Futures 1 by AA. VV

Futures 1 by AA. VV

Author:AA. VV. [AA. VV.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Relato, Ciencia ficción
Publisher: ePubLibre
Published: 2005-12-22T05:00:00+00:00

Murphy’s cat

Take care who sits next to you at conferences…

Joan D. Vinge[55]

The scene: a lecture hall, slowly filling. MURPHY, carrying a canvas bag, sits down beside the distinguished researcher waiting to speak.

MURPHY. So, you got the copy of Nature’s Retrospective on the Future in your e-load, too. Amusing, huh?

PROFESSOR [dubiously]. Everyone got it, at registration. And while I found it fascinating, 'amusing' never occurred to me.

MURPHY. Well, considering your research, I suppose not.… By the way, not everyone got it: there was a glitch in the download. Some people got The Tao of Pooh.

PROFESSOR. Do I know you? Have we ever met?

MURPHY. Sure. I’m Murphy; we bump into each other all the time. Literally. You really need to do something about that tunnel vision of yours. [Suddenly addresses the bag, which has begun to flop around on the floor] Settle down!

PROFESSOR [Rising to leave, sits back down]. It’s alive —?

MURPHY. And always at the most inopportune times. [Picks up the sack, peers into it] It’s only sixteen hundred hours, Dingy; dinner’s at eighteen. Take a nap, baby.

PROFESSOR. Good Lord —

MURPHY. No, just my cat. Schrödinger gave him to me.

PROFESSOR. Schrödinger’s cat? This is absurd; there was no actual cat. It was all hypothetical.

MURPHY [Holds up the sack]. Tell that to the cat.

PROFESSOR [Looks in, aghast]. It’s… dead.

MURPHY. You miss my point. But he never misses dinner. A free vacation is the only reason we attend these snot-fests anymore. No one comes to my presentations, and no one believes he exists. He’s been dead and alive for nearly a century, after all. Being a cat, he’s sensitive to snubs.

PROFESSOR. And you two… converse, do you?

MURPHY. This isn’t Waiting for Godot. Don’t be ridiculous. Our telepathic affinity is extremely high. As Sheldrake said, back in the last century, even humans possess the largely untapped potential —

PROFESSOR. Rupert Sheldrake? Oh please. Leave 'morphic resonance' in the dustbin where it belongs. No experiment ever found his 'mystery force field'.

MURPHY. But that was the point, according to David Bohm. Chopping up dead things to discover the 'secret of life' is absurd.

PROFESSOR. I do not 'chop up dead things'. I work with nanotechnology. Besides, there is no evidence that we need to go beyond the biochemical to explain life. That is all the 'mystery' you need. And any day now we will have unravelled it completely —

MURPHY. Promises, promises… [Touches the Professor’s shoulder with a fingertip; a spark of static leaps between them] Boy, I hate these synthetic fabrics; I keep having to ground myself.

PROFESSOR. In reality, no doubt.

MURPHY. Cheap shot; bad aim. Speaking of reality, it was a real shame about those 'clone-the-frozen-head' experiments. Yuck.

PROFESSOR. Where did you hear about that?

MURPHY. I was there. Although as usual no one realized it. But about bioelectrics, Professor: where does the energy go, when something dies? Of course my cat understands all that better than I do. Not my department, as they say.

PROFESSOR. Obviously. Just what is your ‘department’, by the way?

MURPHY. Changing the subject. What do you


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