Monday, May 31, 2010

Creator's Apprentice

A response to G. David Nordley moderated panel discussion at BayCon discussing how one might write about technological change in relation to the s-curve of technological change.

Malcolm pushed the glass windowpane to catch glints of shadowed stone off the Yosemite Valley. He stood on the clear nano-sill, his body hanging two thousand feet above the ground while he braced an arm inside the wall so that he could tap at the spiderweb built off the corner of his house. The valley's winds tousled the loose wrapped tricivera robe, Malcolm hadn't donned the dual-layered outer robe and felt the chill wind as he prodded the dew-spotted spiderweb with its fingertip-sized denizen snapping a leg. Malcolm watched the stiff limbs riding the web as the spider stood its ground. Smiling, Malcolm slid back into the room closing the window.

Two cube floors down, a young boy carried a tin watering can. He struggled with the large loose arms of his robe that dangled and caught on the rose table. Malcolm padded barefoot down the spiral stairs watching the boy's head as he concentrated on pouring the whey into the fuel cell. "You are no longer my apprentice," said Malcolm. "You are banished from this house."

A puddle of cloudy liquid splashed on the floor. "Creator, I did not see you." The boy knelt on the floor, his head lowered.

Malcolm pulled a saffron towel hanging from his waist and wiped up the spill. "I don't need genuflection. This isn't some monk's abode. Now, go."

"Creator, why are you sending me away."

The boy continued to kneel, Malcolm crouched to lift the boy's face up to look at him. "Do you not know?"

There was a tear in the boy's eye. He shook his head and the straight hair, bowl-cut, swung with his head, a trifle late.

"I have but one rule, yes?" Malcolm's voice lifted.

The boy looked down again. "I'm not to access the net."

"Yes." Malcolm stood away from the boy. Sunlight reflected off the granite from the far side of the Yosemite Canyon.

"How did you know," asked the boy. His voice soft, almost drowned away by the howls of the wind outside.

"The grocery delivery man hummed notes from my formerly unpublished tune --"

"But the world, we, need your art."

Malcolm's eyes hardened, the lines growing stark from their edges. "You said we. Listen to yourself. You cannot learn from me, your groupthink has poisoned you."

"All we need is you," said the boy. He stood up on his tip toes.

"I'm old. This world needs an apprentice, someone to take over my mantle. But, I'm not a teacher."

"You are the creator."

"We were all creators at one time."

"We know," said the boy. "Your tune was so sweet, I had to share." The boy his head still bowed looked up through his bangs.

"Share in its time, but for now you must listen to me. Purge yourself from the net."

"I will," said the boy.

Malcolm's joints ached as he watched the boy's eyes slip past him to look out the clear house at the view. There wasn't much time left and if he died without an apprentice, the world would be a sadder place. "Okay, you can stay this time. But, you must stay off-line."


  1. Brought to mind the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden! And online... :)

    Purging oneself from the net is so hard to do!

    Intriguing story.

  2. Good story. I wonder how long he'll last before accessing the net again.

  3. Hi Marisa, I hadn't thought of the forbidden apple; I may have to play with that one. Yes, purging from the net is hard.

    Thanks Eric, I'm sure it won't be long... I can't survive longer than a day or two and I don't have a brain/net interface ;)