View Full Version : Renasci Ex Machina

February 23rd, 2013, 06:11 AM
(Any feedback and criticism is greatly appreciated!)

Electricity thrummed steadily through the machines that filled the room. Dr. James Northrom didn't hear it anymore, having worked so long there. The laboratory. His working chamber. The place of his wife's imminent rebirth. The place was cold, sterile, and yet all at once warm and alive: the walls, floor, counters and ceiling were all composed of hard titanium, while the computer consoles and cabinets all radiated a reassuring glow. One port side window allowed a view out into space. That crushing black emptiness surrounded James' science vessel, and had surrounded his heart for too long: tonight, the burning, beautiful life of the stars themselves would at long last be his. It would be Amabel's.

Amabel. Her lifeless body lay as bare and beautiful as a frost-felled flower. Behind the glass and in the translucent fluid of the vertical preservation tube, her vibrant red hair still flowed over her shoulders onto her small, round breasts. Her skin was fair as ever, and then a bit more pale than usual, the preservation not being perfect enough to maintain the faint pink life of her face. Her eyelids lay closed, and her delicate arms limp at her sides. Amabel. Disease, faith, and failure had slain her, all those years ago...today, technology, love, and will would save her. James touched one hand to the glass, and whispered: “See you soon, my darling” as he smiled, the first time he'd smiled in his wife's presence in...well, too long. She'd been dead too long.

With a grin upon his face, James turned now to the other, identically-sized and situated tube that occupied the laboratory. It contained an identical, lovely and pale young woman. This one was lifeless too, but only temporarily. Her skin was formed of a complex, nickel-reinforced polymer, her heart an electrical pump, and her brain of nano-scale circuit chips: it could all be upgraded, made more durable and more life-like but for now, it truly would be Amabel in the flesh, just as soon as her mind was ready. The bundle of wires that would implant that mind ran from the back of her neck down to the base of the tube in which she floated.

James looked at the standing console to his left: the hard drives connected to it held all of his beloved wife's audio and video recordings, and written and typed journal entries and letters. Added to it, he himself had collected all relevant data of his own, and everything from his friends, Amabel's friends, her family, his family. All the memories and data that made a person, a person. Using that, James had spent years working with his brother and other fellow scientists and programmers in reconstructing Amabel, in the mind. She wasn't awake yet. That awakening, that rebirth after her 20 years' sleep, her 20 years' death, had waited until tonight, when her beautiful mind would reunite with a new and beautiful body.

James tapped the console screen, bringing up the download program. A high-capacity bundle of fiber-optic cables already ran from the computer banks to the tube which held the new body. James, after taking and releasing a deep breath, pressed his index finger to the “Initiate” icon. The thrum of electrical circuitry instantly grew louder and higher. James' grin grew wider, and he rubbed his gloved hands together a bit. The “robot's” tube moved itself by hydraulic lifts to a horizontal position. The thick translucent fluid began to drain from the new body's tube, bubbles flowing rapidly upwards in the process. All the while, blue lights flickered along the download cables. After almost a minute, but what felt like a year, the maintenance fluid was gone, and the nude, replicated Amabel lay pure and damp, clear to the eyes as a new day. The cable in her neck disconnected itself and slithered away, and the hole there sealed up.

James paused. In a brief moment, a terrifying chill rose up from his feet through to his face: could his work, his loving, dedicated quest, have failed? He steeled himself, and approached the tube (bed now?) that held his lover's new body, and, he assured himself, her mind. “Amabel...?” James breathed, anticipation rich in his voice. The woman's eyelids opened. Her beautiful, flawless, green eyes showed, moving about wildly now, but moving, and oh how real, how alive! “Amabel!” James cried ecstatically. He leaned over his wife, so she could see his face. Her eyes stopped on his face. Her facial expressions began now: bewilderment, fear, wonder, and finally, contentment. Her eyes smiled, and her lips and teeth followed. (Her lips and teeth, and her whole face, so fresh and new!) “J-J-...James.” she cautiously sighed, her eyes flickering with recognition. “Yes Amabel, my love, it's me!” His heart exploded with joy, all at once he grabbed hold of her slightly-slimy, warm left hand, and moved in for a long-awaited kiss: she met him halfway up, grabbing hold of his head with her right hand. The long-separated lovers held that kiss, that beautiful, perfect, anticipated, overdue kiss, until they both ran out of breath, and then, they did it again.

Renasci Ex Machina.

February 23rd, 2013, 03:39 PM
I was expecting a bit of a Frankenstein moment to be honest.

I can also see where there's be gaps in the personality and mentality of the robot-replica of Amabel. No one can truly know how another person thinks; the memories of another person do not make up the mind and emotions of another.

I'm also curious about Amabel's reaction to James. She recognizes him instantly? Was she programmed to do so? If it were a true reawakening she would have been confused about his aging.

I think this could be expanded into something a little longer. There's a lot of potential here. Your writing is clear and precise with few to no spelling and grammar issues.

February 23rd, 2013, 04:53 PM
Yes, I meant this as a response to the common trope that those seeking immortality or resurrection in the here and now are evil. I want to show how beautiful such a project and moment can be. What originally inspired me was Mr. Freeze and his wife Nora, from Batman: I always found that story so tragic, and wished Freeze could save her, and what that would be like. And then, Bride of Frankenstein entered my mind as well, and I wanted to turn that kind of vision and scientific drive into something positive and life-affirming.

Thank you for the critiques: indeed, I don't think the replica would be perfect in personality either, that is something I would expand upon if I turn this into a longer story, but, I thought this happy reunion still made sense. Regarding whether or not she'd recognize him: good point, I will have to address that...as I was writing, I was balancing between giving interesting and relevant explanation of the basic science information, and then not cluttering it up with too much explanation that slowed down the scene. I will think about that whole ageing issue, and reckon I will turn it into something longer. Thank you so much for the praise. :)

Wee Red Bird
March 11th, 2013, 09:48 PM
It did have that Frankenstein feel at the very start, which isn't that far away.

Generating a personality from someone's writings and recordings has been done before. Though it was quite by accident in Caprica, (Battlestar Galactica prequel) to create an accurate copy of a dead daughter, and in Star Trek which got the woman's personality completely wrong (Dr. Leah Brahms).

Like one of the many tools of science fiction, you can make these things work with a bit of hand waving, or you can make them go wrong if you need them to.

If you did make it into something longer, he'd better start work on his own body before she wants a younger partner herself, or he gets accidentally squished in an over enthusiastic hug.

March 20th, 2013, 05:53 PM
I'm confused. Did any transference occur between old Amabel and the new? Or was he just keeping the old Amabel as a memento/reference for creating the new one?

Also, what's the significance of the title?

I was totally expecting the reincarnated Amabel to go haywire and throttle the scientist and I'm glad you stayed away from that trope. I wish there had been a little more depth to the science. I realize its made up, but simply dancing over all these fancy terms and then having him push a button makes the technology aspect feel obligatory rather than being a core element of the story. I guess what I'm trying to say is the story would work better for me if the reader didn't come into it right at the apex, but instead got to follow James and see some of the challenges he overcame to reach this point.

March 20th, 2013, 06:28 PM
what if there was complications during the actual initiation? so he was made to compensate for machines failing. maybe making her flawed in someway. something like a darkside stirring for later on.
an error in her software after the transfer.

but i too was waiting for her to go haywire, just while they kiss, she rings hes neck, or something. glad you didnt spoil their somewhat long awaiting to get back together.

Red Heron
March 20th, 2013, 09:37 PM
I like your positive twist on the trope, it was a pleasant surprise. This has a lot of potential for expansion, either building it up, or following their romance out.

March 25th, 2013, 04:52 PM
Your writing style very much suits the theme of the story; short and concise. But what I don't get is his reason to keep her old body. He couldn't force himself to bury her?
Do continue. I wonder how you would create a secondary plot from this. Very interesting.

April 7th, 2013, 04:16 PM
I can tell by reading this that you have been writing for a while. I liked your switching from short to long sentences in the first paragraph, showing your command of tone. I was also reminded right away of Mr. Freeze and his wife. Some seem to have been reminded of Frankenstein, which I worry may come across as unintentionally comical. I would take advantage of this: have the very same thing go through James's mind--- that he is torn by the perceived silliness of it all.

I would also do some emphasizing on the moment where Amabel recognizes James. Not only is this thing alive, but has made the connection. It can be done in a very beautiful, at the same time very disturbing way (unless of course it is your intention to only be beautiful, which I would also support).

Keep it up. Very interested to see where you go with it.

April 25th, 2013, 08:12 AM
The beginning reminded me instantly of Frankenstein, but I'd be pleased with that comparison. Frankenstein is actually quite sad and the doctors motives aren't dissimilar to Northroms; just more scientific as opposed to love. I really liked it!

April 25th, 2013, 08:41 PM
I enjoyed the story, but also expected some type of "download" from the actual body held in (stasis?) or why have her there unless it was for motivational reasons. Well written

April 26th, 2013, 03:22 AM
I loved the story, it was beautiful. I don't need deep science to be immersed into the story, all ya gatta say is "fiber optics" and ill believe you. In the continued parallels to Frankenstein, Shelley never gave any concretes of the process of reanimation. I found it interesting that James had both the old and new Amabale. Perhaps if you were to continue the story that element could be used to some degree.I am not sure if this was intentional, but you used alot of semi-colons and that sort of created a rhythm for me that worked towards feeling "scientific", I guess.