Author : R. S. Alexander
v1: Derek Taylor was sipping coffee in a Los Angeles restaurant when a recruiter from XygmaCorp walked past his table, accidentally brushing against his shoulder.
57,143 down votes
Top-rated comment: “Wait, this is happening in a world with drinkable water in the midddle of the freakin desert? Where’s the world building?”
v2: Derek Taylor was sipping coffee in a Los Angeles restaurant. Though LA was a desert, the heroic work of engineers a century earlier meant that not only could millions of people like Derek live there, they could even drink a beverage whose production involved discarding damp coffee grounds that were still rich in moisture. As he savored the slightly bitter flavor of his dark beverage, a recruiter from XygmaCorp happened to walk by his table and brush against his shoulder.
30,420 down votes
Top-rated comment: “WTF? Main characters in North America and drinking a Ethiopian drink? Un. Real. Istic.”
v3: Derek Taylor sat sipping coffee in a restaurant in Los Angeles. Though he lived in a desert, technology treated him to luxuries from distant places. Aqueducts, constructed a century earlier from the designs of heroic engineers, carried an embarrassment of water riches sufficient to hydrate millions of souls, while massive container ships carried coffee beans from afar to the port in Long Beach. As he savored the flavor of this rich harvest of technology, a recruiter from XygmaCorp happened to walk by his table and brush against his shoulder.
21,703 down votes
Top-rated comment: “You just plop a guy with Anglo name into a frmr Spanish colony? Without any backstory? Needs in-world explanation!”
v4: Derek Taylor sat sipping coffee in a Los Angeles café. Though once a province of Spain and then Mexico, war had brought Alta California into the United States a hundred and seventy years earlier, and pasty Anglos like Derek now lived in this desert under the hot California sun. Technology, though, ensured that they would not thirst in the arid climate, with aqueducts carrying an embarrassment of water riches sufficient to hydrate millions of thirsty people. Container ships, meanwhile, brought coffee beans and numerous other delicacies from afar to the port in Long Beach. As he savored his dark beverage, the bounteous rewards of a technological society, a recruiter from XygmaCorp happened to walk by his table and brush against his shoulder.
3,469 down votes
Top-rated comment: “The digits on the down votes don’t match Zipf’s statistical pattern. It’s obvious that somebody’s just making this up.”
“As you can see from the data on the previous slides, our machine learning algorithms generate bots that realistically emulate fandom, and we can now engage in fully computerized production of authentic and fan-pleasing ‘hard’ sci-fi stories through an iterative process,” said Fiona Ivanek, addressing the Machine Intelligence Industry Association. The audience applauded, and she smiled graciously in appreciation. In a moment, however, her team would relay via earpiece a summary of the online response. She prepared herself for the worst.