Although It was Jenny who came up with the idea of the Franky from the computer game in Sim Franky living on a desert island and sending the ‘real’ (what is real in Nob Mouse anyway?) Franky postcards, it is my addition of the robot body that really hits home with me. This isn’t simply because it was my addition to the story but instead because of my fascination with the intermixing of real and virtual worlds.
Readers of Greg Egan’s phenomenal work, Diaspora will be aware of the concept of a Gleisner Robot; a humanoid mind (it is reasonable to say there are no humans in this story, only the descendants of humans) occupying a mechanical body. Similarly, there are Citizens – computer-based humanoid minds that inhabit virtual worlds (polises). It is possible for Citizens to inhabit the shells of Gleisner Robots and for the minds of Gleisner Robots to enter polises; although they generally don’t.
I’ve thoughts about these concepts at length since encountering them because they fit in well with my own world view. I’ve produced stories that include characters very similar to Citizens and worlds very similar to Polises before (see The Final Report of James Graham for one such example), and I’ve joked with Jennifer about planning to order a robotic body as soon as they are available, as well as how I plan to cheat death by uploading my brain onto the Internet. Egan’s work therefore struck quite a chord with me and it’s nice to be able to reference that here in Nob Mouse.
Jenny was wondering if we were going to see more of this Virtual Franky in the future. I don’t actually plan ahead when it comes to Nob Mouse so your guess is as good as mine. Survey says: maybe.