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Mythographers we Love: Netflix

Netflix’s marketing has been a blast. From Bright’s Orc auditions, to blending reality with Black Mirror episodes, to the upcoming Altered Carbon series with a real booth at CES promoting the fictional company’s services, they’re spinning their stories and firmly lodging them into everyone’s minds.

Netflix is doing exactly what we predict future corporations will do, meaning blend their own narrative into the real world and in the end it will become indistinguishable from reality. Of course, these are all PR stunts and viral tricks for now, but it won’t be long before these are used as real-world propaganda by more nefarious corps.

Happy New Year with Black Mirror

Orcs auditioning for Bright sequel

Psychasec Booth at CES

Image credit: Mat Smith at Engadget

Read the article.

When they ventured inside, an army of slightly too pretty attendants, dressed-in-white offered vague sci-fi responses to questions (“It’s about transferring your conscious to a new, better body”), while screens all around scrolled through the benefits of replacing your body for a new (sexy, stronger, smarter) model. The aforementioned staff clutched tablets to take email addresses with promises of more information come February 2nd. Plenty took the bait, genuinely curious of where this company was based and whether this was all even possible.

The twist, if you can call it that, happens once you turn a corner, and you’re confronted with a vacuum-sealed human. This is another mannequin, although with some carefully-placed condensation inside the bag, made it rather unsettling. Naturally, I had to poke the “person” in a bag. Morbid fascination.

Needless to say that, at this point we frickin’ love Netflix.

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Binge-Worthy Reads: Feed – A Dystopian Collision With Reality TV

Start reading the Fooko series today for free. Feed 1 is a dystopian collision with reality TV. Don’t miss it!

I Wanna Get Dystopian

Seven years after the nanocameras switched on and the feeds began, nanoengineer Samuel Ramone becomes the subject of an addictive reality feed. As his heart sinks further into the crush he’s been nursing, his popularity rises. He is a married man, after all.

When it comes to the new world of the feeds, Enforcers are nothing but a rumor. But the Editors . . . they’re real. With every human monitored endlessly, Ramone hasn’t had anything to fear in a long time, except seeing himself in a feed. Or worse, seeing his wife in one. With another man.

That’s why he’s never looked. If you can’t see something, it’s not there.

But when Ramone finally plans a way to hide from the unceasing surveillance–disguised as entertainment, monitored and enhanced by those all-seeing Editors–he learns that his viewership is endangering his attempts escape the feeds, and soon the people he loves most.

Now he is hunted by an Enforcer. Running is pointless. But staying in one place means learning the rumors aren’t just rumors.

If you enjoy 1984, Black Mirror, and other dystopians about surveillance, Feed 1 is right for you.

Start reading Feed book 1 for free on Amazon

“Ms Grotepas has written a novel that has made me care about characters again. The intriguing subject and a look into the not so distant future are at once frightening and believable.” — Rita Kaye, Amazon reviewer

 

“This book is really, really good. It does not bog itself down trying to explain the science behind everything but is so descriptive in its simplicity that you don’t notice right away. It feels like a mix of Harry Harrison and Robert Heinlein.” — Joshua Allen, Goodreads reviewer

 

“Each of the characters is unique and interesting in their own way and watching the interaction and development of relationships between the characters kept me turning the pages.” — William Hall, Amazon reviewer

 

“This book drew me in immediately . . . Was so engrossed, I immediately ordered Feed 2 – at 11:15 PM – ready to read all night!” — Passing Pilgrim, Amazon reviewer

 

“The writing is polished, and the characters well developed. The world the author has created is believable and terrifying at the same time.” — Marcus, Amazon reviewer

 

“Not that far from the world we live in now with reality TV the opioid for the masses. She created great characters with intense passions and frustrations. Four stars for this one. Give me more.” — Dolly, Goodreads reviewer

 

I Wanna Read Feed for Free on Amazon

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Binge-Worthy Reads: The Coilhunter Trilogy, a Sci-Fi Western

Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide—if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.


Meet Nox, the Coilhunter. A mechanic and toymaker by trade, a bounty hunter by circumstance. He isn’t in it for the money. He’s in it for justice, and there’s a lot of justice that needs to be paid.

Between each kill, he’s looking for someone who has kept out of his crosshairs for quite a while—the person who murdered his wife and children. The trail has long gone cold, but there are changes happening, the kind of changes that uncover footprints and spent bullet casings.

Plagued by nightmares, he’s made himself into a living one, the kind the criminals and conmen fear.

So, welcome, fair folk, to the Wild North. If the land doesn’t get you, the Coilhunter will.

Dustrunner on Preorder

The third book, Dustrunner, is on preorder and releases on Feb 28. Get it now for 99 cents only.

Nox is a wanted man.

While searching for a criminal, the fabled Coilhunter wanders into a tribal village massacre. He didn’t do it, but that doesn’t matter. He’s the only one there, the clues point to him, and he’s made a lot of enemies over the years. Many would happily see the tables turned.

Get the Coilhunter Trilogy on Amazon
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Binge-Worthy Reads: Start With Star Nomad, Then Fall for the Empire

If you want to read a long series of space opera goodness, look no further than Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire series.

You can start reading Star Nomad right now for free on Amazon.

The series is insanely deep and beloved by a ton of fans. It has also kicked-off a spin-off, so we’ll need Lindsay’s list of titles to keep track of it all.

Fallen Empire

Remnants — A short story that takes place 2-3 years before Star Nomad. It’s the adventure where Alisa and Mica first meet, and it’s currently only available in the You Are Here SF/F anthology.

Last Command — A novella that takes place 6 months before Star Nomad. It’s from Leonidas’s point of view and shows him carrying out his last mission before the fall of the empire. It’s currently available as a free bonus to those who sign up for the Fallen Empire newsletter.

Star Nomad — The first book and where the main adventure begins.

Saranth Three — A short story that takes place between Star Nomad and Book 2, Honor’s Flight. It’s currently a bonus for newsletter subscribers.

Honor’s Flight — Book 2 in the series

Starfall Station — A short story from Leonidas’s point of view. It takes place between Book 2 and Book 3. It’s currently available through the free Star Rebels anthology. (This is available on KoboApple, and Barnes & Noble, as well as Amazon.)

Starseers — Book 3

Relic of Sorrows — Book 4

Cleon Moon — Book 5

Arkadian Skies — Book 6

Perilous Hunt — Book 7

End Game — Book 8

Hope Springs — A honeymoon adventure that takes place after Book 8. It’s currently available in the Beyond the Stars: New Worlds, New Suns anthology.

Cyborg Legacy — This is a stand-alone novel that takes place a few years after the main series. It brings in a new hero, Jasim, but Leonidas also returns to go on the adventure.

Sky Full of Stars (Fallen Empire spinoff series)

A Sky Full of Stars takes place ten years after the events in Fallen Empire, with the next generation (Jelena, Thor, and Erick Ostberg) coming to the forefront for adventures of their own.

The Rogue Prince — Book 1

Angle of Truth — Book 2

Stolen Legacy — Book 3 (Upcoming Title)

So, grab the freebie series starters and get convinced that this journey is worth taking.

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Stop the Presses! Scrooge is Available on Paperback!

No, wait. Start the presses. Start them. Bad analogy.

Scrooge Is Looking For A Taxi

The retelling of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is now on paperback.

Scrooge is looking for a taxi to get home on Christmas Eve. But he will get the ride of his life, as he is walked through his past, his present and his future to end up a changed man.

Set in modern day Athens, this science-fiction version of the classic ghost story is guaranteed to bring shivers down your spine and a smile to your face.

“It isn’t too late for all us Scrooges, and this story did make me see more than the classic.”

“An entertaining, uplifting novella perfect to read during Christmastime.”

“This is a rollicking, hiccup producing, laugh out loud morality play that would make Dickens sit up and take notice. A lot of fun!”

Look at these gorgeous Victorian illustrations by Arthur Rackham, the book illustrator of Ebenezer Scrooge’s story. A fine Mythographer indeed. His gritty, realistic drawings inspired the director Guillermo del Toro, who cites Rackham as an influence on the design of “The Faun” of Pan’s Labyrinth.

Sounds fun. Can I get it in time for cozy reading with twinkly ambiance?

Get the paperback book just in time for Christmas:

Amazon says it’ll be there on time. Trust the AI. The AI never lies.

It’s available on Amazon and other regional stores.

Buy on Amazon.comBuy on Amazon.co.uk

Can it get it right now?

If you want the digital version find a store that suits you. Or enjoy the complete experience. Get the acted out audiobook version with the actor Steve White that does the voices and everything!

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Slow Up

The novel Slow Up has a lot of things going on. While knowing these is not a necessity in enjoying the story, a deep background in the possible technologies and techniques involved will make it a much better read.

10. Rapid Serial Visual Representation

Can you read it?

It’s a speed-reading trick where text is parced into single point. Some speed readers like it, others do not.

Here’s an online tool to try it out.

9. Most of the IT Scenes Are Inspired by my Own Job at Wind Telecommunications HQ

Most of the tickets came in at a frantic pace, just like in the novel.

The scenes have nothing to do with real persons and situations. But the feeling of an uphill battle, that Sisyphean task of fixing hundreds of computers every day is there in Galene’s job.

8. For More on Nootropics, Check Out Reddit

Nootropics are real and have measurable effects. If you want to try them out, consult an expert. There is a lot of info online, but don’t push yourself too hard. Again, consult a doctor, not the marketing brochure.

Nothing is like the movie Limitless of course, that was a magic pill with insane powers. Real nootropics help you focus, help with creativity, memory.

Read up about Nootropics on Reddit.

7. Polyphasic Sleep is Real But You Should Take it Slow

 

Going directly at Uberman will most probably make you a zombieman.

We’ve all heard about geniuses who simply skipped sleep like Leonardo Da Vinci. That is not actually possible, of course, they only took short naps, powernaps as they call them now, to help their brain recharge.

My opinion is that getting good sleep is more important that gaining a few drowsy hours. I’ve seen that sleep deprivation cuts down on creative thinking. And there are serious medical risks involved.

Again, Reddit has a nice beginner library on polyphasic sleep.

6. The Cybathlon is a Sports Event for Augmented People Where Doping and Pushing the Limits is Kind of the Whole Point

Credits: Angel Giuffria, Bionic Actress. Cybathlon. The Spartan Race. Oscar Pistorius.

The logical next step in athletic events is to have augmented races. Some augmentations actually give an advantage over other athletes, like in swimming. Especially with world-powers sending out troops at stupid wars and having young veterans come back disabled all the time, the day where augmentations are common-place is today.

The Cybathlon is not quite an Olympic-level event yet. But it showcases what can be done, and it won’t be long before augmented athletes can compete side-by-side with regular ones, like Pistorius did in the Summer Olympics of 2012. Yes, we know what he did afterwards, that’s not the point.

You can watch the scene mentioned by Gregoris in the novel, where the winner shows unprecedented evgenis amilla (fair game spirit) and swaps out his number with Oscar’s so he can be the winner:

5. Humans With Amplified Intelligence Could Be More Powerful Than AI

Artificial intelligence is all well and good, but there are those who believe that we can expand the limits of our intellect and reach amazing levels.

Frankly, a merge of mind and machine where a trained user can hook up and amplify his intelligence for short amounts of time is what we consider most plausible.

Another archetype of this is the Mentat from Dune. Human Computers that crave information and can help with decisions.

Wacky hair is a must

From David Lynch’s Dune, we got the Mentat Mantra (It’s not from the Frank Herbert novels but fits so well it got adopted instantly):

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

And now you’ll say it too.

4. Mean Girls is a Must Watch

Mean Girls quotes can be applied to any situation

Nuff said. Watch it.

3. Unlike Wanted’s Turning Bullets, Turning Arrows Are Real

It seems crazy but it’s true. An expert archer can shoot turning arrows around corners.

2. You Can Speed up Online Videos, Audiobooks and Video Files for Faster Input

It might seem weird at first, but the mind adapts very quickly.

Here are some tools with pitch correction:

Chrome plugin for online videos.

Video file speed control with VLC

Audible Narration speed control

1. The Tech is Real: Artificial Wombs

It looks adorable. The real-live version, not so much.

External wombs are being researched and seem to work just fine. There are many real medical conditions where external wombs would be suitable. Of course, that opens up a can of worms, since humans could be raised from prime genetic material without people knowing. It’s almost like a dystopian sci-fi story.

Slow Up is Available to Read Now

Limitless meets Black Mirror in this novel that pushes the limits of a couple’s minds.

When Galene meets a man who’s only goal in life is to make his mind go faster, she ends up falling for him. But will she manage to keep the relationship going at the top of the glass tower, when in reality she’s too much of a slob and is bogged down with all her unfinished goals, when their age difference becomes too much of a problem, and when his work places them in the sights of an unforgiving huntress?

Do you want to know what’s next for the computer geek Galene? Do you wanna meet Artemis? Then read this bittersweet story in a world where thinking too swiftly can get you killed.

Read Slow Up
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Your Shelves Are Looking a Bit… Non Bendy. Let’s Fix That

A proper reader’s shelf needs to look like this:

No, not Russian. Bendy.

If the shelf isn’t squealing under all that weight, you’re doing it wrong. That’s why we’ve brought you a massive paperback giveaway.

You can sign up here at SFF Book Bonanza.

Win 52 Sci-Fi & Fantasy paperbacks. Escape to another world for an entire year and enjoy this whopping collection of novels, from classics and bestsellers to new reads.

The giveaway starts at Nov 1 and ends at Jan 31. Sign up for a chance to win one of these epic reads:

  • The Human Division, by John Scalzi. Mother frickin awesome. I suggested that one, just read it. Fall in love with the B team.
  • Robert Jordan. Meh, TLDR.
  • Michael Crichton. Should be a good thriller.
  • Star Wars. If you’re into the EU.
  • The Book of Lost Tales. J.R.R. Tolkien. Posthumous publication. It’s worth being on your shelf. Not really dying for it, but I’d want to rifle through it’s pages. Sniff them. My preciousss.
  • Good Omens. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Quite good. Falls flat at the climax, though. Will be made into a series starring David Tennant. Read it before it premieres. For hipsterism.
  • The Martian, Andy Weir. So fucking good.
  • Hunters of Dune. Another Dune novel? Meh.
  • Fall of Hyperion. As much as I like Dan Simmons, I can’t stand Hyperion. “We are of the cruciform. We are…” Bleh.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob). Dennis Taylor. SO FUCKING GOOD. Read the whole trilogy.
  • Steelheart. Brandon Sanderson. Read it. Read it. Read the whole trilogy, it’s the perfect trilogy.
  • Ready Player One. Nostalgia fueled crap. Can’t stand it.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood. In my TBR pile, want to read it.
  • Three Body Problem. In my TBR.
  • Jim Butcher, Aeronaut’s Windlass. So. Many. Fucking. Cats. Watch as a beloved bestselling author turns into a crazy cat lady.
  • Brandon Sanderson, Way of Kings. Just read it. No, don’t mind the word count. Trust me. I’m Stormblessed.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Classic. Must have.
  • Magicians. HAS to be better than the stupid series. It has to be. Now I’m curious.
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin. No idea, haven’t gotten around to the first tomes yet.
  • The Book of Dust. Everybody seems to be talking about this. At least that’s what they do in my social media echo chamber.
  • And a bunch of other novels I don’t know about. But you can win them.

Share it with your reading buddies. Only the ones you actually like, though.

My Shelf Is Too Light Indeed

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Do You Miss Old-School Science Fiction? Then Check Out These Little Beauties

There’s a project out there, that is quite interesting. Future Fiction translates sci-fi stories from selected authors around the world and makes them available in English (And Italian, apparently).

Finding the books on Amazon is a mess, to be honest. You can start with a search on Kindle here. Or you can buy directly from the Future Fiction website.

The one I want to point out to you is the one containing two excellent shorts by my mentor, Michalis Manolios. Mentor is a strong word when you’ve had as many beers together as we’ve had, but it’s accurate. I think it was 2010, maybe 2009 when he read my stories, pushed me forward and told me I could do this, and do it well. I was fascinated with fantasy back then, but my true calling has been science fiction apparently. I shifted towards sci-fi and I honed my craft every year. The results seem to be good, as shown by reader reactions and sales numbers.

So, Michalis has two of his best short stories translated into English. They are not my favourite but they are definitely good. The stories in that Greek collection are pretty mindblowing, and these two fit the bill. Aethra and Quantum Mommy.

Read this now


I Wanna Get My Mind Blown

The rest of the volumes are either a single novella or two short stories from authors around the world. It’s a shame that we don’t have access to these stories, and that’s what I like about Future Fiction, they bring these unreachable gems to English, thus making them available to us. Some authors you’ve never heard of, naturally, others are quite well known in their countries.

Everything in the collection has the feel of old-school sci-fi, like the books I have in my bookcase. The covers, the stories, the atmosphere is a way to go back to that time when science fiction showed us what was possible instead of just shoving dystopian warnings at us. Which I’m guilty of, obviously.

Check out some of the volumes:

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The 3rd ΦantastiCon Event in Athens Was Memorable And Full of Zombies

Athens is becoming an important stop in the worldwide fantasy event circuit. This year, we had guest visitor Kate Madison, who’s made an indie series called “Ren – The Girl With the Mark.

The cosplay competition was extremely fun and very popular. Here are some indicative pics, for the whole gallery from CosplayersGR click here.

And we had the author Ioanna Bourazopoulou, who has been translated in English and won awards for her novel “What Lot’s Wife Saw.” Here’s where you can get copies on Amazon US and UK:

There were plenty of other stuff, mostly in Greek of course. Check out the convention’s English page here and contact them in case you want to take part next year. The visitors gobble up English content like there’s no tomorrow, stuff like Saga comic volumes, memorabilia, Chibi figures and whatever sort of loot you might peddle.

To end this article, here’s Sci-fi author Judith Blish getting eaten by a zombie. Um, guys, maybe we should be taking better care of legendary writers, especially now that Star Trek is cool again? Guys? Anybody left alive?

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This Year The Nobel Goes To Science Fiction

Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel prize in literature this year, and we’re ecstatic.

Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Why?

Well, the reason is that some people think that genre fiction is somehow less than literary, as if the injection of a fantastical or a technological element somehow lessens the impact of a perfect story.

Here’s the article about his Nobel:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/05/kazuo-ishiguro-wins-the-nobel-prize-in-literature

And here’s Ishiguro’s opinions about transhumanism:

https://futurism.com/kazuo-ishiguro-soon-we-will-be-able-to-create-humans-who-are-superior-to-other-humans/

Ishiguro, like Heinlein before him with Stranger In A Strange Land, has proven that you can talk about love, you can talk about science fiction, you can talk about mortality and make it shine.

Start reading Ishiguro’s books and see for yourself.

What I really like about him is a tidbit of a belief that I have injected into my own stories, this quote below:

Like the saying goes, history is written by the victors. But history is rewritten every day, in every tiny event, in any major revelation. Steve Jobs was said to ignore facts that didn’t match his beliefs.

And people, when they tell themselves that something happened a certain way, they alter reality for themselves. Because it’s impossible to be truly objective, you can only be subjective and hope for the best.

The God Complex Universe is a warped version of events, a splintered timeline branching out from 2009, in which people have told themselves how certain events happened and have affected the future.

And when a powerful billionaire tells himself that something happened a certain way, everybody bends to his will eventually.

As for Kazuo Ishiguro, we can state for certain that he did it by himself, he won the Nobel prize fair and square. No Muses were dispatched.

Honest.

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I Have a Patreon Now. Patreons Are Cool.

Patronage. Just like the practice of old, we’ve resurrected the model into a digital mold, more fitting to the age.

I’m new to this. Be gentle.

Micropatronage, having a bunch of regular people pitching in small amounts instead of one wealthy patron, is being successful with plenty of examples.

What I had was a PILE of story ideas sitting on my projects folder. Some have merit, some are simply the butt of a joke. Others are pretty damn brilliant, I might say.

I took all that and decided to squeeze out at least one short story per month. That way, I can see the works-in-progress slowly thinning down, I can test them with real people and real readers, and see which one’s a winner and which one’s a dud.

I’ve been doing that already with the Epic Poets, but to be honest, I firmly believe in putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. Feedback from fans is excellent, but feedback from people who have paid a dollar carries much more weight.

Also, I have plenty of ideas that fall into fantasy or urban fantasy. At some point, as I burn through the sci-fi ones, I’ll eventually work on those too. Having patrons will provide a steady and verifiable metric that my output will be worth the time invested. I’m bound to change a lot of this on my Patreon page, I just threw one up quickly.

There’s a short story waiting for you right now, called “Life Coach.”

So, click the orange button to get a steady flow of speculative fiction short stories. I’m your story-dealer. Be patronizing. Or just share the post with your friends.

Become a Patron!

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Teaser Chapter: Slow Up

Teaser Chapter: Moirai – Brains operating @ 12 times normal human speed

Two weeks ago:

It was a secure white room, in a nondescript basement owned by Moiragetis Holdings. The three women were perched upon their marble pedestals, mumbling and threading the flow of information.
The women, dressed in white, seemed aged beyond their years. Their thin hair barely flowed, their frail hands moving, twitching, as if working the air with purpose.

The Fates by Toradh

Bundles of flashing and glowing optic fibres were feeding into their backs, directly into their spine. They connected them to the server at the room below, an unlisted supercomputer with a singular purpose.

Their eyes were glazed white, for they could not see in the conventional sense. Their optic nerves had been claimed by the stream of data. In front of their eyes, it was as if the internet was the Earth’s seas and rivers, and you had struck a blow in the rockface and made a marvellous shower erupt, the rays of the sun making rainbows in the mist. It was like that, each second of each day, for the three Moirai.

Klotho, to weave the thread of data.
Lachesis, to measure the thread and assign it to its proper owner,
And Atropos, to cut the thread at its proper place.

For data was fate and fate was data. For if one person or three could see the twists and turns of fate, they could see the immediate future and seeing the future meant seizing it. Snatching it out of the infinite possibilities and probabilities in the quantum foam of the universe and forcing it to gel into existence, an Observer making electrons decide on molecular trajectories by the mere push of his gaze.

There was one misunderstanding, though.

Fate was not tailored to a person, as it was commonly believed. No. Fate was a given constant, only the person it was assigned to was the thing to be decided.

Take the Twelve Labors of Hercules, for example. One might think that Fate came with the life of the person itself, the demigod, despised by Hera and forced to endure endless tragedies. In truth, the Fate of Hercules was a constant, and it happened to befall upon the poor man. Like a story looking for its protagonist.

“Sister?” Klotho wheezed.
“Yes, my dear?” Lachesis replied in the same rasping whisper.
“Take note of this particular thread of Fate,” Klotho said and passed the data on to her left.
“Oh, my, what a nasty one this is!” Lachesis rasped and measured the thread of data.
Klotho turned her cataract eyes to her sister, watching with interest as she worked the thread. “To whom shall we assign this, Sister?”
“Give it to me,” snapped Atropos, the nastiest and oldest sister, as she snatched the thread from them. “Yes,” she said with delight as she cut the thread. “Yes, yes, yes.” She picked up another thread of data from the folds of her white dress, it seemed as if she was saving it for a special occasion. She spun and weaved the smaller thread to the original one, matching twists and making ends disappear. It was an expert’s work.

The younger sisters turned to her side, dreading to interfere. A woman’s face showed up in the shower of Augmented Reality they saw, along with every bit of data about her. Every keystroke she ever pushed, every step she ever took, every frame of video she ever watched and was in. Her life, digitised. They gasped. “Can she endure it?” the two sisters said in unison.

Atropos, finally done with her work, smiled.