Archive for the ‘Neurofiction’ Category

Melville’s Neurophilosophy

Monday, April 27th, 2009



Moby-Dick or, The Whale.

“Moreover, while in most other animals that I can now think of, the eyes are so planted as imperceptibly to blend their visual power, so as to produce one picture and not two to the brain; the peculiar position of the whale’s eyes, effectually divided as they are by many cubic feet of solid head, which towers between them like a great mountain separating two lakes in valleys; this, of course, must wholly separate the impressions which each independent organ imparts. The whale, therefore, must see one distinct picture on this side, and another distinct picture on that side; while all between must be profound darkness and nothingness to him. Man may, in effect, be said to look out on the world from a sentry-box with two joined sashes for his window. But with the whale, these two sashes are separately inserted, making two distinct windows, but sadly impairing the view.”

–Herman Melville Moby-Dick, ch 74

Finite Will and Infinite Will

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Gualtiero Piccinini @ Brains calls attention to this NYT article on finite will: “Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind“. Excerpt:

No one knows why willpower can grow with practice but it must reflect some biological change in the brain. Perhaps neurons in the frontal cortex, which is responsible for planning behavior, or in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with cognitive control, use blood sugar more efficiently after repeated challenges. Or maybe one of the chemical messengers that neurons use to communicate with one another is produced in larger quantities after it has been used up repeatedly, thereby improving the brain’s willpower capacity.

Here’s a little bit of fiction I wrote a few years ago about infinite will: “Desire Magnitudes“. Excerpt:

I tear open my package, and, as is typical for ET merchandise, the accompanying literature is indecipherable trash. Fuck it. I pop a pill and wash it down with some hot sludge. I’m not real sure what to expect, but I’m figuring on an ingestible analogue to my previous surgery. I’m figuring nanobots are going to modify my frontal lobes allowing for the simulation of an indefinite number of ersatz consciousnesses to deal with an indefinite number of annoying distractions. Wrong answer, dude. That is not what this pill does to me at all. Just a few seconds after swallowing, the pill establishes various interfaces with my brain, and I know my way around my cerebrum well enough to know what’s what. The first interface established between the nanoprocessors and my brain is through the visual areas of occipital cortex. A translucent blue rectangle pops into my field of view. White alphanumerics scroll from top to bottom. It’s extraterrestrial at first, but as the pill coordinates the visual processing with the semantic association networks in my left temporal cortex, the text writhes into recognizable English:

WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?

Neurofiction Links

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Some Neurofiction @ My Mind on Books [link]

Four Fictional Odysseys Through Life with a Disordered Brain [link]

Hippocampe [link]

Anti-Mind, pt 1 of 2

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006


åņŧį-mįņd

Originally uploaded by Pete Mandik.

Excerpts from Bruce Sterling’s Swarm

“You are a young race and lay great stock by your own cleverness, ” Swarm said. “As usual, you fail to see that intelligence is not a survival trait.”

Afriel wiped sweat from his face. “We’ve done well,” he said. “We came to you, and peacefully. You didn’t come to us.”

“I refer to exactly that,” Swarm said urbanely. “This urge to expand, to explore, to develop, is just what will make you extinct. You naively suppose that you can continue to feed your curiosity indefinitely. It is an old story, pursued by countless races before you. Within a thousand years—perhaps a little longer…your species will vanish.”

[…]

“Intelligence is very much a two-edged sword, Captain-Doctor. It is useful only up to a point. It interferes with the business of living. Life, and intelligence, do not mix very well. They are not at all closely related, as you childishly assume.”

“But you, then—you are a rational being—”

“I am a tool, as I said.” […] “When you began your pheromonal experiments, the chemical imbalance became apparent to the Queen. It triggered certain genetic patterns within her body, and I was reborn. Chemical sabotage is a problem that can best be dealt with by intelligence. I am a brain replete, you see, specially designed to be far more intelligent than any young race. Within three days I was fully self-conscious. Within five days I had deciphered these markings on my body. They are the genetically encoded history of my race…within five days and two hours I recognized the problem at hand and knew what to do. I am now doing it. I am six days old.”

[…]

“Technology, though I am capable of it, is painful to me. I am a genetic artifact; there are fail-safes within me that prevent me from taking over the Nest for my own uses. That would mean falling into the same trap of progress as other intelligent races.”


Four Neurofictions

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Neurologist Todd E. Feinberg reviews some neuroficiton in Four Fictional Odysseys Through Life With a Disordered Brain

Infinite Will 5.2. Desire Magnitudes

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

Infinite Will
Episode 5 of 5
Infinite Will Pills

5.2. Desire Magnitudes

The first time I had Infinite Will Power it was decidedly not through the use of Infinite Will Pills. I spent some serious cash for some serious neurosurgery. However, my sweet sweet surgery was forcibly reversed and now I’m seriously missing that ol’ indefatigable inner oomph. I’m a desperate man. I’ve got work to do. Usually, ACREs (=Auto-Cerebral Re-Engineers) like me prefer surgery to pills. Especially when the pills in question employ nootropic nanotech. Doubly especially when said nanotech is extra-terrestrial. But since I’ve been diggin’ big-time on the Time Travel Pills, my attitude has changed a bit. And like I said: Desperate. Work.

I toe-touch the power stud on my ShoeComputers and start toe-typing my order for some Infinite Will Pills over the SpaceInternet. I’m typing while walking and in the time it takes to recapitulate my daily stroll from 8th ave to 5th, my order has been placed, filled, and delivered. The bike courier flashes me a shitty look for my shitty tip. Whatever, dude. I’ve got my Infinite Will Pills.

I duck into Queequegs’. It’s vacant except for the lone barista who disappears into the back after giving me my espresso. Good for her. And as we shall soon see: Good for her and me both.

I tear open my package, and, as is typical for ET merchandise, the accompanying literature is indecipherable trash. Fuck it. I pop a pill and wash it down with some hot sludge. I’m not real sure what to expect, but I’m figuring on an ingestible analogue to my previous surgery. I’m figuring nanobots are going to modify my frontal lobes allowing for the simulation of an indefinite number of ersatz consciousnesses to deal with an indefinite number of annoying distractions. Wrong answer, dude. That is not what this pill does to me at all. Just a few seconds after swallowing, the pill establishes various interfaces with my brain, and I know my way around my cerebrum well enough to know what’s what. The first interface established between the nanoprocessors and my brain is through the visual areas of occipital cortex. A translucent blue rectangle pops into my field of view. White alphanumerics scroll from top to bottom. It’s extraterrestrial at first, but as the pill coordinates the visual processing with the semantic association networks in my left temporal cortex, the text writhes into recognizable English:

WHAT DO YOU DESIRE?

I’ve got no fucking idea why it’s IN ALL CAPS but I instinctively answer the question with the first thing that comes to mind: sex. And just as the thought passes through my awareness, the white alphanumerics spell ‘SEX’ right under the question. Ok, then. Now what? The blue rectangle wipes blank and a new question appears. Again, the text starts off extraterrestrial, but it does the hot-fumes squirmy-wriggle dance and morphs into recognizable capitalized English. Another question:

HOW MUCH DO YOU DESIRE IT?

Again, without much thought an answer passes through my mind and is immediately translated into white text on the hovering blue screen:

100%

It takes only a couple of heartbeats for the requisite connections to be established in my limbic system and I am then overwhelmed by an incredible lust. I’m choking on my own hot breath. I must fuck. My knuckles go white as I grip the edges of the table and my vision goes black as I start grinding my crotch on the table’s edge. This table is the first thing I’ve laid eyes on since my UltraLust kicked in and it has become the sexiest fucking table in the entire history of fuckable furniture.

My memory after this point is pretty trashed and I really only know what happens next because I get to watch the surveillance video later. I’m hunched over the table with my teeth clenched making this bellowing scream/growl as flecks of spit spray out. My pelvic thrusting is so forceful that only a few thrusts break it (the table) in half like a pornographic Kung-Fu demonstration. My lust is nowhere near sated and I move on to fuck the next piece of furniture. After only few thrusts into the back of a chair it explodes into splinters like a prop in a bar-room brawl scene. There are a few more tables and chairs. I fuck each one of them in turn. Each one explodes into sticks and sawdust with just a few thrusts before I turn to fuck the next one.

The barista is still in the back and catches a glimpse of my insane actions on the serveillance monitor. She locks the back-room door and calls the cops. I’m dimly aware of the sound of sirens over the sound of my own exertions. Squad cars squeal to a halt. Officers burst into Queequeg’s with their nonlethal glue-guns drawn. More like glue-bazookas, actually. They hose me down with thick white streams of congealing restraining adhesive. Although I’m so horny as to be retarded and although the cops are concentrating on performing their professional duties with precision and care, it’s lost on no one that this is one hell of a money-shot.


Next: Back In the Hospital

Infinite Will 3. Did I Mention The Part About Your Brain?

Saturday, June 19th, 2004

Infinite Will
Episode 3 of 5
Did I Mention The Part About Your Brain?

3.1. Head Over Heels

KarenD is doomed. KarenD is going to live for ever. KarenD is doomed to live forever. KarenD is a recovering time travel abuser. She’s got versions of her self jumping all over the time stream. The current version is stuck in a recurrent 3-year time loop. She’s fated to experience the last three years of her life over and over again. Many of the Karens have called it quits. The ones that have gone cold turkey while in the current time-frame I know as Karens A through D. Well, “known” for the recently late KarenA.

I’m dimly aware that KarenD is doing quite the number on me. Dimly aware of her head bobbing. Dimly aware of her wet and ragged exhalations around my cock. But I can’t be bothered to give her my full attention. I have recently acquired infinite will power and I am infinitely indestractable. I’m working on a project that my will will not release me from until its completion. I toe-type furiously on my ShoeComputer while KarenD sucks me off. “I” attend to her efforts by setting up a simulation of myself in my frontal lobes to administer appropriately-timed “ooh”’s and “ahh”’s while my primary consciousness burrows a hole through a wall of increasingly intense foot cramps. I’ve got work to do.

On, I work. I’m working on. . .

I’m an ACRE = Auto-Cerebral-Re-Engineer. ACRE’s redo their own wiring to suit their tastes instead of letting their brain salads be tossed by the contingencies of nature and nurture. There are about as many kinds of ACREs as there are modifiable brain systems. Some peeps are addicted to certain emotions: for instance, the Amygdaloids are into TAAM = Total Anger Anti-Management. A few of the suicidal/stupid types go for the PFDS = Pleasure Fucker Death Scenario. Cranking their pleasure center to maximum output, they convulse in a ball of pure joy, not eating, not drinking, not responding to any stimulus besides their own neurochemically secreted happiness until they expire. Me, I’m a control freak. I’ve tweaked the executive control functions of my frontals to be able to run simulations of myself so that my primary consciousness can attend to a task without distraction.

On. I’m totally on. I’m working on. . .

“Ahh,” my simulated self says. “Oooh.” “Oh, fuck.” “Oh, FUCK!” My whole body goes tense and KarenD correctly perceives a cause for alarm.

“What’s the matter, baby? Baby? Are you ok?”

“It’s nothing.” Through clenched teeth, an obvious lie.

My simulated pleasure has failed utterly, the pain from my foot cramping crashing everything. Everything. Everything, that is, but my will to keep working. Though they can barely move, my increasingly unresponsive typing toes are assailed by a torrent of motor commands. My frontal lobes are tweaked to create a new simulation of myself to manage any potential distractor non-task events. My primary consciousness is buffered against distraction by an infinite army of potential false-selves. The pain pops each dispatched simulated self like a soap bubble but as each one collapses another is sent in its stead. Trying to keep any kind of meaningful track of the actual situation is like trying to keep an eye on only my nine-hundred-and-ninety-ninth reflection while I juggle torches on a unicycle in a hall of mirrors.

My body is totally rigid as KarenD works her hands all over me, tracing the gradient of tension to its source. She tries to press her thumbs into the rocks in my calves. Tries to bend my iron ankles. “Oh, baby,” she says as she starts unlacing my shoes. Tears flow as I try to hold my shoes on by force of will alone.

I was working. I was working on. . .

KarenD’s on the phone. She’s off. “They’re on their way. It’s ok, baby.” Jebus. A fucking ambulance.

The hall of mirrors inverts. Becomes a pit. I fall.

3.2. VEQ = Vileness and Evilness Quotient

Basic Precept of Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalism
# 5 of 10:

Let be known as “SuperDuperUltraEvil Blasphemer” any who suggests that the importance invested in the 10 basic precepts of Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalism apparently contradicts the claim made in precept 2 about the first and final truths being wholly contained in the 59 propositions of Meditations on the Ecstatic Exteriority of the Particularated Ego.

Basic Precept of Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalism
# 6 of 10:

Let be known as “Vile and Evil” any who would add to or subtract from the 59 propositions of Meditations on the Ecstatic Exteriority of the Particularated Ego and/or the 10 Basic Precepts of Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalism. Let it be known that emendations, annotations, and illustrations all count toward your VEQ = Vileness and Evilness Quotient.

3.3. Terror Alert

ShoeComputer owner. An increasingly high-risk lifestyle. Terrorist acts of the Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalists. DeRFs. The DeRFs believe. Ill health arises from ShoeComputer usage. The foot/computer interface constitutes a noxious stimulus to the vital reflexes of the feet.

Worse.

The DeRFs believe. Everyone’s souls will.

Everyone’s souls will become hooked up into one big soul, sole-soul, group-mind, hive-mind. God-on-Earth. The DeRFs have killed. The DeRFs have killed God. Several times already. The DeRFs have killed and the DeRFs believe. This group-mind over-soul will be the resurrection of an abomination.

The DeRFs believe that the last resurrection of the abomination occurred. Occurred when canibalism, especially brain-eating, was popular. The DeRFs believe. According to the DeRFs, memories are passed on planaria-style if you eat someone’s brain. Eat a sufficient number of brains, and you be come a god-like being. Eat the brains of a bunch of proto-gods, and you jerk yourself up onto an even higher rung of the cosmic ladder.

Become God of the MongsterZ: Collect Them All.

I will. The DeRFs believe.

The primary holy scripture of all Deicidal Reflexological Fundamentalists is Meditations on the Ecstatic Exteriority of the Particularated Ego.

The DeRFs blew a chunk. Out of the Empire State Building. 34th Street and 5th Ave. City authorities voted on a nanotech solution to repair the damage. Self-replicating concrete depositors and steel secreting mecha-zoans were supposed to re-grow. The damaged portions of the sky-scraper. But in a mild gray-goo scenario, the replication-termination protocols imprinted into each nanoassembler were ignored. Giving rise to a concrete cancer. The oblate spheroid protruding from the side of the building is a tumor with a diameter about one quarter of the height of the building. The DeRFs hacked the nanotech. After the tumor’s expansion finally halted, its outer surface rearranged itself into the shapes of giant glowing red letters facing the Hudson River. From the New Jersey banks across the river from MidTown, you can see, if not read, most of the 59 propositions of Meditations On The Ecstatic Exteriority of the Particularated Ego.

3.4. Crap from Friends and Associates

To: Behavior Girl
Fr: The Solipsist
Cc: Slaughterhouse Pete, Slaughterhouse Paul, Dr. Smax, KarenB, KarenC, KarenD, Buck Nood, Snak Dugbeets
Subject: I am going to eat your brain.

Old lab-lore has it that planaria flat worms can be trained to run t-mazes. They learn that a nutrient is at the first left at the end of the hall.

I am going to eat your brain.

Chop up the learned worms and feed ‘em to some novices. Memory is ingestible: the little fuckers now know what their meals memorized.

Are you paying attention? I am going to eat your brain.

If memories survive the blender and the gullet, I’m thinking that more than a few of your mad skillz will too.

I am going to eat your brain.

Some say memories can be encoded in mitochondrial DNA. Your knowledge goes deep into your tissues. It will survive a thorough mincing. It waits for me. And I will eat.

Did I mention the part about your brain?

I get a lot of crap email from people I know. Does it count as spam if you know the person? It sure fucking does.

Study Questions

  1. What is Slaughterhouse Pete working on? Have sufficient clues been given?
  2. The question of questions recurrently recurs in the “Infinite Will” story arc. To wit, the title of this episode is itself a question. What, if any, is the relation between willing and questioning?
  3. Who is Behavior Girl? Any connection between her and any of the Karens? And Snak Dugbeets? Come on: “Snak Dugbeets”? I worship Snak Dugbeets. Comments? Questions?

Recommended further reading:

Snak Dugbeets Trivia: Snack Dugbeets’ first appearance was in “blink-per-minute-ratios.”


Next Episode: Interrogations

Sub Specie Aeternitatis 5. God Bombs.

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

Sub Specie Aeternitatis
Episode 5 of 5
God Bombs

A God Bomb is a Pint of Guiness with a shot of Holy Water in it that you chug as fast as you can while administering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to one of your temporal lobes. Compared to the nanotech touch KarenD got, TMS is like getting a sledgehammer to the side of the head.

Nikolai passes around enough “hammers” so everyone can drop their God Bombs at once. (”Hammers” are what God-Bombing kids call the Info-War II Russian Military surplus Electro-Magnetic Pulse pistols retrofitted for use as portable TMS devices. The gun barrels are so blunt and the grips are so long that they really do look like small sledgehammers.)

We get Nikolai to do a “three. . .two. . .one. . .” for us while we stand around with hands head-high and elbows out, our pints poised at our lips and our “hammer” pistols to our heads Russian-roulette style.

“. . .Go!”

It’s all snap and crack and Paul’s God Bomb goes wrong. The sharp ozone cuts through my nose cologne. With the sparking and the arcing and the quivering and the bulging eyes I figure Paul for a Molotov Chihuahua.

Droppin’ God Bombs while wearing third-eye contact lenses was perhaps not the best idea in the world. My telepathic link to Paul makes my God Bomb blow up in exactly the same way. Not being an electrophobe, though, I don’t wet my pants like Paul does.

I had always suspected, but now I know for sure: when God Bombs go wrong your mental state gets a mile high before the arc resistance is sufficient for the ionized gas to quit conducting.

We’ve blown a hole in the ceiling of the bar and in the ceilings of all of the units above. No one above us was hurt, fortunately (and how weird would it be if a plane got hit?) but they angrily peer down through their smoldering holes to see the source of the bolt from below.

Here’s what there is to see:

The Slaughterhouse boys’ scalps are burnt bald but we’re otherwise relatively undamaged. The Karens’ hairs stick out in all directions. KarenC is in ecstasy but I’m guessing more from the electro-pyrotechnic display than from any seizure induced unity with the Oneness of All Being. She’s stomping her boots and clapping her hands like a little girl. The other Karens are a bit more dramatic. KarenB is flopping around on the floor making high-pitched dolphin squeals and KarenD is down on the floor with her trying to hump her leg. Though their reactions are various, it’s quite clear that Karens B through D are having a fine time.

I’m the first to notice that things aren’t looking so hot for KarenA. I’m shocked at the sight of her.

Slaughterhouse Paul: Ugh, with the puns.

Slaughterhouse Pete: You telepathically said “ugh.”

I yell, “Care-en-uh” and my concern is sincere, though it’s a little too late for that now. No one saw it happen, but KarenA yanked on her ninja brain strings.

It’s only now that my temporal lobe seizure kicks in and it’s only now that I actually notice the other customers, the ones that are neither Slaughterhouses nor Karens. They scramble out the bar clutching their jacket fronts closed against the cold, their shoulders hunched to pinched points, muttering something about the unfortunate antics of “the neurotrash.”

Cold air blows in from the opened doors making steam rise from the front of Paul’s pants. The bridesmaids start sobbing. Maybe in a different frame of mind I’d feel bad and sad. I look around, thinking about this crew, the Karens’ loss and the imminent sorrow of KarenA’s unmentioned family and unnamed fiance, but I’m deep in the grip of my seizure. The gaze that falls upon the pissed pants, Paul’s steam rising toward the scorched ceiling holes, the blood and the Guiness and the brains on the floor, the crying of the Karens — this gaze is the gaze of God. I see it all as exactly where it all has to be. I see it all sub specie aeternitatis. And it is good.

It’s all good.


© 2004 Pete Mandik

Sub Specie Aeternitatis 4. The Mile-High Club.

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

Sub Specie Aeternitatis
Episode 4 of 5
The Mile-High Club

Paul is talking to Karens A through C and I’ve kinda got KarenD all to myself and she starts telling me some crazy shit, yo. I’m only half following it, though, at least at first. I’ve reprogramed big chunks of my frontal lobes to run a simulation of myself and I intermittently put the simulation in control of my chatting with KarenD while I eavesdrop on what Paul is talkin’ about with the other Karens.

Karens B through D are going to be bridesmaids in KarenA’s wedding. I almost gag to hear Paul ask “what kind of bridesmaid’s dresses are you wearing and what color?”

Aparently KarenD was running a simulation of herself while talking to me, because she suddenly raises her voice and speaks over her shoulder to answer Paul’s question.

“If chrome is a color then the answer is ‘chrome’ and if a thong can be a kind of bridesmaid’s dress then the answer is ‘thong.’”

This Karen is the best Karen.

It seems KarenD had a pretty remarkable initiation into the mile high club. I’m still not getting a lot of the details in the first part of her story because I’m busy trying to deactivate my simulation of myself and I accidentally trigger a simulation of myself simulating myself simulating myself. . . and the temporary infinite regress crashing my frontal lobes is a little distracting. I finally get my lobes under control (which is damn tricky since the frontal lobes pretty much are the seat of executive control, so I’m controlling control which requires getting the control of control under control. . .)

Slaughterhouse Paul: Duuuuude! Infinite regress?

Slaughterhouse Pete: Ahhhhhhh! Yes. Thanks.

And that snaps me out of it.

KarenD now has my full attention. And just in time too, for the, um, climax of her story.

“He let it fly all over my face and tits and though it was pitch dark in the crashing airplane’s bathroom (the power having failed utterly) I could see his junk ‘cuz the picoreactors in his cum’s nanobots made the goo glow green. I felt the hot protein on my skin get hotter and dig deep into my tissues as the ‘bots sought out my synapses. Seconds before impact, the ‘bots found their targets and ignited a temporal lobe seizure, the kind that induces intense religious ecstasy. I ground my clit on his shoe and screamed and came and realized that I was God driving this machine of meat, nay, this entire fucking airplane, into an explosive unification with very fabric of eternity.”

“Nice, Care-end. But how’d you survive?”

“Time-Release Time-Capsules. You know, time-travel pills? The plane crash actually takes place in the future about a year from now. I’m released from that future at just the right moment and I bail out three years into the past, that is, two years into our past. But now I’m fated to repeat the final three years of my life over and over.”

“Like boot stamping on a human face?”

“Yes. Like a boot.”

“Nice.”

Paul starts layin’ some shit on the chicks about how “spiritual” he is. I bust his balls, but I’m smart/lucky enough to do it telepathically.

Slaughterhouse Pete: Dude. You’re “spiritual”? I thought you were made of meat. Now I find out you’re an ethereal matrix of vibrations from the UltraVoid? And you make fun of me for consorting with the ElderGods?

Slaughterhouse Paul: Wake up, DumbAss. I am softening the chicks up to do some God Bombs with us.

Slaughterhouse Pete: Um, I think they’re already softened up for some God Bombs. I can’t believe you didn’t catch any of KarenD’s story.

Slaughterhouse Paul: I can’t believe you just said “um” telepathically.

Next episode: God Bombs

Sub Specie Aeternitatis 3. Karen and Karen and Karen and Karen.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

Sub Specie Aeternitatis
Episode 3 of 5
Karen and Karen and Karen and Karen

We got the girls’ names and it turned out they were all named Karen. They called each other Karen and at one point one of them told a story about the other three by referring to them as “Karen and Karen and Karen.” She was all like “Karen was all like ‘whatever,’”and “Karen told Karen to go tell Karen. . .” and “Karen Karen Karen Karen Karen.”

Slaughterhouse Paul: “Semantic saturation” is what you call the evaporation of meaning induced by the repetition or a word or phrase.

Slaughterhouse Pete: Semantic saturation. Semantic saturation. Semantic saturation. Semantic saturation. Semantic saturation. Semantic saturation.

Slaughterhouse Paul: Dude. Shut the fuck up.

I’m not sure how they managed to tell each other apart but I was going to need to devise some kinda system. I thought of assigning numerical designations (e.g. Karen1, Karen2,. . .) but I was worried that that would make them sound like a bunch of fembots or something and, you know, they may not dig that sort of thing. (But personally - and Paul telepathically agrees with me on this - fembots are way hot.)

So I give them the alphabetical designations KarenA, KarenB, KarenC, and KarenD, but instead of pronouncing their names as, for instance “Care-n-See” and “Care-n-Be,” I would say “Care-Enc” and “Care-Enb.”

Slaughterhouse Paul: Amazingly, the Karens seem not to find that totally obnoxious.

Slaughterhouse Pete: I, too, am amazed.

All four of the Karens turn out to be pretty cool chicks and we learn some pretty far-out stuff about them.

3.1. KarenA: Ninja Brain Strings

I could tell you that KarenA is a super bad-ass ninja assassin from the future, but that would be only part of the story. See, all of the bad-ass future ninjas have built in self-destruct devices in case of untimely capture, like cyanide capsules in their molars and whatnot. But what makes KarenA a super bad-ass future ninja assassin are her brain strings. You heard me right. Those cords of twine dangling from her forehead are attached directly to her frontal lobes and a mere flick of the wrist will auto-lobotomize KarenA. And that’s not all. KarenA will sit there in front of you and play with her brain strings, just kind of taunting you. It’s almost like she is saying to you “go ahead, I dare you: make a try for the brain-strings, Suckah.” Oh yeah, and she’s nice too.

3.2. KarenB: Raised by Feral Dolphins

KarenB alleges she was raised by feral dolphins. The kindly bottle-noses taught her to communicate with high pitched squeals. We prompt for a demonstration and she’s pretty convincing. Nikolai (eyes still on the TeeVee) throws a fish from behind the bar and KarenB catches it in her mouth and eats it in a few quick gulps. But it ain’t all smiles and free fish with this aquatic chicky-poo. Nikolai (eyes are still glued to the television), gestures with a fish, pointing it at us and says “She can seriously fuck your shit up with some under-water kung-fu. If, at any time, you find yourself swimming in KarenB’s vicinity, beware of your blow-hole.” (Amazingly, these very words seem perfectly synchronized with the lips of the silent actor on the television.) Nikolai’s wrist flicks and another fish goes ballistic. As the fish traces its aerial arc, Nikolai’s pursed lips whistle bomb Doppler. On the television I recognize the scene from Dr. Strangelove wherein a cowboy bombardier descends astride an A-Bomb. The synchronized fish missile flies right into KarenB’s sexy snapping mouth.

3.3. KarenC: Totalitarian Footwear

Orwell once described the future of the human race in terms of a boot stomping on a human face over and over again for ever and ever. And this could just as easily apply to KarenC except she’s got better boots than anyone in a crappy old Orwell novel. As far as I can tell, KarenC is really sweet (if by sweet you mean “will taze your ass” and by “taze” you mean “literally electrocute you with a tazer.”)

KarenC’s quote of the evening? “Do you like electricity? Then you will frappe your pantaloons over this little smidgen of ionized atmosphere,” said as she teasingly jabs at Paul with her tazer. Paul pretends to pretend to be afraid of the tazer. The Karens may be falling for Paul’s act but I know better. Though Paul’s mostly a tough cookie, the dude is seriously electrophobic.

3.4. KarenD: Her Voice Violated My Ear-hole.

And I liked it.

Next episode: The Mile-High Club