Sun, 06 Feb 2005

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cortical stack

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Like many aspiring authors often do, I had a "hey, I thought of that" moment. This occurred while reading Broken Angels by Richard Morgan, the second book about Takeshi Kovacs, a Japanese-Slavic mercenary from a colony world 100+ light years from Earth who used to be a U.N. Envoy, which, contrary to its diplomatic connotation, really describes someone who has been trained to be a preternatural super-killing machine.

But the idea that I had once upon a time which I have since failed to complete as a novel is akin to the cortical stack in Morgan's books.

What is the cortical stack? It is basically the human equivalent of an airplane's black box machine, except more sophisticated in that you can retrieve the person's consciousness and reimplant it into either a computer or another human body, thereby wondrously bypassing death. Sure, you can still melt the cortical stack to slag, causing Real Death™, but people can go on for centuries without running into that kind of problem.

I was actually going to use a similar device in a Fantasy story with SF trappings. Swords and sorcery mixed up with a little interstellar technology here and there. I was going to call the device (for lack of imagination) a soul catcher. My protagonist would find the soul catcher of a particularly nasty demi-god-like character who harbored a genocidal rage against the inhabitants of this world. It would have been guarded for centuries, with very few people even understanding what the thing is anymore. Set against the backdrop of a corrupt Republic that was on the verge of being twisted into an Empire (how original, I know), the chaos of war allows the thing to get lost, and strange forces become allied to try to retrieve what they think is a powerful artifact which is in fact the very consciousness of an evil persona who was thought to have been long-ago vanquished and who is now looked upon as more of a character out of mythology.

Anyway, my soul catcher is basically just like the cortical stack, except for some details of storage and reimplantation. Ah well, maybe I'll use it anyway. If I ever make any progress on my story.

13:11:29 6 Feb 2005 > /3p-omni > permalink > 0 comments

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