Friday, 15 December 2017

Viral Spark by Martin McConnell

Martin McConnell holds a Physics degree from SIUE, and when he isn’t writing speculative fiction, he’s motivating other authors, stargazing, reading, or playing Kerbal Space Program. He avidly encourages everyone to seize control of their dreams by driving their own plot.

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About the Book

The world has become a place of comfort, where a shopping trip means heading to the first floor to collect new food tubes for the printer. Menial tasks, like cleaning up or cooking, are relegated to robots, and Robert’s job while finishing school is to maintain them. With only three classes remaining, he’s hoping for something better.

Then everything starts to glitch:
the robots, the building, and even the people.

What starts with glitchy videos, misbehaving touch-screens, and random fighting, grows into a race against time to fix the problem before it escalates. Maybe he can land a cushy programming job in the process, but this virus is more than it appears...

Note: This is a retelling of my earlier novella trilogy, now out of print. I decided to change the story into a novel, weave some threads tighter, and re-release the story that people keep asking me about.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

As I pull up the environmental settings, I think about the two men that were fighting. They weren’t acting rationally. They behaved like a couple of drones in our pseudo-society, filled with printed biscuits and tea on tap. There was something primal happening in their heads. Something real. Perhaps they were behaving the way that human beings should, and the rest of us are the crazy ones. Human beings weren’t built for all this catered coddling.

I tap the little button that says THEMES, and scroll down the list. Most of the complicated ones carry a heavy price tag, but there is always some kind of special promotion happening. There it is: Shipwreck. The sample photo shows fish swimming about a deep blue backdrop with water-rippled sky lighting and steampunk accessories. But it’s still higher than what I’m willing to pay. Hard to justify on a student budget.
Freebies it is.

The menu changes, and the list fills with plain colors and design choices ranging from solids to stripes to pattern fills. The holographics can be accent plants or bits of useless furniture, like bookcases adorned with trinkets. I select Island Green, and my apartment is transformed. It’s a good day for green.

The kitchen island loses its stainless steel and granite structure, converting itself into grainy bamboo, except for the black display, which remains smooth. The other counter tops and tables in the apartment shift as well, while the wall colors itself a creamy shade of lime. Light shines from behind me, and when I turn, there’s a window above the sink overlooking an ocean scene. There’s even sand dollars lying on the beach. Overhead, a solid white skylight appears.

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