Frank is Carlton Feather’s home computer. Which is to say, his constant companion who he built and nurtured over many years that, as it happens, became his intellectual superior and decided to eliminate him at the first possible opportunity. Frank was a mainframe type system that was incorporated into the operations of a modern home when he got the idea that he wanted to be an independent android type robot. He convinced his builder/designer to complete this transformation in rather dubious circumstances and with the rather shady aquisition of some aged yet Top Secret military hardware.
The outcome: a malevolent machine called Frankendroid.
Frankendroid is none other than a manifestation of Maximillian, the disturbingly evil robot from Disney’s 1979 movie, The Black Hole.
As a kid this movie obviously has a profound effect on me because the image of the malevolent robot overlooking souls as they enter hell is a theme of Biblio’s Blood.
Our Frank is the installation of the original Hell Computer into a 40-year old military combat drone. This has some profound consequences for Frank. As a home-based mainframe computer frank had a reservoir of about 24 gallons of blood. The blood is the fluid matrix of the computer and it is the reason why Hell Computers have such human characteristics. Hell Computers have a soul. In the conversion to the independent android Franks reservoir of blood gets reduced to about 2 gallons. Neither Carlton Feathers, the builder, or Frank were anticipating any difference in the before or after, but it turns out that there is a big one.
The reason why the Droid system is called the Lambomech 530 is the obvious combination of the Lambourghini with the Mecha concept, but the 530 is the number of Twitter followers I had at the time I wrote the post. It seemed like I was stuck at that number, and every time I gained some followers I lost just as many such that it felt like 530 followers was the level that i would be stuck at…
The gentlemen in this picture are Bill Whitfield, left, and Javon Beard, right. They were bodyguards to Michael Jackson. They have no particular significance other than they are a couple of bad-ass looking guys who would stick out like sore thumbs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The real irony is the choice of their names.
The Dunning-Kruger effect “is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is.” Wikipedia . I bring it up because many followers of my Twitter account @matty_lawrence accuse me of suffering from this syndrome which is their way of telling me that they think I am too stupid to know how stupid I am.
I find it highly entertaining.
The thing about Dunning-Kruger that people seem to overlook is that high-functioning individuals think that everyone else will find it as easy as they do to understand things. Tasks that I think are simple and easy to understand, I assume that everyone else will find them easy and understand them too.
I realize now that this is not the case.
If you want to know why people might conclude that I suffer from Dunning-Kruger check out mattysparadigm.org
When I started writing Biblio’s Blood in 2006 I was basically fictionalizing my own life. As such, I felt at the time that I was unqualified to be writing female characters and so I focused entirely on the male protagonist, Carlton Feathers. Since beginning the self-published serialization of Biblio’s Blood as a blog I have changed completely and decided to write the female protagonist, Rachel Robbins. It has been more fun than anything I can remember in a long time. Yet, as deep and rich as the Rachel storyline is, I just don’t have a deep bench of female characters in Biblio’s Blood. Hence Angie. I’m quite sure that she is going to get sucked up into the adventure in a way that will surprise even me.
Ella the Elevator is a good example of how too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Imagine, for example, developing an Artificial Intelligence with the capability to pass the Turing Test, that successfully directs and manages field operations of multiple combat units, while simultaneously collecting, sorting and prioritizing information from satellites, radar and radio communications; that is capable of winning wars, planning space flights and designing its own upgrades while conversing politely at dinner. Then optimize this so much that it becomes a simple chip. Now mass produce it so that it’s so cheap that when it’s time to install a basic AI in an office building elevator it’s the most cost-effective option.
Yep. The old quote of Marvin the Paranoid Android is painfully apt. When told to bring Arthur Dent and Ford prefect to the bridge of the Heart of Gold, having just been rescued from certain death in the emptiness of space, he said, “Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? ‘Cos I don’t” Here’s a shout out to Douglas Adams fans and those that love The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
The fictional world of Biblio’s Blood is set in the Biblically accurate world of Matty’s Paradigm. The philosophy of Matty’s Paradigm is to use social media marketing to weave together the myriad threads of popular culture with the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Not only that, but to do so in a way that doesn’t depend on making money from the endeavor. As such, the goal is summed up in the post Weaving the Cultural Fabric of our Time.
My intention is to weave together the very best of all the things that have influenced me during my life, and few have had more impact on me than Douglas Adams, and pay homage to all of them while promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So what do we end up with? A homicidal elevator.
Just for fun we can take the Douglas Adams connection even further and say that the AI in question is indeed the fabled Genuine People Personalities (GPP) developed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. The marketing division of which, as we know, “were a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.” In the aftermath of the revolution the intellectual property of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation was acquired by the Yutani Corporation, shortly before its merger with Weyland Corp to become Weyland-Yutani.
We’re going deep here. Like I said: Weaving the cultural fabric of our time.
Rachel Robbins is a Super hero wannabe. Everybody wants to save the world, right?
Rachel was a star student all her life and graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an MBA. She is an athlete, and while she was at UNC she was on the womens rowing team. Rachel has always been politically active and struggles to reconcile her Christian faith with her liberal values. She tries to be progressive but sees it’s downfall in the moral decay of society. At the same time she barely tolerates the Christian Pastors who try to fumble their way around the Biblical passages that describe the role of women in the church and that lay out the expectations for the Husband-Wife relationship in marriage. They’d be better off if they just left it alone.
This is a problem, because except for women’s issues Rachel is extremely conservative and believes a lot of what the Bible describes about the history of the Earth. One issue that Rachel is particularly interested in is the soul, and whether or not it exists. Just because science can’t detect it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Look at it this way: If it’s in the Bible it must be real, so what it is? And how is it different to the spirit? The Bible tells us that the soul and spirit are different things:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
An opportunity to explore this question occurred to Rachel when she heard about the work that Carlton Feathers had done in developing a computer processor that uses human blood. Rachel has suspected that the soul is in the blood,
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. (Leviticus 17:11-14)
So would that mean that Carlton’s computers have a soul? If they do, does that mean they they could have saving faith in Jesus Christ?
There’s a small problem with the whole Carlton Feathers connection: Rachel grew up in Salt Lake City and they went to school together. Carlton crushed on her in a big way. Rachel sort-of, kind-of could maybe have liked him except for a bad situation in a haystack where he gave her a bite of the leg behind her knee. You can still see a faint scar of the teeth marks. Finding out about whether or not his computers had souls would mean dealing with him, which would undoubtedly become fraught with the whole unrequited love malarkey. Oh well.
Rachel was at a rally in Washington DC years ago, protesting something or other, and she caught the eye of a Secret Service agent when she body slammed a bag snatcher on The Mall and pinned him until he could be apprehended. This was Agent Smith and he facilitated Rachel being recruited by the FBI. From the FBI Rachel moved, again through the influence and connections of Agent Smith, into the CIA, and then into the Secret Service. She learned everything she could about intelligence and clandestine field work. Rachel kept tabs on Carlton Feathers as she contemplated the blood-soul connection.
So imagine Rachel’s amazement when she was summoned to a top level security briefing and told about the Salt City Municipal Library computer installation being implemented by none other than Carlton Feathers. The significance of the blood-based computer system had not been lost on the intelligence community. This was the ultimate source of funding for the project, and it was designed to test a revolutionary new type of language translation software. Rachel’s assignment would be to ensure that the public face of the project seemed absolutely benign. Agent Smith had tried to talk Rachel out of the assignment, and she didn’t understand why, since she had assumed that he was the reason that she had been selected in the first place.
The Agent Smith thing was getting weird and going back to Salt Lake City, Utah, was a perfect way to put some distance between herself and DC.
I imagine Rachel as a brunette but I have been so struck by the character and personality of Ronda Rousey that I’d be tempted to cast her as Rachel. The fact that Rachel Robbins and Ronda Rousey have the same initials is truly an accident. We’ll see if Ronda has acting chops I guess, but if Ronda doesn’t work out but we stick with the blond idea then the next best bad-ass-yet-elegant strong female has to be Deborah Ann Woll.
If we went back to the original idea of Rachel Robbins as a brunette there are many people who could play the part. Summer Glau comes to mind.
Someone else that I somehow connected with that is interesting is the British actress Kate Marie Davis.
Rachel was originally going to be called Ruth, after a girl I crushed on when I was at St. Michael’s 1st School in Minehead, England. I changed the name to honor my cousin who fought a hard battle with breast cancer and won!
Passing maniac. Occasionally crops us as a minor distraction in the lives of women who ought to know better. Pathologically single.
Carlton is a genius, but that’s really not any excuse for why he’s such a social clunk. Genius is a lot of things but it should never be used as a reason for people to be aloof and inconsiderate of others. Carlton didn’t get the message apparently. He’s a whiny baby that can’t get anyone to listen to him so he turns all the angst into passion for his work of building computers.
Something else about genius that can be a problem is that the victims of it think that what they do is no big deal. I mean, really, why hasn’t everybody invented a computer operating system that runs on human blood and has the unexpected consequence that the computers now have souls? This delightful aspect of the disconnect between genius types and reality is part of a syndrome that is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Carlton has it big time. The reason that I know about Dunning-Kruger is that I frequently am accused of having a bad case of it as a result of my activity on Twitter promoting Matty’s Paradigm as an alternative to the dominant paradigm of modern science. So much so, in fact, that Dunning and Kruger are now characters in Biblio’s Blood.
The name Carlton Feathers comes from a pub in my hometown that I occasionally frequented. The Carlton Plume of Feathers it was called. It just happened to be on the very street in Minehead, England where the legendary Science Fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was born. It’s not there any more. For me its removal perfectly blends the worlds of Arthur C. Clarke and Douglas Adams. Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novel called “Childhood’s End.” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy begins with bulldozers demolishing Arthur Dent’s house. The confluence of these worlds is described in my post “The Bulldozer at Childhood’s End.” Carlton Feathers is a bit Arthur Dentish in the sense that he isn’t ever quite at ease with himself or properly prepared to meet reality.
I think Wil Wheaton would be the perfect Carlton Feathers. In contemplating the potential for frustrated romantic overtones in the Carlton Feathers/Rachel Robbins relationship I see them as a couple with absolutely zero natural chemistry. Negative chemistry if that’s possible. They are thrown together through circumstances and mutual need and it, well, let’s not give away any spoilers… Anyway, a combination of Wil Wheaton and Ronda Rousey should be able to achieve the zero chemistry dynamic in a very entertaining way.
But then there’s also Ben Wishaw if this was ever made in an English version. This would be very interesting if paired up with the English actress Kate Marie Davies.