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Articles tagged "Technology"

Reflections

Penetrate it and you'll better understand: life is revealed to us in a painted reflection.   Last night I killed my son Mauro. OK, it wasn't exactly me who did it. All I did was give the VIP executive the order to finish him off, once and for all. And of course, it wasn't my son, either. He'd lived in our house for a few years and I guess that was enough to make me feel bonded to him. Truth is, it's not really all that clear. I should have finished with him...

From Key of Passage

The pyxel appeared at a most inconvenient moment for Robert. As usual on such appearances, the air flickered a little, an invisible violin began to play softly, and there was a whiff of vanilla. The pyxel materialized some thirty centimeters above the tabletop. He windmilled his little arms, piped, "Oh shit," and fell to the table with a crash surprisingly heavy for an insubstantial being. He got up, brushed himself off, adjusted his official cap, and turned a serious face to Robert and...

Sentimental Education

I went out the back door of the sanatorium. Before me stretched a flat lawn bordered by a tall hedge. The early autumn sun had turned the tops of the linden trees more golden than green. Dressed in identical light robes, the patients standing or sitting on benches resembled blue statues dotted about an open-air exhibit. Nothing moved, like in a movie still. Disrupting this tranquility, I headed across the lawn toward the farthest bench on the left. The patient I wanted to see was always...

Landing

Flying over God's mountains, canyons, wastelands glimmering with foxfire, graveyards where owls vanish and appear, you drop from the stars like a soul being born, and still bearing the toxins of your own world, glide down to whatever destiny awaits. Dawn struggles up from the torn clouds of houses, yet even a miserable village twitters at sunrise, the trees filled with magpies, the river with sewage— here's someone's adopted city, another's hometown....

Electric Africa

Brian Eno once famously remarked that the problem with computers is that there isn't enough Africa in them. I kind of think that it's the opposite: they're bringing the ideals of Africa. After all, computers are about connectivity, shareware, a sense of global discussion about topics and issues, the relentless density of info overload, and above all the willingness to engage and discuss it allóthat's something you could find on any street corner in Africa. I just...

Heart’s Desire

Eliza 812 is a psychiatric computer. All female psychiatric computers are named Eliza, in accordance with a fine old tradition. All males are named Higgins. Eliza is a research project, and her main objective is not to raise the standard of psychiatric care; that can come later. The object is to ascertain to what extent a computer can be made to think and react like a person. The problem at hand holds extensive consequences and presupposes research of an interdisciplinary nature. It...

Waiting in the Offing

"Itoyama's sharp eye and sly wit set her apart from other Japanese women writers. Her writing style is intellectually controlled, and often glows with wisdom."--Kenzaburo Oe "My hiccups won't stop." Makihara Futoshi was standing in his stocking feet just inside the door with a woebegone look on his face. When I stop to think about it, that somewhat troubled expression quite suited him. It hadn't been my intention to go to Gotanda. After all, I live in Saitama City and...

from Soul of a Clone

NOTE: Kafka's "A Report to an Academy" served as a springboard for Philip Boehm's theater piece Soul of a Clone, which premiered in January 2005 at Upstream Theater in St. Louis. The first of the play's three parts consists of a scientist presenting "found footage" that shows Kafka's ape-turned-human in St. Louis during the 1920's--corroboration of the lecturer's theory of "acute saltational mutation in primates." The second part, which is reprinted here, involves...

Escape from Disney World

After having spent his childhood doing comic strips and his youth doing animated cartoons, Mickey Mouse finally discovered his true vocation as a corporate insignia. In heraldic times, only mythological creatures or rampant beasts could aspire to adorn a coat of arms. In the century of the cartoon, it's only natural that the Magic Kingdom's logo is a rodent with gloved hands. Like the Mercedes star or the McDonald's golden arches, Mickey is a registered trademark. At this...

from “The Perfect Novel”

Chapter Five We were working on "recording" the following scenes from my novel: the Sunday lunch in the garden at Manuel's house, where the two families part amicably, mothers and aunts included; Manuel's family life, Ana's, their respective conjugal misery, their children, the frustrations and pleasures of their daily lives and routines; we were about to arrive at the adulterers' next rendezvous which would end with the tragedy that would give rise to the plot of the...

Egyptian Literature Today

As the largest Arabic-speaking country (at 70+ million inhabitants and counting), Egypt, with its teeming capital of Cairo, plays a disproportionately large role in the intellectual and cultural life of the Arab world. From the pan-Arab nationalism of the 1950s and 1960s to the Islamist movement of today, Egypt has always been at the forefront of new ideas in the region. But while Egypt is very much part of a greater Arabic-speaking literary and cultural milieu, Egyptians are also keenly...

from “Dear Shameless Death”

In memory of my mother Huvat Aktas travelled for a whole day and a night, ending his journey at noon by the sheepfold in the village of Alacuvek. This time he brought a bright blue bus with him. The bus had collected quite a bit of dust along the way but it still stood gleaming like a mirror in the fiery rays of the sun. At first the villagers were horrified by this outlandish contraption the likes of which they had never seen. But in that moment of pure amazement, while some blew...

Tip of the Day, or, Shakespeare and Computers

For many, Shakespeare is the greatest writer in the English language. Few are aware of his lifelong fascination with computers. The heroes' glory might be measured by the length of the streets that they are allotted postmortem. If one judges this way, Sergeant Levarda must have been a mere novice in the hero business. "Novice" seems an overstatement, if one considers that three cars parked one after the other sufficed to cover the whole length (and width) of that street. Should we...

Yoo Retoont, Sneogg.  Ay Noo

On the floor, several bright spots formed a row. Snorg liked to watch them move slowly across the dull tiles. The spots of light were different from the glow that suffused the Room. He had discovered some time ago that the source of this light was the small windows near the ceiling. He liked to lie on the floor so the spots would warm him. He wanted to do this now. He tried to move his arms but managed only to fall helplessly off the bed. "Dags . . . ," he hissed between clenched teeth. He...

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