The Amazing Adventures
of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey
The Day the Web Stood Still
I'm enjoying the Susan story.
I'm looking forward to Chapter 27.
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.
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?
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
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
Will 'The Amazing Randy' and
'Penn and Teller' appear to bunk her abilities? (That's the
opposite of 'debunking', isn't it?)
That's very clever — I like
the thought of that. Maybe I can use it somehow. I am a big fan of
Penn & Teller.
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
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.)
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
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.
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
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).
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?
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
"Klaatu barada nicto."
© Patrick Hill, 2000