Floating Point, Book Four of Devi Jones’ Locker, available now! Find out more.

Beautiful Red

Beautiful Red

Beautiful Red

The future is boring. Technology has solved most of the world’s most pressing problems, leaving people with tedious work and mundane play. Jack is a Security Officer Class 5, which sounds important, but isn’t. However, her banal life as a cubicle worker by day and tinkerer by night is interrupted when she discovers that her employer’s computer system has been invaded.

Jack enlists the help of her only friends – her co-worker, Gilles and Adrian, an online friend she’s never met – to help her track down the source of the invasion. Her investigation leads her to a shadowy group called the Red, where Jack learns that not everyone lives a life of quiet servitude.

Beautiful Red is a Parsec Award Finalist!

The podcast of Beautiful Red was nominated for a Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story (Novella Form), and I’ve just found out that it is a finalist.  I am in amazing company – works by Timothy Callahan, Patrick McLean, Mur Lafferty and Scott Sigler are also nominated in this category.  I couldn’t be happier to be thought of in the same category as these authors.

The Parsec Awards celebrate excellence in speculative fiction podcasting, and will be held at the Dragon*Con convention in a few days.  I won’t be able to attend, given that I’m only a few weeks out from departing on a long world sailing trip, but my thoughts and well-wishes go out to all the nominees.

Episode Twenty-Three

Episode Twenty-Three

01001

I am (two)

living together

in the same mind

My body is my own

and not my own

    {

    sometimes

    it breathes

    without me;

    }

There are lights

that flash in my memory

    {

    when I sleep,

    they light my way;

    }

I do not control them =

    those lights in my mind

they control me =

    like a puppet

    like a host

they are my parasite == my saviour

I see it all the time now

the new world they created for me (and the compulsion it creates)

why would anyone choose to live

    {

    in a world of death

    when there is more

    so much more;

    }

hiding within

The cost is so small

    {

    this life for another life

    control for purpose;

    }

we would choose this freely

if we still had choice

just give us the lights

    {

    the guide, the statements,

    the direction;

    }

and we will follow forever

the leader == the follower

we are one now

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Episode Twenty-Two

Episode Twenty-Two

>>It looks bad, Jack. There’s enough evidence to convict you of a couple of major crimes, and sweet fuck all to prove your allegation against the Red.

>But…

>>Just don’t, Jack. I tested my theory. I’m sending a log of some correspondence one of my aliases had with a couple of law enforcement branches. I’m going to have to abandon that identity now, since it has zero credibility left. I was laughed out of town, and you will be too. Only you’ll be laughed right into court. I mean it Jack, you have to drop this.

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Episode Twenty-One

Episode Twenty-One

“Do you know what we believe in,” Lars started off by asking her. “What the core us of in the Red believe, what started it all?”

“Well,” Jack began, “it seems pretty obvious that you want to bring back the natural human being, reduce our reliance on technology, and question our place in society. I’d say that’s a pretty good summary, don’t you think?” She didn’t want to get sucked into philosophical arguments, but knew he would have to tell her his story in his own way.

“As Rackham would say, two out of three ain’t bad for a noob.”

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Episode Twenty

Episode Twenty

The system was different. At first Jack nearly panicked when she realized that her three D rendering engine couldn’t handle the configuration of the Red system and showed her nothing but an empty blue void. But, after backing out and viewing the system using her terminal emulator, Jack was able to navigate the system. She got a feel for the layout, finding her way through the hierarchical structure. Eventually, she banged up against the point where her dummy user’s permissions ended.

She breathed deeply, and turned away from her task for a moment. She had an assignment from the shift captain, and she guessed that if it didn’t get done they might come checking up on her.

Log #7

Nanowrimo is done, and I won with a day to spare.

Lots of people have been sending emails, which is awesome; keep it coming.

There was a problem with some of the files (this time, not my fault!). It’s fixed now, but if you encounter any trouble downloading or the files sound wonky, please let me know.

You should absolutely check out Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps. I’ve been subscribed since day -3 or so, and it really does rock.

If you’re so inclined, follow me on twitter. At the moment, I do the regular here’s what’s going on kind of posts, but I also do a haiku of the day and Quotation Wednesday.

Episode Nineteen

Episode Nineteen

Jack didn’t know what to do. It was BlackEye for sure, chatting with some dour looking guy just two tables over. It was the first she had seen of him, and although she had imagined before she arrived that he would be leading the group in some kind of bizarre incantation three times a day, once she had been here for awhile the community nature of the group made her doubt even the existence of a leader. Of course, leaders aren’t always of the “do it my way or get out” variety, and she noticed that everyone else in the bar deferred to BlackEye when they interacted with him.

Episode Eighteen

Episode Eighteen

The thought of Estella Rowan reminded Jack of her purpose at the compound and renewed her resolve to find out who was behind the consciousness programs. She had her first work shift after lunch and was hopeful that whatever they would have her doing as a programmer would shed some light on the situation. She agreed to meet Susanna for dinner at the middle sitting, and headed off to her room to find out where she was supposed to go for her work shift.

The morning class had been interesting and compelling, but now as she walked all the way back to her room to find out a piece of information that would take just a second on the nets to retrieve, she was becoming less enamoured with the whole Red philosophy.

Episode Seventeen

Episode Seventeen

Jack stuck her key in the viewer’s slot and when the friendly voice said, “Hello, b0xenjester, how can I help you?” she replied, “Show me the meal schedule for today.” She saw that there was a late sitting that evening for dinner, and asked the viewer to remind her ten minutes before it was time to go. She then asked to see the schedule of classes for the next two days.

There was a huge selection of programs available, and at first Jack had trouble believing that it was possible for even a large and well organized group to deliver this many courses and workshops over two days.

Episode Sixteen

Episode Sixteen

Jack woke up with a start, and for a moment didn’t know where she was. The motion of the train was so even that it was as if the train were still. The seats were fairly wide and comfortable, so she wasn’t even being jostled by other passengers. Her confusion was fleeting, though, and she checked the time. SleepingJuice was amazing – at that point the train would be arriving in about fifteen or twenty minutes.

She stretched as best she could while staying seated, and cracked her neck. She quickly checked her system and found an acknowledgment from Gilles for her report.

Log #6

I’m still going strong for NaNoWriMo. Check out my wordcount.

I’ve had some technical difficulties with the files at podiobooks.com (my fault, not theirs). Do let me know if you encounter any problems with the files here.

Beautiful Red now has its own facebook page. Come be friends!

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Describing the Present

My pal Steve Holden (of Tech News Radio and the Jersey Boys podcast) sent me an email saying “Your book is happening in the real world …” with a link to this story:

The recent armed robbery of a Chicago-based co-location facility has customers hopping mad after learning it was at least the fourth forced intrusion in two years. They want to know how C I Host, an operator that vaunts the security of its data centers, could allow the same one to be penetrated so many times.

…the same location has been the target of at least four burglaries or robberies since August 2005, according to police reports and former customers, some of whom say they lost sensitive data and hundreds of thousands of dollars in hardware.

Episode Fifteen

Episode Fifteen

After a beer and a contraband cigarette, Jack finally got over the frustration at her inability to do anything, then spent the rest of the night finishing her report for Gilles and Adrian. She would send it out to them before she left. With these new images from Bellis, as well as the information she had been gathering, she had a fairly complete report to send them.

They had both been harassing her for updates, but she was afraid that one or both of them would try to stop her from going if she told them what was going on.

Episode Fourteen

Episode Fourteen

Jack spent the evening going over the Brugges theft, comparing it to the incident in the Bellis server room. There was more information about the European crime by now, on the regular news boards as well as the specialized ones Jack has been paging through before. It seemed that the theft had been conducted by a pair of locals who had now gone missing. There didn’t seem to be any link between the two prior to the incident; one was a service worker in a mid range upgrade salon and the other was an entertainment worker.

Rowan, Jack thought.

Log #5

  • I moved – listen for the ferry horns and carillon bells
  • there’s a nice lively discussion on Episode Ten – keep up the good work
  • I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year
  • I’m doing a podcast for it, too

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