Friday, October 16, 2020

Randolph Runner

 Just in time for the election, my new novel -- sf, satire, and anti-trump:

 

Butler, warrior, moral philosopher, robot. Randolph is all that and more.

Randolph is the prized product of Superior Domestics, a Silicon Valley firm dedicated to producing robot servants for people who grew up watching British period costume dramas on PBS. The company’s motto is, “All the gracious living of Upstairs with none of the unseemly drama of Downstairs.”

When the novel opens with the assassination of King Donald II and a coup d’├ętat, Randolph epitomizes that motto. He is calm, quiet, supremely competent, always in the background, and never interfering. He is a mere witness to great events. He is focused on supervising his staff and properly running the household of General Henry Redgrave, architect of the coup and would–be power behind the throne.

War! Romance! Sex! Skulduggery! Artificial Intelligence! And lots of other stuff, too.

Read more here: http://www.dvorkin.com/ranrun/

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Pondering the Vanishing of Backyard Wildlife

Where in the world did the animals go?

And who would have thought that we’d miss them all so?

The squirrels and rabbits, the bugs and the birds,

The gnawed–upon apples and the … animal turds.

At the base of the chain, the insects seem few.

I wouldn’t eat them, but the spiders sure do.

The spiders have left, their webs all blown away.

(I’ll admit that I’m torn about having them stay.)

We’d happily watch, on a bright summer morn,

Squirrelly squirrels and bunnies new–born,

Birds screaming insults way up in the trees,

The anger of wasps and the  buzzing of bees.

There’s a bush that bears berries way out in the back

That squirrels and birds by the score did attack.

They were hooked on that lovely sweet berry taste,

But this summer the berries have all gone to waste.

Our backyard’s a haven, of chemicals bare.

So why are the birds and the squirrels not there?

Is it smoke from the fires destroying the West?

(It burns in your eyes and your throat and your chest.)

Is it heat that’s relentless and air that’s so dry?

Have they all given up and just crawled off to die?

Or migrated north to a friendlier clime?

Will they come back again in some happier time?

Will we be here to greet them if that time does arrive?

Or will only our distant descendants survive

With many mutations to keep them alive

On an Earth that’s like Hell but where they will thrive?

But what if the animals never come back?

What if they die from this climate attack?

What if the animals die every one,

And history says that our folly has won?

Then pity the dying on a planet of death

Dying of thirst, gasping for breath

Joining the animals doomed by our addiction

To fossil fuels and pesticides and ignoring the prediction

Of the scientists who warned of what likely would be

If we didn’t stop the heating of the air and the sea.

But I’m guessing at causes; they might be benign.

The vanishing of animals might not be a sign.

Maybe all’s well, no cause for alarm

And our many indulgences are doing no  harm.

If the temperature keeps rising, crank up the AC.

Douse gardens with water from the water company.

Eat your meat and your fish and your chicken by the pound.

There’s more where that came from, they’ll keep coming round.

Because the sad truth is, when all’s said and done,

I haven’t a clue where the animals have gone.