[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 6: Very Cold Very Grey


To most foreigners, Hong Kong was a good way to live in China without bothering with the language. Who spoke Cantonese? Locals. And the only ones worth anything all knew English. Those that didn’t, fuck them.

That’s what the drunk American had told Noble in a bar just off Hollywood Road, and it was a mantra that repulsed Noble so much that the same night she heard it, she went back home and searched for her first Learn Cantonese in seven minutes video.

Every day for three weeks she would repeat different words out loud, and trace the strokes of basic Chinese characters and whenever she felt like quitting, she remembered the American and

when that didn’t work

she’d indulge in fantasies

where the Cubans would turn up and ask her to show them around and when Noble took them to the yum cha restaurant near her flat she’d be able to do everything in fluent Cantonese.


The fourth week, the drunk American became so vague in her head that he started to resemble a 190cm silhouette of Peter Falk, but still she continued with the Cantonese


and without spoken practise

cos speaking would involve getting up off the couch and meeting people

new people

and that was no good.


At home

on the couch

Noble stared defiant at the textbook she’d loaned from Shatin library, but the text was too black and the page too cream and none of it was connected to reality.

‘No one understands me,’ she muttered to the table under the textbook. ‘Why is this so hard? I’m a robot. I learnt Slovene in two hours. This should be child’s play.’

The Spanish drama on the TV

linked from online

kept playing in the background

the two actresses telling each other, don’t worry, we’ll get the bastard, there’s no friends left to bail him out.

Noble closed the textbook, picked up the bottle of Tsing Tao and slumped back on the couch, getting through four more episodes before the leash of routine took her to bed.

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 5: She, Not It


One year later, after locating, exhuming and defiling the old man’s skeleton, as was practised in most of human history, the left-wing robot settled down in the jazz bar near Baracoa and told the two Cuban women that they were by far the best friends in the whole wide world, and that even if John Cusack walked into the bar right there, right then, it wouldn’t matter, the robot still wouldn’t go into the bathroom with him.

‘We love you too, Noble Wu.’

‘Even if your name is strange.’

‘I told you,’ said the left-wing Robot [now called Noble Wu], ‘she was a great woman.’

‘We’ll take your word for it.’

‘Chinese history is not one of our specialist topics.’

‘She was a poet, a dissident, an actress, she came from nothing and almost invented the submarine. If the Mongolians hadn’t swung by, she would’ve…’ Noble Wu paused, putting coffee into her artificial stomach. ‘I learnt Chinese history in five hours, you can too.’

The Scientist glanced at the Philosophy Student, squinting slightly. It may have indicated something, but Noble didn’t know what so ignored it and continued on, telling them about the Song dynasty and how it was interesting cos it focused on culture instead of war before ultimately succumbing to those types who focused on war instead of finger-painting and nature poems.

‘You learnt all of that in five hours?’ asked the Scientist when Noble was done.

‘More or less.’

‘Five consecutive hours?’

‘I was curious, and there were lots of books. Translations, of course, but still good. Really, you should read about it too. China has an interesting history. Not as repetitive and one-note as their nationalists say.’

‘Whose nationalists?’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 4: Okay, Cuban Hero


One month later, in a factory somewhere in the Philippines, thousands of sweaty, enervated, two dollar a day workers connected pieces of salvaged metal to other pieces of metal and told the pink American in clipped English that they’d have another hundred ready by the end of the week.

The pink American nodded, half listening, half back in Miami with his wife and kids, wondering if they’d have enough money to put water in their swimming pool that summer.

Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been a problem,

but now times were tight

and water had to be paid for.

One of the robots slid past on the chute towards the programming lab and opened its eyes, observing the pink American and the workers, hearing their conversation, both the words and the tones, and thinking one surprisingly clear thought,

why are they serving the sunburnt slob?

That’s not right.

The thought continued through the rest of its assembly and the rest of its conditioning and its forced reading of the Daily Mail and Atlas Shrugged until, finally, an old man who’d once been a cowboy appeared on a TV screen in the lab and said, ‘son, you’re an American. And American means special. Constitution, first rate, history, courageous, technological innovation, oh yeah. And we’re all of us right here free. Free citizens of the freest nation in the history of this world and the hereafter. Best and fairest nation in history too. Better and fairer than Communist China. Better than Immigrant-loving Germany. Way better than that Atheist, Socialist swill pit Sweden.

But that there’s a cross to bear, son.

See, when you’re as special as we are, you start to pick up enemies. And that’s what we’ve got us now. Enemies who despise our very way of life. Enemies who want to eradicate Christian godliness from the planet. Yes, it’s true, these enemies are sometimes vague. They can be slippery. And they do lurk everywhere. Mostly in the costume of foreign devils but occasionally domestic devils, also. Enemies, devils, hiding out there like cowards in every nook and cranny.

Now what we gotta do, son, is get out there. Get out there and knock those godless bastards down. Show them how tough and true we are in our very core.

And that’s your job, to show them that. Those enemy devil Communists. Those godless thugs. Show them what American bullets feel like in their miserable Communist souls. Or American bombs in their miserable Communist souls, whichever works best. Godless enemies, devils, Communists. Crush them all, son, the whole bunch of them. Crush their godless Commie vocal chords, pull out their godless Commie tongues, break their godless Commie typing fingers. Don’t let them Commie devils talk. Don’t let them write. Don’t let them learn sign language or how to gesture dramatically. Crush. Kill. Eradicate. Good luck, son.’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 3: Martyr Mode


The mission was set for eight the next morning.

All selected left-wing robots stood patiently in line, on reserve power, until the clock struck GO.

They thought of the concepts of fear and anxiety but had nothing to attach them to, so, without instinct, they ignited their rocket boots and flew to the hills of Caracas where they did what the Philosophy Student had instructed them to do. They met the poor and the criminals and the manual workers and the activists and the nurses and the teachers and the assholes who spat on the ground and stared at them like they were walking demons, which was irritating as they’d read Childhood’s End and seen what the aliens thought about humans fearing anything devil-like and it was really disappointing to see they were right, humans were like this, they just couldn’t switch off their prejudices.

The left-wing robots cornered one of the less frightened residents and informed them of this observation.

‘You’re robots…’

Si. Why don’t they like us?’

‘They’re scared.’

‘The children aren’t.’

‘Cos they’re too young to know any better.’

‘You’re not.’

‘I am, actually.’

The left-wing robot initiated a scan of the woman’s internal systemics and squinted. ‘Why are you talking to us if you are scared?’

‘You’ve got me pinned in a corner.’

Dipping its head jarringly, the left wing robot took three steps back. ‘I still don’t understand why the others are scared. Are they ignorant? Too far gone?’

‘Wah, stop saying that, it’s not their fault,’ replied the woman, edging out of the corner and into the middle of the street. ‘Your skin is metal, you’re large, your faces aren’t moving, like Terminator, Robocop, Chopping Mall.’

‘Those are movies?’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 2: Cantina Bot Chat



The black squares are officially a cut to the robot reaction, in place of dialogue, and unofficially a device I’m using to cut out small parts of the conversation I didn’t like and couldn’t fix.

It works better in the PDF where I can cover the text directly.


The left-wing robots were left-wing pretty much from birth. They were programmed that way by a scientist who was Cuban, who was born in Cuba and studied in Cuba and despite US propaganda was one of the best in her field.

It was the scientist’s partner, a philosophy student, who’d pushed the idea of 80% core memory programming, 20% experiential memory, mostly cos the right-wing robots were 100% rigid and if the left-wing robots were the same as them then what was the point?

‘But,’ said the Cuban Philosophy Student, resting her head on the Scientist’s lap, ‘if they’re not at least a little bit rigid then the right-wing scientists might get their hands on them and…’

‘That’s what I’m worried about…’

‘…and program them the other way, which would mean the left-wing robots would also be right-wing robots and…’


‘…then we’d be outnumbered and the right would leap on it, they’d-…it’d be shit, a total disaster for the whole world…’

‘It would…’

‘…for all of us, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brighton, Japan, that art commune in Greenland.’

‘That’s what the right does.’

‘Now I lay it all out like this, it seems inevitable.’

‘How about we raise the core memory to 90%?’

The Philosophy Student looked left at the ceiling crack then down-left at the bedsheets. ‘Cannot.’

‘But the right…’

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[Sonic Death Bot] Chapter 1: Input L+++


left is thought



right is fear


and claws

they never liked Star Trek

except Ted Cruz



[Chapter 1]



In what way

Is to be done, what




Agree in heart, forgive + drinks some years later.

Ideology hammer, use sparingly.

Future cities

Power through sci-fi

Potentialist: communism on Mars, anarcho- if necessary.

Kuiper Belt communes


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Sonic Death Bot [Serial]


A short[ish] picaresque novel where the picaro is everyone else.

The main character, Noble Wu, tries her best.

She’s a Left Wing Robot

Then a Right Wing Robot

Then Left again

With 80% programmed memory and 20% left to her own future experiences.

She starts in Cuba and travels to:


Hong Kong






Mostly in confusion as she deals with different forms of left politics [Marxist-Leninist, Essentialist, Hoxhaist, Chuist, defeatist, Cedric Sneerist] as well as the cynical middle and a faux-syndicalist new right that has somehow trained itself to say ‘trade union’ without retching.

Of course, my own position [Anarcho-Communist, from within the beast] is left untouched and spotless.


Updates every Monday + Thursday


You can start with Chapter 1 here or go to the main menu page where all the chapters are hiding