FYI for all — for those of you who missed it in Weird Tales last January, my “cybergoth” story “The Trojan Girl” is live now at Escape Pod. “The Trojan Girl” is part of a sequence of science fictional stories I’ve been working on — another of those stories, “Valedictorian,” will soon be published in the dystopian YA anthology After later this year– in which artificial intelligences that have risen spontaneously from a futuristic internet struggle to figure out their place in the world. An excerpt:
Fizville was where Meroe had been born. Such places littered the Amorph, natural collection points for obsolete code, corrupted data, and interrupted processes. It made a good hunting ground, since lesser creatures emerged from the garbage with fair regularity. It was also the perfect hiding-place for a frightened, valuable child.
But as Meroe and his group resolved between a spitting knot of paradox and a moldering old hypercard stack, they found that they were not alone. Meroe growled in outrage as a foreign interface clamped over the subnet, imposing interaction rules on all of them. To protect himself, Meroe adopted his default avatar: a lean, bald human male clad only in black skin and silver tattoos. Zo became a human female, dainty and pale and demurely gowned from neck to ankle to complement Meroe’s appearance. She crouched beside him and bared her teeth, which were sharp and hollow, filled with a deadly virus.
Fizville flickered and became an amusement park with half the rides broken, the others twisted into shapes that could never have functioned in the Static. Across the park’s wide avenue stood a new figure. He had depicted himself as a tall middle-aged male, Shanghainese and dignified, dressed in an outdated business suit. This was, Meroe suspected, a subtle form of mockery; a way of saying even in this form, I am superior. It would’ve worked better without the old suit.