Anna, part 1

It was a beautiful overcast day in downtown Berkeley. Alec was sitting in his usual spot at Strada, typing away obliviously. It was always packed this time of day, and he liked to get lost in the crowd. The noise, the random human energy, the more hubbub the easier it was to focus.

Right now he was debugging a particularly tricky little piece of code. He’d whittled it down to three lines, but something still wasn’t quite right. As he stared intently into the screen, his right hand absently reached out and picked up the mug of coffee. He mused idly, with some part of his brain, “How does my hand know exactly where the mug is?” Surely there had to be some sort of distributed intelligence at work here.

But was it really fair to call it distributed, if only one brain was involved? Maybe Minsky was right. Maybe this whole idea of “one brain” is just an illusion. Or maybe not. He was of two minds on the subject.

Something caught his eye in the corner of the screen, and he quickly put down the coffee mug. Just a short text message, but it was enough to get all his attention. Right now, he thought, however many minds might be in his head, they were all focused on the same thing. Something big. He read the message one last time before closing his computer.

“Anna is on-line.”

2 Responses to “Anna, part 1”

  1. CC says:

    Ah, another NaNoWriMo is upon us. Cool that this guy Alec’s a programmer. I don’t know if I’ve actually read any books where a main character writes software. Certainly not any written by somebody else who does. From this small segment, it looks like you’re doing a pretty good job talking about real programming and still keeping it accessible.

    Those of us who program have all been there, staring at a handful of lines of code and wondering how in the world they’re not doing what they “should be.” And yet, I think (could be wrong, since I don’t really have the other perspective) that a non-coder can definitely get the idea of what Alec is dealing with.

    It’s funny, I like to read fiction, and I like to program. Yet these two worlds have just been mutually exclusive (with the exception of Hollywood-informed “hacker” characters…). Alec represents an intersection with programming and novels. All that said, I don’t know if Alec’s coding is gonna be any large part of the story, or if his hobby is incidental. But given your universal programming literacy ideas, I wonder if this novel will be an exploration of that.

    Normally the only mysteries in a novel are the ones existing in the novel’s world. But with this novel, the very genre is a mystery so far! I guess one could get the same effect from going to a used book store, finding an unorganized shelf, picking a book entirely at random, and reading nothing on the covers, just the actual book itself. And, it wouldn’t take a whole month either, ’cause the book is already written. I might do that one day… Happy NaNoWriMo!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks! I hope you like it. :-)

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