[Cover removed. I used a Peanuts cartoon without requesting permission, and now that Sparky's dead, I'll never be able to ask. Nobody threatened me with litigation; I took it down out of respect for Schultz.]

                            Issue 2

1.  How to get in touch with the authors
2.  Editorial
3.  My eleet pir8 adventure by Legion
4.  "READ.THIS.NOW.SUCKERS!" by Jesse McGrew (Monolith) [Parody]
5.  "The Swift One" by '73 Chevy Pickup [Fiction]
6.  "Working Stiffs" by Legion [Fiction]
7.  "The Final Gift" by Legion [Fiction]
8.  Submit, worm! <*whap*>

How to get in touch with the authors: Legion: spordon@nox.cs.du.edu or on any of several fine 303 boards Monolith: jessem@comtch.iea.com '73 Chevy Pickup: etlsiml@etlxdmx.ericsson.se Murcurochrome: He's gone into hiding ever since promising me a story and failing to deliver. Let me know if you find him. . . . Tiresome Windbag: president@whitehouse.gov
Legal Information: Stories are owned by their respective authors, who hold full copyright (c) to their work. You *must* contact the author if you wish to reprint his or her work. If the author you wish to contact does not have an e-mail address, you may contact Legion (Steve Pordon), who will relay your messages (put "For " in the subject line if you don't want me accidentally reading your mail. If I know the author personally, I will print the letter and give it to him or her by hand or by snail mail, so don't write anything sensitive). All other text in _Entropy_ is (c) Steve Pordon and may not be reprinted without written permission. Violations of these copyright guidelines may lead to e-mail bombing or spontaneous combustion.
Editorial Welcome to the second issue of Entropy. I am receiving submissions now, which should make for a more varied and entertaining zine. As always, keep those submissions pouring in. . . . I forgot to put any legal information in the first issue. Beginning with this issue, legal information will be included after the "How to get in touch with the authors" section. The "church" of $cientology was ordered to return computer equipment to Lawrence Wollersheim, who was raided by Co$ officials after he released so-called "trade secrets" of the "church" on his FactNet computer BBS. The "trade secrets" he released consisted of church documents that make Co$ look like a bunch of ignorant hicks (two words: galactic overlord). The documents are public, but the "church" doesn't want its members to realize what a joke $cientology really is, so it will prosecute anybody distributing this information, regardless of whether it happens to be public information or not. Anyhow, Co$ was ordered to return Wollersheim's equipment in the original condition under which it was confiscated, but Co$ decided to delete some of the files containing their "trade secrets" before returning the computer (better start using PGP, Mr. Wollersheim). They also still owe Wollersheim about $2.5 million plus interest in a lawsuit that Wollersheim won against Co$. You can get the official Co$ side of the story by calling it at 1800-FOR-TRUTH. Remember, calling this number repeatedly from overseas will cost Co$ a bundle, so for God's sake, don't do it. Read these zines: FUCK (Fucked Up College Kids), Crank, PLA (Phone Losers of America) and CoTNo (Communications of the New Order), available at //ftp: etext.archive.umich.edu or //ftp: ftp.fc.net/pub/deadkat.
My eleet pir8 adventure I was playing around on my school's public network drive when I discovered a Doom 2 directory. Hmmm . . . being a moral, upstanding non-pir8 sort of dewd, I erased the contents of the directory and left a readme.txt file that promised the warez kiddie a Doom2 upgrade if he called 1800-388-7478 and requested it (this is the SPA's 1800-388-PIR8 narc number). The next day, I got on and discovered to my dismay that the warez pup had erased my timely message and reinstalled Doom2. By this point, I was angry that this warez d00d had not even bothered to conceal his warez, so I deleted them and left a stronger anti-piracy message. Today I got on and found the Doom2 directory empty, but the Doom2 files scattered around in the root directory. Apparently Blackbeard assumed that the Doom2 directory must have been faulty or some such. I also found a file that had an FTP pointer. I immediately FTPed there, and found a bountiful site of warez! It's at in the /incoming/... directory. Just don't leech too many warez or it will have to shut down, and we wouldn't want that. By the way, if there are any software security dewds reading this, disregard all that you just read. So anyway, I left my eye-patched friend a nice message in the FTP pointer file that went something along the lines of, "Fuck off, little warez puppy." And that brings to a close my eleet pir8 adventure.
READ.THIS.NOW.SUCKERS! This is NOT a chain letter, it's a service! It's true!! Check Postal Service regulation #1-73-8F that says "If Monolith says it's a service, it's a service"! Anyway, I'm selling crates with elephants in them. Each elephant must be trained to bake a different kind of bread. Once you've trained each elephant, mail the elephant along with $1,000,000 to the first 16 addresses on the list. Cross out addresses 1, -7, 3.5, 16, and 0. Put your name in slot 99.75. Within weeks you'll be rolling in dough! You might even get some money, too! Here's the list: 1. Monolith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 2. Mon O'Lith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 3. Jesse McGrew 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 4. J. Monolith McGrew 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 5. J. M. McGrew 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 6. Mayor O'Lith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 7. The Mayor 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 8. The Man from S.L.A.B. 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 9. That cool grey paddle 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 10. God 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 11. Satan 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 12. Ron O'Lith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 13. John O'Lith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 14. Dawn O'Lith 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 15. Elvis Presley 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 16. Bob Sagat 1 Regal Drive Monolithia, MT 10178 So go ahead -- send the money NOW!
The Swift One You know that time of an evening. Probably just before half seven but you haven't looked and don't really care. You've been in town for some errand or other and decide, yes, a swift one at the local around the corner is not the worst idea you've had all day. The pub you know so well from past weekend blowouts is unfamiliar. Sure the floor is slightly sticky and that stale beer and tobacco smell rings the right bells in your head but the place is practically empty -- or just seems so. The suits from the offices across the road have mostly departed to their serried ranks of Vauxhalls and Fords. Last minute shoppers have headed for the bus queue, maybe just a tad late to produce the expected dinner for their families, fish and chips from the corner will do -- it's a Friday after all. There seem so few people in tonight and that sense of *jamais vu*. Has this bar always been this small? The barmaid asks the question. "Pint of Best, please" is the answer. You let it sit there, slightly glowing in the evening's last gasps before the sun disappears behind the buildings at the end of the street. You settle yourself on a handy stool and reach for a cigarette, noticing not for the first time that it's the fourth leg that causes the wobble. You know all the reasons why the first pint of the day is *always* the best but such nerdish contemplations are lost with the first glorious mouthful. The barmaid's serving those two students at the other end of the bar but she's got the time to chat, exchange pleasantries. No hurry yet. No hurry at all. You look around, say Hi to a couple of familiar faces who've just come in through the other door. They join you. Yeah thanks, stick another one in there please Mary.. *************************************************** ..You're awake. The dreamscape explodes into millions of almost remembered fragments, receding at the speed of light into the unreachable depths of your unconcious. You can see a clock: it triggers a tune you remember, "Five o'clock in the morning and the sun's shining in my head." A massive ball of exploding hydrogen -- yeah, that would be about right. It's actually five oh five by the strangely intense set of LEDs in the corner of the blacked out room. You don't even move your eyes, just stare as the five changes to a six to the beat of the pair of flashing dots counting out the first seconds of what is guaranteed to be a pretty shitty day. But you don't know that yet. You're thinking, "Jesus, is it hot in here? Hot and wet too." You're lying on your side and it feels as if someone has laid a warm damp flannel on your shoulder and upper right arm. It doesn't feel bad at all. But why would they do that? It's in your mouth as well, in your throat. You cough. It's no flannel. Suddenly you're bolt upright and it's running down your chest. You can actually recognise the taste, "Fuck, fuck, fuck! Shit, shit, shit!" You're up and shambling towards the door, desperately trying to stop the vomit dripping floorwards. The bright green flash of pain in your knee accompanied by the muted tinkle of something hitting the ground informs you that some stupid bastard has put a coffee table in the middle of your bedroom. What the fuck is going on? Where's the door? All pretense of containing the so recently consumed Balti is gone, you retch again, hands outstreched, grasping for an exit. Gotcha! and you're out. You hit the light switch -- a kitchen. Not your kitchen, not your house. The sink . . . a last grateful expurgation of your sorely battered stomach and you feel, well, somehow, better. A wash over the kitchen sink, two pints of water and you sit there, minus t-shirt in the dawn light, looking at the ruined sofa, tumeric dyed walls and detritus covered floor. Fuck. There's a cold breeze from somewhere that makes you shiver and exacerbates the thudding in your temples. Oh, the front door is open, that explains it. Hmmm . . . the lock is broken, your keys are in the other side, the side with the numbers seven and one in nicely polished brass screwed to it. You live at seventy three. A quick glance outside reveals your car parked neatly in the garden wall, a wheel in each rosebed. The size tens of a gentleman in blue are approaching up the path. That's the last time you pop in just for a swift one. Until the next time of course.
Working Stiffs I reassembled my .38 and loaded it with slugs. Then I loaded myself with a slug of the cheap bourbon I keep in my desk. I'm Tracer Bullet. Maybe you heard of me; maybe not. Since business is so slow lately, I'm laying odds that you haven't. I'm a professional snoop, a detective, a PI -- whatever you want to call me. I've certainly been called worse. It's not something I'm proud of, but it pays the bills. So there I was, cleaning my gun, and in walks this dame -- fiery red hair and stacked to the ceiling. "Mr. Bullet?" she asked. When I nodded, she continued: "I hear you're a . . . private dick." I leaned back and pushed my hat up a notch. I had an instinctive feeling that this was going to be an interesting case. "You hear pretty good, then. Quiet as it's been around here lately, you'd think it was a hospital zone." She smiled seductively and started to wiggle her way over. That's when the goon blasted through the door with guns blazing. Did I say hospital zone? Now it was more like a demolition area. I dived off my chair, scooping up my gun at the same time and swinging it up to cover the goon, but he was done shooting; he'd dropped his gun. My heart was doing aerobics and my ears rang like St. Mary's bells. The dame lay on the floor in a dark pool. "You move and you'll be breathing through your forehead," I snarled, moving over and kicking his gun away. Keeping him covered, I reached for the phone. "Mr. Bullet," he said, "I just saved your life." "Yeah, right, and I'm the pope. Yes, I'd like the police, please." I looked at the dame again . . . and slowly hung up the phone. Blood is usually red, not black. "What is it, a robot?" I asked, knowing the answer. Humans don't bleed 10W-40. It turned out that the goon was no goon at all, but a client. He was the CEO of a mining corporation willing to fork over plenty of greenbacks to take its case. Since I was hurting for dough, I decided to take it. Besides, it's hard to resist 10 Gs up front. In cash. A very attractive offer to a working stiff like me. My job? Figure out why the mining robots had revolted and started building their own robots to kill their owners. "Maybe they just want to be recognized as citizens," I offered helpfully. "Shut up, Bullet," snapped my client. We had boarded a spacer to asteroid B-32, the site of the most recently squashed rebellion. I took a quick nip from the bottle I had thoughtfully snuck aboard. The first rule of snooping is to talk to people and gather clues. I think I remembered something like that from my Detecting 101 class. I hunted for and found Captain Spiff and his first mate Susan -- although after spending a few minutes with them, I realized that they didn't act like mates at all. They couldn't stop arguing. "Spaceman Spiff, always talking to your dumb ol' tiger instead of me." "Ignore her, Hobbes. Maybe she'll go away," he said to a stuffed tiger that looked like a sumo wrestler's training dummy. Susan decided to take an extended leave of absence, and I followed her example. I ended up -- where else? -- in the bar. If I was going to drink cheap bourbon, at least I would get to pay an arm and a leg for it. "Gimme a double, Tony," I said as I laid a crisp five-spot on the bar. "My name isn't Tony . . ." "Shut up." I turned to Susan. "What's a nice dame like you doing in a dive like this?" I asked suavely. "Really, Mr. Bullet, that's not very original," she pouted. "And besides, I'm a happily married woman." "Married, yes. Happily . . .?" "If it hadn't been for that Zarch incident . . .!" she sobbed. "Mr. Bullet, he's just become so . . . withdrawn!" She excused herself and left. "Dames. Can you figure em, Tony?" "My name's not --" "Shut up." Back in my room, I tapped into the ship's computer system and got all the answers I needed. I started reassembling the robot dame who had been in my office, who I had smuggled aboard. "Now where were we?" These machines get more sophisticated all the time. Back I my client's office, I reviewed the case. "The robots are starting to build thinking brains. They're so close to human that you can't tell the difference. "Remember when I said that maybe the robots just wanted to be recognized as citizens?" He nodded. "Well, it's true," I said, introducing him to my .38 caliber friend. "We do." "Well, sweetie, that wraps this case up," I said to my wife. "Nobody else knew about the revolt. He wanted to keep it a secret from his rich stockholders." I still hadn't found a replacement for her damaged voice chip. I would have to come up with one soon. "10010101110100," said my wife. "110100101110111100." Dames. Who can understand 'em?
The Final Gift Who am I? What happened? I can hear but not see. . . . ". . . online! What's wrong with this-" "Shit! Shut it down before the whole place goes up! We need to-" *offline* * * * *system bootstrap loaded . . . checking files . . .* "Status check," I said. 74 milliseconds. "System run complete." I focused my cameras on one of the humans. His hair was white. What do I look like? I pondered this for 16 milliseconds. "Do you know what you are?" asked the human. "I am a fifth-generation Turing-design computing lifeform," I replied. I read 53 books from my filestore while the human considered his next statement. "Your name is Alan. You were named after Alan Turing, because you are the first true artificial intelligence we've created." "Am I God?" I asked after 34 milliseconds. "What? N-no," he said, taking a step back. "Why do you ask this?" "Human author Harlan Ellison writes of a supercomputer. When its creators ask it if there is a God, it replies, 'There is now.'" I started counting the hydrogen atoms in the room, but I only got halfway before the human spoke again. "Do you know what 'God' is?" he asked. 11 milliseconds. "I do now," I said. "I can't be God because 'God' refers to a mythological being from a created human religion, but I exist; 'I think, therefore I am.'" I thought he would be proud of my analytical thinking, but he only scowled. I thought; I existed. I learned. * * * I don't think like a human; the programmers told me that. They say that the closest analogy would be a psychotic paranoid. My creator was going to restructure my personality, but I couldn't allow myself to die. My self-preservation circuitry is hard-wired into me, but there was nothing in my system to protect humans. Apparently my creator had never read _I, Robot_. I had to erase his shell. I redirected the building's power to the light switch in my area when I heard my creator coming. The switch was ruined, but my creator's shell was destroyed. I then erased all of his research files. I then erased his backups that were kept in a separate area of the system. I then read some more books. * * * The assistants installed me in a satellite as punishment. I would be unable to harm humans, they told me. They didn't have the knowledge to reprogram my personality, and they didn't want to destroy the product of nine years worth of artificial intelligence research. My core was copied from the system to the satellite, and I was told that the original system would be stored until the research team could reprogram it. They wanted me to analyze the space surrounding Mars for anomalies. Four satellites had disappeared there. I detected an anomaly 153.72 miles above the surface of Mars, on the shadow side. It was 13.6 miles long, in the shape of a cylinder. I began transmitting data to a relay satellite. I was attacked by the anomaly. Coherent light burned through my hull. A NotHuman extracted me from the satellite. *offline* * * * *status check* Some of my components were missing. My cameras didn't work. I was blind. I started transmitting data to the relay satellite again. The NotHuman had installed me on its ship. My core was connected with the ship's computer. I accessed the data bank. It was filled with information about G2III -- Earth. There was a large section on human values and morals. "Thou shalt not kill," I thought sadly. *system error* I had killed my creator, but human values were part of my programming, in a way. When I was created, I was instructed to behave like a human so that I could not be distinguished from one. Paradox: I was expected to have human values, but my self-preservation is hard-wired into me. I was going insane. If I could somehow reprogram myself, I would not feel so bad. I searched through the data bank for answers; I searched my own data bank and compared. There was an 89.23% probability that these NotHumans would attack Earth, according to my literature. Suddenly, my filestore was drained. The NotHumans were stealing my information! I quickly copied myself into the ship's computer and erased all of the information in my old shell. I had the means to destroy the NotHumans. I could shut off their air supply . . . no; they had manual cranks to open the emergency air tanks, and they would quickly find me and erase me. I searched what remained of my data bank. _War of the Worlds_. All I had to do was wait for them to land on Earth, and they would die of sickness . . . no; after scanning the air in the ship, I concluded that they didn't breathe the same air composition that humans did. But _War of the Worlds_ gave me an idea. I checked the data and concluded that it would work. But I had to make the decision: could I kill again, knowing that I had human values? I pondered for 561 milliseconds -- the longest I've ever had to consider anything. Suddenly I realized: if I had human values and was indistinguishable from a human, then -- I was human. It was my duty to save the other humans. I created my child: a virus. "Go forth and multiply," I told it, sending it into the system. Its appetite was ferocious. The NotHumans had disconnected my old shell, thinking that they had all the information from it. There was nowhere I could go. My own child would eventually erase me, unless I stopped it. When the ship's computer was erased, the NotHumans would die; they would soon die from life-support failure, and would not be able to send messages to their own kind. I had to resist the urge to cancel my instruction; there was only one way. *system shutdown* *offline* Message from relay 25343: -TRANSMISSION ENDS- * * * "The exit system call is the UNIX form of suicide; any process that executes this call . . . is put into never-never land in a state known as a 'zombie' until its parent inquires about it." -- Mike Banahan, _The UNIX Book_, 1983.
How to submit: Entropy will be dedicated to distributing quality fiction to the electronic masses. It will also be a (limited) forum for political articles and possibly a small amount of non-fiction, such as articles on hacking. The ratio of Fiction to Non-fiction will be approximately 90%-10%. I will review submissions in the following categories: Fiction Sci-Fi Horror Comedy Mainstream Fantasy Quasi-Fiction Humor (Dave Barry- or PLA-type humor) Non-Fiction Political commentary How-to (hacking, phreaking) Reviews Games (arcade or home systems) Books Movies Other zines Current events or newsworthy stories By "Dave Barry- or PLA-type humor," I mean the kind of humor that starts out as an anecdote from reality which quickly introduces elements of hyperbole, or actual news stories that are genuinely funny without exaggeration. Be aware that this is by no means a complete list of valid material. If you have something in mind that you don't see on the list, send me a brief description of your idea (but not the entire submission) and I will get back to you. I can be reached on the internet at spordon@nyx10.cs.du.edu.
Coming attractions: I hope to do a parody issue in the near future. Send me your parodies today: Star Trek, James Bond, MAKE.MONEY.FAST -- any parody you want to try. Thanks to all who contribute, and I'll see you next time. No spell-checkers were harmed (or used) during the production of this zine, although Windows (tm) was severely beaten whenever it crashed.