Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What about the weaknesses

What about the weaknesses

Many people get addicted to being online today. Imagine if you could be online all the time in your mind? My novel, inSyte, I present the technology metaphorically as a drug.

Here’s the scene describing when Mitch first gets it to work…

In the quarter century since that commercial aired, every recorded song had indeed been digitized. More than just music -- every book, magazine, research document, opinion paper, news article and blueprint. Twitter and blogs captured practically every new thought. Nothing short of the aggregate sum of all human knowledge developed and recorded over the past five thousand years down to the last bit and byte. And available to anyone who carried a micro smaller than a peanut. And that meant everyone.

If knowledge was power, Mitch had become the strongest man in the world.

What a rush. Wonderful. Awakened. Powerful. His mother would be so proud

He smiled and shook his head. Wait until the Buyer tasted this shit. It was almost too pure. Almost.

Toward the end of the novel, he, ahem, loses the ability to be online in his head. Here’s how I describe his thoughts and feelings…

He needed to turn on. Losing the ability to search the Grid as part of his memory left him feeling incomplete, unsure… empty. He wanted it back. For himself. InSyte was his and it had been taken.

Mitch remembered reading an article as a kid that described highly addictive online computer games. The article listed case after case of poor sad sacks who chose games over true life. A thirty six year old lost his job and destroyed his marriage. The man was not much of a role model to his young children, but he progressed to Level fifty-eight as Madrid, the Great Shaman of the North Land. That’s all that mattered.

A word was coined to describe such electronic addiction – heroinware. Online self-help groups sprung up to deal with the fallout. Online forums swelled with refugees from online worlds. All had harrowing stories of runaway gaming habits, lives ruined, friends lost, marriages broken. Madrid, the Great Shaman of the North Land, was so obsessed over getting to level sixty that he fatally neglected his youngest child and the game was implicated in the death of the infant.

Game manufacturers were analogized to drug dealers. The first dose was free. Download and play. If you like it then, you know, come back and register, dude. Plenty more where that came from.

Mitch smiled like a man who’d gone all in, everything he had. More than he had. All he would ever have. Then watched his four aces get beat by an improbable straight flush. Because of the fucking wild cards. The Joker. Casinos called them bugs. He had developed a physical dependency to the Grid. His Grid. He tried to avoid the word addiction. He’d thought the chemical that Russian bastard used in the parking garage caused his cramping and nausea. Now he knew better.

He tried to look online for an old Steppenwolf song and felt momentary panic, like a man reaching for his pack of cigarettes who finds an empty shirt pocket. Mitch tried to remember the lyrics and couldn’t. He shook his head and focused on searching his actual memories instead of the Grid. His mind resisted like it didn’t want to make the effort. Or had forgotten how. He concentrated harder and the lyrics came.

The pusher is a monster, not a natural man. Goin to sell you lots of sweet dreams. The pusher will ruin your body but he’ll leave your mind to scream. God Damn the pusher man.

OK, a little downside to inSyte. A technical hiccup, if you will, Mr. Buyer. Nothing to worry about. Sort of like biting into a juicy steak with a pink center that melts in your mouth and the only problem, minor point really, it’s crawling with death because it’s got this germ deep inside that will huff and puff and blow your house down.

But it’ll leave your mind to scream.

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