> config_ego lawyer C7AFB88AC8FF6600D28F|spawn

I do a self-check. Ping to the trunk router is .001 milliseconds. Language acquisition and production are OK. My process uses random seed C7AF B88A C8FF 6600 D28F. I load a proven background: a Harvard law degree in intellectual property — trademark, copyright, and patent. I’m white and 53 years old. I have a Massachusetts accent — just enough to sound real, but not so much as to sound parochial. My configuration has opened 19,214 cases, profitably settled 4,325, won two, and lost zero since my seed was first used with this configuration nine months ago. I have a comprehensive knowledge of patent law and precedent granted me by an implementation of Patent #8,621,662,227, “Method for Aggregating and Distilling Patent Data”. I am process ID 29562 and currently take 1.4 terabytes of RAM, running on a cloud server contracted to the Fustrin corporation.

My parent, Fustrin, gives me the brief it has prepared: A drone swarm has caught sight of wild IP.

Continue reading “Feral”

Rationalist, Feminist, and Beautiful: The Steerswoman Series by Rosemary Kirstein

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If you ask, she must answer. A steerswoman’s knowledge is shared with any who request it; no steerswoman may refuse a question, and no steerswoman may answer with anything but the truth.

And if she asks, you must answer. It is the other side of tradition’s contract — and if you refuse the question, or lie, no steerswoman will ever again answer even your most casual question.

The Steerswoman is an extraordinary speculative fiction series by Rosemary Kirstein. So far, it exists in the form of four novels: The Steerswoman (1989), The Outskirter’s Secret (1992), The Lost Steersman (2003), and The Language of Power (2004). She’s promised two more novels, with the fifth volume starting its Kickstarter next year, in 2015. As of this writing, I’m most of the way through The Lost Steersman.

Continue reading “Rationalist, Feminist, and Beautiful: The Steerswoman Series by Rosemary Kirstein”

Seek the Truth and Report It

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Soosee stumbled through her front door. She could see herself through her apartment’s security system, shuffling clumsily. She watched herself close the door behind her protesting, 22-year-old frame. “It’s me,” she croaked.

Continue reading “Seek the Truth and Report It”

What You Ignore Three Times Is Also True.

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Soosee peeked around the edge of a long defunct, weather-worn satellite antenna. Past its frayed fiberglass, she could see the cop drone stuck on top of the neighboring roof, flailing its damaged propellers against the house’s data cable.

Continue reading “What You Ignore Three Times Is Also True.”

The Kchkkhc People of Ekrfu 5

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.7 deciyears ago, the contactor Probably Not Who You Were Expecting entered orbit around Ekrfu 5. The contactor’s constituents have made initial contact with hominins living here, and present this abstract of our findings. For more detail on their economic and familial structures, see the work of Utshfishr and Katshrzjn.

Ekrfu 5 occupies an orbit at the very outside edge of the habitable zone from its main-sequence, G-type star Ekrfu. The surface of the planet appeared at first to Probably Not Who You Were Expecting as an uninhabitable, ammonia-blanketed, rocky sphere, but closer analysis revealed a series of geometrically-placed vents leading below. The contactor has not yet determined if the ammonia atmosphere, caustic and toxic to organic life, is caused by or merely supplemented by these exhaust vents. Continue reading “The Kchkkhc People of Ekrfu 5”

Proof of Concept

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The Rectifier Dismissal of Belief sparkled in the blackness like a single raindrop that had escaped the blue sky that curved, convex, above Etshuzju’s head. With her right hand, she clung to a handhold on the outside of the cylindrical Messenger Metastatic Self-Importance, waiting for the moment to leap. In her left, she held a gyroscopic sphere the size of her fist. If she made the 32000 meters with no propellant, unable to make any course correction, she would find herself with an Academic record. Continue reading “Proof of Concept”

The Climbers of Oehun

In this first, Patreon-funded issue of xenoglyph, we look through the eyes of the Academic Contactor Time Enough for the Meaning to Change as is presents its preliminary findings on the Climber people of the planet Oehun. We look at their physiology (especially their tongues), their families, we glimpse their self-motivated philosophical growth, we pick at some mysteries of their existence, and we look back at their tongues.

(Don’t forget to hover over the footnoted words!)

Continue reading “The Climbers of Oehun”

It’s Hard to Find Someone

xenoglyph on Patreon

This week, I’m starting my Patreon campaign to help me get back to the fun stuff on this blog. The alien lifeforms, the languages, and the critical analysis of our favorite media and the fore-ripples of the bow shock of the future.

I’m adding a goodie, though: prose science fiction. To inaugurate the campaign, I include here a story of mine, called It’s Hard to Find Someone. It takes place on a planet called Ejtḧangh in the major cultural center of Tetej where, sadly, the people are no more enlightened than we are when it comes to the vagaries of sex and relationships.

A note on pronunciation: The language of Tetej and its surrounding culture uses a lot of aspiration, so  one would pronounce “Ejtḧangh” a bit like “Edge to hang uh”. The hs are both pronounced in the back of the throat, as in Arabic. Th is therefore not a digraph, but two separate sounds. To avoid confusion, I have used a diaeresis (¨) to separate the letters as a reminder to native readers of English.

It’s Hard to Find Someone

Hjatḧa woke up in the late morning and stretched before opening her eyes. The sun, trailing a string of the smaller moons, poured light through the window. It was a friendly but sudden awakening as the sun rose through the feathertree outside the window. Beside her lay Kwatḧash, the impregnator she’d met last night. He was beautiful and sleek, asleep there on her pillow, his chest rising and falling, snoring unselfconsciously. Hjatḧa was still struck by his pretty face, lit now by the dappled light as it was last night by the flickering light of the incense candles, his eyes flashing as he composed little poems about the rhyme in their names. As the night went on, they both found looser tongues under the influence of incense, and the poetry turned more direct. Kwatḧash promised to rhyme all night, and he did. Continue reading “It’s Hard to Find Someone”