NEW NEW *** Thinkbot *** NEW NEW

7 Aug

Congratulations to R. J. Burroughs on her new release from GSP.



Inspired by Dodie Smith’s Starlight Barking, the sequel to the more famous spotted dog book Hundred and One Dalmations, R.J. has been writing science fiction since the age of 13. She is an award-winning artist and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Art from the College of St. Rose. She works and lives near Ithaca, New York with her mutts, Grizzly and Rudeebega.


Her book that we are highlighting today is Thinkbot.



What happens when author Jeanie McAllister steps across a quantum time bridge at her local science fiction convention with her forgetful seventy-seven-year-old mom and her one-year-old nephew? Jeanie thinks she can save her mother and herself from a futuristic mind-control device and pressure from group-think, but what she finds in this bleak future is far more surprising than anything she’s written. She finds a cure for everything, but the price she has to pay for going back home to the 21st century is forgetting the cure.


I had Ian in my arms when the time shift occurred, and my seventy-seven-year-old mom was right behind me. There’s nothing quite like getting caught in the vacuum of a wormhole with a baby in your arms—and your little Japanese mother following you around asking the same question over and over again. Mom’s Alzheimer’s medication was in the Crowne Plaza Hotel room, where the Albacon science fiction convention was taking place. Yet here I was, stuck in some bleak future world with my seventy-seven-year-old mom, who has middle stage Alzheimer’s, and my eleven month-old nephew, who would be hungry soon. We’d passed under the sacred stone gateway, called torii in Japanese, into another world, and when I turned to look for the bridge from my world to this world, nothing was there but the brownstone city and the tiny park with one forlorn looking maple and a couple bushes. We were trapped in the future.

“Jeanie, whose baby is that?” We walked up a sidewalk into the sparsely green and concrete landscaped park, where a twisted piece of rusty metal served as sculpture, and bits of trash tossed about by a warm breeze. A warped chain-link fence leaned—haphazard and useless, as if it created no perimeter nor enclosed anything. Suddenly, it was hot. Like June or July hot. Mom’s crocheted bandana pushed back her short-cropped, salt and pepper hair out of her face. We both removed our October sweaters and tied them around our waists.

For the fifth time I told my mother he was her youngest daughter Elsie’s boy. I’d trained myself to always be pleasant and never say, “For crying out loud, how many times do I have to tell you . . . ,” but as I mumbled he was her grandson I frowned and wondered where we were and how we could get back to the exhibits at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I wondered what part of Albany, New York, this could possibly be. I didn’t know we had traveled into the future.

After dinner with my family at the Plaza restaurant, we’d perused the exhibits. Of course I had to enter the time machine. I thought it would be fun.

El had to go to the ladies room and since Ian’s diaper had already been changed, it was my turn to hold him. I was popping my chewing gum. Blowing bubbles in or out of my mouth—Ian thought it was the funniest thing. He kept giggling. My nieces were off watching the Filk performance, and my brother-in-law was at the art show. There were many time travel devices on display; including HG Wells’ Time Machine, the Time Cop car, the Tardis, and the Back to the Future’s DeLorean. I made the mistake of being absolutely fascinated by a carved brownstone Shinto shrine-type of archway. It had the year 5049 Albany, New York, with the word Thinkbot carved into the right column. It looked innocent enough. A bamboo bridge led to another arch on the other side. I hoped to show Ian and my mom some Koi fish as we walked across, but just as we passed through the second arch, we stepped into that future world. A cottony blanket of clouds rolled slowly overhead.

All I could see were brownstone buildings and streets stretching as far as the eye could see. No one was about. The buildings weren’t very tall. Most were two stories, and the highest were three; many appeared to be warehouses. Anxiety gripped me, along with the feeling of being watched. I froze, not knowing what to expect, with Ian whimpering in my arms and my mom looking even more confused than usual.

I heard a grating noise. The door of a three-story warehouse rumbled open, its wheels grinding and squealing. I shivered. A middle-aged fellow with dirt-blonde hair and a friendly expression exited the dark building’s interior. From around the street corner, a giant rocket on wheels nearly the height of the building drove up the road toward the man and the building. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered.

My mother frowned, “Is that a rocket?”

The middle-aged man who’d exited the warehouse saw the look of fear and confusion on our faces—my mother’s and mine.

“Jeanie, why are we here? Where’s Elsie?”

I couldn’t help but ask what the rocket was for.

The man frowned, awkwardly tilting his head this way and that, like a robot, silent and expectant. Why did I feel a million eyes looking at me? I looked around, but no one else was around. Only him.

I smiled and asked him, “Where are we? Can you tell us how to get back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel?”

“The rockets are for delivering food into space,” he said. His voiced sounded funny, gravelly and unused.



One Response to “NEW NEW *** Thinkbot *** NEW NEW”

  1. mareimbriumdowns August 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Thanks, Anne! 😀

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