The FBI thought they were asking for a way to unlock a mobile phone, because the FBI is myopically focussed on past criminal investigations, not the future of the technology industry, and the FBI did not understand that they were actually asking for a way to tracelessly unlock and mess with every ATM and credit card on the planet circa 2030 (if not via Apple, then via the other phone OSs, once the festering security fleapit that is Android wakes up and smells the money).
In Africa there are cultures we only catch glimpses into through their scam emails. In the classic “dearly beloved” example we learn that they are devoutly Christian and that corruption and sudden regime changes are commonplace their. The following example is poignant in its naked appeal to naive aspirational greed, presented in a language that mixes conspiracy theory, religion and military authority:
This is Army Gen. Lieutenant Duncan (A.K.A ) No attack without solution, From Denver Colorado,l am part of the 12-man Ruling Council on the Earth, An International Security Assistance Force,
I will so glad if will join the Great Brotherhood Enlightenment Kingdom, where you found all kinds of happiness blessing joy in life,There is a great opportunity for you to get what you are seeking for in life,so i would need you to become a member of our Church of Great God Secret Garden Temple and get all you are looking for in life
It goes on to promise money, a car, a house, meetings with celebrities, dream vacations and VIP treatment in all the world’s airports for all who join, but cautions:
the group is not a fan club,a pen pal society,or a lonely heart group, it is a group of dynamic individuals who stand forth as the ultimate underground alternative -the Alien Elite.
While the mail promises that you can join via a local contact, it assures the reader that
the only central administration office is Washington , D.C. in the U.S.National Capital Religion (NCR)
What I find sad, though, is that there is some merit to the post-colonial developing nation perspective this mail is appealing to, because the world really is being run by a Christian military superpower, so why can’t Uncle Sam be a good Prester John and give an ambitious African brother a hand?
Terry Bisson’s Rules for Writers (of SF Short Stories):
37. No wizards or dragons. They will make your short story seem like a part of a longer, less interesting piece.
38. Don’t meander or digress. You can pretend to meander for misdirection. See below.
39. Misdirection is interesting. SF readers like puzzles.
40. Fights are only interesting in real life. They are boring in stories.
41. Novels are made out of characters and events. Short stories are made out of words alone. They are all surface. Polish.
42. Plot is important only in time travel stories. They must have a paradox. This limits their range severely.
43. Symmetry is more important than plot. A short story must make a pleasing shape, and close with a click.
In a recent dream there was a minimarket with a Jackie Chan theme; the manager had trained the staff to do various stunts while going about their work. In particular, he kept wanting them to do this thing where they would move on all fours with their hands and feet in pots.
“Walk on Woks! Walk on Woks!” he kept shouting.