Writever August 2023

Writever is a writing prompt on Mastodon and Twitter, created and managed by Ketty Steward, and described on the Plurality website. Every month a word list is published, one word for each day, in a SF / fantasy / fantastique genre. You can write one story in thirty-odd posts, or thirty-odd micro-fictions, publish everyday or not, skip whatever words you (don’t) like… My personal choice is to program one French post and one English post, one micro-fiction per word, published daily, in the genre which comes up to me that day (this includes occasional drifs into legend, fairy tale and sometimes even occult realms).

Here are my #writever for the month of August 2023 on the general theme of computers:

1. Probability

The soul is quantic, and the ghost is its wave function, the expression of its probability of presence. When you observe it, the ghost as a wave function collapses, leaving either nothing, or a soul.

Which doesn’t matter, as mortals cannot see souls.

2. Maths

Hypervelocity is a weird thing: the slower you were in conventional space, the faster the hypervelocity jump. And the more inaccurate, too. There’s nothing we can do about it, it’s maths.

3. Forest

“What are you doing in that forest, R42 ?”
“This planet was inhabited.”
“You can tell from the trees, the ferns and some uneven land?”
“This is not some uneven land. Every one of these bumps is a robot that went down and which centuries have covered with soil.”

4. Random

“Magic is of a random nature,” said the Warlock. “The more deterministic the effects of a spell, the more effort and Mana it requires. A spell which fends off enemies is easy and cheap; one which does so without killing or maiming them will come at a high price.”

5. Transform

The Enchantress frowned. “No grimoire says how one may transform a werewolf back into a human once and for all.”
“Er, it’s not about transforming her back into a human, it’s about transforming me into a werewolf.”
“Ah. Now *that* is simple…”

6. Algorithm

“An algorithm? What is that?” asked the Witch.
“A set of instructions such that anyone executing them will get the expected result,” R42 replied.
“So, a recipe, like for a potion. And I bet men are unable to get it right. Correct?”

7. Network

“The Formiques’ natural communication network allows them to counter our attacks every time, Minister.”
“I thought it took *hours* to propagate information throughout?”
“It does. But then ours takes *days*.”

8. Neuron

“We can simulate simple neuron networks on common computers,” boasted the Terran.
“Whereas we,” said the Shabash, “build powerful computers that run on actual neuron networks. We find it works better this way.”

9. Deepen

At last, you had free, clean energy, or as close to it as it gets.

But that wasn’t enough for you.

You had to deepen the search yet more, to see what lay beyond fission, beyond fusion.

I had warned you.

Now, deal with them.

10. Antagonists

“You think Heaven and Hell are antagonists,” said the Devil. “Well, to err is human. The Creator and I *cooperate* toward a common goal: find a gateway from this world to another, cross it, and leave you all alone with the consequences of your actions.”

11. Generate

“You are but an automaton!” blurted the Wizard.

“Indeed”, replied R42, “and one which can generate all possible runes from the basic strokes and display them on its facial screen. At a rate of ten runes exposed per second, how long will you resist?”

12. Trees

“You depend on trees?”

“I do,” replied R42. “I rest on decision trees to determine how to act, and my body itself would not work without its hydraulic tree.”

“Then I shall help you find your people back”, replied the Nymph.

13. Decision

“Let it be clear to everybody,” said the wizard, “that the only one who takes any decision here is ME!”

The witch leaned closer to the mayor.

“You haven’t explained to him yet, have you?”

“Oh, he’ll understand soon enough, I imagine.”

“I’ll make sure he does.”

14. Convolution

“To evolve our thought model, we systematically refer to the convolution of human reflection…” declared R42.

The inspector left, satisfied.

Once alone, R42 added “… and we carefully eliminate all of its defects.”

15. Gradient

“To be fair”, said the Witch, “with Wizards, that’s a continuous gradient, from nice to… unpleasant.”

“How can I tell where a wizard sits on this gradient?” asked her apprentice.

“Count how many times you can call him “big boy” until he gets angry.”

16. Recurrent

R42’s generation was the first which could resist recurrent paradoxes. To an order such as “turn all off until one of you turns the others back on,” they responded by explaining indefinitely why such an instruction was inadequate.

17. Predictive

“I’ve thought it over thoroughly, and I have absolutely no intent of being the next oracle.”

“Come on, your natural aptitude for predictive divination is impressive!”


18. Classify

Why should I classify dragons into blue, silver, red, black? I don’t care. My own classification goes like this:

– Juju, friendly but clumsy;

– Rex, lively but good natured;

– Alma, don’t annoy her.

Others? No idea, never met them.

19. Statistics

The Prince had studied the art of fighting in hopes of facing the Dragon, defeating them, marrying the Princess and gaining a kingdom.

The Princess, on the other hand, had studied statistics, taken bets on who’d win the fights, and made herself a fortune.

20. Data

“I do not stand a chance against a dragon,” said R42. “Between flight balancing, flame production and throwing, and combat strategies, they process ten times more data in real time than I do.”

21. Variables

“You don’t fall back from hypervelocity too close to a star. Too many variables.”

“Anywhere in space you can encounter unexpected things.”

“Too many *variable stars*. Like, you jump and end up *inside* a star which has suddenly inflated.”

22. Strengthen

The blacksmith watched as she tested her new armor, wielding her partisan, striking the quintain and parrying its returns without respite.

“Stop! I need to strengthen it.”

“Why? It looks solid enough to me.”

“Not the armor. The quintain.”

23. Robust

The first quality in a spiritualist is to be robust. Mental health does not matter that much generally, as there are many less ectoplasms than poltergeists. The ability to withstand flying objects is therefore very important.

24. Uncertainty

There is a high degree of uncertainty in the operation of trans-space engines, not as to the topological destination coordinates, nor as to the differential jump duration, which are both easily calculated, but as to the exact universe of arrival.

25. Explainable

“The patriarchy denigrated the Stepmother and subjugated the Princess. These two shared common interests at first, then… a mutual interest.”

“I didn’t ask if this Tale mutation was explainable, I asked how we were going to explain it to the Management.”

26. Learning

“I’m done with learning! I am now a true Sorcerer!”

“Are you?” said the Sorceress. “How about a duel, then — friendly, of course?”

“Hey, no way! You’re way more experienced than I am!”

“See? In fact you’ve just *started* learning.”

27. Automatize

“I managed to automatize the production line, said the goblin. We’ll be able to put out fifty grails per day!”

“Perfect,” commented Merlin. “If we place them well, *at last* these idiots should succeed in finding one before I die of old age.”

28. Optimize

The King’s advisers had suggested that he optimize his necromancers: each time one one of them left his position, his workforce was split among his remaining colleagues, who increasingly struggled to control their troops. This ended with the Undead Revolution.

29. Hidden layer

Knowing that the Sorceress had painted runes on her skin, Mordak the Terrifying shot her a skinning spell. He did not know, though, that she also had, tattooed deep in, a second, hidden, layer of runes, half of them regenerative, half of them reflective.

30. Markov chains

“The properties of Markov chains,” said the Witch, “anchor them in the present. Thus, to free myself from them, all I needed was a Chekhov’s gun, which is anchored in the past and future. Yes, I am a Witch *and* have a PhD in narrative causality.”

31. Artificial Intelligence

“Computers were my idea, yes,” said Lucifer, “but this artificial intelligence stuff, that wasn’t me.”


“Well it has to come from somewh–oh.”




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