I’m thrilled to announce that my 950-word flash science fiction story, “Our Kingdom Come,” has been published in Daily Science Fiction WHEREIN a tech billionaire achieves his dream of dying on Mars and second generation robots break from their immigrant parents’ dreams for the future.
As a second-generation immigrant, I’m fascinated by the cultural drift that occurs from our parents. Our loyalties, our dreams, the things we think possible–they change from the previous generation. And, of course, the tension between honoring our parents and defining our own lives on new terms becomes part of every second-generation narrative.
As a person who studied computer science and cognitive science in undergrad before Machine Learning became all but synonymous with A.I., I’m fascinated by frame-and-story-based models of how we (and robots) might think.
Both fascinations came together in this piece.
I don’t know if humans will ever colonize Mars in a way that is more than a short-lived stunt. But I think robots could. And if we humans decide to focus on other things, what might robots do, with the right objective functions and the capacity to reinvent themselves? This is one of those stories I’d love to revisit. What does Tribe-2 look like in 50 years? In 100? If Tribe-3 saw a human landing module enter the thin, Martian atmosphere, what would they think of it? How would their perception of humans be shaped by their cultural underpinnings?
This story is a bit of a tweak of the nose of the techno-elitist class that believes they and their select will leave Earth to create an enlightened utopia. Utopias may emerge, eventually, but will they be ours?
This kind of story seems to be a staple of mythology, from the Olympian revolt against the Titans, to Milton’s fallen angels, to Marvel’s Eternals. It’s a myth of both creation and destiny, and the notion that the old must inevitably be supplanted with the new. And that the kids are all right.