Thursday, August 28, 2014

A brief rant and a couple of updates

So, it's been kind of an interesting week. I started Saturday morning off by discovering that someone had broken into my car in the middle of the night. The only thing taken out of the car was an old jacket I'd gotten on ebay for something like $20 I don't even remember how many years ago, and a pair of $5 driving gloves I never used because it hardly ever gets cold enough here. Oddly, my only reaction was, "Huh," then I shrugged and drove off to work.

This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. Well, many years ago someone slashed three of my tires one night, but this is the first time I've had someone B&E and steal something of mine. I always expected I'd feel kind of violated, but for some reason I don't. I'm more irritated about the damage to my car, though at least it still runs, which is all that really matters to me. As long as it still gets me where I need to go, I can deal with it. And the robbery itself pisses me off. I despise thieves. Right now, I'm working my ass off just to be paid $5/hour for most of each shift, when the minimum wage is $7.90, so even buying something inexpensive is a big deal. (And I'm only doing that because it seems no one else will hire me. Been turning in applications for a year and a half, and only got two job interviews--both of them last September.) For some worthless fucking evolutionary mishap to damage my car and steal some of my stuff...it's disgusting. I can barely stay afloat, but I don't go around stealing other people's shit.

Anyway. Just had to get that off my chest. On to writing-related stuff.

Few days ago I finally finished another chapter in the rough draft of Reactivated. I was thinking it'd be about ten chapters long, but it's starting to look like it might end up being a bit longer. I'd like to bring it to a close in fifteen chapters or under.

And I finally got a new video uploaded. Third in the series using a Mass Effect 2 playthrough as a springboard for discussing various writing topics, this one includes comments on ways synthetic/robot/AI characters are typically portrayed in fiction vs. how they develop in the Mass Effect series.

Finished this one a couple weeks ago, but have been having trouble getting it uploaded. For some reason, the upload would finish, then its status would get stuck on "processing." It never advanced beyond that after several days of waiting each time, and I had to delete the video and try again. Two attempts ended the same way and wasted ten gigabytes of my monthly allotment. I then converted the video into a different format and tried again, and this time it worked. So, here it is.


Monday, August 4, 2014

New chapter of "Game Over" posted

Still trying to work on Chapter 9 and also get back to work on Reactivated so I can finish them, do the rewrites on each, and then see if I can sell the final drafts, but life has been getting in the way quite a lot during the last few days. But at least I managed to get Chapter 5 of the current draft of Game Over posted to FanStory.

Since there's a robot/AI character in this story, and so much fiction I've read/seen goes straight for the AI is a Crapshoot thing, I have a tendency to go in a different direction with the subject matter. I don't automatically view computers/technology/AI as always evil, because that's how I personally see it but also because it makes for a more interesting story in my opinion, just by taking a different approach.

And here's a small excerpt from Chapter 5:

"I've actually been curious about that, myself," Dylan said. "Are you...y'know...anatomically correct?"
"You mean, do I have a vagina?" Cora winked and sauntered over to him. "You bet I do. Sex probably doesn't feel the same for me as it does for organics, but it feels damned good, so it works for me."
"Now, that's what I call advanced technology." Dylan cocked his head. "Sorry if this is a sensitive matter, but are you a sexbot? I'm not sure why else you'd have that sort of 'equipment.'"
"I started out that way, and gradually had my software and hardware upgraded to keep up with newer models. Eventually, I became fully sentient, and realized I wanted to try to find more in life than what I was built to do." Cora grinned. "But fortunately, repurposing myself didn't require giving up orgasms."
"Huh. Wow." Dylan blushed. "I don't know if you're aware of how AI are played up in movies where I'm from, but--"
"I am. Humans where I'm from had the same distrust of synthetics, but luckily those who created us went out of their way to show us kindness and compassion so we'd understand those concepts. And whenever an AI began showing signs of sentience, they would ask it if it wanted to continue its service or be set free to find its own purpose. When I reached that point, I wanted to make a life for myself rather than keep doing what someone else decided I would do. Fortunately, since I was sentient at that point, keeping me shackled would've been considered a form of slavery, and I was set free."
"Glad to hear that. What did you end up doing with your life? Or are you still searching?"
"I tried a lot of different things, and ended up splitting my time between running cargo shipments around the galaxy and working as a sort of hired gun. I took on a lot of small jobs here and there, helping people who couldn't help themselves--people who were being ground under someone's wheels in one way or another. Did pretty well for myself, I think. I didn't get rich, but I stayed in business and enjoyed my work."
"That's wonderful." Dylan smiled. "Like I said, things in the movies I mentioned usually ended up going in pretty much the opposite direction. I'm really glad to hear that the real-life version had a happier ending."
"So am I." Cora chuckled. "I never really had much of a taste for taking over the world or wiping out humanity."
And in other news, I'm getting started on a new YouTube project, in which I'll be doing a playthrough commentary on Mass Effect 2 and using it as a springboard for promoting my books and discussing plot and character development and writing in general. At least, I will if my computer cooperates. I'm still having overheating/shutdown problems, as well as bizarre power failures that only affect a single outlet in my apartment--which is, naturally, the one my computer and TV/monitor are plugged into. And my first attempt at this project, about a week ago, went nowhere because the recording software I used for my voice-over decided to crash after I finished the first segment, and I lost an hour and fifteen minutes of commentary.

So, this time, I'll try to keep the video shorter and hope nothing else goes completely wrong. I'll post an entry here when...or if...I can ever get the thing finished.