Monsters – Bekka Black
For me, Halloween is about letting my inner monsters out to play. But not just for Halloween. Since I’m a horror writer, my inner monsters get a lot of play time all year round. A few years ago, I spent a lot of time playing with Dracula, and iDrakula was born. This year, I’ve been hanging out with Frankenstein, known as the Creature in Mary Shelley’s classic. That obsession led to my latest book—iFrankenstein.
I created my own Creature. I named him Virtual Victor or V.V for short. He’s an online chatbot, like the one on Jeopardy or Alice (link:http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/...5d922d97e345aa1) or Virtual Captain Kirk (link: http://www.chatbots.org/chat_bot/captain_kirk/). You ask a chatbot questions and its answers them. Sometimes, they can even argue with each other (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIRg93qa7Gw).
To be honest, I didn’t create V.V—Victor Frankenstein did. He’s a homeschooled computer whiz who builds V.V from the data from his own online identity. He’s spent most of his time online and not IRL, so there’s a lot of data on the Internet about him. Enough, he thinks, to create another being.
That’s when it starts to get scary, because V.V quick grows out of control. Monsters get released when we play with forces beyond our control. And what’s more out of control than the Internet? We all have Internet presences. They might not be as developed as Victor’s, but they are there and ripe for the plucking.
The book got me to thinking: what if someone compiled all the information about you on the Internet and made it into a virtual human, like V.V? What would that creature look like? It would know all the secrets you’ve confided in emails, in texts, the good and bad reviews you’ve posted, everything you’ve ever bought. Even scarier, it would know your credit card number, your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet. What could it do with that information?
Would it use the information to send you the movies and books you will really love and always remember to wish you a happy birthday? Maybe, if it weren’t a monster. But what if it were? If it knows your likes, it knows your dislikes. If it knows your friends, it knows how to make them your enemies. If it knows your credit card numbers and security information, it can buy anything and you will have to pay for it. In whatever form it wants.
Sometimes, we fear what we don’t understand. Other times, we fear what we do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After a childhood often spent without electricy and running water, Bekka escaped the beautiful wilderness of Talkeetna, Alaska for indoor plumbing and 24/7 electricity in Berlin, Germany. Used to the cushy lifestyle, she discovered the Internet in college and has been wasting time on it ever since (when not frittering away her time on her iPhone). Somehow, she manages to write novels, including the award-winning Hannah Vogel mystery series set, in all places, 1930s Berlin, and The Blood Gospel series (with James Rollins).
She lives in Berlin with her husband, son, two cats, and too many geckoes to count. iDrakula is her first cell phone novel.
"IFRANKENSTEIN" BY BEKKA BLACK
Frankenstein comes to life for the wired generation.
Following her critically-acclaimed iDrakula, award-winning author Bekka Black breathes life into a modern re-telling of iFrankenstein, using only text messages, web browsers, tweets, and emails.
Homeschooled teenager Victor Frankenstein is determined to write his own ticket to independence: a chatbot to win the prestigious Turing prize and admission to the high tech university of his choice. He codes his creation with a self-extending version of his own online personality and unleashes it upon the internet. But soon he begins to suspect his virtual clone may have developed its own goals, and they are not aligned with Victor’s. The creature has its own plan, fed by a growing desire to win darker and more precious prizes: unfettered power and release from loneliness.
As the creature’s power and sentience grows and its increasingly terrible deeds bleed over from the online world into the real one, Victor must stop his creation before his friends and humanity pay the ultimate price.