The first story, The Vintage Egg, is about a ruined sand racer, and one man’s dream of restoring it. The last story, The Egg Run, is about that man’s grandson, Tim. Tim has shared his grandfather’s dream since childhood, and now the dream is about to become reality. But what will he do when the one, great challenge of his life is over? The Gamer and Brehak are two stories about full immersion online gaming, and the need to retain a sense of self. The To-Do List is about family, and robots. The Christmas Roast is about family, and synthetic life chickens called SL’ick.
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Here is an excerpt from The Vintage Egg…
2082 – The Gamer
Emmi lay rigid with misery. Her eyes were all scrunched up, but tears still leaked into the biofluid in which she lay. She couldn’t feel them anymore because the electrodes attached to her temples had switched off the moment she vocalised the quit command, but she knew they were there because her throat ached.
Long moments passed as the biofluid slowly drained away, and was replaced by warmed air. Except, of course, it was never warm enough.
When Emmi had complained about feeling cold, the support tech had explained the default temperature was a built in safety factor so users would know when it was safe to remove the breather tube. Emmi, however, remained unconvinced.
How many alerts did anyone need? The tank always chimed when enough fluid had drained away, and then the computer would state the obvious, just in case you were asleep or deaf.
Making that first touch of air feel cold was just overkill, and Emmi hated it. Of course she hated leaving the tank at the best of times, and bitterly resented the two hour gaming limit that framed her life.
She knew the early models of the tank had allowed gamers to become addicted, and die online, but it was ridiculous to impose such arbitrary safety limits on people like herself.
At one hundred and twenty-two, just exactly how many years did they think she had left?