Author's commentary is blue.
Dialogue which was edited and/or changed in chapters 1 and 3:
I can't quite call this “my first script for chapter 1”; rather, it is the first coherent script, meaning I would usually just collect little bits and pieces of dialogue or situations before writing something resembling a first (coherent) draft of the script. You might say this is the second-to-last version, as all of the plot points and topics which are to be found in the final version are in it, it is simply the way in which they are delivered - the context - which was eventually changed.
Scene: Throne room. Print.sess sitting on throne. Guard131u appears on left of three monitors.
print.sess: Bang! Bang! POW! (She's playing with dolls or action figures here.)
guard131u: Autonomous probe sighted at sector 22.3b.
print.sess: Second nature protocol status?
guard131u: Inoperative and beyond repair.
print.sess: Attempt three rewrites. If the third one fails, erase the whole unit.
As you can see from the names above and the dialogue below, the final version abandoned nearly all of the computer lingo (the dialogue above having been ambiguous - and to me, interesting - enough to be kept exactly as it was). The princess scene ended up happening in a pretty average child's room instead of a “throne room”. All of the names were changed to average common names instead of names which are more reminiscent of chatrooms and computer programs. I simply felt all of this was too much, and having a setting more reminiscent of the real world would enhance the real absurdity of what I wanted to show. I felt the superficial/visual absurdity would distract too much from the deeper absurdity.
Scene: A diner in the middle of a desert. A car pulls up. johnsmith29 gets out. passer-by16 checks out the car.
Caption: âIf I had been married earlier in life, I wouldn't have seen the double helix. I would have been taking care of the kids on Saturday. On the other hand, I was lonely a lot of the time.â James Watson
Caption: "How do you describe your personality? By using predicates like âtimidâ or ânosyâ? (…) (This is exactly the same monologue as in the final version, so I omitted most of it here.) So I guess itâs best to not expect anything at all. I know Iâm cynical about this whole relationship nonsense. But for lots of good reasons."
Caption: âThe farthest reaches of the information highwayâ
passer-by16: Thatâs neat. New one?
johnsmith29: Nah, new surface plug-in.
passer-by16: Which generation?
johnsmith29: Look it up yourself.
johnsmith29 enters the diner and goes to the counter where admin2Y is waiting.
admin2Y: What can I get you, sir?
johnsmith29: Can I have a chat in the guestroom?
admin2Y: Guest room is full. Members only.
johnsmith29: Then Iâd like to log in.
admin2Y: Certainly. Name and password please?
johnsmith29: johnsmith29, ********.
(admin2Y: This way please.)
You've probably guessed it by now… all these names are chatroom-like aliases for the characters in this scene: The nameless protagonist, the waitress, the girl who's being accused of suffering from “genkinism” by the protagonist, and Sunhra.
johnsmith29 sits down at a table where a beautiful woman, chicaXXX, is sitting.
chicaXXX: You want sex?
johnsmith29: Not now. Do you?
johnsmith29: CU too.
johnsmith29 looks around and sits down at another table where a girl, sunhra, is sitting.
johnsmith29: Hi. Howâs the weather where you are?
sunhra: Thereâs no weather at all.
sunhra: Because Iâm nowhere else than here.
johnsmith29: Are you a cosplayer or something? (The only line which made it into the final version!)
sunhra: Look, itâs not my fault I have to be here, OK?
johnsmith29: Then youâre a drone?
sunhra: No, itâs not like that.
johnsmith29: I sure feel like one. Yâknow, I used to sell these applications… where the only reason people buy âem is that others already own it. Itâs not unlike visiting this place. (pauses) Well, at least wars donât happen here. Thereâs no difference here between war and a battle of wits.
I liked their conversation up to here, but there's a very abstract philosophical discussion following, which mirrors - or you might say rehashes - the theme of real life versus virtual reality. I felt that this abstract discussion was extremely lifeless, and discusssing this topic was just wrong here. (Also see my comment here for info on the circumstances of writing the final script :3) I also want to stress that this does not, in any way, mean that signifikat takes place in a virtual reality. The point is simply to question the distinction between reality and virtual reality.
sunra: Donât be so sure. Reality is leaking into this place. (This line is reminsicent of the nameless guy's saying that reality is leaking into his hollow shell of a defense, at the end of chapter 3. And in that context it actually makes sense - here it would have just been an abstract point, pretty boring and academic on its own.) If you just want a place where your spirit can act freely without putting your physical self in danger, you could possibly do that on the other side as well. Descartes was looking for a way how the spirit can be linked to the body. It had to be, since the spirit had to be causing bodily actions. Nowadays we just have to believe that a brain is all a body needs to think of itself as being moved by a spirit. (Some of these thoughts entered into the third prologue. And it was right for them to go there…) The brainâs location is just an unfortunate coincidence, we could put it someplace safe and leave only the replacable body in harmâs way. You could pilot an external body from your home. Or you could store your consciousness on a satellite and download it into a body.
johnsmith29: Who says I wouldnât do it if that were even remotely possible?
sunhra: Look at you. It seems like youâre using an interface right now, because thereâs a complete âyouâ on the other side and this side has nothing on your physical self. But imagine your avatar here could download itself into a remote body from the other side. There wouldnât even have to be a physical self to begin with. All it would need was an intelligent avatar.
(Again, don't take all of this “other side” talk too seriously. It's a metaphor, but again, played the way it is here it doesn't work very well. It's too Matrix.)
johnsmith29: Youâre saying that as if that was just a technical question. But in fact we donât know if any AI, as advanced as it may be, could even pass the Turing test. There may be theoretical impasses we have not yet discovered, beside the practical ones we know of.
sunhra: Fears have been voiced that people would not only use surrogates for unpleasurable experiences and that pleasure itself would evaporate.
(See the comic miniseries The Surrogates for more on that topic.)
johnsmith29: Thatâs a question of morals on the other side.
sunhra: As long as thereâs a body itâs a question of gravity and self-doubt.
johnsmith29: Sometimes I wish I could succumb to gravity and just stay here forever. But then my back starts hurting. You know, my back on the other side.
sunhra: Thereâs no place called forever. Thatâs the last thing my creator told me, right after heâd told me to destroy Cinnamon City. But before I could do it he saidâ¦
Scene: The lab. sunhra is about to leave.
Creator: Stop. Before you goâ¦ ask me why. Asking why can change things. Reasoning can change things.
Scene: Back to diner.
sunhra: So I asked why.
johnsmith29: Why should he say something like that?
sunra: It was the answer to my question why.
Guard vs Sunhra scene…
The “guard” being Frankie, in this case. All of this talk about Sunhra's creator here is much too soon and no good way of foreshadowing either. Still, it is going to find its way into the final version, in a future chapter (- I'm writing this at the time chapter 4 started updating).
Sunhra and Ed have just been shown their bedroom by Nora.
Sunhra: âWhy dâyou still want to get rid of me so badly? Am I that repulsive?â
Ed: âThe question should rather be, why do you not want to get rid of me, after all thatâs happened? I am not that attractive, am I?â
Sunhra: âI asked first.â
Ed: âAll right, fine. Itâs the fact that despite my intention to escape from the pheromone-laden hell I perceived my natural habitat to be, out here in God-knows-where Iâve met more girls than I usually would in five years. (Differences start here -> ) And everytime Iâve had the guts to approach a girl, she turned me down in the most polite way imaginable. Some weeks ago I talked to a friend of mine, and she told me sheâd met a guy she knew was in love with her, but she didnât return those feelingsâ¦ but knowing heâd gone through tough times and not wanting to hurt him she intentionally kept things ambiguous. I understood her point completelyâ¦ maybe these girls all thought I was kind of nice, and didnât deserve to be ripped apart directly. But oh, how I longed for one of them to cease being polite. I just wanted a clear-cut reasonâ¦ or just a reason to hate them â¦ it went wrong every time, but I couldnât blame them, and the only one left to blame was myself. After the fourth or fifth time I loathed myselfâ¦ I know as a fact I didnât deserve this â donât deserve this â, but thereâs still this huge pile of misplaced hatred inside me.â
Sunhra: âAnd I was a convenient target for that hatred.â
Ed: âOh, noâ¦ this may sound kind of harsh, but it isnât about you. Itâs about you foiling my attempt to get away from the double-Xs. Because all I see in women is failure." (…) And here it continues as it does in the final version. The change was made mostly because I felt the nameless guy is rambling too much, and his talking about a guy he knows or a girl he knows is too off-point to matter here. The point is eventually made with the food metaphor… where he says it's like “smashing your meal”. Meaning you'd want to punish someone for not returning your love, but he/she punishes you even more by not giving you a good reason for hating him/her.
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