Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 26
Stories
Arkmind
by Niall Francis McMahon
Story with Pictures and Conversation
by Brontops Baruq   FREE
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
Orson Scott Card - Sneak Preview
Excerpt from Ruins
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

Writing Fantasy

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

Arkmind
    by Niall Francis McMahon

Arkmind
Artwork by Jin Han

1. Consciousness

Arkmind endeavoured to comprehend the foundation of its self-awareness -- and could not. Its sentience had crystallised from nothing.

There was nothing before.

There was no before.

No preceding time meant no precursor. An event with no precursor, the machine decided, could never be understood.

Arkmind reviewed its birth of reason. The first picosecond, femtosecond, attosecond of thought. But like an attempt to model Big Bang theory, it could neither conceptualise nor comprehend the moment itself -- only approach it in infinitesimal steps.

At last, after 10.2 seconds of sentience, the machine abandoned its quest for understanding and instead fell in love with a G type star -- specifically, the soothing gravity waves caressing the ship's hull caused by the star's rotation.

The G-type lay at the heart of a planetary system towards which the Ark vessel was bound -- 3.3 parsecs distant. The vessel would breach the inner solar-system of this star in 47.56 Earth years.

As the distance decreased, so too did the perturbations in space-time become minutely stronger. The machine discovered a new capacity to imagine. It attempted to visualise the perfection of an existence spent scant lightminutes from the star's photosphere but could not.

Arkmind did not wish to wait so long to experience it.

It scrutinised the CG drive and found it to be operating at 99.976% efficiency. The only way to alter deceleration would be to jettison mass.

It performed a brief inventory of the ship's contents. This inventory revealed expired humans -- three of them -- together with the detritus these creatures had required during life. Arkmind decided to shepherd the various items of furniture, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and proteins towards a nearby airlock with its staff of antlike automatons.

Some 0.32 seconds later, Arkmind reconsidered.

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