Write on Wednesday – Dissertation Excerpt

This started off as a writing exercise I set for myself, based on the form of Rant by Chuck Palahniuk. It consists of several short passages from a range of different characters, written as if the characters were speaking to an interviewer. None of these characters have names, but some have a short description above the passage (e.g. American, Police Officer, etc). I’m considering using this in my dissertation now to explain the events that are happening/have already happened outside of the small area that the main story will be focused in.  To try and briefly outline the story, the setting is in the future where ‘House-robots’ were commonplace among society. They followed commands set by their owners but their A.I. developed through time based on their experiences. At the time the story is set, the robots rebelled after the company that manufactured them was forced to recall all their robots. In Canada, the humans managed to control the situation to an extent. America was, for the most part, lost to the robots.

There’s some explicit language too.

Jake was our robot, but he was family. He was like a brother to me. Other families treated them as slaves and that was all their robots knew how to be. They were lifeless and submissive. We treated Jake with respect and welcomed him into our house. He learnt from us, and he changed because of this and now I can’t help but think, did we cause this? Did we make them who they are?

We never had a chance. ‘House’ robots knew the streets like the back of their phoney hands well before the recall happened, so when it did happen, they were already underground. The rural robots, they ran to the woods. The city robots? They dug in, and no one was getting rid of them. Trying to was our biggest mistake.

They went round looking for these robots to haul back in and they thought we were protecting them when we said we had no idea where they’d gone. Overnight, nearly an entire city’s worth of robots just up and vanished. You had police beating on people for no reason, trying to smash some truth out of you that you ain’t got. Only thing you manage to bleed out by doing that is lies.

Police Officer (American)
We got told about what was happening up north and we panicked, we thought we were gonna have an entire city fighting for the robots, so we had every right to fucking panic. We prepared for what we thought was the worse case scenario, and we got it wrong.

Radio/TV Emergency Broadcast
“…Ordered to stay indoors and do not leave for any reason, Martial law is currently in effect until the current problem is resolved. We will inform you when it is safe to leave your homes.”

I remember that night, waking up to gunfire and screaming. I never been in any war but I imagined it was like that. The ‘bots raided the police station and started rounding people up. The officers got chucked in the cells and they just set off, door to door. By morning it was a bloodbath, it was too late.

I was driving home from visiting my brother and when I start to get into the city I just couldn’t process it, I thought I was losing it. Families and kids all lined up in neat little fucking rows, up and down every street. Most people call that a nightmare, but nightmares aren’t that efficient.

Criminal (American)
They hit them all, all at the same time, all in force. You had groups of fifteen ‘bots holding up gun shops ‘cause they had the bodies to spare. You can do that job with four ‘bots, three at a push and they all knew that, we fucking taught them that. Sheer numbers and the timing left us without a prayer.

It was ran smoother than any military could have ever dreamed of. Imagine if you had an army that moved in time to the second? A surprise attack on the enemy is effective when you’re outnumbered, but when you outnumber your enemy three to one it almost seems like overkill.

Since most of the city were screaming and running, or dying, for so long, it look a few hours to realise this wasn’t just us, this was bigger. When you keep hearing another town, another city is in the same sinking ship as you then what’s the point in running?

Homeless Guy (American)
We all knew it was coming and we didn’t do a fucking thing, and if you meet someone who says they didn’t know I’ll shoot myself right now. Everyone saw what happened in Dansal on the news and you watched in your little homes with your safe families and thought ‘what a terrible thing’, we all lied to ourselves and said ‘we’re safe’. Every motherfucking-one of those people knew. Everyone who watched that young man die at the hands of that ‘bot fucking knew.

Current Police Officer/Chief (Canadian)
Canada didn’t have no where near the problems America did, and they hate us for it. We lit the fuse in Dansal and we lobbed the bomb over the border, that’s what they think. We had the riots and the fighting, we lost towns and the cities had a lot of casualties but that was a walk in the park. It’s quiet over the border now and we like it that way. Who knows how long it’ll last

Former Police Chief (Canadian)
Dansal was the worst hit in the North, no argument there. They lost entire cities though, millions of people just gone in no time at all. We had our own problems to deal with but way before things started to calm down here it went quiet over the border. If people want to try and drive down to find family we don’t stop them, but they never come back. The only positive I can wish for is that since we kept control here and the ‘bots hide, there’s still some folks down there hiding.


2 thoughts on “Write on Wednesday – Dissertation Excerpt

  1. First, I totally like it … it’s fast-paced, well-done. However, as an American I didn’t recognize the way we really talk. We speak like … well, how do I describe it? Linguistic shorthand? An American conversation, Ryan, from the point-of-view of an American member of the educated class (NEVER EVER say intelligentsia about America): “Yeah, okay, as usual.” “Un huh, check again.””Jesus, what’s it?” “Like I’d know.” “Wow, on the left, huh?” “Too big, she had ’em done.” Something like that. But I really do like it. Oh, by the way this is my new blog. I’m proud of myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very Wellsian. 🙂 I agree with the doc about the linguistic style…I picked up “native English speaker, non-American.” Honestly, though, the comments he listed as American…they must be from a different region. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Yeah, okay, as usual.” The last three comments, yes. The first three..like I said, maybe he’s from a different region. Regardless of linguistics…I like it! 🙂

    What’s your dissertation?


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