Friday, March 9, 2012


It was just a hill covered with grass -- and corpses.

Timothy's squad was dead. He fired at blue-suited silhouettes until a grenade landed at his feet. A flash. Pain. Then darkness.

Sounds -- explosive pop of a hermetic seal splitting, wet splatter of suspension gel, flesh slapping concrete.

Timothy struggled up, naked, dripping.

"Blue has captured the point," the announcer's disembodied voice boomed.

Timothy reached for a fresh red uniform. His squadmates were already sprinting from the bunker.

"I liked it better when we played this online," he muttered.

The encapsulated clones clustered behind him answered not a word.

Postscript: To listen to audio of this and other stories, please download Season One of the I Saw Lightning Fall podcast here.


Scattercat said...

Y'know, the only time I've ever seen the idea of copying consciousness "feel" like anything other than dying and replacing with a copy that THINKS it's me was in "Old Man's War," where they first let the original consciousness stretch into the second body and incorporate it into the brain's body image (just like you can use sensorimotor feedback to "feel" like a random piece of wood or a rubber hand is "part" of you) and then killing off the previous body.

It's weird how that feels so different.

Loren Eaton said...

I know this will obliterate my genre cred, but I haven't yet read anything by Scalzi. He's on my list, though! I swear it!

ollwen said...

Some things aren't fun unless you gloss over the messy bits. This is funny though. :P

Scattercat, if you think about it, that's what happens every time Scotty 'beamed' someone up or down. I've tried to work around this in my head for at least one premise. It's tricky if you limit personality to mind only, but if you posit an actual soul, or spirit at the metaphysical core of a person, then that person could be maintained. BUT if I'm copied over to a new body doesn't that person die?

Loren Eaton said...

Thanks, Sam! I got to thinking how unpleasnat multiplayer video games would become in real life, and this little piece popped out.

I think there's a lot for SF to explore when it comes to the mind/body dichotomy. Most speculative fiction seems to assume that the mind somehow just happens when matter gets ordered in a certain way. I'm not convinced that that's true.