E-Robot Science Fiction presents short fiction by award-winning author, Carl Frederick. These tales are offered two at a time for the 'pulp era' price of ninety-nine cents.
--The Skeekit-Woogle Test-- (5000 words)[SFLite]
Sir Francis Galton in 1883 wrote in 'Inquiries into Human Faculty' "I will simply remark —First, that the existence of the colour associations with sound is fully as remarkable as that of the Number-Form with numbers. Secondly, that the vowel sounds chiefly evoke them. Thirdly, that the seers are invariably most minute in their description of the precise tint and hue of the colours. They are never satisfied, for instance, with saying "blue", but will take a great deal of trouble to express or to match the particular blue they mean. Fourthly, that no two people agree, or hardly ever do so, as to the colour they associate with the same sound. Lastly that the tendency is very hereditary. "
My story, 'The Skeekit-Woogle Test' concerns synesthesia. This is a cross-wiring of the brain where vision, sound, and even smell are mixed up. Some forms of synesthesia cause synesthetes (people with the condition) to see a color when they hear a particular word or to associate smells with shapes. In fact, there are synesthetes with any possible pair of senses coupled.
There is at least anecdotal evidence that a link exists between creativity and Synesthesia.The creativity link may have been forged because of some rather famous people with the condition:
Richard Feynman (physicist)
Nikola Tesla (engineer/scientist)
Vladimir Nabokov (writer)
Vasily Kandinsky (artist)
Paul Klee (artist)
Franz Liszt (composer)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (composer)
Jean Sibelius (composer)
At least one cognitive scientist, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California (San Diego), thinks almost all of us have it in some form.
Actually, I got the idea for the Skeekit-Woogle story from listening to the superb BBC 2003 Reith Lectures given by Dr. Ramachandran.
This story appeared first in the March 2006 issue of Analog Magazine.
--The Door that Does Not Close-- (6,000 words)[SFKids]
An alien, remotely-controlling an android in the form of a young boy, befriends an old professor for the purpose of finding a written record from an alien expedition to Earth in Roman times. The story then, is not so much about a child as it is about the exuberant nature of childhood.
Carl Frederick is a theoretical physicist. After a post-doc at NASA and a stint at Cornell University, he left theoretical astrophysics and his first love, quantum relativity theory (a strange first love, perhaps) in favor of hi-tech industry.
He invented the first commercial digital modem, and Venture Capital moved him and his company to Boston. Soon though, tired of being a Lance-corporal of industry, he moved back home to be Chief Scientist of a small company doing AI software.
While keeping his hand in theoretical physics, he decided he'd like to write a more overt form of Science Fiction and so attended the Odyssey Writers Workshop. Subsequently, he took a first place in the Writers of the Future contest.
He is predominately a short story writer, having sold a couple of stories each to Asimov's and Baen's Universe, and over thirty-five to Analog. Details at his website, www.frithrik.com
He has two grown children and shares his house with a pet robot and a cat. For recreation, he fences epee, learns languages, and plays the bagpipes. He lives in rural, Ithaca, New York. And rural is good if you play the bagpipes.
He has since returned to his aforementioned first love.