|2002 Note: Writer's Market,
an annual book for freelance writers, had a message from editor David Ahl that
specifically said that Creative Computing "wouldn't buy any stories about computers
taking over the earth!" So naturally I wrote one, and sold it to Creative
Computing for my second "national" sale. I haven't officially gotten the rights
to it back yet, but since they've been defunct for nearly 20 years, I'll take my chances!
Die Wahrheit (The Truth)
Copyright 1982 by Bruce Jaeger. All rights reserved.
(Printed in Creative Computing, December 1982)
Charlie tore off the last sheet of printout and arranged the
pages into a small neat stack. "Well, it's finished," he said.
"What's finished?" asked his friend Mike. "Another
Save the Princess game?"
"No, nothing like that anymore. I've written a story for
"Sure," Charlie continued, as he cleaned his glasses
with his shirttail. "It's a story about this computer that gets intelligent and goes
berserk, and then the princess..."
"Wait! Hold on!" Mike picked up the manuscript.
"They'll never print this."
"Why not? What makes you so sure?"
"Look, Charlie. Have you ever seen a story in motorcycle
magazines about the Hell's Angels?"
"I don't read motorcycle magazines, and besides, what does
that have to do with anything?"
"Do airline magazines ever have stories of plane crashes?'
"What are you getting at?"
"Charlie, the computer magazines won't print anything about
computers taking over the world. They've got to protect their interests!"
"What interests? I thought they just wanted to sell
Mike laid the papers down and looked straight into his friend's
eyes. "I mean the computers' interests, Charlie."
"Huh? What're you talking about, Mike?" He picked up
his manuscript and held it protectively.
"Let me back up a bit," said Mike. "Have you ever
read any of those technical articles about things like NAND gates and pulses and memory
buses and IEEE timeouts and all that?"
"I've tried to. I could never make any sense out of
"Right!" exclaimed Mike. "And have you ever tried
to read any of the machine-language articles? About implied addressing and
two's-complement and bit masking and carry clears and all that?"
"Sure I have, and I couldn't figure them out, either."
"Of course not!" said Mike. "No human being can
make sense out of that stuff. It's Their first big mistake."
"What? Whose?" Charlie looked worried.
"Why, the editors! The computers that put out the
"That's right, Charlie. The computer magazines are all
written by computers. It's all part of their master plan to take over the world."
"Wait a minute! And you were just picking on me for my
"Don't you realize that Creative Computing's editor-in-chief
is a fourth-generation construct of the American Higher Logic Corporation? First there was
Able, then Baker, then Charlie, then David..."
"You mean David A.H.L. is a computer?"
"Shhh! Not so loud! Your Apple might be listening."
"I HAVE BEEN," intoned the Apple.
Charlie reached into his pocket protector, pulled out a
micro-blaster and rayed Mike into a wisp of ozone-tinged smoke.
"HE KNEW TOO MUCH," said the Apple.
"Right!" said Charlie A.H.L.