, Norman Wilkins--Dangerous Detour, William Parsons--Loose Change in Norway, Delma Luben--Writers Helping Each Other, Mary Deal--Foreshadowing, Chef Chuck--Clambake n Company along with many outstanding poems.
Spring 2007 issue #3 (with color inside pages and cover) features the poetry of Matthew Palmer, an essay "Lakes" by Richard Lloyd Cederberg, a short story "The Vault of Heaven" by William Parsons and an article, "Springtime Is For The Birds" by William Parsons. Also of special interest: "Writers and Rebels" by C. Wolf Forrest, "The Bath" by Elizabeth Sullivan, "Beneath The Southern Cross by Pat O'Regan and Food Art-Pan Pizza on the Stove by Chef Chuck.
With full color inside pages, Issue 5 of the Mississippi Crow magazine features the poetry of Michael Lee Johnson, "Circle of Thoughts" (short prose nominated for a Pushcart Prize) by Myrna D. Badgerow, "Let The Dialog Speak" (article on writing) by Mary Deal, "How To Cook Roast Dragon" (a delightfully humorous short story) by Robert Max Freeman and many other stories, poems and artwork by nearly 60 talented writers and artists.
Issue 7 of Mississippi Crow magazine with full color interior includes front cover arwork by Marie Olofsdotter and back cover art by Peter Schwartz.
Granny Kay and the Great Fly War. published January 1986 by Mountain Empire Monthly, San Diego East County
Granny Kay, Fido, & the Illegal Aliens. published May 1986 by Mountain Empire Monthly, San Diego East County
Lovers, Poem published in Barefoot Afternoons p 153 by Watermark Press 2003