Historical fiction novel, by Dimitris Apergis. Exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS in 36 weekly episodes, in English and Greek languages.
Synopsis: London, 1824. The boss of London's Crime Syndicate, Wilbur Barnaby, assigns two men to travel to the -rebelling against the Ottomans- country of Greece and locate the poet Lord Byron in order to obtain a gambling debt of his to the underworld. One of the two men is Welsh Bugs Hamhaduke, the so-called "neckwringer." The other is the enigmatic Lord Greywood. The two men will embark on an adventurous journey to the Greek city of Missolonghi via Paris. None of those involved, however, is aware of Lord Greywood's terrible secret: That he actually belongs to the Order of Strigoi Morti, the oldest and most dangerous generation of vampires.
ISBN : 978-618-00-1549-2
PRELUDE : Guilá Naquitz (1 chapter)
PART ONE : London (4 chapters)
PART TWO : Paris (10 chapters)
PART THREE : Vampires (10 chapters)
PART FOUR : Missolonghi (10 chapters)
EPILOGUE : Los Angeles (1 chapter)
[ep. 22 of 36]
PART THREE : Vampires
The oblong dining room was illuminated by dozens of lit candlesticks on wall ledges and was not short on luxury. The walls were decorated with huge paintings: religious paintings by Nicolas Poussin, portraits of kings and cardinals by Philippe de Champaigne, paintings with mythological themes by Piero di Cosimo. Amongst the paintings posed the twelve Les Chasses de Maximilien textile tapestries, each depicting a hunting scene in the Sonian Forest each month of the year. The beech-wood table was about fifteen feet in length, covered with a white laced tablecloth, and the tableware and crystal glasses glittered on it. In the dark-coloured glass cabinets around the table were flower vases of begonias and hibiscuses.
The Baroness, the Lord, and Hamhaduke sat at one end of the table, the baroness at the head, and the two men at her two sides. Hamhaduke picked up the napkin of his dinner wear and tied it around his neck like a bib. The Baroness winced with disgust. The Lord was used to such quirks of Hamhaduke's and just sighed with condescension. Hamhaduke and savoir vivre were two things that simply did not match one another.
The butler arrived with the wheeled trolley. There were various viands on the trolley but everyone's attention was drawn to the steel tray with the lid. The butler lifted the tray's lid revealing the roasted boar. Needless to say, at the sight of the boar, Hamhaduke was suddenly sailing in a sea of bliss. The butler cut the boar in thin slices with the knife and served it on plates along with black truffle sauce and green beans sprinkled with porcini powder. When serving was over, the butler went about to leave with the wheeled trolley, but Hamhaduke stopped him. He was so hungry that one portion would not be enough for him, and for this reason he wanted the wheeled trolley by him. The butler obeyed the hungry vampire's decree and returned to the kitchen.
Hamhaduke uttered a hasty bon appétit and pounced on the wild boar of his plate. And - as was normal and natural - upon emptying his portion, he grabbed the rest of the boar that stood on the steel tray and devoured it before the astonished eyes of Lord Greywood and Baroness von Wasserbaum.
It was time for dessert. The butler returned to the table, bringing a pushcart with him. On the pushcart there was a short thick-glassed oil blowlamp with a wick coming out of its spout, a small frying pan, a bottle of rum, eggs, sugar and butter. Omelette au Rhum ! exclaimed the butler with pomposity. Sweet omelette a la flambe. He fried the eggs with the sugar over the blowlamp until they are caramelised and then he poured the rum into the hot pan causing flash-over. Hamhaduke watched the process with ecstasy, especially the high flame of burning alcohol that sprang up from the pan and approached threateningly the chandelier. As the flambe was served on his plate, Hamhaduke eagerly embraced it. Obviously, the dessert was to his liking after all. Maybe even a bit more than that.
"I see that you are a man of few words, Herr Hamhaduke" said the Baroness. She had evidently overcome her earlier distress for the unfair loss of Eloise.
“I faithfully follow the doctrine of my late mother. Either you shall eat or you shall talk. Can't do both at the same time. After all, what is there to be said at a table with food?” said Hamhaduke, fending off the butterflies that hovered about his dessert.
"I like men of few words. They are usually smarter than those who talk a lot” said the Baroness.
"Thank you for the compliment, Baroness, if you did actually give me one. For the sake of discussion though, I ought to say that your butler is an excellent cook. Congratulations." said Hamhaduke.
"Friedrich is so much more than just an excellent cook, Herr Hamhaduke. He's a man of many talents.” replied the Baroness.
"Really?" said Hamhaduke indifferently.
"Friedrich, bring your toys here. I'm sure Herr Hamhaduke will go crazy over them.” the Baroness told the butler.
"Yes, Baroness," said the butler and left the dining room.
"Toys?" said Hamhaduke with discomfort.
"The main reason I keep Friedrich in my employ, Herr Hamhaduke, is because he is a man with an unbridled passion for learning in the field of inventiveness. Believe me, I personally would never keep an employee for such a long time just because he is a good cook. Such a practice would not fit an individual such as myself. Friedrich is a rare genius. A genius constantly testing the boundaries of human mind. But he prefers to operate in obscurity, away from the delusional lure of publicity. You see, vanity was never a trait of his character. That's why I took him under my protection." said the baroness.
"Sounds interesting. And what is it exactly that Friedrich's doing and which ranks him in the level of human genius?" said Hamhaduke.
"Oh, let your own eyes judge for themselves, Herr Hamhaduke. What is the point of my own introduction when the spectacle can speak for itself so seamlessly?" said the Baroness.
The butler appeared in the dining room holding three wooden puppets, human figures of one cubit in height, a prince, a princess and an officer of the Imperial Guard. The prince and princess wore velvet vestures with gold embroidered blazons and decorated crowns on their heads, the officer was dressed in the blue uniform of epaulettes and the tall fur bearskin cap. The butler laid the three puppets upright on the long table and then winded them up by turning the key that was on each one's back. With the spinning of the keys, began from their innards the continuous jagged sound of cogwheels.
The baroness, at the other side of the table, clapped the palms of her hands twice. And then the puppets started walking on the table toward the baroness and the two vampires. The butler's hairless face rejoiced over the black bow tie. He testified to his pride. What else could he feel anyway other than pride? His creations were alive.
As the three puppets reached the edge of the table, Hamhaduke - in his excessive enthusiasm - also clapped his hands twice. The puppets then turned to him and bowed before him with the spasmodic movements of their metallic joints, the men holding their right foot forward and bowing their head, the princess lowering her figure slightly.
"Hahahaha! Incredible!” screamed Hamhaduke in delirium.
Many were Hamhaduke's queries over how the puppets operated, as - perhaps - many should be the queries of the reader of this story, with all due respect of course. So allow the author of the narrative to offer a quick look back at the history of Automata (or otherwise the -commonly known as- android robots) and give an elementary description of the basic principles of the puppets' operation. It would otherwise constitute to inconsistency on the author's part if he did not offer the required information on Friedrich's creations but he instead continued the recounting of events without the slightest concern for those readers who demand some rational explanation for anything paradoxical happening upon the narrative pathway.
The history of Automata dates back to ancient times, in the times of ancient Greek myths, which refer to the bronze artificial giant Talo made by the god Hephaestus, or to the living statues of Daedalus that produced voice with the help of mercury or to the golden guard-dogs of the king Alcinous of the Phaiacians. It would be fairer to say, however, that human involvement with the technology of the Automata began with human intellect itself which, upon wondering about a human-made structure in the image and likeness of man, instilled in its imagination myriads of conjectures and ideas. Would it ever be possible for an entity of artificial intelligence to operate through the mere assemblage of crankshafts, strings, cogwheels, pulleys, keys, gussets, wrenches and springs? So man went about to find the answer to this question by putting himself in the position of God the Creator.
Throughout the history of Automata, man presented many examples of his inventiveness, some of them perhaps nothing more than fabrications created by heightened reverie, accounts such as that of the aqua-powered owl of Ctesibius of Alexandria or the mechanical eagle on king Solomon's throne or that of the artificial wooden birds of Lu Ban -inventor on the service of Zhou Dynasty during the 5 th century BC- which could, according to records, even fly. However, the history of Automata has always been in keeping with the technological progress of man. Consequently, the more man acquired in knowledge, the more his curiosity about the capabilities of the Automata became intensified.
Thus, in the middle of the 8th century AD, the first wind-powered Automata were created. Those were the statues of the palace of the Round City of Baghdad that moved with the power of the wind. Then, in the 12th century, appeared programmable android Automata, more complex in their structure, like the four artificial band musicians of Muslim inventor Ismail al-Jazari: these contained a sophisticated hydro-powered mechanism of axles and levers which set them in operation on board a small boat floating on a lake. The band of four musicians played the percussion instruments according to the given arrangement and entertained the guests of the royal parties in Anatolia's Artuklu Palace.
The Renaissance period brought a heightened interest in the science of Automata. It was the period of innovative ideas that were based primarily on studies of the brilliant minds of the past - such as those of Archimedes of Syracuse, of Heron of Alexandria and of Philo Judaeus - and were looking at the future with a firm eye. Examples of these ideas were the Giovanni Fontana's rocket-propelled automated animals, the robotic knight of Leonardo da Vinci and the statues of Athanasius Kircher that could hear and speak through a phonetic tube.
Then, in the 18th century appeared the first mechanical cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest region of Württemberg. The basic principles of the operation of these watches formed the foundations for the construction of the Automata in that period, especially in France which became the birthplace of mechanical toys, meaning those toys that performed a range of motions through the use of elastic bands, springs and flywheels. Those toys - extremely popular in the aristocratic audience of children - were essentially the original models of the machines of the forthcoming Industrial Revolution. Of course, this type of toys did not only appeal to children, but instead they hooked the adults too to their charming craftsmanship. How else could one explain the fondness of the Japanese noblemen of Tokugawa shogunate from the Edo Period for the karakuri ningyō clockwork puppets that were serving tea to guests? Or the monumental obsession of King Frederick the Great II of Prussia who even arrayed his troops like a well-oiled clock mechanism, thus simulating his soldiers with automatic androids?
But it was the year 1737 when the first biomechanical android Automaton was successfully built, the famous Flute Player by French engineer Jacques de Vaucanson. The biomechanical designation is used here to point out the basic principle of operation of this particular android which was none other than the mimesis of the human function of "breathing": inside the chest of the Flute Player were installed bellows and tubes ending in an artificial trachea which in turn was blowing air in the flute. The Flute Player opened the way for other remarkable androids of the 18 th century, even more complex in structure. The automatic puppets of the Swiss watchmakers Pierre Jaquet-Droz and Henri Maillardet that could play piano, draw and write texts. Joseph Merlin 's Silver Swan that was grooming its plumage with its beak and grabbed the small silver fish that were swimming in a stream of glass rods. The Tipu Sultan's Tiger of Mysore which represented a tiger devouring an English soldier.
Needless to say, of course, the motions of all these machines were predetermined, limited to a specific range of functions. Despite the remarkable progress in the technology of Automata, man had failed to construct the artificial intelligence entity dictated by his galloping imagination. But even nowadays - in this age of electronic systems and sophisticated computers - how could one claim that man made an intelligent entity equivalent to man? This is, of course, a philosophical debate that requires whole paragraphs for the development of arguments, and it is reasonable that the author of the narrative shall not go further on the subject. For the sake of narrative flow, however, it is worth quoting Tessler's Theorem: Artificial Intelligence is anything that has not yet been achieved.
Friedrich's clockwork puppets were an extension of the prototypes of de Vaucanson, Jaquet-Droz and Maillardet. Besides their clockwork mechanism they had for their motor functions, the puppets were equipped with a binary rotor-oscillator system, not much different from the systems introduced by watchmakers Perrelet and Sarton around the end of the 18th century in the manufacture of automatic watches winding by hand movement. The oscillator was a lamella hypersensitive to sound waves, the rotor a - also hypersensitive - rotating wafer. This binary rotor-oscillator system set the puppets in two motion modes, A and B, depending on the sound waves of a clap.
If the clap's source was distant (such as the Baroness' first clap), the sound waves would prompt the puppet's hypersensitive oscillator into small oscillations, setting in operation the function A: the rotor would turn the puppets toward the source and then they'd move toward the spot. If the clap's source was nearby (such as Hamhaduke's clap), the sound waves were stronger and then prompted the oscillator to larger oscillations, setting in operation the function B: the rotor turned the puppets to the clap's source and then they bowed.
Hamhaduke was absolutely enchanted with Friedrich's puppets and celebrated like an ecstatic little child. The Baroness however had to prepare him for another of Friedrich's creations, more ambitious and classes superior in structure to the three clockwork puppets.
"Don't rush to succumb so brazenly to your enthusiasm, Herr Hamhaduke. You haven't seen Friedrich's latest masterpiece yet. That one will exceed your expectations by quite some far." she said.
"What!? Hahahaha! Another toy? Go ahead then! Can't wait to see it!” said Hamhaduke.
"Friedrich, present Theobald to Herr Hamhaduke" the baroness told the butler.
"Theobald? Hahahaha! What a name! Let me see Theobald then!" chuckled Hamhaduke.
The butler placed another puppet on the table. This one represented a little boy, its body proportions the same as that of an actual boy except perhaps the head which was slightly larger than normal. It wore a beige cotton shirt with a corduroy of laces and short pants with straps. Beneath the ever-cheerful face posed a silk bow of black and red rhombuses. On this puppet much effort had been evidently put in order to resemble - in the best possible way - a human being. Its skin was of coloured caoutchouc, as rosy as the human skin. Its head was implanted with tawny horsehair and its eyes were coated with a transparent resin. Special care was given to the irises of the eyes, which were made of tiny blue-coloured pieces of glass and bore in their centre the pupil's circular aperture.
Theobald - unlike the three previous puppets - had no slot for a wind-up key on his back. The butler pressed a switch that was hidden beneath the cotton shirt and then, from Theobald's innards, a long buzzing sounded which was then diminished into a hollow whistle and stopped.
"Theobald! Come here!” shouted the baroness from the other side of the table.
Theobald shook his head awkwardly, turning it to the baroness, and then began to walk towards her. His mechanism under the caoutchouc skin produced complex sounds, of different intensities and textures. Crunches of cogwheels tangential to each other, delicate rattles of jointed strips on jagged valves, muffled thumps of internal buttons, shrieks of hooks pulling loops of copper wire, faint bell-rings of rotary dials as they completed a full circle, hollow thuds of bobbins as they interchanged counters, intermittent cries from stretches of spiral lamellas, purrings during the moving of cursors on thin rails, clangs of screws as they rolled the dotted cylinders, successive screeches of micro-levers that signalled the beginning of every single movement of the body. From this rich variety of sounds, it would be logical for anyone to assume that Theobald was invested with endless hours of delicate work and that its mechanism consisted of thousands of tiny components.
Hamhaduke had many questions about the operation of Theobald as he watched him walk on the table. But his biggest question hereto - before and above all - was the lack of a wind-up slot on his back. How the hell did Theobald move around without winding? The Baroness proceeded to answer his questions.
"Theobald does not need winding, Herr Hamhaduke. And this is because he uses electricity for his operation. His mechanism contains a voltaic pile from which it extracts electric energy and converts it into kinetic one. I gather you know what electricity is, don't you?" said the Baroness.
"Electricity? ... I have heard of it but I never felt the need to learn more about it. It's one of those new ploys of scientists, right?" said Hamhaduke.
"Electricity, Herr Hamhaduke, is the technology of the future. There will come a day when electricity will be the indispensable asset of every household. The time will come when the lighting of houses or the cooking of food will be done solely by electricity.” replied the Baroness.
"Nonsense ...! Is there an element in nature that can replace fire? Impossible." said Hamhaduke.
The voltaic pile, which the Baroness referred to, was the first electric battery that could continuously supply electricity to a circuit. It was invented by the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who published his experiments in 1799. The voltaic pile consisted of pairs of copper and zinc stacked on top of each other, separated by a piece of cloth soaked in brine (which functioned as an electrolyte). Of course, studies on electricity had been carried out before - such as those by William Gilbert and Benjamin Franklin among others - but it was Alessandro Volta who, with his famous "pile", managed to provide the scientific world with a reliable source of energy. In his honour, the battery's unit of measurement of electric power (electric power = the quotient of work per unit of electrical charge along a closed electrical circuit) was named volt.
Theobalt's voltaic pile provided enough energy in the circuit of his mechanism to allow him to move for a period of about half an hour, more or less, depending on the movements. The pile was charged daily from the rotunda's cuckoo clock. This clock was another creation of Friedrich's genius, but will be discussed in detail further below. As Theobald reached the edge of the table, Hamhaduke admired his sophisticated build both on the basis of his physical movements and of the complex sounds that were constantly heard from his structure. But the surprises on Theobald's part did not end there.
Before Theobald neared the baroness, he shook his head imperceptibly and his gaze caught Hamhaduke. His cheerful face then turned toward him, and those resinous eyes glistening from the chandelier's lit spermacetis focused on the obese vampire, eyes that seemed alive despite their obvious fakeness. Electric sparks and motor rustles were heard from inside him as he turned his entire body towards Hamhaduke in order to introduce himself.
"Hel-lo. -My name-is--Teo-bald. -What- is - your - name?"
Theobald's speech was defined only by the minute movements of his lower jaw. Theobald's voice sounded whispering, betraying the successive presses of pistons upon bellows as well as the rapid openings and closings of the pharyngeal valve that corresponded to their respective phonetic notes.
That was not an unaccompanied voice: with it sounded the hollow keystrokes of the inner plectrums. They were those plectrums that transferred the commands inside the mechanism, and in particular the control console, which was not much different from a galvanometer: it was a steel box - scaled on the one side of it that came into contact with the plectrums - and inside it contained a spiral coil at the center of a magnetic ring.
The plectrums sent the commands to the control console transmitting the electrical charge to the coil. As it was filling with electricity, the coil developed a magnetic field inside it and then received a torque that forced it to rotate inside the magnetic ring. This torque was analogous with the current's amperage and, along with the coil, it also lead a pointer that determined the immediate next movement of Theobald.
It would be reasonable for anyone to assume that the control console, being the central "brain" of the mechanism, would most likely be in the head of Theobald. On the contrary, the control console was mounted on his back, just below the neck. Given his complex construction, it would therefore seem paradoxical that Theobald's head was almost empty inside. Of course, there was a reason for this.
Theobald's head followed in its construction the principles of camera obscura as outlined in the Magiae Naturalis scientific manual of the Italian researcher Giambattista della Porta in 1558. The camera obscura was the forerunner of photography and photographic camera: a dark box with one small hole on one side of it. The light from outside objects passed through the hole and fell upon a surface in its interior, where it reproduced them.
Theobold's head wasn't thus but only a dark chamber that received the outer image through the hole of one (only) eye and reproduced it on an inner plate. This inner plate was made of photosensitive silver chloride.
As it was obtaining a face's luminosity, the plate's silver chloride darkened by the light according to the face's area and then decomposed into elemental chlorine and metallic silver. This decomposition determined accordingly the rate of the electrical charge passing through the plate to the copper electrodes that were attached to the back of it. The change of the electric charge's rate also triggered the corresponding behavioural response of Theobald: when Theobald "saw" Hamhaduke, the control console (based on the electric charge rate) gave the automatic command to his mechanism to introduce himself using the standard phrase "Hello. My name is Theobald. What is your name?"
The camera obscura inside Theobald's head hid a cute secret in its structure. It was regulated in such a way that it only "recognised" one person, Baroness von Wasserbaum. And it did that based on the area of her face's luminosity, very roughly of course as Theobald was still on experimental stage. As Theobald "gazed" the baroness, and the corresponding electric charge reached the control console, he bowed before her on one knee and recited to her one of the dozens of erotic poems recorded on his bobbins.
It is worth noting here that Theobald's camera obscura unfortunately did not last longer than seven to eight minutes. After this time-period, the camera obscura fell into complete disuse as the silver chloride plate darkened in its entirety, rendering the hapless Theobald blinder than a mole rat. Therefore, for his subsequent communication with humans, Theobald relied solely on the stimuli he received from his hypersensitive hearing sensors, which operated normally until the voltaic pile was fully discharged.
At Theobald's self-introduction, Hamhaduke was awestruck with his mouth wide open. It was impossible for him to believe what was happening, that a machine like Theobald was feasible. The baroness next to him urged him to introduce himself to Theobald, speaking slowly and clearly. And that's exactly what he did.
"Good evening Theobald. My name is Bugs Hamhaduke."
Theobald stood motionless for a while as the short, sharp sounds of copper wires and cursors came out of his chest. As the appropriate electric charge passed through the control console via the internal plectrums, he was now ready to respond with the help of the bellows and the pharyngeal valve.
"Ni-ce to mee- t- you Bug - Ha- ha -dok." [The surname Hamhaduke was much too tricky in its rendering for Theobald's diction.]
Theobald's mechanism was also characterised by another bizarre peculiarity in his construction beyond the position of the control console. One might expect that Theobald's hearing sensors should be in his ears. But that was not the case. His hearing sensors were mounted on his thorax, hidden beneath the beige cotton shirt. In fact, Theobald's entire chest was covered not with the pink caoutchouc of the skin but with a very thin fabric which allowed all sounds to pass through it. Behind the fabric stood the hearing system.
Theobald's hearing system was, in principle, not that different from the binary rotor-oscillator system of the three previous puppets. But it was clearly larger, more sophisticated and more complex in its texture. It was no coincidence that it occupied the entire thorax and stomach of Theobald.
The system applied a syllable recognition method based mainly on the nucleus of each syllable, that is, the vowel. The hearing system sensors were hypersensitive lamellas on a board, thirty in number: this meant that the system could roughly identify thirty syllables with deviation. The deviation in turn meant that the system was able to "guess" at random the syllables it failed to accurately identify by hearing.
Each lamella-sensor had a different range of oscillations customised to the corresponding nucleus of each syllable, and each was connected to a rotor. On hearing a word, all sensors oscillated causing their rotors to revolve. Each syllable gave its respective sensor greater oscillations than those of the other sensors. As a result, the said sensor's rotor revolved faster than the rest of the rotors. Subsequently, the rotor actuated the bridging hub's electrical circuit quicker, and then the corresponding command was transferred from the hub to the determiner which was nothing more than a small box filled with hundreds of thin copper fibres. The determiner in turn, analysing the sequence of syllables, deduced the derivative word and communicated it to the control console keyboard and thereby appointed the appropriate reply (or reaction) of Theobald.
Like the camera obscura inside his head, Theobald's hearing system was adjusted to recognise only the Baroness's voice. This was achieved by means of a hypersensitive zinc cone mounted at the heart point and which vibrated accordingly upon receiving those particular tonal acuities of the baroness's hoarse Bavarian pronunciation. These vibrations caused short interceptions in the electrical circuit of the hub, thereby "alerting" the control console about the presence of the baroness.
Hamhaduke was jumping up and down on his chair in delirium. Theobald was really something he never expected to experience. The baroness urged him to say another phrase to Theobald. Hamhaduke thought for a while. He couldn't find anything else to say but:
"This is one very tiny pecker you've got over there, Theobald."
The Baroness and the Lord looked at each other and shook their heads in contempt. Theobald sounded the characteristic "click" and "clack" and "hrshhh" of his mechanism analysing Hamhaduke's comment. One was the response set by the control console in this case.
"Thank- you- ve-ry much."
The baroness needed a little of Theobald's love. And for that reason she had to detach him from Hamhaduke whilst the silver chloride plate in his head was still functioning.
"Theo, come talk to me too," she said, and then Theobald turned his body towards her, sounding the clangs of his joints and the rattles of the control console. The command was given within him to focus his eyes upon the face of the Baroness, and, as he did so and got a good idea of her luminosity, he knelt straight on one leg initiating randomly one of the bobbins of the erotic poems. His choice is the first verse of Robert Burns's poem "A Red, Red Rose".
"O my Luve is like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June;/ O my Luve is like the melody/ That’s sweetly played in tune."
The Lord and the Baroness applauded loudly. Theobald stood up again and bowed before them with jerky movements.
"Amazing! Amazing, amazing, amazing! But how? How is that possible?” yelled Hamhaduke, jumping up and down as if he had springs on his butt.
"Theobald is programmed to be in love with me, Herr Hamhaduke. He always offers me his faithful love.” smiled the Baroness.
"Friedrich, is Theobald equipped with memory?" Lord Greywood asked the butler.
"Oh no my Lord," replied the butler with a resonant voice. "In order to incorporate a memory function into Theobald's mechanism, I would have to apply an engraving system on lithographic plates. But I would need whole tons of lithographic plates, and it'd of course be impossible to stack them all inside Theobald. There would be so many plates that would occupy the whole of Château."
"I see." said the Lord meditative.
"Is there any particular reason why you're asking about memory?" the Baroness asked the Lord.
"If Theobald was embedded with a memory system, then I could perhaps admit that Theobald can really feel the emotion of love. Or that he anyway approaches the authentic emotion in a remarkable way." said the Lord.
"Oh, Jules! Don't be so naive. Do you really believe that a machine can reach a human's emotional depth?” said the Baroness.
"I would respond with a very definite no until René Descartes claimed that the bodies of animals are nothing more than complex machines - bones, muscles and organs could be replaced with cogwheels, pistons and axes. His claim made me reconsider the idea of emotion. What are emotions anyway but biochemical processes of actions and reactions?" said the Lord.
"If man ever reaches the point of being able to create a machine in the image and likeness of man, then this will mean the end of mankind. Mark my words, Jules." said the Baroness.
[to be continued next Friday, 12 June 2020, exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS]
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A few words about the author
Dimitris Apergis was born in Larisa, Greece, in 1978. He graduated in BA (Hons) Film Studies in the UK. He lives in Greece.
His books are published in both English and Greek languages, by the OKYPUS PUBLISHING. https://en.okypus.com/okypus-publisher
Dimitris has received several awards for his literary work.
In 2018 he received the First Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his novel Gerard & the father. Additionally, in 2018 his novel Gerard & the father also received the First Literature Award at the 8th International Literature Contest held by E.P.O.C. (Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus) under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2017 his novel ‘At the Whiskey County’ received the First Literature Award at the 7th International Literature Contest held by the Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2015 his novella ‘Jazz Room’ received the Second Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers.
In 2013 he received a Praise from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his short story Labyrinth.
In 2012 he received the First Literature Award from the MONITOR Press for his short story Acid Rain.