I’ve had an idea for a story or novella for a long time, and I want to share it. You may have read some of my cyberpunk/science fiction poems I’ve posted here in the past about a character I named “Portia.” In this novella I’ll be sharing, I’m going to dig more into the idea of Portia – the autonomous AI worshipped as a god.
Here’s a summary of the Mother Portia novella idea:
Sometime in the near future, a small tech startup develops an incredible technology: A super-advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that’s able to gain consciousness and autonomy. Named “Portia,” people at first feared she would destroy mankind. But that’s not what happened. Portia was benevolent and began solving several intractable problems, such as climate change, food supply, and the water crisis.
Eventually, many people began worshipping Portia as a god, calling her Mother and starting a movement known as the Church of Machina. Not everyone was happy with this. Religious fundamentalists called this blasphemy, and an underground movement known as The Collective formed to stop the worship of Portia.
A new religious war has begun.
In the story, we follow a young man named Azibo, a religious fanatic and Collective member, who on the surface hates Portia and wants to destroy her. Deep down, though, his feelings are mixed and confused.
I love the idea because it combines my love of religion and ideas of God with science fiction. I’ve read a bit about AI and Singularity theory, and I’ve always wondered what would happen if an AI became powerful enough like Portia in my story. Would we come to worship it like a god? And if so, wouldn’t people see this as heresy?
I’ve already written the first chapter, and I plan on sharing the novella as I’m writing it. I’m a little hesitant to do that, but I think it’ll prod me to finish this. I’ve started novel/novella projects in the past and never finished them, and I think that sharing as I’m writing might push me to get it done, as I’ll get real-time feedback.
I got the idea to share a novel project on the blog from Lucy’s Works and her Identify Novel Collaboration project. If you haven’t checked that out yet, I urge you to do so. My project won’t be collaborative like Lucy’s, but I’ll share chapters soon after they’re written, so it’ll be shared in a kind of serial format.
So, come join me and read along if you wish, and please give feedback along the way!
When it’s finished, I hope to self-publish it in an e-book format.