ALL TECHNOLOGY IS MAGIC — WALDO AND MAGIC, INC.

waldo and magic incI’m astonished how many people have read these two novellas and miss the point. Some readers apparently can’t see any connection between the two stories. They think these novellas are in a single volume by a fluke or “to fill up space.” Either they didn’t really read them or they are conceptually challenged, unable to make a logical leap between two related ideas without a flow chart.

The point is that technology is a based on our belief it will work. As long as we believe in it, it functions. If or when we stop believing, it won’t. It’s all magic.

When we lose faith in technology, magic jumps in and becomes the new technology. The difference between one and the other is functionally negligible. The stories’ plots are irrelevant. It’s the concept that counts.

I read these books about 50 years ago. I haven’t read them since, but remember them. Meanwhile, I can’t remember the plot of whatever book I read last week. These were original concepts when first introduced in the 1940s, was still original 25 years later when I read it. Probably still original today, more than 60 years after the stories were first published.

The best science fiction is concept-driven rather than character or plot-driven. These two have stuck with me for a lifetime. Both novellas are based on a unified concept: We believe in what works — and what works is what we believe.

Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing. Chaos is king and magic is loose in the world.

Available on Kindle, in paperback and from Audible.com.

CLARKE’S THREE LAWS OF PREDICTION

NASA's own time machine

NASA’s own time machine

Formulated by the British author Arthur C. Clarke, these three laws — especially the last one — are accepted as science fiction “fact.”

Clarke’s three laws are so ubiquitous in the literature, they are (with Asimov’s laws of robotry), the basis of many stories by a wide spectrum of authors in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

For your enlightenment:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Murphy’s Corollary to Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.

HOME IS WHERE THOSE OTHER PEOPLE LIVE

I got married in 1965, between my sophomore and junior year of college. Our first home was an apartment near the university, one of two identical brick structures. We lived in 2-Q, located at the far end of the second floor hallway. It was a corner apartment. Nice because we had cross ventilation and good light.

I didn’t drive yet. Not a problem. The bus stopped in front of the building. The university was an easy 5-minute walk. When I wanted to go into town, I hopped a bus. No parking problems.

One sunny day, I felt like going shopping, so I did. Ate lunch at A&S, bought a few things, then took the bus home. Emerging with my packages, I took the elevator to the second floor. Balancing bags and boxes, I walked down the long carpeted hallway to apartment 2Q.

I tried to put my key in the lock, and it didn’t fit. Odd. Hmm. That was when I noticed the nameplate:

2 Q

KINCAID

My name was not Kincaid. I didn’t know anyone named Kincaid. But it was Apartment 2 Q — except it wasn’t mine. Or maybe it was, but what was with the nameplate? Hmm.

Feeling a  bit dazed, I made a u-turn and walked back to the elevator. Pressed the button and rode back down to the lobby. I stood there for a few minutes, breathing slowly and deeply. Then got back into the elevator and rode up to the second floor. Maybe I should I have taken the stairs.

Ding! Still clutching my packages, I slowly advanced down the hall. The pattern in the paint on the wall paint seemed cleaner and brighter, but since I was feeling a bit light-headed, I figured that was why. When I got to the end of the hall and stood in front of my door, that pesky nameplate still said “Kincaid.”

There was no question in my mind what had happened. I’d expected it all along. It was bound to happen someday.

I had slipped through an invisible wormhole. I was in a parallel universe, another dimension. Everything was identical in this dimension to the world I knew except that in this place — I didn’t exist. Where I had been, someone named Kincaid was living. Maybe Kincaid was my husband. Perhaps I did exist and Jeffrey had gone missing.

I stood there. Breathing. Staring at the nameplate. Pacing a little down the hall and coming back.  Until finally, I looked out the window. And realized I was in the wrong building.

I have forever since harbored a sense of disappointment. However weird, I wanted the magic to be real. I wanted an adventure in The Twilight Zone.


Doppelgänger Alert

You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?

SLINKING LIKE INK THROUGH NEVERENDING NIGHT

Masks Off – We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?


Her slight, svelte, lithe, muscular body seemed part of the shadows as she moved in near total silence through the shadows of Gotham. The chill of the night barely registered on her heightened vampiric senses. She was on the hunt, prowling to find an evil-doer whose warm blood would satisfy her.

She no longer needed blood, not at her great age. She could easily live on nothing … but the hunger remained after the need was gone. Tonight, the thrill of the hunt amplified that need and sharpened her senses.

VAMPIRIC MARILYN

She smiled, a little ruefully, wondering what her family would think if they could see her now. She had been very careful to avoid letting them see. Waiting until they were deep in slumber before creeping out. Flying over rooftops, hunting the dark alleys of nearby cities. Never prowling the streets of her town.

The dogs knew. Her granddaughter knew, but didn’t believe. In the end, it didn’t matter. Marilyn Armstrong, intrepid blogger, sometime author, pundit, and senior wise-ass … was Vampiric Authoress, ancient blood scourge!

Evil-doers everywhere, quake in fear. She is coming. You will pay for your misdeeds.

ONE WAY STREET – TODAY’S MISSING-IN-ACTION DAILY PROMPT

ONE WAY STREET?

Time travel, the ultimate addiction. The day I realized the big window in my bedroom was a wormhole, I started day tripping all ever. It started out a day like any other. Coffee. Making sure the dogs had biscuits. Wash those few dishes in the sink. Clean out the drying rack. Look at the sky, wonder if it’s going to clear. Wondering why it matters so much anyhow. It’s just another day, right?

Note: Sorry WordPress, don’t need your single-use, one way machine. I’ve got my own, personal vortex so maybe when you get your technical act together we’ll go traveling, okay? Meanwhile, I’ll stick with my own.

Then there’s the whirling twirling thing in the blinds. A vortex! While I’m standing there, staring and trying to figure out how to get to it, wondering how come they don’t appear at a more convenient location … like at floor level. I’m supposed to leap over my dresser? I’m 67 and arthritic. And — I need a clue how to designate when and where I want to go and return. Because I do want to return!

It turns out (surprise!) the vortex knows. Focus your mind on when, where and how long you want to be wherever. The vortex takes care of the rest, like an exceptionally good travel agent, but much cheaper. The danger is going through the vortex with your brain muddled. You can wind up some strange places … not places a tourist wants to be.

Garry caught this picture of me on my way home from traveling to a favorite spot in Arthurian England. Good catch Gar!

Garry caught this picture of me on my way home from traveling to a favorite spot in Arthurian England. Good catch Gar!

Also, you don’t have to jump or climb into the vortex. Just stand as close as you can and reach into it mentally. Cool beans, right? Like, wow, what a trip. Whatever was the best hallucinogenic drug you ever took? This is better. This is what we were looking for.

If you are one of the lucky ones who’ve had a vortex appear for you, I’d like to offer you some practical advice:

  • Don’t drink, smoke dope, or take other mind-bending substances before you travel elsewhen.
  • Avoid the 14th century. It’s too depressing. Also, you need vaccinations for defunct diseases making it difficult to explain to your doctor.
  • If you have a cool doctor, let him or her in on the secret. Some can be bribed with an excursion of their own. And it’s a good bet you’ll eventually need medical support.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Layer. Sometimes the seasons aren’t predictable. A small carry-on piece of luggage in a natural fiber such as canvas makes a good investment.
  • Take your camera. Take extra memory chips and backup batteries. You aren’t going to be recharging anything.
  • Leave the cell phone home. A ringing cell at the wrong moment can produce unexpected — and unpleasant — results.
  • Tell your mate what’s going on. Nothing upsets a relationship more than your appearing out of nowhere. Why not take your other half along for a couple of rides? Maybe he or she will love it too!
  • Try to land on or near the ground in an open area. Arriving mid-air or inside a wall produces bad trips. Sometimes death. Be clear in your mind so the vortex can read you. Wherever you are going, do a little research. Google Earth and history books can be very helpful in giving you good visualization capabilities.
  • Try not to lose yourself in time. If you overdo it, you can forget who you are supposed to be, who your children are, your friends, family. Everything. Maybe that’s not so bad for some, but most of us want to go home eventually.
  • Don’t tell everything to everybody. You want to keep the press out of it. Far out of it.
  • The future is scarier than the past. Spend time in known history before you venture forward. You’ll be glad you did.

This is the most fun you’ll ever have. Take lots of notes, pictures and have a blast. Talk to people Don’t worry about language barriers. The vortex won’t send you anywhere without the appropriate language skills in your brain. You won’t remember them when you get home, but they will always be there when you need them.

Vortexes don’t last forever. Make the most of your opportunity while it’s available. Enjoy your travels, my friends. Welcome to TIMING OUT of life! It’s the best ride you’ll ever take.

TIMING IN, TIMING OUT, TIMING INSIDE-OUT

One-Way Street – Timing Out or In or Inside-Out?

Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?


TimeTravel

First of all, no one can travel to the future unless they are returning from the past. Everyone who’s anybody knows that. It hasn’t happened yet, so you can’t go there. You can’t go sometime if it never occurred.

nasa time machine

One-way time travel sounds ominous to me regardless of direction.

You mean … I can’t come home? Ever? I have to go forward or backward and it’s a final decision? Without hope of returning to my time, my friends, family? My world?

In which case, no thank you. That’s way too high a price to satisfy a bit of curiosity.

With all the issues of the present, this is my time. It is where I belong, for good or ill.

NOTE: As of this writing, it’s another zero response day at WordPress. I’m not even going to report it. I’m fed up and I’m on vacation. WordPress: FIX YOUR SOFTWARE or replace it with something that works consistently and dependably. Stop dicking around.

NOTES

Make It Count – You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?


I’m totally blank. I can’t think of any message I could send once to anyone in time or space that would make a difference.

Send a note to Julius Caesar and tell him to skip the senate that day? They would have killed him on a different day.

How about: “Hey, Ulysses. Don’t get involved with those girl singers.”

“Achilles, don’t brag about your invulnerability and how you came by it. And cover those heels!”

hyannis boat flag harbor

“Oh Chris? Yes, you. Columbo. Turn back. Your crew is carrying disease and you are going to wipe out millions of innocent people. Oh, you like that idea do you? Come closer. Let me kill you myself.”

“Mr. Lincoln, don’t go to the theater tonight. And get the Secret Service on that Wilkes guy. He’s more than merely a bad actor.”

“Mr. Kennedy, sir! Please do not ride through Dallas top down today. In fact, call in sick. Get a pedicure. Take a nap. Anything but a drive through Dallas.”

A couple of timely notes to myself could help. “Go to a better surgeon. Don’t let that hack anywhere near you with a scalpel.” I’d need to send at least two such warning notes. I am apparently a slow learner. Or, I could fix my own life. I could send a note to my Mom warning her not to get involved with my dad. Oops, but then there would be no me to send the note — and we get into all kinds of time travel-related complexities.

Or how about “Don’t buy the condo in Lynn. Wait. Garry’s going to ask you to marry him and you can get a place together!” That might have made a difference!

I’m just going to not say anything to anyone. You know about the butterfly effect? Anything I want to do would probably cause the world to end. I’ve got enough on my plate. I’ll leave world breaking to someone else