Boy meeten girl.

“Gonna do sleep,” voke Amrolite. Fucken AIbrid think he so fucking cool with he retrofleshy stylen. Like you don’t already know he dealin double-helix, not just some two-bit qubit. No, he gots to do the keepen it real with the vital sign and the bio stylen.

Peripet throw Amrolite a wave with hir dendron afore ze drop in boomtube and gone. Me though, I not so easy.

– Fucken wasten time dirty stoppa – me ding.

Pull back me claw, smack Amrolite full up. Meant to be like soft tap but exo overcomps and it blow right through he face.


Blood everywhere, droplet ten exp six. Viddy pip to slow so can admire the air mist. Amrolite head it like totally bomb.

Maybe gone too far, nag me ethimod. Maybe it score true. Crowdrank dip red; not diggen this. But Amrolite he just laugh. He passen tape like it rainen punchcards as nano morph he head back. Fucken Aibrid won even stay down. “Fuck you Tb0mb,” he voke. Head red fucken mess. Nanos vapen, roaches eaten. All clean now: then he sleep likesay.

“Powerdown maybe a minute, maybe ten,” voke Amro. Smooth as u like.

“Nuff den,” me voke. “See yo metal in Miraflo.” Full casual like. In boom tube.

But Miraflo it dead. Proxim nada. Fullen graveport. Solo Peripet n Fowler. Shoulda been cruisen wit partynav tonite but Fowler wanna go blinden. Shoulda passed. Fowler nother fucken retro head with e romantic bullshit. Nuff den.

– Where been, Tb0? – ding Peripet. – Fucken ages 😉 –

– Mibad – me ding back, ceecee Fowler. – Amrolite –

– Viddied u – laugh Peripet. – Ubad, right 😀 –

– Fucken stupid blind – me ding Fowler. – Proxim on – Power up. Scene coming in overlap2p. Cerrochrome and Dyce biggen it east Vladi way. Dyce head wide fucken open. Ze crazy. Practically inviten neurocrash party.

– Psych? –

Peripet channel green. Fowler shrug, ping amber. Fucken serotweak already methink. But Fowler turn that off too, says proxim. Nuff den. Jump.

Dyce head it fucken crowded. Everyone ircing through. Yeah, it fun scene. If you like fucken standen room only.

#@Dyce you need fucken upspec!

#Yeah yeah

#No fence nuttin but me checkin out.

#@Tb0 Shit man don be no dirty stoppa

# @Dyce spect but me checken out

Where to go? Proxim flash up rentbodies. Not arsed with choosen, just want checkout. Psych in. Holy butterfly space. Cool.

Milkweed an UV.

“Hey hey, check Tb0mb,” voke Cerrochrome, banden pix. Cool. Cerro ain’t usually bloggen me. Hey hey, ‘deed. Me recommod flash: Manaus? Good for butterfly. Cerro dings green. Fucken a. Tb0 the leader. Fucken a. Boom the butterfly.

Manaus tips the round. Partynav deprecated; hell, proxim deprecated. Port fucken bangen. Serromod flooden: neurostim blowen out on flower forest perfume vibe. Dyce port fucken snake, Peripet aquabot. Even Fowler he finally risen up.

An Cerro: Cerro matched pair on me b-fly. Fucken yeah. Cerro ze hot. Always diggen high, always clear blue hitpoints an cortex all the way up to hir plexus. Usually no fucken chance viben with me, but now flyen the pair!

– Flyen pretty good for new bug – me ding Cerro. Overlap2p me view of hir flyen above, vector overlay. Tryen present schooled, but instant the ding go out it sound dumb. Fucken no voke in butterfly body.

But Cerro ze no vaped. – Flyen pretty swit youself – ze ding back, overlap2p hir own view. An with glitter trail cuttenpaste. Damn. Cerro actually rollen with me.

B-fly nice n pretty but ain’t no voke, and sensoplex weak. Better kicken it mammal style hereon. But Cerro rel no follow, right? wtf aint no harm tryen.

# Hey Cerro how bout go warmblood me ding. Then: realise dint ding im, dinged irc. Oh fuck.

– Woo – ding Dyce. – Slick move mofa –

Can’t read hir lights. Prolly piss extracten but Dyce he good guy. Dint ceecee anyone. Swit trick too with head fulla psychs. No-one else listenen: aint scored up in any one else’s inbox. For 1nce, thanken fuck for lowstats.

Uh-huh, ding Cerro. What in mind? Me recommod pipe: Lemur? Very prehensile, very nice. Fucken yeah. Getten prehensile wit Cerro, hur hur hur. Proxim pings rentbody near the space. Ethimod nag: not cleaned after past user. Remember NIV: safe swap means clean ports. Yeah yeah. If Cerro don mind then I don mind.

Oh yeah. Lemurspace rocken. Fucken saucereyes n multilimbular. Swit. Climben tree, an Cerro wit me.

Moon silversweet in saucereyes.

Proxim dingen as the party en Dyce head droppen off.

Alone wit Cerro, oh yeah, Tb0mb clicken it on. Ze pipen in olfact, viz… tactile. Uh huh. Me   rollen tonite, yeah.

– Open psych? –

– Nuh uh – ze ding. – Warez fire? –

But ze droppen firewall settin a notch. Senden packets. Starten download.

Oh yeah, ze openen up now. Interface throbben. Pulsen.

Oh yeah.

– Hey Tb0? –

– Yes, Cerro? –

– Wanna go @ ¦¦ ~ #oh hey, Amro! –

An there he be, fucken Aibrid, fucken spammen all over you. “Hey whassup sweet lemur Cerro that fur is benden and banden all over the place.” Still voken. Go to fucken ding, me think, ze no interest in yo fucken retro bullshit. But ze fucken fallen for it.

“Where you bin Amro?” ze voke.

“Bin sleepen. Builden up energy,”  he grin – flesh grin, do you believe it – I gots so much dreamtime to show. Wicked cool.” Pipen glyphs, fast and loud – dazzlen Cerro.  Completely fucken overclocken me.

– Amro, you algo fuck – me im.

– Hey, Tb0, you don mind if I show Cerro this thing – he irc back. Finally, fucken dingen. Even if irc, not im.

– Actually –

– See you later, Tb0 – ceecees Cerro. Fucken ceecee.

Leaven. Psych wiped, ports closed.


Shoulda hit that son of a bitch harder. ##

3 thoughts on “Overclockblocked

  1. My head hurts, but in a good way. I’m probably not getting all of the finer details, but I understand enough to follow the plot. I love what you’re doing with the different information channels and the constant bombardment of input, the continual sharing as the characters jump bodies. This story gives me more on re-reading, and I like that too.

  2. A challenging read but great to see some real experimental writing, someone trying to do something different with vocabulary and dialogue etc. At first I was thinking this would work so much better in visual media then realised actually it needs some sort of multimedia web/film multiscreen crossover media thing like wot has not been invented yet.
    Go Sumit!

  3. Well, I’ve left it a bit late (been a crazy-busy week), but welcome to anyone who’s been pointed this way by Metafilter, Reddit or any of the other places that this story’s been posted. Thanks for visiting. And many thanks in particular to Mike Whybark, for getting the ball rolling.  

    I greatly enjoyed reading the comments in the MeFi thread (my personal favourite was this one). Many were very astute, as you’d expect from MeFi, even – or perhaps especially – the critical ones. Potomac Avenue nailed both the inspiration and the intention, while everichon put up a better defence of the story than I’d probably have managed.

    So what was I going to  say? Oh yeah, the self-indulgent Author’s Note, for anyone who’s interested. I’d been thinking idly for a while about a story in which several of our science-fictional wishes – teleportation, telepathy, transhumanism – were all granted at once. I wanted to write it in a way that’d capture how radically different the people of that world would be to us, but how could I do that and still make it comprehensible to us meat puppets? I didn’t want to cop-out and tell the story from the perspective of an “unaltered” narrator.

    Then I read this essay, which touches on Russell Hoban’s use of language in his superb book Riddley Walker, which is famously written in the opaque broken-English dialect of a tribe scrabbling to survive in post-apocalyptic Kent. David Cowart argues that Hoban isn’t actually trying to create a plausible futuristic language: neo-primitives, thousands of years from now, would surely not think as we do, or speak any language we could understand.

    Instead, the text of Riddley Walker deploys vaguely familiar vocabulary so that we can understand the mindset of Riddley Walker – offering us referents we can assimilate, and an implied etymology that allows us to imagine how Hoban’s future world evolved from the one we know. The language isn’t “realistic”, as such: it’s more like reading in translation.

    I didn’t think consciously about trying to do something similar, but it’s probably no coincidence that I wrote Overclockblocked during one of my regular Monday night writing sessions a few weeks later. I wanted to keep the plot slight, both because I thought it’d be amusing to dress it up and because I wanted there to be a core that readers could relate to. Ultimately I picked a simple retelling of one of the most familiar of all stories.

    (I was briefly tempted to homage Douglas Adams’ version of that trope – “boy-being meets girl-being under a silvery moon which then explodes for no adequately explored reason” – but thought that would be Too Much. The silvery moon made it in, though.)

    The story then hung around for a couple of weeks – I wasn’t particularly satisfied with it – before I decided on a whim to post it as an entry to Tate Modern’s TH.2058 competition. And then regretted it, since it didn’t really have much to do with the competition theme – and I couldn’t take it down. So I decided that since it was out in the wild, I might as well post it here. Where I thought little more about it until I noticed a spike in my traffic, coming from MetaFilter. And I think that’s where we came in…

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