Just starting a short story this week. It’s for an interesting anthology on archaeology stories with a woman of color as the lead character. I let the idea stew for quite sometime. Then some decisions happened.
The first thing I decided, was the MC would be old, elderly by our standards.
Then she became a Mumbai native.
Lastly, I tossed the story into the near future. Not so far ahead that it’s unrecognizable, but far enough that the archeology work has a few interesting twists in it.
Okay, I lied. One more “lastly” – the secondary character is an eccentric first generation general artificial intelligence in a world run by third generation specialized AIs.
Here’s how it all starts (first draft so pardon the obvious warts):
“You’re ninety-three, Naanii. If the AI wants to interview you, why can’t it shunt in like a normal one would.”
“You mean like a second generation AI would.” Rani Naidu peered at her grandson through the steam rising from her tea.
“Or third generation.”
“Turing is a bit old-fashioned,” she said, emphasizing the AI’s preferred gender affectation. Not that she didn’t agree he was a bit daft for it, but there was only so much flak she was willing to take from her highly modern, highly stuck up grandson. She tapped her temple with her free hand. “Besides, someone of his caliber is too much for this to handle.”
Niraj got up from the table, swiping away her breakfast plate before she was quite sure she’d finished. “I told you I’d pay for an upgrade. Your neural implant is three generations too old, just like your AI.”
Rani clanked her teacup back in its saucer. “Yes yes, we’re all too old. Makes us a perfect match, doesn’t it?”
Niraj through up his hands. “I give up. Naanii-Bai was the only one who could ever get through to you anyway.”
Rani picked her tea cup back up for a final sip, congratulating herself for not breaking it instead. It had been three years since her wife had passed, three years of broken teacups, broken plates, and the occasional broken houseplant.