Wednesday February 7, 2001
Book 1: The Tub of Happiness — Bombs Ahoy
Note:The artificial intelligence community has long protested the use of rational, "thinking" machines as detonators. The war-machine lobby is quite powerful in governments across the galaxy, however, so legislation restricting manufacturers has never been successfully passed.

One well-intentioned group of artificial intelligences mounted a huge media campaign: "Truth," they called it. Their public service annoucements targeted young AIs serving as detonators, explaining in uncompromising language that their choices would get them killed, and that there were things the smart-bomb industry just did not want them to know.

The campaign was a dismal failure. AIs working as detonators do not get to watch television.

Addendum to Note: At the time I wrote this strip I thought I was being SOOOO clever. "Smart bombs!" I said to my wife. Then she told me about a horrid B-movie called Dark Star, in which a smart bomb has to be argued out of blowing up. I think it was filmed before I was born.

Addendum to Addendum to Note: Frankly, I had a couple of choices for today's strip. One of them involved lots of explosion art, but no jokes. The other was this unoriginal, tired, worked over smart-bomb idea that made me laugh out loud, but featured exactly no artwork. In fact, it's funnier that there's no artwork. It's like, in a fit of plagiarism I decided to rip everybody off.

(sigh). Go away now. No more notes.


Narrator: There are three bombs on the mercenary cruiser Kitesfear, and they want to blow up. It is their one hope and dream. . . Their ambition, even.
SmartBomb Yellow: hey. . . it feels like the ship is moving.
SmartBomb Pink: can't be. the docking clamps haven't blown.
Clock: 007.05
SmartBomb Yellow: well, what about the pressure sensors?
Clock: 006.21
SmartBomb Green: there's a small change, but it's within tolerance.
SmartBomb Yellow: inertial sensors are wiggling a little. this is suspicious. let's blow up.
Clock: 004.53
SmartBomb Pink: we can't just blow up on a whim, you know that.
SmartBomb Yellow: fine. let's vote then.
SmartBomb Green: can I call the roll this time?
Clock: 003.00
SmartBomb Yellow: oh, all right.
SmartBomb Green: we'll have to hurry, though, because the timer runs out in a second and a half.
Clock: 001.38
SmartBomb Pink: you know, we could just wait for the timer.
SmartBomb Yellow: where's the fun in that? I want to exercise a little free will before I go.
SmartBomb Pink: moot point. time's up.
Clock: 000.00
Narrator: Smart-bombs lead such unfulfilling little lives.