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Excerpt of vN up at

I read from this chapter at the Augusta House earlier this year. Enjoy!

The sign on the door read: PORTIA’S WANTED. Amy’s teacher had let her skip ahead to the third grade unit on contractions and possessives, but she remained uncertain whether the sign was a joke or just a typo.

Amy had not eaten in five days. She saw everything in greyscale, now, even the maps on Rick’s reader. She had searched frantically for news about her parents before the battery died. Both were in jail. No one said where. It was difficult to query further, with only one good hand. The jumps were harder, too. Well, the landings were the truly hard part. The index fingernail of her good hand popped off during a particularly nasty slide down a tree.

She did not see Rick and Melissa’s RV when she sprinted back down the access road. Javier was gone. His son had not woken up. He had not so much as moved. The fabric of Melissa’s old sweatshirt now pressed him against her body, silent and still as the bluescreens in the barrow.

2 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Birgerjohansson

     /  August 20, 2012

    I am wondering, when describing the androids, have you been inspired by some of the Eastern European authors, like Stanislaw Lem or Boris & Arkady Strugatsky? I ask because they were also standing out from the traditional manners of describing the inherent complications of the existence of AIs/robots.

    • Madeline

       /  August 20, 2012

      I can’t say as I was, unfortunately. But now I’m really intrigued!

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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