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Ganymede: Time for Love

by K G Follett

Ganymede - KG Follett
Editions:Paperback: $ 9.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1796399776
Pages: 214

The experiment was not supposed to end that way.  Ganymede 72165, a service android, was to be sent back three hours in one of the earliest time travel tests in 2295.  But something went wrong and the device took him to 1995 instead.  Making matters worse, it was a one-way trip.   Ganymede was now stranded three centuries in the past.  Without the data stream in his head that helped him function in society, he must now find his way alone in a strange world, without letting those around him know the truth.  Then he experiences the kindness of a random stranger.

Troy Sanders is a loner.  He has tried numerous times to find love, but all he seems to come up with are one night stands, flakes, and users.  At 45, he is pretty sure he is destined to be alone the rest of his life.  Until he runs into an unusual guy from out of town named Ganymede on his way home from work on Hallowe’en.   He’s drawn to the man’s quirkiness and takes him under his wing, since he seems to have no where to go.  It does not take long before Troy starts to develop feelings for his new friend.  But what secrets is his new friend hiding?

As a service android, Ganymede was programmed not to become too involved with those he worked for.  But in this new situation, he begins to understand loneliness and other human emotions, all with the unwitting help of his new friend, Troy.  Can an android fall in love?  Troy may be the answer to that question for Ganymede.

 

Published:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: MMM
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 3 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Cultural Differences, First Time, Second Chances, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 41130
Setting: 1995 Chicago, small southern Illinois town
Languages Available: English
Excerpt:

Prologue

THE EXPERIMENT

 

I never really understood human emotions.  Yes, I see them and deal with them every day.  But, as a service android, I was programmed not to engage with human emotional outbursts.  If a human gets angry or frustrated about the services I provide, I am only to do my best to make it right with the affected human or humans.  But I could not fathom where such outbursts came from in their personas.  The same can be said for love and affection.  If a human showers unusual praise on me for my services, I am to say, “Thank you,” and move on.  Again, I was programmed only to provide services, and not to “become emotionally attached” to any one human in the process.   I was not even aware of what that meant.

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       That was all before “the experiment” that went terribly wrong.  Before I was thrust into a world I did not understand.  Before I was cut off from the ongoing remote data stream that helps direct me through every day.  When I suddenly had none of my usual routines to follow.  Most importantly, it was before I met Troy Sanders.   

       But, I think I have gotten a little ahead of my story.  Let me introduce myself:  I am Unit 72165.  As I mentioned before, I am a service android.  I am one of the Ganymede class of androids – the most advanced biometric androids ever designed by the human race.  They were developed after the last class of service androids “malfunctioned” due to the abuse many owners bestowed upon them. There were some violent outbreaks when these androids “fought back”, and a number of humans were injured in the process.  Then, after a few human deaths, the old generation of service androids was quickly decommissioned, while the new generation was phased in.  This new generation, while physiologically better, was designed to be intellectually more benign and subservient to humans.

I was put into service in 2293 as a caretaker for the family of a young man who is a quantum physicist, Todham Silverstone.  My service history with the Silverstones was mostly uneventful for the first couple of years.  I functioned as a personal assistant to the family, and a tutor to the younger children.  As with any domestic service android, my existence was based on routines:  preparing meals, cleaning, getting the children ready for school, running errands, and so on.  Any deviations from those routines were usually directly supervised by one or more family members.

But things would change drastically in late 2295. Todham – or Toddy, as he liked to be called – was at University studying the possibilities of time travel, and he had a breakthrough in his research.  He developed a way to transport small items back through time – small, inanimate objects, like a pocket watch and a candle – back a few minutes, then a few hours.  With these successes, he was ready to try something bigger … something “alive”, who could report back on the experience. 

The ethics of time travel were still being debated at the time, and Toddy’s superiors did not want him risking a human life on such an experiment.  Not even his own.  So, Toddy offered me for the experiment, and his proposal was accepted.   The plan was to send me back three hours initially.  Then, if that was successful, the next trip would be five years to 2290.  Service androids do not age, and time is relatively insignificance to us.  As it would be a one-way trip, I would just exist in life until I returned to this moment in time.  Androids had been plentiful for over a century, so I would not stand out – especially since our series had been on the market since the early 2280s.  That experiment would also be designed to see what would happen when two of me existed after 2293. 

Toddy programmed me with all the information I needed to know about the risks and dangers of this experiment.  He gave me all the information I needed as to what I could do and should not do during the time I was retracing history.  I was also prepared to go off link for a short time during the process, as the data stream that continually monitors and sometimes controls my actions might be temporarily unavailable to me.  I had done that before when I travelled with Toddy’s family to a remote area of Alaska for a summer vacation, and all my systems continued to function normally.

All systems were “go” on test day, as they used to say back in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, during the early days of primitive space travel.  (I had originally been programmed with an extensive knowledge of mathematics, science, and history, since I was working with Toddy’s younger siblings on their school work.)  Per Toddy’s request, I arrived at the test facility dressed casually, so as to not stand out when I arrived at my destination for the second trip. 

I entered the chamber, and Toddy wished me good luck, handing me his grandfather’s pocket watch – the one that he had sent back in time once before – as the door to the test chamber closed.   (Luck – yet another human concept I did not understand at the time.)  Toddy had said I should stay in the chamber until it was opened again.  The pocket watch would indicate the time elapsed.  (In my next trip he said I would end up on the same date, just a different year.) 

I heard a countdown and then, suddenly there was an extremely bright light.  I closed my eyes to protect my vision circuits.  I sensed some sort of motion around me, accompanied by an extremely loud roaring noise.  After several seconds everything stopped, and my sensors detected a change in atmospheric temperature around me.  I opened my eyes and was not prepared for what I saw.  

Instead of the inside of the test chamber, I was outdoors at night time.  Not only was the chamber I had occupied for the experiment gone, but the entire testing facility building was gone as well.  And instead of the familiar world of late twenty-third century Chicago, I found myself in a much darker, grittier environment.  I was sitting on a piece of vacant land – some sort of embankment – looking over a skyline I barely recognized.  I knew some of the taller buildings, but in my usual world, they were towered over by other newer buildings around them.  It was also much colder than I was accustomed to in Chicago, as my sensors placed the temperature around zero Celsius.  The date of the experiments was October 31, which is usually cooler than the blazing summer months, but I had no recent historical records showing the weather being that cold any time in Chicago.

After a few minutes, my uplink came back on line, but it was unable to locate the data stream.  I searched my historical data files and matched the skyline I was seeing to what Chicago looked like in the late twentieth century.  How could that be?  Had something gone drastically wrong with the experiment?  I continued to search my data bases and realized there was no data stream of any kind back in those days.  I was on my own.  And I was not sure what to do next. 

Then I heard a voice behind me.  It was a voice that would eventually change my entire existence.

COLLAPSE

Author’s Note

 

          Welcome to my first work of Science Fiction.  The idea for this story came out of nowhere.  My husband, Brent, and I were baking cookies during the Holidays of 2018.   As we were working, he turned on one of the cable science channels for background noise.   They were playing a program about the influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on modern society.  The program discussed the interactions of increasingly human-like “robots” with people, including voice and face recognition.

As we worked, I began to think about androids we had seen in various sci-fi TV shows and movies.  Often, they are treated as some sort of working “tools” for the human race – whether it be for their intellect (Data in Star Trek - TNG) or their sexual nature (Pris in Blade Runner).  Usually they have no emotion, or struggle to understand human emotions in the world around them.

I began to wonder what would happen if an android was taken out of their usual world and stranded somewhere foreign to them.  Would it be possible for an android in this situation may begin to learn about human emotions – out of necessity, if nothing else?  And if so, would they be locked into the usual heteronormative framework?  Or could an android really prove that “love is love”?

As the ideas materialized in my mind, this book became more of a study of human emotions from an objective view point – at least initially.  The Prologue and “Interlogues” are Ganymede’s attempts to analyze and understand the strange new world around him.  We see him grow as a sentient being, in ways that help him to eventually understand the world in his own time as well.  By the end of the story, the lines between “human” and “android” become somewhat blurred.

A note about the Epilogues:  They can be read in any order, as they are really the final happy endings for all the characters.  However, what is revealed in one is also a part of the other.  So, you can choose to find out what happens to Ganymede and Toddy because of what Troy and Brandon end up doing, or vice versa.  It is totally up to you.

I hope you enjoy reading Ganymede:  Time for Love as much as I enjoyed writing it.  As always, Happy Reading!

About the Author

K G (Ken) Follett has lived in Rockford, Illinois for over thirty years.  Born in the Chicago area, he moved to Rockford after growing up in the suburbs and exurbs.  He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1980, with a BS degree in business/marketing, and worked in the banking and marketing fields for over fifteen years.  After his move to “the Forest City”, he obtained his ADN from Rock Valley College in 1997, and began working as a Registered Nurse.  He now lives with and is happily married to his partner of nearly twenty years, Brent Cabrera.

Follett started writing the short story about a gay man named Brad Kelly the mid-1990s as an “escape” during a difficult time in his life.  (He had been told in school that he had a good “conversational” writing style, but never attempted anything beyond his school assignments.)  During the Clinton years, with the AIDS crisis still out of control, the term “family” was being hijacked by various socio-political groups to be used to “morally” bash LGBTQ and other alternative family structures.  Follett felt compelled to write something positive about being LGBTQ in modern “middle” America, and his original short story began to grow.  Hence the concept of A Different Kind of Family as a novel was born.

However, as the new millennium dawned, Follett put the story aside due to positive changes in his life.  The story lay forgotten for nearly two decades, until he rediscovered the unfinished manuscript in a file cabinet in his basement in early 2017.  Inspired by the ever-increasing numbers of gay romance novels he had been reading, and by numerous gay feature and short films he had watched on the internet, Follett decided to revisit Brad Kelly’s life in earnest.  He revamped his original concept and completed the book, publishing it that September.

Shortly thereafter, he realized he had grown attached to a number of peripheral characters in the novel, and he launched The Bears’ Den series of books devoted to them (Frankie & Josh:  The Faces of Love, Jacob Makes Three, and Transformations).  After publishing the third The Bear’s Den book in the spring of 2018, Follett revisited his original story.  He found that his characters still had more to tell about themselves.  Hence, A Different Kind of Family: The Trilogy was born, delving more deeply into the lives of Brad and his “family”.  He split the original novel in to three free-standing books, each covering a different “era” of Brad Kelly’s life.

More recently, Follett has been spreading his literary wings, with an historical fiction novel reviewing the early AIDS crisis of the 1980s and its effects on those who lived through it and those who are long-term survivors (Never Too Late).  His most recent publication was his first exploration of the Science Fiction genre with a gay twist.  It explores artificial intelligence and human emotions as well as time travel (Ganymede:  Time for Love).  His current project, Hello Again, is a gay romance novel with a bit of a paranormal twist.

In his books the author’s attempts to reclaim the terms “family” and “love” to be used legitimately for any kind of family structure in today’s society.  He also hopes to shed light on how LGBTQ life has improved over the past five decades, what challenges the LGBTQ community still faces, and what could be lost if we do not remain vigilant in these tumultuous times.


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