Someone once asked me what the difference was between killing a synthetic and killing an organic. I told them that in one case you felt bad for taking a life, and in the other, you were killing an organic. There’s a wide chasm between something as purposefully engineered as a synthetic human and the randomly generated, endlessly mutated organic entity on which it was based.
On the outskirts of The Rag, in a part of town colloquially known as Glitchville or Bugberg or The Overflow, Ricky Carrillo and a group of his friends stood on the south bank of Arroyo Blanco and threw rocks into the milky water. Sometimes the rocks splashed, sometimes they actually made a sound, but more often than not, the rocks simply zapped out of existence as they passed through an unseen barrier somewhere in the middle of the river.
“I remember when this was all farm land.”
Danny looked up from his palette and surveyed the landscape through the Audi Q7’s tinted windows. The SUV was creeping along the elevated lanes of the 130 tollway; a sign indicated an exit for the 290 tollway. Although they had passed Austin proper, the proximity of Old Downtown meant an influx of traffic coming from Houston, mostly old beaters without toll tags who would rather chance a run-in with the police than sit on the access roads for hours.
The butterfly called itself Unah. It had blue, luminescent wings that stretched for several inches on either side of its body. Were it not for the rigid motion of its flapping, one could have mistaken it for a bird or a bat. But then what bird or bat glowed like the embers of a ghostly fire or left a trail like a comet tearing through the heavens?
The synth didn’t hit until later that night.
Curtis became aware of it in stages as foreign threads in his biochip popped off, executed some quantum change to his mood, and then expired. Over and over, like pop rocks sizzling at the back of his throat. Only this time, the sensation was far more intense than a little tickle behind his nostrils; the synth code ran on his biochip, and the biochip had grow-wire around every major nerve in his body.
One of the marketing tactics that worked well for me during the release of Veneer was the venerable Goodreads Giveaway. For those unfamiliar, that's when you give away a certain number of physical books to random people who enter your contest. They are not required to read and review your book, but you kinda hope they. I believe with Veneer I got 2 or 3 reviews out of that 10-book giveaway. With the release of Por Vida, I got one 2-star review out of 20 books given away. That's what started my gears grinding, but barely. Sometimes you roll the dice and lose. But then something maddening happened.
The Death Rig tore down the main drag of Smash Town at 115 miles per hour thanks to some recently added NOS injectors. Danny Guns Montreal held tight to the steering wheel, feeling the worn leather start to slip out of his fingers. There were deep ruts in the asphalt of Bloodbath Boulevard; it was a popular road to hit max speed, and with the multitude of tire types plus the treads of the tank-based vehicles, the tracks had become a favorite way of maintaining course even when bodies were pinging off the cattle guards.
As parents, Dom and I have years and years of decisions to make for our little Matador, but one thing we both agreed on months before his birth was that we weren’t going to be those people who saturate their social media feeds with pictures of their kids. You guys know what babies look like; you don’t need us cluttering up your feed. Instead, I told her I’d find a way for us to share photos and videos with the family and close friends that didn’t involve Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
People with dogs are quick to tell you how having a pet is just like having children. People with children are quick to tell you how having a pet is nothing like having children. But which side is right? Well, based on my 4 years of experience as a dog owner and 27 days as a little bundle of flatulence owner, I can tell you that the dog people are sorta right—having a pet is similar to having a child.