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This is Morta (my OC and the protagonist of my forthcoming kids' scifi novel) aged seven, about four years before the events of the first chapter, with one of her best friends, Ciarán NacNair, who is about a year and half older than her.
They have just beaten the living snot out of each other, but don't worry it was only a playfight. They always make sure to do this out of school hours, and away from school grounds, as teachers tend to become confused into thinking their fights to be something other than simple good-natured roughhousing. They also make sure, after a fight, to take time to sit and chat, help each other with any first aid they may need, and wind down from the adrenaline together, to assure each other that no ill-will was meant, and they are still BFFs.
In general, Ciarán is a pretty gentle, thoughtful, conscientious kid, interested in philosophy and theatre, and not normally prone to brawling after school. It's Morta who's the troublemaker - she's the bad influence here. Ciarán's mum does not approve of their friendship.
You do not talk about Meme Club. Oh, wait, that doesn't make sense. OK, fine, talk about Meme Club if you like.
Try to get a little bit of exercise every day, even if it's just going out for a short walk.
Comment your damn code. No-one needs to be reverse engineering that shit, least of all you when you need to maintain it in one year's time.
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.
Obey Rule 6.
Do not obey Rule 5.
Do not think about giraffes.
1) Ever had a paranormal or non-explained experience? I have had lots and lots of non-explained experiences. For instance, the other day, I saw a completely unremarkable middle-aged man crossing the street. Now, I'm sure if I'd bothered to ask him why he was crossing the street, he'd have had a good explanation. Or he might have told me to fuck off. But in any case, I didn't ask, so it was, to me, unexplained. Of course, I have had a few unexplained experiences that qualify as 'weird coincidences' too, like thinking about someone just before they phoned me, or two friends that I knew through completely different channels living far apart turning out to know each other. This also does not require any special spooky explanation - even if, on some construal, they qualify as "billion-to-one coincidences". Billion-to-one coincidences happen all the fucking time. Of course they do. Billions of billions of things happen every day. It would be weird if none if them were billion-to-one coincidences. Stochasticity happens. And the fact that it happened to you this one time does not make you special. Sorry.
2) You believe in ghosts? We do not as yet have complete understanding of how the brain works; but it is by now pretty clear that everything that makes you you can be altered, suppressed, or obliterated by physical changes to the brain, whether by trauma, stroke, surgery, drugs or transcranial magnetic stimulation. Damage to the lateral region of the fusiform gyrus? Say goodbye to your ability to recognise faces. Or, interestingly, your ability to read Chinese, if you ever had it. Massive damage to your frontal lobes? Say goodbye to morality and impulse control. Damage to your Broca's Area? Say goodbye to your ability to produce intelligible speech. …Maybe just wave. Therefore, I must call bullshit on Yoda's assertion that "luminous beings we are". Nope. Nope. The 3lb of fatty porridgy grey glop in your skull is you - plus some additional information-processing loops that extend your cognition into the peripheral nervous system, the body, and the broader environment.
However, I do think there is a sense in which 'ghosts' of a sort are a technological possibility, albeit still quite a distant one. If we can develop sufficiently high-resolution brain scanning technologies, it may be possible to extract enough information from a living brain to import it to a simulated brain; and thereby recreate that person, even after the death of their original body.
3) Or werewolves? No. Also, grow up.
4) Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf, and why? Vampire, I guess, but it seems like a rather limiting form of immortality. I'd much rather go with the back up-&-restore plan mentioned in question two.
5) Are you afraid of the dark? Nope.
6) What's your opinion on crop circles? "I think some of them are rather interesting to look at, and applaud the farmers who go to great lengths to create such stunning artwork in their fields." said Turq, and since I can think of no better answer to this question, I'll leave it as stands.
7) Do you believe in aliens and UFOs? Well, I do believe in aliens. There are, after all, something like 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe, and Kepler keeps finding exoplanets all over the place, so it seems pretty unlikely that ours is the only world in the universe that contains life. Probably most life-supporting worlds only have microbial life, though.
I also believe in UFOs. That is, I believe that sometimes, people see things flying, and don't know what they are. (or see stuff that looks like flying objects, but is in fact just the reflection of their car headlights off nearby overhead power lines, or some odd atmospheric phenomenon, or an indication that they shouldn't have done so much acid in their youth)
I do not, however, believe for one moment that these two have anything to do with each other. I don't think it's necessarily impossible for alien life to reach the level of a technologically complex civilisation, invent interstellar travel, and visit earth. I just think that had they done so, they would have been spotted by some telescopes by now. They wouldn't have only ever been observed by uncorroborated credulous rubes from East Buttfuck, Kansas.
8) Is it possible that some people, like psychics, can have paranormal abilities? Nope, and if you think your mystical powers can prove me wrong, I invite you to try for the James Randi Educational Foundation's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.
9) Your opinion about tarot cards and fortune telling? I think a Tarot deck can make an excellent Rorschach test. The meanings of the cards are so variable, you can pretty much read anything into any reading. However, what you read into it can be awfully telling about your own unacknowledged thoughts and inclinations. It's like making a decision by flipping a coin, then doing the opposite if you don't like the answer. It's like writing that email you've been dying to send your ex, telling them exactly what you think of them, and just as you're about to hit 'send', your computer bluescreens, and you decide that it's a sign that this was a bad idea. No, it isn't a sign. It's just a coincidence. However, the fact that you choose to see it as a sign is a sign that you already knew it was a shit idea.
10) Your mythic creature? The Indo-European mythos of dragons and dragon-slayers is totally fascinating. If you're into philology, you should check out Calvert Watkins' How to Kill a Dragon. (Not even a tiny bit related to How to Train Your Dragon, sorry)
11) Your paranormal creature? Slenderman. Simply because, this monster was made up like five years ago, on the internet, on a forum, as a matter of public record, by a dude who had been interviewed about it a bunch of times, clearly as a work of fiction … and nonetheless, there are actually people who are scared of it and think it's real.
12) Your paranormal anything? People who are convinced they are the reincarnation of 14th century Irish royalty, and under hypnotic regression start speaking a 21st century interpretation of 16th century English - with a bit of an Oirish accent, begorrah.
13) Ever watched Star Trek, X-Files or Taken? Or any other paranormal series? Star Trek is paranormal?
I will just say, I am mightily fucking sick of media franchises in which the twist in the story is *GASP. SHOCK. OMFG. THE PARANORMAL IS ACTUALLY REAL! PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN THIS SHIT ARE JUST CLOSED-MINDED*
Time for a musical interlude, I think:
14) Are you superstitious? So very much no. If I was about to buy a house, and I found out that it had been the site of some gruesome murders of children in the 70's, and was locally reputed to be haunted … I'd use it to haggle the price down.
15) If you could have any paranormal creature as a pet which one would it be and why? Khoshekh. Obv.
16) If you could be a paranormal creature which one would it be. God.
17) What are you going to be for Halloween? I don't know. Depends if Swing-Yo-Tail wants to go trick-or-treating.
18) Do you like The Walking Dead? I don't television.
19) What is your horror movie? Black Water (2002, Hideo Nakata)
Apparently, three years later, Hollywood made a version starring conventionally attractive English-speaking American whitepeople, because any time a story is successful as anything other than a Hollywood movie starring conventionally attractive English-speaking American whitepeople, it must immediately be remade as a Hollywood movie starring conventionally attractive English-speaking Americanwhite people.
(At a stretch, it can have Brits instead, but only if it's LOTR or Harry Potter) 20) What is your horror game? I'm not much of a gamer. If I had the money, and didn't have a load of other things I more urgently need to spend it on, I'd get a PS4 & The Last Of Us, though. It looks good, and has an accompanying comic by damnskippy - what's not to love? 21) Do you ever get the feeling you are being watched? Yes. Nothing supernatural - just the awareness of ubiquitous CCTV. 22) TAG 10 PEOPLE! I have written the names of the people I tag below in magically invisible writing. Open your third eye to see if you have been tagged
Recovering postgraduate, proud father of Swing-Yo-Tail, tutor at Edinburgh University's School of Informatics, aspiring science fiction writer & podcaster (robotsquid.net/squidpod ) & co-founder of Robot Squid Publications.
Favorite visual artistRené Magritte, Joan MiroFavorite moviesLa Cité des Enfants Perdus, Spirited Away, Children of MenFavorite TV showsI don't watch much telly. I quite like the Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 though. If I were dictator of the universe, it would be mandatory listening.Favorite bands / musical artistsQueen Adreena, Nine Inch Nails, Deathboy, Tom Waits, Einstürzende Neubauten, Fugazi, Angelspit, NomeansnoFavorite booksDigital ones!Favorite writersCory Doctorow, Rens Bod, Calvert Watkins, Andy Clark, James Hogg, Lawrence Sterne, Angela Carter, Christiana Nusslein-Vollhard, Charles DarwinFavorite gamesWorms for iPhoneFavorite gaming platformRealityTools of the TradeGelpens, watercolours, Wacom Bamboo, GimpOther InterestsScience! Also, philosophy is fun and useful. I write science fiction, which gives me plenty of opportunities to talk about both ;-)