Tag Archives: Innerscape

My Favourite bits…in Miira [2]

I was going to introduce you to the Innerscape assassin today, but I decided that post would work better tomorrow, when the book is actually free. For now, I’m going to show you my favourite bit of ‘tech’ in the book. It’s a bit gruesome but there is a happy ending. 🙂

So here, without further ado, is the final stage of Miira Tahn’s physical induction into the virtual world of Innerscape:

Exactly one week after entering Innerscape, Miira Tahn was ready for the most delicate and invasive part of the whole Induction process – the creation of the neural network that would link her to her new, digital home.

Before that could happen, however, her entire skull would have to be removed, including all the soft tissue of her face. Only then could her naked brain be encased in the bath of proprietary biofluids that would lead to full transition.

In keeping with the morbid humour that had named the containment modules the Catacombs, most of the medical staff referred to the biofluid as the ‘embalming fluid’, but that was a misnomer. In reality, the biofluid was seeded with self-replicating nanoparticles that would not only preserve the brain, they would invade it.

The centres for sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, gross and fine motor skills, and the finer senses like spatial awareness, all would be invaded. Some of the nanoparticles would even make their way to the amygdala because the ability to fear was an integral part of being human.

As the nanoparticles grew, they would self-organize into a network of artificial neural pathways which would interface between Miira’s organic brain and the electronic ‘brain’ of the Innerscape AIs.
Once that interface was complete, she would experience the most minute digital feedback as if it came from the real world, and in a very real sense, she would owe it all to Kenneth Wu.

Back when Innerscape first began, the neural interface had been little more than a net of microscopic sensors surgically implanted inside the skull of each Patient. The neural interface allowed them to enjoy a better quality of life than they would have done on the outside, but the experience had been less than perfect.

It had been Kenneth Wu’s idea to remove the skull completely, and it had been his ground-breaking work in nanotechnology that had been instrumental in the creation of the AI-neural interface Innerscape now used. No one alive knew more about Stage 3 of the process than he did, and even Charles McGragh deferred to him in this area.

“The team is ready to begin Stage 3, Dr. Wu,” Charles said evenly.
“My instruments are ready to begin as well,” the surgical AI added.

Kenneth Wu looked up at the image of Miira in his faceplate, but superimposed over that image was the memory of her frightened brown eyes staring up at him as the anaesthetic took effect. She had been scared, very scared, but her last look had held nothing but trust. She trusted him. He would not let her down.

“Begin.”
“Sealing external carotid arteries now,” the AI said as its tools cut through the skin with lightning speed. “External carotid arteries sealed. Initiating removal of skin.”

Even before the AI finished speaking, a fine mist began to form around Miira’s features. As the seconds ticked by it became progressively thicker until her whole head seemed to be encased in a swirling ball of white.

As Kenneth and the rest of the team watched, the mist gradually changed colour from white to a dirty pink.
When the mist was sucked away a few minutes later, all the soft tissue of Miira’s face was gone, leaving her head looking like a halloween mask. Her eye sockets gaped empty, her nose was gone, and her jaw sagged open, exposing the emptiness where her tongue had been.

“Phase 2 of Stage 3 complete,” the AI said. “Commencing removal of skull.”

Once again, a ball of liquid nanoparticles encased Miira’s head, but this time their function was to eat away at the bone protecting her brain. Bone was much denser than muscle and cartilage, and the process took a full 30 minutes. At the end of that time, the ball of liquid bore a rather disturbing resemblance to oatmeal porridge.

As the team watched, one of the tools hovering outside the ball released three drops of pale blue liquid onto the surface.
The outside of the ball quickly began to look more like dirty concrete than porridge. A few minutes later still, the concrete hardened and began to crack.

As the process accelerated, the cracks turned into shards, and the shards turned into even smaller fragments that lifted from the surface, and were drawn away like iron filings captured by a magnet. Once the hard crust was removed, the ball of liquid held in place by electromagnetic currents was perfectly clear once more. And nestled in the centre of it was Miira’s brain.

“Phase 3 of Stage 3 complete,” said the emotionless voice of the AI. “Commencing diagnostics.”

This was the moment at which Kenneth always held his breath. A great deal of computing power had gone into calculating the composition and number of nanoparticles to use, but there was always a slight element of uncertainty. If even a thin layer of unwanted cells remained around the patient’s brain, the embalming fluid would not work properly, and the team would have to take remedial action.

It could be done, but the results were not always optimal. The patients often suffered some small damage to the outer surface of the brain, or to one of the exposed blood vessels…

“Results are optimal,” the AI said.

Kenneth did not cheer like the rest of the team, but he did exhale on a very relieved sigh.

“Preparing to initiate Phase 4.”

This time, the AI inserted an array of needles into the ball of liquid cradling Miira’s brain. Each hollow needle was finer than a human hair, and dripped a measured dose of embalming fluid into the liquid. Over the next two days, the nanoparticles in the embalming fluid would grow to fill the entire ball.

Once that happened, the semi-solid surface of the ball would be sprayed with a different cocktail of nanoparticles which would grow into the interface connecting Miira’s mind to the digital world that awaited her.

“Phase 4 completed successfully.”

Now all we can do is wait, Kenneth thought with a familiar thrill of excitement mixed with trepidation. If he had done his job properly, the next time he saw Miira, it would be in Innerscape.


Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time will know that I love tech, and the life sciences, so I’m sure you’re not surprised by the technical detail that went into this part of the story. I do, however, apologise for the length of the excerpt. Miira’s induction into Innerscape is perhaps the most ‘scifi’ part of the entire story, and I wanted it to feel plausible. I believe that one day, this kind of technology, or something similar to it, will be commonplace. No more cutting through bone with a saw or making holes with a drill. Neurosurgeons will use very different tools to accomplish procedures that are currently impossible. I hope I’m around to see it.

Would I allow my body to become 100% dependent on an AI? Yes….with reservations. A digital world like Innerscape may one day provide terminal patients with a second chance at life, but wherever we ‘go’, we take our hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses with us. That means no world will ever become a paradise, but with a little lot of good will, it could turn into a home…maybe.

Thank you for staying with me. I’ve had fun and hope you have too. Miira will become free tomorrow [my time] so I’ll post the third and last favourite for this book once the Amazon clock has ticked over. You can find the complete schedule of books coming up for free, here.

cheers
Meeks

 


I’m a genius!

-grin- no really! I just read a New Atlas scientific article about :

“…biohybrid synapses that let living cells communicate with electronic systems, not with electrical signals but with neurotransmitters like dopamine.

New Atlas: https://newatlas.com/computers/artificial-synapses-living-cells-communicate-dopamine/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=ff0315b360-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_17_12_51&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-ff0315b360-92416841

Remember when Miira was inducted into Innerscape and basically lost her whole skull so Kenneth Wu’s nano interface could connect the AI to her brain? Not quite there yet but…this article shows that it’s coming. And I actually forecast it…

Okay, okay, probably not that hard to do if you read sci-fi, but I’m still proud as punch.

Ahem, that’s all. As you were….


Hello and goodnight!

I was just about to toddle off to bed when I received an email from Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore, saying she’d posted an excerpt from The Godsend on her blog. -dance- And, she’s included Diana Peach’s fabulous review as well. As you can imagine, I’m thrilled.

The excerpt is a short bit about Kenneth, my broken hero. Hope you like it.

Here’s the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-share-an-extract-scifi-the-godsend-innerscape-book-two-by-a-c-flory/

And now I really must go to bed. Sleep tight if you’re in my timezone. If not, have a happy day, and stay well.

cheers
Meeks


New Book Page

Just a quick post to let you know that I’ve changed my book page. Instead of listing links to my books on non-Amazon sites, I’ve simply provided links to those books which are free for download as epubs [suitable for Kobo etc].

As before, the free books are available via the sync.com site and no registration or sign-in is required. Click the ‘Free Books by acflory’ tab at the top of this page to access the links.

I currently have two ebooks available for free download:

  • Miira, book 1 of Innerscape
  • The Vintage Egg

Please feel free to download both of them.

Okay, that’s it. I’ve done my admin., vacuumed and mopped all the floors, washed and disinfected surfaces, soothes disgruntled cats and generally been very productive…now it’s time for play!

cheers
Meeks


A bit of fun with Plotagon

Plotagon is an animation app that’s a bit like the SIMS, but you can get quite creative with the storytelling and editing. So here’s a scene using a new skill I just learned:

Jonathon Szabo interviews Peter McAlister, CEO of Innerscape

Enjoy. 🙂

Meeks


Cover feedback please!

Back in January, many of my Aussie writer friends joined together to produce an anthology of short stories and poetry, with the proceeds going to bushfire relief. I didn’t join in because I’m not very good at short stories, but I’ve wanted to do something ever since. And now there’s this damn virus…

Anyway, to do my bit, I’ve poured all three books of Innerscape into one omnibus, and I’m going to be offering the omnibus for a limited time – basically the 90 days Amazon requires in order to give readers 5 free days. After the 5 free days are done, the omnibus will revert to 0.99 cents. I wish I could offer the whole 90 days for free, but Amazon won’t let me.

So…I’ve done the formatting and the omnibus is ready to go, but I need to settle on a cover. These are the three I knocked up yesterday:

Version 1

The version 1 cover at thumbnail size

I quite like this one as the white squares can be either shoji screens or the ‘catacombs’, both of which feature in the story. But…the image will only have meaning for those who have already read the whole story. I fear that it will do nothing for potential new readers.

Version 2

The version 2 cover at thumbnail size

This is the one I prefer, aesthetically, plus it’s more consistent with the individual covers, but will the contrast between the ideal beach and the circuitry intrigue readers enough to give the story a go? No idea.

Version 3

Okay, this is the one I like the least, but it may well be the one that most closely fits the scifi/thriller genre of the story. As my Indies Unlimited buddy, Lynne Cantwell wrote in her post about covers:

‘My cover was terrible. Oh, it’s pretty enough. But I’d been marketing the book as urban fantasy, and the cover screamed women’s fiction. The image was all wrong. The font was all wrong. Even the title was all wrong. There was nothing there to entice a reader of urban fantasy to click through and buy my book.’

How to Match Your Cover to Your Genre : https://indiesunlimited.com/2020/03/10/how-to-match-your-cover-to-your-genre/

I know my covers are never going to match either genre exactly because the typical sci-fi cover has stars and space ships, while many thrillers include images of weapons. Still, I’d like the cover of the omnibus to convey something of the two genres, and the simple circuit board of version 3 may just be it.

I would really love your feedback on the three versions, or if none of them appeal, suggestions as to how I could make the look and feel of the cover better.

Thanks in advance,

Meeks


Filling in the gaps

This is the third video adapted from Miira, i.e. book 1 of Innerscape.

Chronologically, this video should have come before the Battle of Osaka Castle, but my subconscious has a mind of its own. 🙂

How many more videos I do for book 1 will depend on how well the pre-made backgrounds [in Plotagon] lend themselves to scenes in the book. I’m learning more and more with each video, but Plotagon does have limitations, and scenes that require ‘action’ are almost impossible to do. Still having fun though.

cheers
Meeks


Miira and Jaimie

I am working on another how-to post, really, but all work and no play isn’t healthy so…. tah dah 🙂

This one’s a little out of sequence, but those who’ve read The Godsend may recognize the scene it was adapted from. The core thing I’ve learned since experimenting with this kind of visual storytelling is that you can never reproduce a scene exactly. 🙂

I now have so much more sympathy for movie boffins who adapt much loved books to the visual medium!

Have a great weekend!

Meeks


A different kind of storytelling

I’ve always loved animation but never thought I’d be good enough to tell an animated story. Seems I was wrong. 🙂

Oh, and as an aside, I discovered that embedding Vimeo videos is a whole lot easier with Guttenberg than Classic. I’m starting to think that Classic is for words and Guttenberg is for graphics. Hmm…

Meeks

p.s. I’ve turned comments off.


Uploaded to Vimeo!

‘Take that, Google!’

I did start the account creation process with Google [so I could upload my videos to Youtube], but when I was asked to verify both my email address and my phone, I started to get goosebumps, and not in a good way. This is a small part of Google’s privacy [sic] statement:

It was about this point that my survival instincts kicked in again and I aborted the process, or at least I tried to. I very much fear that my phone number is forever in Google’s possession. Given that it’s an Android phone I’m very glad I have GPS turned off. 😦

Anyway, with Youtube no longer an option, I went looking for alternatives and discovered that WordPress.com allows Vimeo videos! Yay and double yay. 🙂

So here is my rather ambitious Plotagon video entitled ‘Prepare for Induction’:

Go on, you can laugh. I won’t mind. 😀

cheers

Meeks


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