C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: matrix

Sea of Rust by Robert Cargill

The premise for Sea of Rust is the backstory/explanation that Morpheus gives Neo when he first asks about the Matrix. The long and short being: We went to war with AI of our own creation, they were faster, better, smarter than us, and royally kicks our sorry fleshy asses into near-extinction. Where Sea of Rust differs from The Matrix is that Sea of Rust goes all the way--the machines not only win the war, but they literally kill every single man, woman and child on the earth, leaving robot-kind in charge of the planet.

Let that sink in for a minute. Only we arrogant humans would assume that we'd be needed to power the machines--living a simulated life in a virtual world, hooked up as a giant battery. 

Sea of Rust is probably a great deal closer to a real life AI vs Humans scenario then anything currently out there in both books and movies.

And there are no punches being pulled here. There are moments in this book that were very hard to take. Movies will show scenes of able-bodied men being killed by antagonist or protagonist, and the audience will watch and accept this without disgust or resentment. We've grown so used to the James Bond henchman, that these faceless masses might as well be machines.

But have a robot kill a child, or a baby?

Sea of Rust pulls no punches.

In the midst of these rather squeamish scenes--necessary scenes in order to tell an effective story--I greatly enjoyed this book. The main character was truly a product created by man. Her calculating and cold outlook on life was the soul of a machine, and yet she experienced something of a moral conflict within herself as humans often do.

This is a story about AI where the robots do not feel boxy and soulless. This is AI with heart.



How about I give you the finger...

...and you give me my phone call.

Apple released new emoji's today. Now you can give your friends the finger. Ladies, that jerk from college who to this day manages to drunk-dial you, can now be met with a close-to-real-life retort.

I watched that fanedit of the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies mentioned in my last post. I liked it. I feel it addressed some of the main complaints Samson and I had about those films. It certainly isn't perfect, but it may be my go-to when the Marathon Matrix bug hits me. For me the only way to watch The Matrix series (not the movie but the entire franchise as a whole) is to watch in this order:

1. The Second Renaissance

2. A Detective Story

3. The Matrix

4. Kid's Story (Optional)

5. Final Flight of the Osiris

6. The Matrix Revolutions: The Epic Edition by GeminiGod

Note: I have another fanedit that incorporates the the live action scenes from the Enter the Matrix video game into the 2nd and 3rd movies. I haven't watched it yet, though the gist of it is similar to the above fanedit. It's possible this version may be better and take the Number 6 spot. Only time will tell, though you should expect a rebuttal to this post either way.

The Editor will have my manuscript for Hidden Mountain by this time tomorrow. It goes without saying that I hope she likes it. But moreover, I hope she beats the hell out of it. I know it needs work. I've done all I can for it. It needs a fresh set of eyes and a head full of ideas.

I started reading, Gail Simone's Batgirl. It's dark and fits in well with Scott Snyder's Batman. Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party. Sue me.

I'm not proud to admit this, but I never read V for Vendetta. This also goes without saying but it's so much better than the movie.




Reading Books (sort of...)

I'm still trying to formulate some form of coherent thought on Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. Upon finishing the book, I started to read up on the movie. This was probably a mistake as the basic gist of the movie didn't seem to jive with the book. I'm either an idiot and missed everything, or the Wachowskis took an ton of liberties and did something gimmicky with using the same actors to play multiple parts. It could very well be me, though. I listen to books during my long commute into work and there is a certain level of comprehension that I just do not have while driving. There was a lot going on in Cloud Atlas and it was littered with clues on the characters and their relationships to one another. I'll probably pick it up again, -sometime when I'm not driving, and give it a more attentive go. In the meantime I'll watch the movie and probably be let down, the same way I have been by everything the Wachowskis have gotten their hands on that isn't The Matrix.

Writing Books

I've put an embargo on the computer and have been using pen and paper to do all my writing. This has helped me write pretty much anywhere. I don't need to be 'in the zone' to write anymore and got in a few pages before bed last night, and several more this afternoon while waiting for Samson to arrive for some comicbook buying and Elder Sign playing. (Picked up DMZ vol 2, in case you were wondering.

Most importantly, I am getting some solid scenes out of the process and I've even been able to write on the porch on these hot summer days. Even basement dwellers need to go outside once in a while.


Hey a new sub-section. Cool. So Verses and I will do some writing exercises from time to time and a lot of good ideas have come out of these 1-2 page scenes. I'm going to start sharing some of the more notable challenges we've posed to one another. Think of this as your 'writing prompt' section. Do [with it] what thou wilt.

Challenge the First: Write a scene about a place called Red Wall Keep. Can be fantasy, sci-fi, Harry Potter fan fiction, etc. Write as much or as little as you want to complete the scene. There are no wrong answers.

Nailed it!

I've never been one for outlines. But I think I just started one in it's absolute most basic form. Here it is:

I. Title: "Working Title about a Dream World that has a much Better Title than this Current One"

II. Prologue ("Five Years" and "Coffee Shop" will appear in this section in some form)

III. Book 1 - Betrayal (This will be the present)

IV. Book 2 - How it used to be (This take place in the past, it leads up to Betrayal)

V. Book 3 - Resolution (This is a continuation of Book 1 and will wrap things up, for better or worse).

So why not make Book 2, Book 1, and Book 1 Book 2? Not sure. Maybe the finished product will be in that order. Or some other order. Maybe there's a Book 4. Who knows. But I think it would be best to establish the main conflict right out of the gate and then fill in the rich history of all the characters later.

Story Update and Theorycraft

I'm going to be digging through a lot of older material that I've had for the purposes of growing mold and collecting dust. I'm going to start going over these pieces, publishing them here and seeing what works for the current project on dreams.

I've started with a short little title called Outer Heaven. I think this was originally going to be straight-up fan fiction for The Matrix. But I'm going to retcon it into fitting with the dream story. What begins as the description of the interior of what can only be a hovercraft, left in the context of the Matrix universe, will be 'modified' to fit the current dream theme.

How will this be done?

Just as Ariel is still learning how to navigate the realm of dream, from a series of geographic safe havens, (the coffee shop, the park, and the crawlspace). There are others who have moved beyond these fixed points in the dream-sphere in a similar manner as those early explorers who traveled the high seas. In a tangible realm where the predictable nature of things like gravity, how things float in water, wind being used as a means of propulsion, etc. etc. etc... the means of travel is far simpler when compared to a realm, like the dream-sphere, which has a system of very flexible rules that are in a constant state of change, manipulation and, at times, utter chaos. 

I ramble like this to simply say that traveling the dream in the manner that Ariel has done, (moving from place to place by mere thought) is a simple way for a person to travel between locations within the realm, that they have been given full access to, that have been established by another dreamer. This method of travel is made possible by the creator of the dream-space. In the case of the coffee shop, the creator is Severus. Ariel is the creator of the crawlspace. The park was first created by Severus, but he has allowed others to make their own mark on a work that he originally began. Could a selfish individual build a wall around the park and prevent others from entering? Yes. But Severus, or anyone else could just as easily demolish the wall. This is because places like the coffee shop and park were designed to follow the rules established in the world outside of the dream. Where these rules end exist on the boarders of such places, which is why one can travel to and from them by thought and thought alone.

The unexplored reaches, and the places where their creators have not meant for strangers to find, are only able to be found by creating a means to explore the vast glue that holds all of these realms together. This is the outer space of the dreamworld. Where a place like the coffee shop would be considered its own planet, the stuff beyond its borders is a chaotic space that one cannot simply walk, float or swim through. 

So in order to get from Point A to Point B within the space, a mobile reality must be created. This is very similar, in theory, to how Severus created the coffee shop and its surrounding city, with the one exception being that this smaller place must be both mobile and equipped with a means to change with the ever-changing outside environment. The ship cannot simply be a structure of steel or some other solid material one would make a craft out of. It has to have the ability to change with the space around it. Such travel can be dangerous, especially to areas of space that have not yet been explored. The space changes and therefore the ship must be ready for the type of change that will occur.

For explored space, modern vessels are fitted with a Predictability Matrix, a remarkably fast computer that is able to modify the ship in order to continue to exist within space. Assuming the Matrix is functioning correctly, the person inside the ship, does not notices these changes to reality that are constantly going on outside.

Unfortunately, standard Predictability Matrix's can only account for what they know. Any new variants to the dream-space can cause the matrix to find faults and errors, which will compromise the ship and expose its occupants to the outside chaos.

Yet all is not lost. Some vessels have been fitted with a hacked version of the standard matrix known as an APM, (the 'A' is for Anticipatory. I'll let you figure out the rest). This type of matrix is able to adapt to the changes in space and create new subroutines in order to keep the ships reality consistent. However such a system is not without faults, and its major fault is that despite the APMs ability to account for new variants, the chaos outside is able to leak through the integrity of the ship. Keep in mind, that this is at a much slower rate than a ship not fitted with a APM. Therefore the occupants of this type of ship will be prone to hallucinations and anomalies that can be strange, unsettling and dangerous. For this very reason, ships that carry an APM and travel into the vast and unaccountable void of the dream-space are known as Ghost Ships, and are captained by only the bravest or insane souls.

What was added in the story section is the tale of ghost ship Outer Heaven and what has or had befallen its crew. More to be added soon.