SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love in the time of androids (I)

The first memory I have of a sci-fi book is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave new world” on a shelf of my dad’s study library. I was eight years old. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, William Brown and his Outlaws were my heroes. I was drawing comic characters for a mag I did with my two best friends from school at the time, and writing a story about scary monsters too.

That “Brave new world” book peculiarly focussed my attention and one day I decided to take it and flick through. All I could understand from it was the loveless and sinister place where the action developed, and the genetically predestined caste system.

Some years later, I devoured the book. I loved that hopeless story of rigid social stratification, reproductive technology and biological engineering, where everybody was artificially happy with conditioning drugs.

Later on, as a law student, I went through an intense sci-fi period. I borrowed Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy from a boyfriend who got me interested and shared with me his taste for the three laws of robotics, time trips, replicants and Dune’s spice melange. But that chapter of my life concluded abruptly when we broke up.

So sadly, the planet of the apes, Trantor, the Force and other sci-fi wonders were quickly erased from my mind. Fahrenheit 451 was only the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns; 1984, a simple figure years behind; 2001, another figure, years ahead; the left hand of darkness was nothing but a left hand; and Sonny, the bot who was unfairly accused of killing his creator … was just a bot.

Driven by pain, I registered a long period of silence during which I never felt the desire of reading a sci-fi book again. Never… until a casual telephone conversation suddenly brought that world back to me, in the most coincidental way you can imagine.

- Hi Leni, it’s Ed. How are you today, sweety?
- Oh, hi Ed.
–I said-

I hadn’t seen him since Misty’s book presentation at the Ritz and I reckon I was glad to hear from him again.

- I’m fine, thanks. And how are you? –I asked-
- I’m fine too, babe. I saw you the other day at the Ritz. –he said-
- And I saw you too. Hellgirl asked me to go with her. Congrats for the success of the book.
- Thanks. I would have loved to meet.
- I nearly didn’t attend the presentation; didn’t get an invite. And you were very busy there with Misty
.–I said, with a little sarcastic touch in my voice-
- Right. My inexcusable mistake. Let me fix that before you get cross. I know you.
- I’m not cross, Ed.
–I laughed-. Actually, I’m in a very good mood.
- Excellent. I wonder if you’d like to join me this evening, then. I want to show you something.
- Sure. What is it?
–I accepted immediately, without any persuading-
- A manuscript about android love. Someone has sent it to my office a few days ago. I’m considering publishing it, but I’d like you to have a look first. –he said solemnly-. Do you think this could be possible? I mean… android love?

That rang a bell. Asimov, Lem, Bradbury, Orwell, Le Guinn… all those sci-fi authors I had long forgotten knocked on my door again.

- Why not? R2D2 and C3PO show emotions; they were good friends and even fought sometimes. Blade runner’s replicants could cry their heart out. Fritz Lang’s Maschinenmensch was an agent-provocateur. And Frankenstein, probably the first android, brought flowers to a little girl.
- Leni, I definitely need your help here. You’ve left me speechless.
–he said-

I felt embarrassed.

- Oh no, I’m not an expert. I’ve only read some sci-fi books and seen some movies in the past. Just that. I hope I didn’t sound like a namedropper.
- No worries. You sounded cool. I’d love to continue this interesting conversation at my place, say… 7PM. We could have dinner too, if it suits you.
–he laughed-

How could I possibly say no? I never found many people interested in sharing my taste in certain subjects. Since I was a kid, I found myself talking about the things I liked to an audience who thought I was… weird, pedantic, boring and even obnoxious. So, once I assumed I was a little know-it-all, I decided to save my words for those who really wanted to hear them. I gave up attracting supposed soulmates by conscious choice and abandoned the search.

I arrived to Ed’s place at the agreed time. As a public person, he seldom went out. Whenever he did, it was swarming with reporters.

- Welcome, my lil’ sci-fi freak. -he said, walking with me to his study-

I laughed and shook my head.

- Have you read Stanislav Lem’s books? –he asked-
- Only “Solaris”. Saw Tarkovski’s movie too. And Soderbergh’s remake, but I didn’t like it. –I answered-
- That’s absolutely exceptional for a woman!
- Why do you say that?
–I asked, raising an eyebrow at his remark-.
- Ohm… Just my experience. I never knew a gal who had heard about that book, Leni. Sharing this… is a rare godsend. –he said, smiling-

Silence. I passed the acid test, or so it seemed. He didn’t stop staring at me and it made me feel a bit embarrassed.

We left to the terrace and had dinner there. I could hear the sea rocking the beach from there. The night was warm and a soft breeze was blowing. I could smell the scent of orange and lemon blossoms. The stars slowly appeared in the sky. There was a cosmic symphony of peace and harmony, as the planets completed their quiet daily orbit around the sun.

- What do you think an android could do for love? –he asked-
- Androids are robots designed to closely resemble humans. They look exactly like humans on the outside, but with internal mechanics, the same as that of robots. In the movies, some of them even fall in love and have emotions.
- You haven’t answered my question, darling
. –he smirked, approaching me-.

I sighed.

- I guess an android with human emotions could act exactly as a human. But… I’ve never been an android. –I laughed-

He stared at me quietly. I had the feeling he was casting a web around me.

- And I hope you never will. But tell me… as a human… what would you do for love? -he asked-

Big big question.

- I would do, in fact I have done, all kinds of stupid things. And you?
- Same as you
–he answered immediately, gazing into my eyes with that piercing look-.

All of a sudden, a hundred metres aways from us, a tree was blown by a lightning bolt. The shock wave threw us in the air. There was a deafening thunder and the storm broke furiously.

- Are you okay? –he asked, as he helped me stand up-

I nodded. Heavy rain and large hail started falling. We rushed inside. Ed stood beside the large window, watching the lightning, fascinated by the uncontrolled force of nature.

- Romans thought them to be battles waged by Jupiter, the king of the gods, who hurled lightning bolts forged by Vulcan, the god of fire. –he whispered-

The lights went out, and that was real scary. Spectacular lightnings projected macabre shadows on the walls. I was afraid. Ed took a candle from his desk and lit it.

- I should be going back home. –I said-
- Stay here tonight. –he whispered-

His eyes glowed in the dark.

- Don’t worry, we’ll be okay. Just let me take care of you tonight.
- By the way, it’s my birthday.
- I know.
-he smiled and kissed me- Happy birthday, sweety. Let’s go to my room. I have something for you
.

What an old trick.





"All is full of love" (Björk)

Yes, androids are able to make love almost like humans. (Have a look at this vid)

28 comments:

Fernando said...

Algo más en común, Leti,

Tom Sawyer y el bueno de Huck.

Que tengas un gran día.

Un beso.

Leni Qinan said...

Hola Fernan!

Siempre me ha gustado la literatura de aventuras -aparte de la ciencia ficción, no es de extrañar que se me vaya tanto la olla-. Encantada de compartir personajes favoritos.

Aquí ando, celebrando mi cumple con la peña laboral. Hoy todo el mundo se porta bien conmigo, jajaja.

Que tengas un buen día tú también.

Un besote.

Fernando said...

Andaaaaa!

Felicidades!!!!

Bueno, ahora que has cumplido los 22 años espero que te entre un poco de seriedad.

Que tengas un gran día.

Un beso.

Leni Qinan said...

Muchas gracias, Fernan

Ya no creo que a los 22 años me salga la seriedad por algún lado. No tengo remedio, jajaja.

Bss mil.

Leni Qinan said...

LEARN SPANISH WITH LENI Q'S CRASH COURSES (TRANSLATION):

Fernando said...
Something more we have in common, Leni. Tom Sawyer and good old Huck.
Have a nice day.

Kiss.


Leni said...
Hi Fernan!
I've always loved adventure books - apart from sci-fi, I'm not surprised to lose it so often-. It's a pleasure to share fave fiction characters.

Here I am, celebrating my birthday with the guys at work. Everybody's nice with me today, lol.

Hope you have a nice day as well.

Big kiss.


Fernando said...
Heeeey! Happy birthday!
Now that you're 22, I hope you start behaving responsibly!
Have a nice day.

Kiss.


leni said...
Thank you, Fernan
I don't think at they age of 22 I can start behaving responsibly. I'm a hopeless case, lol.

A thousand kisses.

Kindness said...

Happy happy birthday to you! Hugs and kisses!!! Thanks for the Spanish lesson! :)

hanny said...

Happy Birthday!!!

I didn't know it's your birthday but I'm now remembering one of your post about 9/11 :)) Hrm, only 22?! I don't believe that, lol.

Sci-fi is interesting, at least for me and my husband. We're fans of star-gate, star-trek, etc. And books by Tom Sawyer's was one of my favorites in high school. I just couldn't find some time to read for leisure since then.

It's cool how human minds produces great imagination.You're one of those humans by the way! Hope you had fun with "ed" and on helping him with the book :))

Hope your day has been extra special, you deserve one!!

Leni Qinan said...

Hey Kindness!!! Nice to see you again!

Happy birthday to you too!!!
(*smiles*) Celebrate and have a hell of a good time today!

PS1.- You look so cool in your new pic!

PS2.- Spanish lessons, lol. My pleasure to improve communication here. I always translate!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Hanny!

Thanks! 22? Noooo (*nearly falls off her chair laughing*) I whish I was 22! That's just a joke of Fernando, who is a real gentleman!

It's cool to know you+husband like sci-fi and you were so fond of Tom Sawyer (I was in love with him and with Huck too!). It's nice to share, sin't it?

Yes, Hanny, it's amazing how imagination works and produces all these amazing books, movies and characters (don't spoil me that way, dear, or I will go red as a beetroot).

I'm having a lot of fun with Ed; all I want is to write again with him, as soon as he makes up his mind with the android love book. :D

I'm having a very nice day, Hanny, I appreciate that. People are behaving at work (they even brought me a bunch of roses!) and I'm having a few emails, phonecalls and presents from friends and family.

And loads of virtual love from you readerships!

XXXX.

hanny said...

Lol, glad you managed not to fall off your chair! :) I know you have to be mature than that for your kind of job with a degree in law.

Don't we wish everyday is our birthday?! It's good to feel extra special sometimes (even from those that doesn't like us).

Enjoy the rest of your evening. Hugs and kisses for you!
:X:X

(by the way, I like how you and some other bloggers, like Grass, interacts with your readerships. it's good that you spend some time to reply)

Leni Qinan said...

(*nearly falls of her chair again*)

Hanny, I got my degree in law when I was 22 (*laughs loud*). Anyway, you're right, I'm older than 22 -but my age will continue to be one of the best kept secrets on earth, lol-. My pic shows quite well I'm not 22, hahahaha. (but, hey! it's not photoshopped!!)

Yeah, it would be nice to have some extra birthdays during the year.

Thanks a lot for your hugs and kisses, Hanny, you're sweet.
I'm enjoying a very nice birthday, and a very nice blogging day!

Big kiss.

PS.- Interaction is one of the things I like the best here. Some commenters -and even silent readers- identify themselves with certain characters and are collaborating somehow in the story. Grass is very participatory in this sense, she's clever, witty, funny and very nice to interact with. There are others as good as her, and everyone is welcomed to join. It's very rewarding for both sides. ;))

Ghost Particle said...

[Leni] HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY NEW - OLD FRIEND! GLAD THAT YOU FOUND ME AND I FOUND YOU. :)

ok now no caps...lets get serious
//I loved that hopeless story of rigid social stratification, reproductive technology and biological engineering, where everybody was artificially happy with conditioning drugs.//

omg! ur a sf freak...used to be and still is right? I am TOOOO! how could one get tired of the world building, the alien societies, everything!!! :)

im alot into british sf writers, they write complete space tales, i love most. I have the whole Foundation series...and like 300 SF books!!!

Loved the android part, certainly they deserve the character they will eventually evolve...me thinks.

hugs... :)

Leni Qinan said...

Heyy Ghosty!!!

Thanks! I had a very nice day! I had presents, party, cake, candles, and... the most important: love+kisses from my real and virtual friends! :))

(*laughs*)

I'm very fond of sci-fi, yes, but not a freak, lol -I like all these authors and characters, but don't think I am some sort of trekkie, lol-. It takes a wild imagination to write these books and scripts for movies, it's just admirable.

You really have the whole Foundation series??? WOW I loved them too!!! Asimov is an absolute fave in my library! 300 books??? Hm... I may fly there to pay a visit, hahaha.

Don't you feel some sympathy for androids? They're neither human nor bots... and evolution lays in human hands... tho it's very interesting to see their human side.

Hugs'n'kisses

Leni Qinan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
max said...

Happy birthday, Leni!!! You're getting almost as old as me, hahaha.

WOW yes, I agree with Ghost particle: you're a sci-fi freak!!!
My goodness me... Asimov, Lem, Tarkovski, etc etc...

I doubt androids are able t feel love just as humans do (but most of their charm lays on that doubt, how close to human can they get?). BTW, Bjork's video is awesome! These androids can interchange fluids!!! I can't believe it!!!

I would recommend you to check on Bob... he may be an android, not too human, he should be looking for you, not having roast chicken and chips. LOL.

Take care.

Nahuatl said...

What? I missed it?

Damn!


Happy birthday, Leni! Sorry to be late.. but I hope you really enjoyed the day :)
I pray for your forever such great days!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Nayan! Thanks! :))

Come in, have a piece of cake and a drink! I'm still having presents today, so you didn't really miss it!

I enjoyed the day yesterday, I'm enjoying today and I will be enjoying tomorrow, still celebrating.

Your words and wishes are wonderful presents, indeed!

XXX.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Max! and thanx!
No way I'm getting as old as you, lol

Well, yes I like sci-fi and i like to share it with you guys.

Hm... I think androids will be more and more closer to human as technology develops, until nobody can tell an android from a human. Scary, eh? (they cry and fall in love in "Blade runner"). It's just a matter of time. Based on the book "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by Philip K. Dick (I'm quoting wiki). Well, I have the book at home, hehee.

I'm glad you liked Bjork's video. I've watched it a million times and never got tired of it. These bots kiss almost like humans... it's awesome. And yes, they interchange fluids, lol.

Bob is not an android. He's lost somewhere in hyperspace, hahaha. But will be back soon, I'm sure of that.

Big kiss.

Ghost Particle said...

Leniii! :P

ok ok not a freak...SF freaks are like hard core fans. hahaha...I think i made that up :P

trully...imagination matter in every moment, every step of a sf journey. I dont know how i started to love sf, but it was worth everything. :)

i think there might be something in there for the androids...maybe they will evolve AI to become another consciousness in this universe. life is better that way... :)

hugs and kisses.

sage said...

I too went through stages of reading sci-fic including those you listed... I've only read two authors in the past decade or so, Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and a number of works by L. E. Modesitt, especially "Parafaith Wars"

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Sage, and welcome to my surreal world, desert rat! :)

I saw you at Gautami’s blog, in that impressive and brilliant post about 9/11. It's a sad date to celebrate birthdays actually; those who left are always in my thoughts that day.

Glad to know you too have been through sci-fi stages and the authors I mentioned –now all classics-. I have wikied the authors in your comment –actually impressed by L.E. Modesitt’s frantic activity in life!-

Shame but I don’t read sci-fi these days, don’t know why. I prefer some poetry and fictional short stories. (I’m having a look at your site, looks cool). ;)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Ghosty, SF freaks are prolly like trekkies or those guys who queue to get tickets for the last Star Wars saga, dressed in Darth Vader's outfit, lol.

Anyways, glad to share this with you guys, it's lovely.

Maybe you should write that book about the evolution of androids, lol, my colleague writer.

hugs + kisses 4 U 2.

Grass said...

Sorry sis if it took me quite a while to get here and comment. I missed your birthday but I guess it's not too late to greet you! Why don't you come over so I can cook you spaghetti and fruit salad? Hehe!

I read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer when I was in high school. I tried to start on Asimov but I only managed to read a few pages because my eyes kept on being dragged towards my physics and calculus books. yeah, I'm a certified geek. and obviously, I was in college when I tried to read some sci-fi. Ray Bradbury is a favorite though! Ever read the Martian Chronicles of his? Or the "Sound of Thunder" recently adapted to a movie? :-)

I'm curious about android love. I guess it's something that's futuristic indeed. Japan has successfully invented robots but with human emotions? hmmm, that's something that's worth exploring.. :-) can't wait to read more about the book Ed wants you to review..


xxx

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Grassy!

Never mind, sweety –you have more important things to pay attention to now, rather than my blog. I hope everything is well and your dad is getting better. Big hug and my best wishes for a complete recovery.-

Thanks! Yeah, you’re still on time to say 'happy bday' –I have been celebrating yesterday and I couldn’t finish writing my story on time to post today, as I do every Monday, but I’m almost done with it and in a few hours it will be here-. It will be cool to share such a nice meal with you. I’ll bring some red wine and a cake!

WOW, so you too love sci-fi! That’s COOL. I share your taste for Ray Bradbury’s books (I loved “Fahrenheit 451” and the excellent movie version, and also “Martian Chronicles” –haven’t seen the “Sound of thunder” movie tho, I’m interested-.

Asimov is amazing, sis. He created a futuristic planet (Trantor) and a civilisation where robots played an important role, based upon 3 laws that ruled their relation with humans. His Foundation series are awesome. I understand you though –when I was a student I didn’t have much time to read, either. I struggled between the obligation to study and the books of Tolkien –too tempting and continuously pushing me into a world of fantasies-.

I’ve always been curious and scared about the hypothesis of other species or machines taking the place of humans in evolution. Like ‘Terminator’, ‘Planet of the apes’, or lately about androids ‘Blade runner’ and ‘I, robot’. But certainly it depends on the creator’s work –men, who sometimes plays God, don’t you think?


Big kiss and hug.

Grass said...

Hmmm, Ian Malcolm character said the following lines from Jurassic Park:

God creates dinosaurs.
God destroys dinosaurs.
God creates man.
Man destroys God.
Man creates dinosaurs.

I think the same may hold true for robots and men if we aren't careful..hehehe

i.e. Man creates robots. Robots destroys man.


xxx

p.s. the vid's cool! wow, they acted almost human. i was expecting robot porn too..LOL kidding.

Leni Qinan said...

OOH sis, I hope your apocalyptic view about the human race destroyed by robots never comes true! That’s scary!

Glad to know you loved the vid –I am amazed at the androids wet kisses, it’s almost human!-.

What do you mean you expected bot porn??? LOL. I just write soft porn! And my next post has a lot of that too, lol. Seeya there!

XXX.

Ghost Particle said...

hemmm... :)

Leni Qinan said...

I said SOFT, Ghosty (but if you're under 18 you should not read it, lol). There's nothing to be scared of :)