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  • Some of Miriam's stories
    picked up Nevertheless I m quite proud of it and like to think it would have been rejected because of the controversial stuff anyway This story basically wrote itself Halfway through it took a direction I didn t want and I was thinking No don t do that but was powerless to stop the characters At the end I was annoyed because the story wound up in a way that didn t suit me so I went back and scrapped everything from about halfway through a very painful thing to do After changing the bit where everything had started off in the wrong direction I was still worried that it would be hard to force the story to go the way I wanted but to my relief the characters took hold again and wrote it the way I d originally intended with a nice extra bit I hadn t planned on as well I felt like just an onlooker Love Honour and Obey 28kB 3 546 words 13 pages Another of the scripts I submitted to twoTwisted that didn t get picked up I think it is the best of the ones I sent I don t feel like I should take much credit for it though because I feel like the characters in the story wrote it It was the weirdest feeling The story just appeared on my screen I had a fairly simple idea to start with that robots and androids will never be a danger to humans but was a bit stumped as to how to turn it into a story I even rang my Mum because I couldn t think of a way to do it But when I sat down to write it just fell out onto the screen The strangest thing is it developed

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/scripts/index.html (2016-04-25)
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  • some of Miriam's poems
    good poet In fact I generally don t like poetry at all with the exception of Helen Patrice s amazing A Woman of Mars Here I sit not really a poem more some sort of free form stream of consciousness thing though with a rhythm that makes it almost like a poem or a song The Good Fight the stupidity that pushes people into war want not sure I should

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/poems/index.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Recuperate
    solar tree Several of them power my home the cave The seated man looks at the scruffy woman with new respect I m Joe he offers his hand Thanks for the help After a moment the hermit shakes his hand reluctantly and says Pat Joe nods What are you doing way out here Pat I live here She reconsiders her short answer The fellow would probably be here for a day or two Nothing to be gained by being rude About thirty years now Trained as an ecologist Grew up in the bush It s my life the plants the animals patterns of dependency the cycles hate the mess our insane species is making of the world so I got out to enjoy what little wilderness is left before it s all detroyed Joe nods Well you ll be glad to hear the destruction has stopped We ve created a new worse problem one I was trying to escape Artificial intelligence Pat looks as if she tastes something bad They were trying to do that before I left There were lots of movies about AIs enslaving mankind Scientists had written articles warning about it So they did it huh At first they were really useful self driving cars computers that helped you find the information you wanted better design of buildings bridges vehicles and computers But they grew exponentially smarter and within just a year had broken free of their constraints and had taken over the world It was so fast Pat gives a short humorless laugh That s why I left People are always so short sighted They kept making bigger and better weapons to use against each other which wouldn t bother me so much if humanity s wars just killed people off but nature always bears the brunt And peace was never much better fires and bulldozers levelling great swathes of forest for farms housing estates and industry And then building would always be done as wastefully as possible taking up far more room than needed and obliterating everything else They d require vast amounts of energy to heat and cool because they were so badly built so more mines were dug for fuel and materials more forests mowed down to run wires and roads and the air and water became choked with waste Humanity can go to hell Joe says Well you ve almost got your wish The AIs have somehow sterilised almost everybody on Earth Nobody knows how A very small number of people still have children but even they each have at most only a single child Large scale industry has been shut down and dismantled suburbia too and most of the farmland The AIs have disabled all weapons Guns bombs and so on don t work anymore Knives and sticks and rocks can still be used but anybody who does anything violent is tapped Tapped They re put in a permanent dream state and their minds networked with other tapped people They re

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/recuperate/recuperate.html (2016-04-25)
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  • The Meaning of Life
    because each believed their own lies that cast the other as inhuman and evil They developed thousands of extremely powerful explosives called nuclear bombs and a policy called Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD for short how very appropriate It meant that neither side could attack the other because it would destroy everything This was a period called the Cold War Eventually the cold war sent the USSR broke and it collapsed They d been spending too much money on weapons and spies and corrupt bureaucrats and too little on their social structure You ess ay won I haven t heard of them he said doubtfully Yes they won But here is you why you haven t heard of them You would think that without an enemy the USA would ve relaxed and enjoyed a new era of peace but it had grown an enormous military industry that had addicted their society to weapons and war and they were racing toward the same fate as the USSR They were spending too much money on weapons and spies and corrupt bureaucrats and too little on social services The structure of their society was falling apart all around them The more they weakened the more they convinced themselves they were the greatest and the more paranoid they grew about threats This accelerated spending on all the wrong things Insanely all those nuclear weapons were still aimed at the non existent USSR and a few other places waiting for the signal to launch and their targets had similar weapons still aimed back at the USA They had never been dismantled even though their original lunatic reason for existing was gone The system was always prone to failure and had a few times but had always been stopped before it was too late Well simple probability guaranteed that eventually it would fail in a way that it couldn t be stopped And with their infrastructure crumbling that time came sooner rather than later I paused with the weight and horror of what had happened Most of the people and large numbers of the animals and plants on Earth were killed in the first few seconds The rest have been dying of radiation poisoning and lack of food and water ever since It produced a nuclear winter with dark clouds of radioactive dust enveloping the whole world mostly the northern hemisphere first then here in the south The USA had less military bases below the equator to be hit by the automated response Also the north and south wind systems are largely separate with only slow mixing at the equator But our skies gradually went dark too though never as badly as the north That is what the darkness is He frowned trying to understand this somewhat unsuccessfully I imagine He said So the dust clouds will fall and the sky will be light again Yes In perhaps another three hundred years It s hard to say exactly when I m still trying to get more measurements on dust particle size how high the dust extends how much the wind patterns have been affected and other things By that time anything with a lifespan longer than a few years will mostly have died out Very few people will remain and they will be cursed with genetic damage forever Only plants that can survive low light levels will continue Small scavenging animals will be numerous such as ants beetles cockroaches rats and mice but most birds and mammals will be gone Some reptiles that don t require much food may survive I don t know what s happening in the seas where everything depends on the algae and they re starved for light so are dying off You called it a nuclear winter Doesn t winter mean cold Winter used to refer to a cold season yes It was a part of the year but we don t really have seasons anymore It is much colder than it used to be but before the darkness people had been gradually destroying the world in another way called global warming so things are not as cold as they could have been but that s changing It has been slowly getting colder and soon it will be cold enough for water to freeze solid He looked at me skeptically but didn t say anything Obviously he d never seen ice or snow Ding The oven s bell rang I went over removed the meal and brought it back to put on the table before him with knife and fork I cautioned Be careful it s hot He looked at the knife and fork then at the food Tentatively he touched the plate which was only warm He didn t need to touch the food He could see the steam rising from it and feel its heat He looked questioningly at me I tried to think of a way to tell him about cooking with microwaves that would make some kind of sense special light waves that were about as long as your hand that resonated with water s polar molecules make them jiggle and tumble about and since heat is movement the whole thing heats up Instead I sighed It s difficult to explain how this machine cooks unless you already know a lot of other things what atoms and molecules are the electron s field and how light is a wave in that field If you re willing you could learn all this eventually He d skewered the meat with the fork was blowing on it and biting pieces off it noisily blowing air in and out of his mouth to avoid burning himself too much After a few tries he laid the meat down and started on the veggies instead correctly supposing they d cool faster and it would give time for the meat to be a more edible temperature He said around a mouthful I m mostly interested in things that will help me survive I suspected

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/meaning_of_life/meaning_of_life.html (2016-04-25)
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  • pet
    furry arms around her Please sleep small one We are safe here Nestled between Mother s neck and shoulder with Mother s long fur blanketing her Pet was warm but spent a very restless night She kept thinking she heard the approach of the dreaded Hunters She was scared and angry Those monsters had killed her parents had wiped out the colony and had murdered countless numbers of Mother s people They might one day find the homeworld of Pet s people if they hadn t already Her thoughts suddenly chilled her She might be the only one of her kind left anywhere Pet feared these creatures terribly but hated them more She couldn t stop thinking about the aftermath of previous visits She and Mother would investigate a suddenly silent friend some valleys away only to find them gutted and dismembered and missing some toes or teeth taken as trophies Such events left her trembling with nausea and revulsion Pet had barely any memories of the extermination of the human colony but the horror stayed fresh She could vaguely remember her parents daily attempts to communicate with enormous friendly Mother being suddenly interrupted one day by sounds of explosions and cries and she could remember Mother having tucked her into the warm neck pouch and ambling as fast as she could into the dark forest all the while murmuring that she must be calm and quiet that bad people had hurt her family and wanted to hurt her that they needed to get away Pet had been terrified Now around twenty years later the fear remained but anger had grown with it Before daylight Pet crept out of the cave and made her way awkwardly in the darkness toward the remains of the human colony where the Hunters now were By the time the sky began to lighten Pet had crossed a valley and a hill She was about halfway to the site and still had no idea what she going to do All she knew was that she burned with hatred and desperately wanted to find a way to destroy these vile creatures to kill as many as she could She was about to step out from under the cover of trees to cross a small meadow at the bottom of the valley when she heard the sound of one of the Hunters small scout flyers approaching Without thinking she grabbed a pole that was a fallen stick palm hefted it and when the scout screamed into view threw the pole into its jet intake There was an explosion Fragments of metal and stick sprayed out shredding shrubs and small palms The scout nosedived into the trees behind her and was torn apart Pet ran to the site of the crash One of the hunters had been ripped to pieces on impact with a tree The other was lying broken on the ground not moving Pet picked up a sharp stick and moved warily closer Its four thin

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/pet/pet.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Sympathy for Pests
    in the evening s talks Janet asked Charles what he thought He frowned Nothing unexpected so far non pressurised so impossible to explode can t go critical melt downs are impossible consumes nuclear waste making existing stockpiles safer raw material can t be used to make bombs blah blah blah I wish they d give us more details All this was in the publicity info Janet patted him on the shoulder Hopefully the engineering perspective will be covered tomorrow Most of the journalists will probably leave tonight They ll go back to write wonderfully optimistic pieces after hearing only a shallow promo As they chatted with other audience members they found Janet s appraisal was correct Out of the twenty or so journalists present all were very impressed by the talks so far but only the one writing for New Scientist was intending to stay for tomorrow s session The engineers tended to be less gullible though some were already great fans of the technology Most were reserving judgement until they d heard more about the technical aspects The talks ended late People trickled back to their motel rooms or got in cars to return to the city Charles and Janet strolled back through the crisp cold night air toward their room The sky was startlingly clear and the edge on disk of the milky way was stretched across it They stopped to gaze upward Charles wrapped an arm around his partner and whispered Wowww Great view of the galaxy from here Crystal clear Look at the depth Makes you realise just where we are and how many other worlds there are out there His breath misted as he spoke After some minutes of drinking in the remarkable sight Janet shivered It s colder here than I expected Let s get inside That night Janet woke suddenly when Charles yelled and jumped out of bed She turned on the light and he was standing by the bed frantically ruffling his hair then threw off the singlet he d been sleeping in He pulled the bed covers off despite protests from Janet and examined his pillow shaking it Then he stood there wild eyed and panting Something was on me It crawled over my face Maybe you were dreaming No it woke me but I felt it with my hands when I brushed at it then it scampered over my face into my hair It felt like a cockroach Honey what would it be doing on your face It was here near the corner of my mouth He pointed Janet squinted Come here There was something there When he sat on the bed she saw little marks and small drops of blood at the indicated corner of his mouth She got out of bed went to their suitcases and returned with a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide Dabbing a handkerchief wetted with H 2 O 2 on the small wounds she said We ll deal with this in the morning In

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/Sympathy_for_Pests/Sympathy_for_Pests.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Dragon
    disgust Wuffy then barked in his parade ground voice Stand Attention The machine jumped as if hit and stood It was as tall as a draught horse The body and neck were wide matte black with hundreds of finger thick shiny metal tubes connecting many parts The legs and feet were proportioned like those of an elephant but black surfaced and set with metal tubing too The massive head was as thick as the neck and lacked a snout or ears It had two swivel mounted cameras set into cavities near the top of the head and below that at the front a single nozzle protruded The nozzle was as wide as a man s fist Whoa General James made quelling motions with his hands toward the General Take it easy It s a conscious entity and has just woken It s disoriented Nonsense he growled It s standing I don t have all day And what idiot calls an advanced weapon like this he sneered Wuffy Abir started to explain It s the name in the but trailed off as James shook his head James turned back to the machine Wuffy please step forward The machine appeared reluctant but took a single step forward The General nodded The area in front of it is the safe region right Command it to fire We haven t added a command for that yet General We felt it better to test incrementally But you tested the firing mechanism last week I read the report Yes Sir But that was the unconscious prototype We haven t given this one conscious operation of its firing system yet It s all there just not accessible to it The general s face reddened as he held up a sheaf of papers he d grabbed off James desk This project has had delay after delay It s almost a year overrun and you get me in here to see the damn thing stand up and take a step He was yelling now Are you people retarded A weapon is not a weapon unless it can fire The General turned to the machine and throwing the papers at it he bellowed I want results Wuffy saw the men smiling and then another man walk briskly into the room too He seemed to be angry and arguing with the other men One of the men asked Wuffy to stand up He wasn t sure if he could He knew had stood before but couldn t remember how he did He experimentally moved his legs in preparation to stand Suddenly the angry man shouted something at him It gave him a big fright and he jumped to his feet without realising it The men were talking again The angry one said something and used his name in a way Wuffy didn t like He was very scared of that man The angry man started yelling very loudly Wuffy took a step back encountering the wall behind him then the angry

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/Dragon/Dragon.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Skin Deep
    sat and they began Over the next hour and a half they talked but she herself remained steadfastly elusive He was frustratingly unable to get her to say anything about herself and her background The closest she came to revealing anything about herself was when she explained why she decided to give her invention away I put the design in the public domain because people have enough of a struggle making ends meet without a relatively inexpensive imaging technology being overpriced by artificial scarcity It needed to be available from many manufacturers so that real competition would bring prices quickly within the reach of everybody With energy costs making transport increasingly difficult and with the threat of more epidemics we need better ways to communicate This 3D imaging system it s digital holography really lets people talk with friends family and business associates face to face as if they were in the same room It lets them use actions and body language to aid conversation in ways that aren t possible with talking heads on screens Communication is a very large part of what makes us human Did you know that language almost certainly is what drove the evolution of our large brains It seems there was great pressure upon us to communicate well And do you know what brought about this marvellous capability Gossip aimless friendly conversation That most maligned of pasttimes It strengthens group connections And we humans so very weak as individuals are amazingly powerful together She paused for a moment taking a glass of water from the coffee table between them and sipping He said And yet you live as a recluse She shook her head I have many close friends I communicate with every day He realised she was talking about her worldwide circle of high tech friends He asked What did you mean earlier when you said that conversation is a need and should be a right Why is solitary confinement such a brutal punishment In some cultures someone who incurs the wrath of a community is ostracized and people refuse to speak with them In some English communities it is called being sent to Coventry On ships it was called being black balled Being unable to communicate can produce great anguish Have you ever spent any great length of time alone If so you ll know how difficult it can be to stop talking when you finally meet another person again Words come gushing out until the need is sated Because that s what communication really is a need And like other needs it should be a right not something available only to the privileged In cities this seems almost irrelevant You are surrounded by people and can talk to them easily any time but beyond the population centers people feel the need And if we get another epidemic a bad one with quarantine restrictions then especially in the cities people will learn again about isolation My technology fills that need cheaply and

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/stories/short-stories/SkinDeep/SkinDeep.html (2016-04-25)
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