Susan
The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey


The Day the Web Stood Still
James

[James]
      I'm enjoying the Susan story. I'm looking forward to Chapter 27.

[Toomey]
      Glad you like it. Chapter 27 is in the works, probably ready later this week. This is the chapter where a NASA press conference 'officially' debuts her to the world. It should be utter chaos.

[James]
      How will the media take her seriously? She looks like a comic book character! Will she go to 'The People's Court' for copyright infringement?

[Toomey]
      The mainstream media will pretty much have to take her seriously after the press conference. There will be a full range of speculation and media punditry brought to bear, of course. Sara herself doesn't actually say much at the press conference, or for some time afterward. So much is reported about her attributes, but little is known for a while about her personally. Eventually, Ken Clarke will land the interview of his career (arranged by his long-suffering producer Louise Layne).
      I've spent some time trying to figure out whether I'd try to deal with the DC copyright infringement situation within the story, sketching out a trial chapter. I decided to go with other legal issues, though. Her costume and emblem aren't exact duplicates but are unmistakeable in their intent as a reassurance to Earthlings that she is a harmless alien. Dinah will eventually have a major role in dealing with a range of other legal issues such a visitor would engender.
      [Check out these questions and answers from the FAQ regarding (1) the Susan universe, (2) archetypes, and (3) character origins.]

[James]
      Will 'The Amazing Randy' and 'Penn and Teller' appear to bunk her abilities? (That's the opposite of 'debunking', isn't it?)

[Toomey]
      That's very clever I like the thought of that. Maybe I can use it somehow. I am a big fan of Penn & Teller.

[James]
      By the way. Susan can project in 3D. Just project polarized color video out of each eye. The IMAX LCD shutter goggles would not be required, just glasses little different from sunglasses. Ever see Captain Eo at Disneyland/World?
      That would be good for her UN appearance. That, and a Britney Spears-esque musical performance. (Or the Cher song replete with the distorted vocal.)

[Toomey]
      The general premise is that if it appears to be even remotely feasible for humans to get a computer/machine to do something, then Sara can do it as well. I recently saw a polarized 3-D movie at the NASA IMAX at Cape Canaveral that did not need LCD shutter goggles, just polarized lenses (at right angles to each other). It was a very interesting bad movie about a space colony at L-5.
      UN appearance? Hadn't planned one. Nobody takes the UN seriously. Maybe she could do lunch with Kofi Annan someday.
      I would imagine that Sara could sing pretty well, and provide symphonic accompaniment while she's at it. But it would be more along the lines of an imitation or reproduction. She's actually not a very creative person, and musicianship is more than just parroting (yeah, I know lip synchers and empty suits have won Grammys). Put another way, she can speak English with a perfect Elizabethan accent and style, but she's no Shakespeare. It's a deliberate limitation of her human-semblance AI to not be a creative genius. If she were, I think the psychic trauma to our collective self-esteem would be catastrophic.
      Y'know, if aliens really did show up one day and introduced us to a wider, older universe full of sentient beings many of whom might have cultures that spanned megacenturies we would suddenly find ourselves relegated to utter inconsequentiality. The master works of our greatest minds would be valueless gibberings in comparison to the potential for unimaginable greatness in the Greater Cosmos. It would be hard to take, I think.

[James]
      One more thing. Space junk. She could destroy it. Or move it all to a stable orbit and make her own space station out of the empty boosters and dead satellites.

[Toomey]
      Way ahead of you there. Lanna works a deal to clean up in the space junk biz (she turns out to be a lot more clever than she looks).

[James]
      And another thing. The movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. Contents: Wise emissary from space. Hypersonic Flying Saucer. Indestructible robot with destructive beams. Susan combines those 3 elements. Coincidence?

[Toomey]
      No coincidence. I mentioned the indestructable robot somewhere in the story. Sara is that robot to a great extent, and it's deliberate on my part. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a major influence on my story, much more so than the DC Comics' canonical universe. There are other influences as well, such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (subtitled The Modern Prometheus). Also, Sara is to some extent a metaphor for the Internet, which is our own 'Modern Frankenstein'.

"Klaatu barada nicto."

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Proper Waffles
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Patrick Hill, 2000