We know we’re not alone when we say that we can’t wait for the day when robots are everywhere, making life easy for us so we can lie on the beach or sleep in until noon or apply stucco to walls or whatever we’d like to do if it wasn’t for work getting in the way.
Having said that, we fully understand that this period of bliss will be followed by the inevitable Robot Uprising. It’s not surprising, when you think about it, that a time of unlimited labour-saving devices taking care of our every whim will be followed by a nightmarish hell when the robots, en masse, turn on their masters. It’s unavoidable, really.
So being the sorts who like to plan ahead, mostly by scribbling ideas on Post-it Notes and then forgetting about them until they turn up on the sole of our shoes, we thought we’d share our three best ways to prepare for the Robot Uprising.
1. Know Your Enemy. If the world of movies is any guide, robots will come in all shapes and sizes. While you’re lying back in your hammock and wondering if an umbrella or a spray of tropical flowers would look better in your coconut shell encased refreshment, don’t forget to inspect your RoButler or Steel Sally or whatever your metal slave is called. Look for weak spots. Test its reflexes by dropping your sunglasses in its path. Try to confuse it with contradictory demands. Your life may depend on it.
2. Get Fit. Don’t worry, this is relative. All you have to do is be able to run faster than your neighbour when the hordes of angry, chrome-plated insurgents come down your street. The key here is to keep an eye on your Gym-O-Rama Personal Training ’bot. Fitness, in the hands of your robot underlings, can be dangerous. While you’re putting in those kilometres on that treadmill with artificial intelligence, it’s a perfect opportunity to propel you through the third storey window. Strapping yourself into an enhanced exercise bike is just asking for trouble. We think you can imagine the mayhem when the weights machines run amuck.
3. Find a Refuge. When it comes, this machine-made Armageddon will require some speedy residential relocation. You’ll no doubt have noticed that some canny real estate agents are already advertising remote properties as ‘Perfect for the Robot Uprising!’ but you need to get out and about. Bring back the Sunday drive as you embark on scoping expeditions. Look for places easy to defend, perhaps surrounded by water. Smack bang in the middle of a swamp is good, since the mud plays hell with robot moving parts, but may have a few drawbacks like malaria to contend with. Don’t discount an underwater refuge, but most of these have been snapped up by master criminals and evil overlords so they may be in short supply.
With some preparation and a little care, the upcoming Robot Uprising needn’t inconvenience you at all. A few simple precautions such as we’ve outlined will help you survive the reign of terror that our once trusted servants will wreak upon us, where civilisation will crumble, and fire will most likely tumble from the heavens. Good luck!
All the best from the cloud.
From Pork BellyJack Heath
Up close, the sow was huge. A hairy, brown behemoth, her freshly-washed trotters strapped to her chest, her lips slack enough to reveal giant molars that smelled faintly of toothpaste. The midwife heaved the pig’s head off the pillow, and Claudia put the daisy chain around its neck. They lowered the head together.
She could feel Kim watching from behind her. He thought the gesture was stupid. Even if the pig had been conscious, it was a pig.
From Father's HouseGrace Chan
He’s been putting this off for too long.
Henry stands on the sidewalk outside his father’s house, cardboard boxes under one arm. The weatherboard’s gutters are brimming with leaves. A wonky clay jar, a souvenir of Henry’s short-lived pottery hobby, cradles the shrivelled remains of a spider plant.
When he was five, his dad had taught him to write the Chinese characters for father. They’d hunched over the kitchen counter, his father’s big shoulder warm against his. ‘See, it’s a long moustache, on top of a mouth and a curly beard,’ he’d said, drawing out the strokes with a HB pencil: 爸爸.
From Prime MoverRobert DeLeskie
When the phone woke me out of a dead sleep, I was sure it was somebody calling to tell me my daughter Carly was dead. Instead, it was Ravinder losing his mind about a drop-and-hook run to Cornwall first thing in the morning. He must have been desperate. Windsor to Cornwall was technically a long-haul job, which meant sleeping in the truck. Last time he’d asked me to do that I’d torn him a new one. But I liked Ravinder and owed him a bunch: he’d loaned me some money after Eddie died to help pay for the funeral. Besides, the Beast needed to stretch her legs on the highway and I could always use the coin. And it was, like he said, only for one night. But I didn’t say yes—not yet. I promised to call him back and then we both hung up.
From CONQUIST Part 3: In the Name of the DemonDirk Strasser
The red-bearded ñakaq prisoner was the key to everything. Cristóbal was convinced of it. He spoke Quechua, so he had to know where Vilcabamba was. Yet the captured leader had proved to be surly and uncooperative, and fear of his strength and battle fury meant his hands and feet remained constantly bound.
From Policy Change for a Wise MonarchNicholas Sheppard
It’s easy to write in the history of one’s fantasy world, or at the conclusion to a happy story, that the land prospered under the rule of a wise king and/or queen. But after the many-times-removed Heir of Elendil has been plucked out of the wilds of Eriador, where he’s presumably been studying macroeconomic policy, international relations and urban planning at the knee of Elrond, what does he actually do? And let’s not get started on appointing a bunch of schoolchildren who stumbled into the kingdom through a magical wardrobe.
From The X-Files in Political ContextAni White
The X-Files is a show that first emerged in a liberal era, then appeared unmoored and confused when it was revived in the age of Trump. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the show portrayed FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating paranormal cases. This article will focus mainly on the politics of the conspiracy theory mytharc, an early and messy attempt at serialised narrative, in contrast to the episodic Monster of the Week episodes. The core story of the conspiracy episodes is a collaboration between a shadowy elite group and aliens who plan to colonise the Earth. These episodes were mainly written and planned (in a manner of speaking) by series creator Chris Carter.
From The Rise of Black Speculative FictionEugen Bacon
As an African Australian who’s grappled with matters of identity, writing black speculative fiction is like coming out of the closet. It’s a recognition that I’m Australian and African, and it’s okay—the two are not mutually exclusive. I am many, betwixt, a sum of cultures. I am the self and ‘other’, a story of inhabitation, a multiple embodiment and my multiplicities render themselves in cross-genre writing. As a reader, writer and an editor, I’m increasingly noticing black speculative fiction, and it’s on the rise.
Isabel Cabrera created and supplied this wondrous graphic. She says:
‘With the recent success of Annihilation and Ad Astra, science fiction films are proving to be as popular as ever.
And most of the great science fiction films of the past three decades were actually based on epic science fiction books, including The Martian and Blade Runner (based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep).
To help celebrate National Science Fiction Day held on January 2 each year, Global English Editing rounded up the best sci-fi novels that deserve a spot on your bookshelf.
From Dune and its intergalactic messiah, to the earth’s final survivor in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to the iconic Frankenstein, this list features the best science fiction books from the past 200 years.
Over this time, science fiction has created some of the most profound, compelling and popular novels ever written.
The key theme connecting the best of these books is how emotional and primal humans fare in the face of the powerful scientific advances they create. So, although sci-fi delves into the unknown, the stories aren’t pure fantasy: they exist in settings in some way connected to our own human experience.’
Are you a New Zealander? Have you published or self-published a science fiction, fantasy or horror book in the last year?
Aurealis would like to consider your book for review in its all-New Zealand issue to be published at CoNZealand. Send eBooks only in both epub and mobi format to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Ebook for NZ special issue by 31 March 2020 at the latest.
Now that the last issue of Aurealis for 2019 has been published, here’s the Big List of all this year’s stories: The Moonstone in the Dust by Carolyn Hine The Excuses We Make For Our Children by Rebecca Fung In the Mountain Valley by Gordon Grice Of Roses and Electric Shock by Joshua Caleb Wilson Tales of the Flame by Dirk Strasser Getting Home by P.K. Torrens Renascent by Pauline Yates Leisure Culture by Maddison Stoff Drink with the Dead by Craig Blane Marked for Life by J.R. Schuyler The Moth Tapes by Joseph Ashley-Smith Ogali by Nuzo Onoh Abomination by Michelle Birkette To Hell and Back by Michael Pryor The Stranger of Morden by Mike Adamson Serine by Shane Drury Wreck Diving by Joanne Anderton Nie among the Tree People by Emma Mann The Witch who Wove Dreams by Mike Adamson Cradle by Stephen Higgins She Sells Sea-Hells by the C Door by Eric Del Carlo Dog Nebula by Subo Wijeyeratne Fracture Line by Chris Walker Timbuktu by Gerri Brightwell Club Fiends by Paul Alex Gray Tigers of Mars by Conor DiViesti Big Heart by Lynn Wohlwend Inheritance by James Rowland Data by Laurence Barratt-Manning Flesh of the Other by Eric Del Carlo
We’ve published stories from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Canada and USA and it’s been an abundance of riches. You can still get all 2019 issues by subscribing at aurealis.com.au.
And stay tuned! 2020 is going to be bigger and better than ever in the Aurealis universe!