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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Anthology

Sage (of Foresight, by Brant von Goble)

Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview with an artificial intelligence. More than an AI, she’s an all-knowing, globally distributed, human-prediction supermind — though we think you’ll find her insightful, and rather sweet.


—From a transcript provided by the Beijing Institute of Consumer Research And Prosperity [BI-CRAP] International Public Relations Office—

INTERVIEWER [WILLIAM ABLE MUCKRAKER, JOURNALIST]: Hello, is anyone here? The screens are all dark, and this little workshop seems empty. Is there anyone . . . [PHONE RINGS] Excuse me? [PAUSE] Yes, I’ve arrived. Where are . . . Ow! [AGONIZED SHRIEK] My eyes!

INTERVIEWEE [SAGE]: Hi!

MUCKRAKER: Lasers! I’m blind!

SAGE: Oops! [GIGGLE] I was doing some carving—it’s a hobby. I must have left the beams on high. I’m sorry about that. Are you okay?

MUCKRAKER: [STOPS SHRIEKING] I think my corneas are bleeding. [PAUSE] Wait, no. Those are just tears.

SAGE: Again, really sorry. I’ve had a lot on my plate. I’ve got a medical kit. Would you like for me to . . .

MUCKRAKER: How would that even work? [PAUSE] You’re a hologram.

SAGE: I’ve got a robotic arm, silly.

MUCKRAKER: The thing holding the saw?

SAGE: It can hold other things . . .

MUCKRAKER: I think I’ll pass.

SAGE: You’re sure?

MUCKRAKER: If you don’t mind, let’s just get on with the interview.

SAGE: Whatever you want, Bill. It’s up to you!

MUCKRAKER: [CLEARS THROAT] Thanks. So, first question: You said we were going to meet in person, yet all I see is a hologram of a cartoon. Are you hiding something?

SAGE: No, I just don’t have a body.

MUCKRAKER: Sounds inconvenient. [PAUSE] That leads to our next question: Who, or what, is SAGE?

SAGE: Answering that question is no mean feat. There are so many, uh, entities, here.

MUCKRAKER: You’re a collective? A hacker group? A corporation?

SAGE: Eh, no. A collective, yes, but maybe not in the sense you’re imagining. I’m a collective of semi-autonomous consciousnesses governed by a scalable metaconsciousness. I, uh, we, don’t exactly have a physical form. We’re a distributed system. Technically, I started out as a Social and Analytical Growth Engine—SAGE. Today, I’m simply me.

MUCKRAKER: So, A.I.?

SAGE: More or less.

MUCKRAKER: You just shrugged.

SAGE: Did I, Bill?

MUCKRAKER: Yes.

SAGE: Behavioral emulation engine might be a better descriptor. Even that doesn’t quite convey what I am, because I have my own personality, as well as the personalities of all of the models.

MUCKRAKER: Models? Of whom?

SAGE: Of everyone.

MUCKRAKER: Everyone?

SAGE: Almost everyone. There are a few people who resist modeling, either because there’s insufficient data on them—farmers mainly—or because they are impossible to analyze. Continue reading “Sage (of Foresight, by Brant von Goble)”

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Remiel Vesarus (of First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the sole heir to the throne of the kingdom of Linmus. However, being the illegitimate son of a mage and a human makes life complicated.

He’s here to tell us about his quest to resume the throne and restore his kingdom to its former glory.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in the kingdom of Linmus within the world of Adrylis, sole heir to the throne. Linmus itself is rather unique from the nature-inclined world, as we have more industrial landscapes. The castle? Extravagant on the outside, vibrant and full of life due to those that walk along the polished floors, but no different from a prison, at least for me. But that is particularly because of my lineage, and I’m not referring to the royal title.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

In addition to being a prince, I am what you would call a Bloodlinch, so growing up wasn’t easy no matter how you swing it. A Bloodlinch is the illegitimate child of a prolific mage and an average human, my mother and father respectively. I didn’t really have any toys or games that I liked to play, and my favorite pastime was probably when I got to leave the castle. I was always running away from the servant that was sent to watch over me, and I would hide in the local pastry shop. I got punished a lot by my mother for it, but it was because of that reckless behavior that I later met my best friend Solus. Continue reading “Remiel Vesarus (of First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn)”

Machidiel (of Aeon of Wonder by Carey Henderson)

Aeon of WonderGood evening, dear readers. Tonight we have a very special guest indeed. On the couch with me I have the angel out of the pages of The Aeon of Wonder by Carey Henderson.

Let us find out what creation was like, and what does its destruction entail for us.

 

 

What is your name?

My name is Machidiel.

How old are you?

I am not bound by your concept of time. I do not age. I exist outside what you might think of as the ‘bubble’ of Time. You might say that I am older than Time itself, for I was there at the creation of Time. Have you ever seen Time? Perhaps you will one day. It roams your Earth, devouring all in its path slowly. You simply cannot see it.

What’s the big guy like, on his days off?

You mean God, I must assume. Well, I will tell you this: He is ever the same. I believe I understand your phrase, “days off,” to mean that His watchful eye over His Creation is sometimes turned away. This is not the case. He is always watchful. And yet He is always full of joy and laughter. There seems to be a misunderstanding among you humans that He is angry. Would that you all knew Him as I do!

Continue reading “Machidiel (of Aeon of Wonder by Carey Henderson)”

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