View Full Version : On Emulating God.

Ves'Ka Gan
09-15-2008, 08:45 PM
A small excerpt from a project I am working on...

The first time I visited Dr. Adams’ home, I was in such a state of nervousness I had neglected to notice the beautiful neo-Victorian construction. The house had a wide, white wooden wrap-around porch, and with the late summer sun setting behind it, it looked like the kind of place a person would sit on the porch swing, talking about the weather, drinking fresh lemonade. Maybe if we were on the East Coast, fireflies would be dancing in the hedges, and Glen Miller would playing on an antique Victrola just inside.

He seemed to know the image his home projected, and revel in it. He sat on the swing, a sweating scotch on the rocks in the hand that rested lightly on the wooden arm, dressed in what only the obscenely rich consider casual. His white linen shirt was slightly rumpled, but his loose khaki pants looked straight from the dry cleaner. He was humming to himself and looking out past where the porch railing bent around the side of the house, toward a clump of rocks with beach weeds growing through them.

He noticed me, and gestured for me to take a spot on a rocking chair that although, quite probably was relatively new, had an old, antiqued look to it. I obliged him.

“I thought we might conduct the first portion of our interview her on the porch, if that suits you, Ms. Avery. I believe the porch light should be enough for you to make notes”.

I agreed that the location seemed suitable enough. A gull cried out on the beach behind the house.

“Sometimes, I really enjoy just sitting here in the evening, it is such a comfortable place,” he sipped his scotch, “And aside from that, the demonstration I have prepared for you will have to take place in my lab, and, as it is in the basement, I thought we could enjoy as much fresh ocean air as possible before heading down.”

He spoke in a way that made me question whether the week of silence had truly been anger, or his preparation time for the show he was putting on now. He seemed collected and dignified in the way I remembered seeing in his big press conferences and television interviews. He toyed with the rim of his scotch glass, I would have said he looked thoughtful if it didn’t seem to fit so well with everything else he was putting together for my benefit.

“I am aware that a lot of people are under the impression that my work on the Holly is…petty? Although I don’t think that’s the right word. It unsettles them, and they don’t like it, so they dismiss it. Yes, that is more accurate, don’t you think?” He looked from the scotch glass to me.

I hesitated a moment, deciding that the question wasn’t rhetorical, “Yes, I think that is probably a fair assumption.”

He nodded in the manner I had grown accustomed to seeing college professors nod at students who were particularly good at regurgitating their beliefs and opinions back to them. “I think it is also safe, or fair, as you said, to assume that part of that reason is that they lack understanding on how important…how life changing, this project really is. They seem to have forgotten the child like wonder we all once felt when we believed that anything was truly possible. They see a man, a grieving man, creating an image of the woman he lost and they get lost in semantics and assumptions. They see a moral issue,” He said the last two words with a sort of refined distaste.

“They, being the general public, and some of my own peers, aren’t seeing the bigger picture. The joy this could bring, the happiness. In some ways, Holly is only the beginning, the light show I am able to put together using some of her genetic imprint and a lot of computer generated image is only the start. Someday, when the technology is discovered (and I think it will be, because I am working on it tirelessly), I think she can be…almost human”.

He paused thoughtfully and I took the opportunity to speak, “But, don’t you think that may be a big part of the reason so many people see this as a moral issue?”

He smiled as if he had anticipated the question, and was grateful I had asked it, “Is it morally wrong to wish to pay homage to those we love who are no longer with us? Is it a moral issue, Ms. Avery, when we watch home videos or leave flowers on a grave? Is it a question of morals when a person keeps a picture and a lock of hair in a locket around their neck? Because that is what my Holly is made from, pictures and a simple lock of hair. I chose to set the image free rather than keep it tucked away in a locket, is that so much different?”

I shook my head and scribbled in my notebook, praying I had enough room on my recorder to capture the length of what he had planned.

“Of course not. We worship our ancestors in much the same manner as the ancient societies did, we just do it in slightly different ways. This project is not designed to clone the dead, Ms. Avery, it is not meant to draw their souls from wherever one may believe the souls of the dead go. That is superstition, and I am no shaman, I am a scientist.” He took a deep breath, seeming to savor the outside air, and breathed out slowly.

He waited patiently as I jotted things in my notebook. “And there’s the other thing,” he said.

“The other thing?” I asked.

“I am a scientist. I still have the desire, the sense of possibility, the wonderment that got me into the research and development in the first place. I still want to see how far I can go, I still want to use the knowledge and ability I have to create things we never thought possible. Tell me, Ms. Avery, do you think your parents ever imagined cellular phones? That your grandparents could have wrapped their imaginations around something like the internet? Color television was a source of wonderment for our grandparents, and now, instead of Walter Cronkite in Technicolor, we have the entire world’s worth of information at our fingertips with the click of the mouse! I am sure if you described something like that to a group of conservative people in the 1940s a good many of them would see it as a moral issue. New technology almost always has resistance. Those of us who do not, or cannot create the new thing always feel a sense of dread at it. How can that person do that?, we think, how is it possible for that one person to have so much power? And of course, whenever someone has more power than we do, it scares us. It makes us feel small. And do you know what happens when human beings get scared? When they feel small?”

Although I was taken aback by his apparent God-Complex, and his assumption that he completely understood the human condition, I told him I did not.

“We forget to be surprised. We forget to feel wonder and amazement. We trap ourselves with fear, we make excuses for feeling that way, we say it is immoral, or disgusting, or wrong” his voice was full of passion and emotion, it was hard not to feel empathy, even wonder, when listening to him speak, “I’m not trying to bring back the dead, Ms. Avery, I am just trying to honor those we have lost, and fill the world with wonder and joy at the very idea, the possibility, that those we love need not amount to nothing more than a photograph once they have left this world”.

I looked down at my notes and suddenly felt guilt at the words “megalomaniac”, “God-complex” and “presumptuous” written in my hand writing.

09-15-2008, 10:48 PM
When you say "a project", do you mean a novel, or a story, or something else? (the bear's got to put it on the Index under something)

Ves'Ka Gan
09-16-2008, 11:54 AM
I suppose it is a novel--we'll see how long it ends up being, but that's the goal! Sorry, Jean!

09-16-2008, 11:34 PM
a novel is wonderful!


::waits for more::

01-16-2009, 02:24 PM
great stuff here. Very descriptive, intriguing, and lends the reader much room for pondering the rest of it. Two thumbs up from me! Keep it coming, please and thankee.

01-21-2009, 07:45 AM
Very interesting. I'd love to read more.

01-21-2009, 11:14 AM
This is extremely well-written. Makes me want to know what happens next. Excellent. I hope you post more. :D

Ves'Ka Gan
01-22-2009, 04:02 PM
Wow! Thank you all so much for the feedback! I've sadly left this project on the back burner for awhile now, but I think I may just have to put it to boil again.