Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
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A Novel By
Stanley Gerson

A Preview by Dan L. Hollifield

.../Chapter 8
‘Droid Cover

Two, erect figures strode down Aubrey Street toward the old Museum of Science and Robotics. Their features were almost intense, and faint servo sounds accompanied their strides. They were dressed smart, but casual. It was a dark night – no moon out – but the old streetlights were on. They marched up the steps to the Museum entrance. A blue light, to their right, flashed twice as they entered.

The museum lobby was neat but barren. Two cyber-souls were in the lobby and a few more were in the adjoining rooms. An attendant sat in front of a computer monitor. It had an inset, video frame of the museum that changed its view from one room to the next.

The two newcomers proceeded to an eSly prototype, encased in a glass display, at the center of the lobby. A gilded sphere topped the display. Lightning-like projections pointed out from the sphere in the four compass directions. Behind, a mural displayed robot history, up to the time of the museum’s closing to human visitors, two years earlier.

TatarKhan placed a processor chip on a stand in the front of the spherical display. They paused five seconds to pay their respects, and both stepped back, turning with military precision.

They walked into the north wing of the museum. Again, a blue light flashed twice as they passed. The attendant appeared indifferent to their movements.

The hall was dark, illuminated by little spotlights, set in the high ceiling. It was finished in a stunning, dark mahogany; the room had a feeling of quality. The dioramas and displays were glass encased and back-lit. But the scenes were predictable: basic robot to android history in human society.

They passed the first two display sections, and started on the last two. Standard fare only. Joe Dane and TatarKhan glanced at one another, unable to express their disappointment over what they’d seen so far.

They did the third section: Nothing.

But just before they reached the last display section, TatarKhan saw a small spot-light shining to their left. He brushed Joe’s arm and they headed in that direction; a small corridor opened before them. They walked it to a dead end, their eyes adjusting to the dimness. Another small hallway opened on their left, that led them back, parallel to the north wing.

A guard station with a short, gable roof stood at the end of the passage. It was unattended. Dane wondered if a change of guard were underway or if it was just deserted. He leaned over the guest book and whipped out a small tablet and pencil. He hoped the cameras weren’t seeing them right now.

Be alert. Guard change? he wrote. Dane put his pad away and signed Elvis in the guest book. TatarKhan signed in as Nutria. Dane slipped him the note as he stood up. Nutria read it and stuffed it in his pants pocket.

If the guard station is deserted, no worries, Dane thought, but if a sentry busts by, I don’t want any surprises. Startled can be an android reaction, but not a typical one.

Dane and TatarKhan passed into a back display room, opening up from the guard station. It was dimly lit and smaller than the main display hall. But there was a cathedral-like ambiance here. An octagonal, stained glass window, set high in the wall to the right, was illuminated by spotlights. It was a pattern of eight, dark filaments, winding to the center of the window: An image of a continuous 4D knot. This has possibilities, Dane thought.

They proceeded down the room, seeing only deactivated displays. Nothing else. ‘Droid walking sounds filled their ears – he passed them on their left, security uniform and on a mission. He took no notice of them. Down the hall another android – sentry – was leaving the room through a door at the far end.

They passed another darkened, diorama window, containing old pieces of cyber-junk. Nothing else except cob webs ... yet, a faint band of light was visible, just beyond. It looked like, maybe, another corridor, lit up. They approached it.

It was a display cove, set in the wall. The display had a golden, woven, rope barricade on metal stands in front. Dane and TatarKhan neared it.

The display had foot lights and side lights, giving it an unusual effect. A black pendulum with strange, back-lit symbols hung from the ceiling of the cove. Below was a glass sphere, illuminated by discharging electron trails inside. It was set in a chalice-like stand. Random chaos contained in the attractor of the sphere, TatarKhan thought...

Book Summary:
A resurgent Joseph Dane is on the case, with Bluegrass, his colorful sidekick, and TatarKhan, Hypernet Master. They must find the obscure origins of an epic, android shift, before a major calamity ensues —- iSly world domination.

The eSly breakthrough has given humanity a desperately needed survival path: Androids are integrated into society as a saving force. But now it's all gone wrong -- iSly, a superior line of androids, shifts out from eSly, starts to self-replicate, and plies a new, sinister path. He is gifted, but has an unknowable operating system. The iSly 'droids start displacing the top movers in all fields.

World leaders are horrified.

One question looms above all others: Is some major player -- mastermind, villain, king of moles or rogue android—crafting and guiding this ominous turn of events? It's Dane’s job to unravel the mystery quickly, with his friend's help. They pursue a dangerous, last ditch effort to find out what has caused this problem and to prevent society from becoming, "...just lights and wires in a box."

Press Release Snippet:
This book is a Reader Crossover in Science Fiction-
Why are non science-fiction people reading and enjoying iSly, the new, sci-fi book by Stanley Gerson? One answer can be found in its five star, reader review at Amazon:
"...Great read, even for non Sci-Fi lovers...by luvtoread...iSly is a science fiction story about robots that prompts its readers to think about the major issues of human survival, today and in the future. . .I normally don't enjoy reading sci-fi novels but when I read the short description of this book it reminded me a little of I, Robot with Will Smith and so I decided to give it a try, I really enjoyed reading this book."

The book can be found online at iSly Droids and links are on the site to Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, who list the book.

ISBN-13: 9781929882649
Publisher: Biographical Publishing Company
Publication date: 9/30/2011
Pages: 155
Price: $12.35

Preview © 2011 by Dan L. Hollifield

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