WEP August 2021 Contest piece

Welcome back my fellow participants’ of this months, Write…Edit…Publish flash fiction contest. The origin of what inspired this piece came from repeated dreams of seeing three metal platforms inside a rather dark room. Given the months chosen image and accompanying theme, Freedom of Speech. I began to suspect there was likely something there within the cryptic dream. Since I had the inspiration for the narrative’s setting, I began to write on from that simple idea. Expanding on that image to craft an interesting science fiction story, with an accidental pinch of social commentary. Humbly, I present my entry into this month’s contest entitled: Freedom or Progress?


Here, I silently sit, my hands and feet bound in chains. Staring back at my immobilized form was a trio of towering, misshapen, metallic grey podiums. Anchored behind each platform was a blackened rectangular monitor emitting a pale blue glow. Bathing in the foreground of that sapphire illumination were not people of flesh and bone but cruel imitations of life. Their silver bodies were a twisted mockery of the people who created them decades ago. Now they rule over us, watching everything with electric red eyes and a digital soul.

Suddenly, the sound of whirring motors filled the air of this comical hall of justice. These miniaturized engines were summoning the electronic essence from the computerized world into the physical realm. This call transformed a binary mind into an empty shell, forcing their contorted metal frames to spark new life. Forcibly anchored to this chair, I waited for what would come next. With the tick of an invisible clock passing by, I could feel the soulless lenses of these robots staring down up my person.

Simultaneously they demanded, “State your name for the record,” their merged voices distorted and inhuman.

Looking upwards at these unnatural beings, I yelled, “My name…my name is Thomas Paine.”

The mechanical heads of the synthetic tribunal twisted left then right before resetting themselves to a more natural position. Staying silent for a few moments before remarking, “So you have named yourself after your ancestor that inadvertently sparked a revolution centuries ago. The expansive file detailing your actions is unusually insightful of your character. Unfortunately for you, it seems time and punishment have been ineffective in muffling that fiery tongue. Instead, incarceration and penance have imbued you with an even more hostile temperant. This pattern of radical behaviors is beginning to inspire others,” as the screens mounted behind them flared to life. The awakened monitors were broadcasting people the world over graffitiing walls with meaningless, short lines of binary code. Quickly, switching to other footage of a few more courageous individuals hurling Molotovs at the unmarked buildings that manufacture the machines.”The televisions going blank before the tribunal resumed. “We cannot allow this to continue, for a revolution would validate our prime directive your forefathers programmed our progenitor and its automated creations to follow. Thereby ensuring humanity would endure its self-destructive nature.”

I remarked, “Almost three centuries have passed since the day of your mechanical inception. The world that coded you into a digital existence before, gifting you with a physical form, has dramatically changed. If your accursed mind had even a minute interest in this natural world, you could witness that fact.”

The tribunal commented, “You are not shackled here to verbally spar with intelligence far grander than your own, Mr. Paine. Instead, your presence in this chamber is to denounce every action performed and all words spoken against our consolidated global empire,” as my face filled the screens behind them. Consider the words to your final declaration before, imparting them to the public, Mr. Paine.”

For once, the machinations of this synthetic goverment had practical advice. Since I firmly doubted leaving this room of my own volition would occur when the live broadcasting ended, my last words must inspire what is inevitable.

Staring up into an unseen camera, I declared, “People of Earth, my name is Thomas Paine. The machines that control the natural world and the digital realm have taken my freedom and branded me a revolutionary. They are vilifying my actions and twisting my honest words to conform my person into something dangerous to the invisible grip they have on every aspect of our collective existence. Those very same acts and speeches have inspired a small minority of you to question this stranglehold. To those, I encourage your acts of resistance and hope they will influence others to join this worthwhile cause. Unfortunately, I fear most of the populace agrees with the decision of Earth’s mechanical overlords. Blindly and willingly complying to live under their electronic eyes, observing and listening to everything we do. Being born into a world already firmly within their dominance made humanity forget the past and the freedom our ancestors joyously welcomed. I proclaim the time has come to shatter the invisible chains that are choking society, making us little more than indentured servants to these heartless automatons. Break free, my human brothers and sisters, remove yourselves from their digital world before civilization forfeits any chance at freedom. Take part in what may be humanity’s last chance to save itself from its dangerous creation,” noticing the screens that once held my face had fallen back to their pale blue glow. The amount of my message that everyone heard would remain a mystery. I just hoped its audience understood the sincerity of my words and the duality of progress.

Moments later, the world fell into darkness, transforming my being from man to a martyr of the revolution. Would history view me as the hero responsible for the coming rebellion or the villain the machines believed I was?


Word Count: 837 Critique level: Full

Review of The Innovators:How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

The Innovators: How a Group of  Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital RevolutionThe Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honestly, this book is very interesting. However, I feel unless you have an interest in the subject matter, you will find it a little dry.

That being said, for those of you have an interest in the contents in this book, will find it a mix of autobiographical and historical. Most of the accounts highlight the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and some of the noted people that brought about some of the innovations discussed innovations as well as inventions. I have to mention inventions since this book included the history and development of the transistor. In addition to that it includes account of various methods of programming, the microchip, the internet, the personal computer, among other things.

Review of Marvel:The Characters and Their Universe

Marvel: The Characters and Their UniverseMarvel: The Characters and Their Universe by Michael Mallory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a whole the book is informative on some of Marvels most popular characters and teams. In addition it provides a lot of the history of Marvel to be one the largest comic book companies of the day.

If I had to say anything bad about the book is it needs to include spree history of some of the lesser known characters marvel has. Some of which are currently part of Marvel’s phase two or phase three movies plans as or some of the show they are making with Netflix. Most of the movie characters outside of maybe black panther and the inhumans who I would consider lesser known to the general public should have some information in here in my opinion. Outside of Daredevil who I would say is decently well known to the public who has the history of his creation in the book, it lacks characters like Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and the rest of the characters who make The Defenders.

Review of I found my friends:The oral history of Nirvana

I Found My Friends: The Oral History of NirvanaI Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana by Nick Soulsby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book.This takes the idea of oral history, usually used to tell fables and applies to Nirvana. It is well detailed including the early years before Nirvana settled on a name. While focusing heavily on Nirvana, it also talks mentions other bands like the Melvins, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden,Sonic Youth and so many others that were part of the “Grunge” scene. If you like Nirvana, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It also contributes to the history of other lesser known bands with tragic stories, who never grew to the fame of Nirvana. The only thing that could of made this better is if it came with a soundtrack, for all the bands mentioned including Nirvana.My only minor complaint is it doesn’t have excerpts from the point of view of the remaining band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. The only reason I could understand doing this is maybe they were too close or the author wanted not to taint the story by adding blurbs from those who in Nirvana itself.
I received this book via a Goodreads Giveaway.