This story hasn’t found a home yet, but it’s probably my favorite of all the stories I’ve written. The Sirian character Inkohatum is a blend of several people I’ve known, and the scientist, Gerry, is a lot like me. The story is in part, a humor piece, obvious to anyone who reads the first two paragraphs, and takes place in Chicago, the city of my birth and where I lived for many years.
Here is some background not included in the story to better understand the setting of “Firmware Upgrade”. It was inspired by books I read some time ago – Michael Moorcock’s “Dancers at the End of Time” series. In those books, humans have developed such incredible technology that they can do almost anything, and they thus become jaded and frivolous. The Sirians of “Firmware Upgrade” are much the same, unimaginably powerful as a group, frivolous and childish as individuals. But unlike Moorcock’s characters, some Sirians try to maintain the old ways, determined to fully understand the technology they’ve created. They fear that their own species is losing it’s ability to do this and so decide to train other species. Thus Inkohatum’s uncle, the Learned Nefer, who works closely with Gerry, one of Earth’s greatest physicists.
As the story develops, it takes on a darker tone, and Gerry discovers that there is a sinister side to the Sirian mind. But you’ll hopefully be able to see that for yourself as soon as the story gets published.