Educator, writer and documentarian based out of central China. Catch the full story at www.findthefabulist.com.
Have You Found The Fabulist?
Six years ago, I inadvertently sent a novel overseas, but it was only because I was trying to get it published. It's not that complicated, I assure you - it does get a little messy, though, and I'm going to be asking you for your help a little for now. For now, just know that this is a story of desperation and misdirected creativity that went a little farther (literally) than I'd imagined.
In Praise of Instruction Manuals
There was a time in my life when I kept better care of my video game instruction manuals than many people do of their books. I was certainly better organized when it came to them, with a carefully chosen spot for each one. The console manuals sat in a plastic carrier, separated by system, occupying a nook under the table that held the consoles. The PC manuals, being larger, were in a magazine holder in the closet a few feet away. At a moment, I could find any of them, along with maps, reference cards, mini-posters, and any of the other detritus that might tumble out of a game box.
The Ocean Unseen
The inhabitants of Detriti had always held a certain romantic fixation with the gloomy shell of dense ice that defined the upper limits of their world. Ahine was not unusual in this regard, except perhaps for the depths of her obsession. As a child, she joined with many others in their gleeful attempts to break through the barrier, digging at the dark surface with broken harpoon points, old hand drills and jagged shards of flint. It was a ritual of sorts, a tradition going back a hundred generations to the earliest Detritan explorers and mythmakers. There was something primeval about it, a connection to the planetary heritage that drew Ahine back even after she deduced that the effort was futile. And when she finally set aside those childish implements for good, she did not turn her thoughts back inward as most of the others did. Rather, her own fascination only became more intellectual.
Short Shorts: The Essentials of Flash Fiction
Even with our ongoing cultural obsession with really long books, the literary scene may actually be trending toward very short works. Flash fiction is a relatively recent concept but it's spreading with zeal, with new flash markets and anthologies cropping up just about every day.
Distance is a Fallacy
TRANSMISSION 53 We've finally done it. After months of sitting alone in this tiny remote outpost - has it just been months? It truly feels like it's been five years since I was sent to this isolated shed on the frontiers of oblivion - I finally have something substantive to report. I have received communication from a non-terrestrial source and, after many rounds of analysis, I can confirm with a <0.01% margin of error that the transmission was from an intelligent source. I have already broadcast the preplanned welcome message and am eagerly awaiting the response, which I will of course pass along to headquarters promptly as I receive it.
Storytelling as Mind Control
Propaganda can be an insidious beast. The most ironic object I own is sitting next to me as I write this. It's an article I picked up for $6 in a bookstore in central China - a copy of George Orwell's 1984, fully translated into Chinese. Within these pages is a classic tale of a government worker tasked with the annihilation of any information that might run contrary to the tale spun out by Big Brother, now available in a real-world nation that has made the machinations of Minitrue seem almost quaint.
For a project of its amazing scale and ambition, the Psephos Engine was launched with little fanfare, noted only by a few circles of bleeding-edge computer engineers and a tiny handful of truly obsessive political nerds. It was to take the best of existing research and knowledge, synthesize it with top-level computer architecture and algorithms, and then pump a tremendous quantity of data points into the mix with the intention of consistently predicting the outcome of a democratic election. The response from most was an eyeroll, and even the project heads were careful to avoid the usual buzzphrase-laden talk about future technologies and society. Instead, they quietly went about the work of preparing their machine for its debut prediction, feeding in the information and pruning back the stranger forecasts that it generated.
The Ethics of Save Files
A seldom remarked upon quirk of video games in the 90's was that if you rented a game, you might also find yourself in possession of a fragment of someone else's free time in the form of a save file. This might represent a hour of that person's time or fifty, played across a single evening or piecemeal over weeks. But for the duration of the rental, you had absolute control over this frozen span of time, with the power to use, abuse, or dispose of it as you wished - all while knowing that soon, another person would have the same control over your time.