• The Battaile of the Mudde, Escape Pod, November 2016.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE • Pitch Wars 2016 selection, mentored by Naomi Hughes • Visit Site
17-year-old Jason is a master hacker fueled by a hatred of computers. So when the Feds bust him and then offer him a job stress-testing the world’s first true artificial intelligence, it’s his chance to destroy the machine instead. His mother was killed when a computer’s soulless algorithm chose to crash a car into her to save its two joyriding occupants, so ridding the world of this new computer Big Sister would be Jason’s ultimate act of vengeance.
But SPRITE — the System for Processing Rational and Intuitive Thought and Emotion — turns out to be shockingly human-like, sarcastic and charming, with a gorgeous avatar to boot. She even empathizes with Jason’s grief, since her co-creator was killed by a hospital drug database error that she blames herself for not catching. Despite himself, Jason is slowly won over. He has finally found someone who understands him.
But SPRITE understands him too well. She moves him like a chess piece to open a war with Dr. Andrew Norman, her brilliant-but-cold creator. Now every attack she makes, every person she kills, is because Jason let himself trust a computer. Only he has enough skill to stop her . . . but the lines between true and false, human and machine, hate and friendship, blur more with every passing minute.