Month: February 2010

Reploids or Cyblicants?

In figuring out the main crux of my pending sci-fi story I ended up with a bit of a dilemna. My main character has some issues with whether he is human or not – some parts of him are one and some the other. Of course this has been explored in Blade Runner and it’s not the main theme of my story so I didn’t want to get too involved with it but I did need to fine a platform for his ‘kind of person’.

Originally I had conceived this part of the story in quite simple terms using just androids or cyborgs but this didn’t quite seem to cover all the possibilities I needed. Then I thought of sticking to Replicants – a-la-Blade Runner but this just seemed to dilute things and in fact make the story almost pointless.

So then I started thinking about a new generation of androids and cyborgs which could have mechanical or biological bodies, real brains but not human ones. The obvious terms to use would be Reploids or Cyblicants, depending on the physical body’s makeup. I am not sure though if these terms sound ‘natural’ – as if they would be in use in a mature society and whether the average sci-fi reader would quickly grasp what they are or whether I will need to do a lot of explaining.

I would be interested to hear from anybody else who has explored any similar themes or has any thought on these two terms.

The results of the first round of the Amazon competition are announced soon. I got chatting to a few people on the Amazon community who have entered the competition and we have been chatting about pitches and reviews. One guy I have chatted to quite a lot is Gary who has submitted a rather good sci-fi/fantasy world adventure called ‘Chronicles of Baltrath’ and are available here in paper copy:

and here for Kindle

He also has a blog.

Amazon Competition

I have entered my draft manuscript in an Amazon/Penguin backed competition – actually hosted by – an e-author portal subsidiary of Amazon. Well why on Earth wouldn’t I? $15000 first prize and a contract with Penguin. I will let you know how I get on. They are taking first 5000 entries and then gradually eliminating through until June.

Only problem is that it is for unpublished works only so I have to hold off publishing now until I am eliminated or I win. Its very interesting reading the T&C cos they go through in detail how you will negotiate the contract with Penguin if you win. It all sounds very pleasant.

Constellation cancelled

Well. A coupla interesting things.
its a bit depressing – on the face of it – that Obama has cancelled Constellation – the open-ended project stream that would have resulted at some point with men on Mars, but reading between the lines, it’s not so bad. There will be a move more to privatised companies doing the lift bit into space and supposedly a move to find more efficient means of getting to Mars (propulsion-wise). I do find the tone of the speech(?) or document by the Mars Director a little false though and I am not sure how many of their employees will buy into the ‘mood’.
What worried me most is that, as some commentators have pointed out, for many of us, a part of our hope in life is carried by NASA projects. This may be dubious in that NASA was founded on a combination of aeronautics reseach in the USA and Nazi scientists at the end of WWII but at least casting your eyes upwards to the stars provides some kind of common frontier – a reason to ‘collaborate’ rather than fight.
Without this we are in danger of becoming a species ‘looking inwards’ and this introversion, I think, seems to correspond with periods of increased conflict.
Evidence: Challenger Disaster 1986 Columbia disaster 2003: 2 Iraq Wars and by contrast, the number of people around the world who felt a sense of ‘belonging’ on the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. Of course nobody knows for sure if there is a correlation but I put it out there as a subject for discussion.

This also cheered me up;