The Impacts of Human-SIM on Conversation

One of the main inspirations behind my short story, Human, was the palpable impatience in conversation. How often do we find ourselves explaining the context of a situation – whether personal or professional – and the listener suddenly ceases to be just that, a listener – as they interrupt with a question; a question which would be answered in due time with further explanation? We are interrupted because the listener doesn’t have the necessary patience for the context. The problem is we, the speaker, have a need to be heard. We may have only one question which requires background and explanation, while at the same time informing the speaker we understand essential aspects of the subject. The interruption shifts the need from ours to the other party, and our need is never met. One of the characters in Human is an individual named McGregor – the original creator of Human-SIM and its networking systems. We meet him briefly in the final portion of the short story. We don’t know much about him yet, however he’s written much about why he created Human-SIM, and this “conversational impatience” was one of them. In his early research paper, Modern Conversation and Its Flaws – The Cause of Social Disturbance and Degradation, McGregor noted his intent to “eliminate the ever present conversational impatience by allowing the listener to have all the information ‘uploaded’ or ‘shared’ with the listener” just as the conversation begins. McGregor states later in solid conclusion: “No more interruptions.” We suspect[…] [Keep Reading]

The Ghosts in the Walls

I recently found a short poem I wrote by hand. This was back in 2012, before I tried writing short stories and longer works – and before I had sufficient practice in the writing craft. I wrote this during a sleepless night as I listened to the walls in my new house creak. The Ghosts in the Walls One more glass. That’s all I need to have before I hear them. It starts with a whisper. Sometimes. Other times it’s louder than that – out of nowhere. It’s frightening. However, it’s terrifying when I listen for them and I hear nothing. That’s when they are listening to me. The ghosts in the walls. They only talk at night. I’ve tried to listen in the day, but I never hear anything. Until I lay in bed and it’s quiet for a while, then I hear the creaking. I try to fall asleep before it starts, but that’s a rarity. The tapping from inside the wall, each tap is either louder or softer than the previous. That’s the worst part. I never know how loud it’s going to be. A wretched, teasing finger, rapping in the wall. I’ve never seen anything when I look for them. Maybe I’m just hearing things. If I am, I’m crazy. But if it’s real, what does that make me? I don’t want to go to sleep. Just one more glass. I hear it now. The tapping. It’s getting louder. Softer. Waves of terror crash upon my[…] [Keep Reading]

The Schlikt

Happy Halloween, fellow lovers of horror. It’s been a strange year indeed. Hopefully there are great stories being written and shared through our many experiences during this time. It’s been two years since The Schlikt was originally published in Kyanite Press’ Halloween Special, and I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to have shared this story through their medium. I’ve shared the original text below. It can still be purchased here at Kyanite Press. For those who prefer audio, I narrated the script and had it professionally produced by a close collaborator. The audio can be found here. As always, happy reading and writing – and keep cranking. THE SCHLIKT It was 1:03am. A hospital stood at the intersection of two well-known streets; its colorful exterior a vibrant display of positivity against the surrounding gray neighborhood and dark night. Inside, Sally Marcone – a pediatric nurse fresh out of a prominent Midwest school – sat at a computer on the 8th floor. Her computer screen the only nearby source of light in the darkness of the night shift. The pediatric oncology floor wasn’t for everyone. Most people aren’t ready to see a room with a child hooked up to tubes and machines with blinking lights, their bodies just a sick as the gray walls around them. Her only patient was six-year-old Tobias Kearny. The Stage Four Lymphoma was deep in his bone marrow. The tests came back earlier. Sally stood from her computer and walked to Toby’s room, taking in the[…] [Keep Reading]

Human – A Short Story

I was fortunate enough to meet Ani Paoletti via Twitter when she noted she was providing free book covers for writers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been searching for an artist to help me with cover are for a long time through Twitter and DeviantArt with no luck to date. I sent a note to Ani and she helped put together the cover below for my short story, HUMAN – which originally appeared in Kyanite Press last year. This cover exceeded my expectations and I wanted to share it. I’ll be doing an interview with Ani in the coming weeks, serving as another entry in the Interviews from the Void series. Read on to explore the world of HUMAN. I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to reach out to Ani if you need cover art assistance. In the near future, we’ve overcome the limitations of non homogeneous communication. A man lost in his life and career hopes to get the latest HUMAN-SIM upgrade and get promoted at work, with unexpected consequences… DAY ZERO My brain processor lagged. Susan – the barista who always took my order – told me the price for my regular, black coffee. It was always $9.56. My Human-SIM integrator card already released $9.56 from my account and transferred it to the café. Yet something was wrong. “Scott, I’m afraid prices went up today.” “They did?” I asked after a brief delay. Maybe I had a poor connection to the network. The café was one of[…] [Keep Reading]

Kyanite’s Healing Words Project

My friends at Kyanite Publishing had a great idea when COVID-19 pushed many into isolation: publish short works on their website for reading enjoyment and a means to escape to another world. There are many great story tellers associated with Kyanite Publishing, and I hope my readers will check out their works at Kyanite’s Healing Words Project during these strange times. My short story, HUMAN, is now available for free as part of this project.   [Keep Reading]