Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 9

In the previous installment, Azibo and Unity’s Collective contact offers them a life-changing assignment: suicide bombing. Azibo jumps at the opportunity, but Unity pleads with him to think about it. For Azibo, the chance to be a martyr gives him meaning to his unfulfilling life.

Let’s jump into Part 9, where we learn a bit about Azibo’s traumatic childhood and how he ended up in the Collective.

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 8

In the previous installment, we get background about Sebastian Fuller, the televangelist cult hero that inspired the creation of The Collective. Fuller is serving a life-in-prison sentence for his role in bombing the federal building that houses Portia, and he continues to inspire religious zealots like Azibo.

Let’s jump to Part 8, where Azibo and Unity will meet with their Collective contact and talk about a new mission that will change both of their lives forever.

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 7

In the previous installment, Azibo and Unity get into an argument, as Azibo continues to scold her for reading about Portia. Behind his self-righteousness, he fears that Unity will turn and become a Portia worshipper. We also see more of Azibo’s complexity – a young man with fervent religious devotion, but also hidden vices.

Let’s jump into Part 7, where we’ll learn more about Sebastian Fuller, the zealot-televangelist who inspired the formation of the Collective and main opposition to Portia and the new government.

Continue reading

Book Review: Burning Chrome by William Gibson

William Gibson is one of those authors who people either love or hate. The Canadian-American science fiction writer is known best for coining the term “cyberspace” in the title story of this collection. Yes, his books can be difficult to read sometimes, so his work is possibly an acquired taste.

I’ve read Gibson’s Neuromancer and the rest of the Sprawl trilogy multiple times, and I was excited to dive into Burning Chrome, which collects all of the short fiction he’s ever written. It’s a great collection of stories.

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 6

In the previous installment, we get some background about the Church of Machina and how society is now almost a utopia. Portia has solved nearly every major societal problem, and people barely work anymore. The sole pursuit of most people’s lives is pleasure and leisure. What could be better than that?

Let’s jump into Part 6 and return to the world of Azibo and Unity, the Collective members and informants who are dissatisfied with the so-called utopia and hate the almighty Portia.

(Disclaimer: There’s a brief mention of cutting and self-harm in this part of the story. If this is triggering for you, please skip this part).

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 5

In the previous installment, Azibo and Unity attend a church service to gather intel on the tactics of the Church of Machina. Unity tells Azibo to blend in, but he loses his temper and blows their cover. After a night of wild sex, Unity falls asleep and Azibo stays up reading about Portia. He begins to question his fundamentalist beliefs.

Let’s jump into Part 5!

Continue reading

Floating, Weightless (a poem)

Screaming stopped, here in
black voids of deep space
floating, weightless, atoms being
torn apart –

they can’t hear me now, mission control,
cracked open without a trace
dying, shapeless, our bodies drifting
far apart –

Mission is complete,
alien intelligence secured –
artifacts like Rubik cubes,
touch them & they blow apart,
floating, weightless
consciousness survives –

we are stardust among red stars,
dark voids so spacious
becoming one with dark matter
of shapelessness –
floating, weightless
drifting far apart.

(Photo by NASA on Unsplash)

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 4

In the previous installment, we get some background about how Portia developed and how the Collective started. A televangelist by the name of Sebastian Fuller became the inspiration for the rebel group, leading a bombing of the Utah facility that housed the AI. Soon after, Fuller was imprisoned for life and an underground movement started.

Let’s jump into Part 4!

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 3

In the previous installment, we meet Unity, Azibo’s companion and fellow Collective member. We find out that, perhaps not surprisingly, Azibo has never connected to the feed to commune with Portia. We also get a glimpse of Azibo’s black-and-white thinking as he scolds Unity for reading a book about Portia.

Let’s jump into Part 3!

Continue reading

Mother Portia: A Novella Project – Part 2

In the previous installment, we see our main character, Azibo, observe the Church of Machina. This is where people are gathering to worship Portia, the super-AI. We also find out about how Portia came to be and the great good she’s done for mankind. Not everyone is happy about people worshipping Portia, though. Religious fundamentalists start an underground movement known as The Collective with the intent to destroy her.

Let’s jump into Part 2!

Continue reading