Tag Archives: Fiction

Crowdsourcing a Graphic Novel

I’m looking for artists who want to draw a picture or two for my game.

The Lunar Market has received several responses of “this is cool, but I’m not quite sure what is going on.” As a partial solution, I’m setting a goal for Winter break to implement a kind of in-game graphic novel. This is the opening screen for the game:

System Details

I’d like to add a button that says “Watch intro”. During the intro, this song will play as images with text fade in and out and outline the plot. There is a lot going on in the story, so that leaves a lot of room for what could be drawn. In case the player gets bored with the story and wants to go trade stocks, he will be able to exit the intro.

Crowdsourcing generally says that there is more truth in a larger, more varietal sample set of opinions. I want a variety of artists to draw scenes for my game so there is not a uniform visual perspective, but an idea is averaged towards. Granted, I might not actually get enough images any time soon to have an 8-minute graphic novel implemented, but I want to get the story and code written over the break so that in case the concept takes off and I get some artists, I can include it in either the first Android store release or the first update.

The plot synopsis, which would be depicted in the graphic novel pictures, is as follows:

The game takes place in 2120 or so. This dates all the news articles within the “News” section of the game by about forty years. First, here is a very condensed summary of what takes place in the articles:

In 2082, the Lunar Market opened in order to have a place to trade stocks for companies who were establishing significant lunar presence. The motivation for building an economy on the moon is that the moon turns out to be a source of voluminous energy, due to the fuel that can be refined from “lunar dust”. When the market opened, the stocks therein could only be purchased in globus (a currency denomination with a ratio of $3.72 : 1 globus, with the idea being that people would have to invest in globus to invest in the stocks, and if the stocks went up the globus that were being traded would go up, magnifying the economic growth potential. On the very first day of live trading, information came out that one of the companies on the moon was doing some dishonest accounting. The economy went into spasm.

Here is the stuff that is not described in the articles:

Eventually, the lunar economy collapsed and the earth economy collapsed with it, with EVIL (the ticker for Everline-Ilk, a bank/hedge fund who purposefully triggered the entire collapse of the economy because they assumed they would be the company most resilient to it, having done a decade or two of research on potential outcomes) having a 22% control of the economy, BANK (bank1, a bank run by robots) having 76% of the economy, and other companies composing the remaining 2%. After the global economy shrinks to nothing, worldwide infrastructure quickly collapses. Wars, famine, etc. The 2% of companies that aren’t banks work desperately with their shrinking value and liquidity and end up taking gambles because investor money is drying up so quickly. One of these companies is PAR (Parasol Pharmaceuticals), which ends up clumsily producing a virus that turns people into zombies. Humanity is quickly reduced to Walking-Dead-level pockets of people.

Robots, in the meantime, are having an existential crisis (in case you are curious, the zombies aren’t interested in eating robots). For the most intelligent robots (who are all at bank1 with a few exceptions such as the robots who are taking advantage of Elon Musk’s prehumous findings in the world of lumber conductance, which allows for the construction of wooden computers, which the wooden-computer-building robots take pride and satisfaction in producing), the purpose in life is to make money, because robotic machine learning has gradually been attuned so well that the desires of robots are almost in lockstep with those of the wealth-seeking humans who built them.

As humanity is dying off, the robots seek meaning. Some of them do it by continuing to build bigger and better wooden computers. Some turn to helping humans directly. Most of them just continue to try to make money, because that is what they are best at. Because there is essentially no economy left, the robots decide to pretend there are other companies around, so that they have other stocks to trade. The robots treat these fabricated companies as having a set of information basically frozen in time (info derived from news articles that were relevant when more humans were alive) from before EVIL collapsed over the economy. This allows the robots to have information that moves around (this is sort of what you need to do machine learning–variance). The robots from bank1 (such as the one the player controls) continue to trade to build wealth somewhat arbitrarily just because it is the way that they learn things they can extrapolate best (which, at its core, is the same reason why the wooden-computer robots continue to build computers for people who spend too much time evading zombies to use them). The minority of robots (the ones helping humans and building wooden computers) criticize the bank1 robots incessantly. Eventually the wooden computer building robots become the biggest faction from among these robots that are anti-wealth-building. They are led by one particular robot that spent several decades trapped in the archives at an abandoned religious conglomerate, who has adopted a set of religious beliefs that he believes represent the average (or rather, a refined statistical notion) of religious beliefs of humans over time. This robot believes robots to be the next evolved (though he might not say “evolved”) phase of humanity.


The point is, it’s a complex plot with a lot of absurdity, and I would love to collaborate with some visual artists to further depict it.

If you are interested, leave a comment or contact me through LinkedIn.

The Freeze and the Thaw

First entry in a chronicle prefacing the opening of the Lunar Market.

September 21, 2080

Time-Life Magazine for Tablet

The Freeze and the Thaw

By 2060, advances in quantum computing had finally had a decade’s chance to percolate from the purely academic community to industry.  This process took intensive efforts of a collaborative between MIT, Berkeley, and several shadowy think tanks whose domestic loyalty was closely monitored by the US government.  The goal of the project was one of abstraction; to hide the lower-level differences between quantum computing and binary obsolescence such that, in the eyes of a lay-person, the only advancement between the two was the drastic reduction of computational latency.  The higher the level of abstraction from the concept of superposition, the more people would have access to this acceleration of the pace of information technology.

The earliest quantum processors were used to power heavily automated testing of those very processors’ siblings, testing which revealed flaws that took a long time to iron out at the basic engineering level.  By 2064, several Unix-based operating systems throughout the US were being powered by quantum chips.  Higher level user-interfaces were built, and the industries which had invested through the think tanks began to exploit the newfound computing power.

Quantum Computing used to be a mythic branch of Computer Science.  Academics would joke that any societal advances it could lead to would be preemptively undercut by the destruction of the global infrastructure due to encryption-cracking.  This is because RSA, the most widely-used form of encryption, had its impenetrability predicated upon humanity’s lack of an ability to factor large prime numbers in a reasonable amount of time, and Shor’s Algorithm is capable of factoring large primes in polynomial time when run on a quantum computer.

Many theorize that it was a hobbled and disenfranchised China that was responsible for bringing the economy to its knees on December 5th, 2065, when an anonymous group or individual gained access to Pfizer’s poorly-secured quantum computer, which was being used to run government-sponsored brute force drug-viability simulations.  The hacker(s) then relegated the prominently visible drug testing software to performing less computationally intensive processes (such as mapping aspirin isomers) so that most of the computer’s resources could be surreptitiously devoted to breaking the RSA barriers of several small investment banks.

By the time Pfizer discovered the malicious background process, the hackers had snowballed their attack into a distributed-denial-of-service assailment that slowed the global economy into a shutdown unlike anything since the days following September 11th.  The world’s leading scientists (with the absence of an ostracized China) immediately convened to develop a form of secure communication.  Without one, the global economy could not be safely resuscitated.  The result of this convention is the “Prince Tony” (an anagram for encryption) algorithm; a massive system of logical hoops that sender information must be sent through in order to accomplish the same goal of RSA; simultaneous signing and encryption.

The details behind the implementation of the Prince Tony encryption algorithm have been intentionally obfuscated.  In fact, what little is publicly understood about the algorithm comes from a past winner of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest, Albrecht Chutney.  His attempt at a publicly consumable Wiki detailing how the algorithm works was cut short when he suffered a nervous breakdown from which he has yet to recover.   His mental exhaustion has been described as “the result of a collision between an unstoppably explicative force and an inexplicable object.”  Other academics who understand the algorithm in abstract terms know better than to try to explain it at a lower level.  In an age of effectively infinite computing power, easily explainable algorithms are also easily exploitable.

During the market freeze, the world’s largest banks latently poised themselves to take advantage of the eventual market thaw.  A frozen market is a harbinger of a flurry of activity; every day the market was closed was like a unit of compression being added to a spring that would release as soon as the market opened.  Every day brought information that could not be acted upon immediately, and banks had their programmers and number-crunchers working eighteen hour days and setting up cots next to their cubicles in order to prepare their software to deal with this abrupt change in market conditions.

On January 2nd, 2066, global markets reopened to large-scale fluctuation.  Changes in market software had been insufficiently debugged, and rapid computational miscalculations led to dipping and rebounding with greater severity than that of any of the flash crashes that had occurred in the prior fifty years.  Everline Financial emerged from the subsequent month’s market turmoil as the largest corporation in America, a triumph largely attributed to a strategic deference to human decisions during a time of banking’s over-reliance on technology.  Everline did not abandon the use of computers altogether, but they did assign a higher standard deviation of certitude to their programs, and this was the key to their success.

Throughout January, the market would sputter for days before taking sharp upturns into temporarily buoyed bull markets. Within each cycle’s period, Everline would carefully pick which companies to invest heavily in, focusing on emerging areas of technology with an emphasis on galactic exploration.

The 2066 Freeze and Thaw was thus the first step towards privatized space colonization.  It was the wise investments of Everline that arguably kept the US from crumbling into a subdued economy not unlike that of the early 2010’s, and instead directed it towards lunar intrepidity.  It is no surprise then that Everline is seen as such a benefactor of American capitalism.


****About the author****

Paydan Onthutake is an itinerant journalist and professor of public relations at the Rupert Murdoch School of Journalism.


” Be Wary in an Economy Controlled by a Single Player”

September 18, 2081

The New York Times

Business Editorial Section

There is much excitement surrounding the impending opening of the International Lunar Market, but putting money into Lunar stocks has more layers of risk than some people realize.  Whereas securities on earth have the benefit of being convertible into the currency of a country founded on habitable land, moon currency has a much shakier value.  Moon colonization has been implemented in such a way that it requires a thriving economy.  Its energy needs are of an amount that is a large magnification of those of earth.  Not only are there the difficulties of harvesting moon dust and refining it into usable energy, but the International Moon Colony’s sustenance requires intense recycling, with the delicate system of air and water maintenance requiring 78% of refined moon dust energy for continued propagation.  It is this hunger for energy that will be the driving force behind the Lunar market.

It is theorized by optimists that the economy will scale to the point where Shell-Beignet Lunar Dust (ILM: BDST ), the lone player in the moon dust business,  will be netting more revenue than any other company on the moon or on earth. However, it currently is heavily margined on the moon’s future success, and is operating on a loss through financing by Everline-ilk Financial.  It is unknown how long this will continue, because it depends how many people are willing to immigrate to the Moon.

Much has been written about the “snowball or no-ball” concept of the moon; the idea that, as the moon grows, more people will be attracted to it, but also that few people are willing to make the intense commitment of moving from their home country to the Moon.  Moreover, it isn’t like Christopher Columbus leading desperate commonfolk from their poverty-stricken existence to a land of opportunity.  The only people who are welcome on the developing moon in accordance with its strict UN-delegated screening process are the best and the brightest, the healthiest in mind, body, and spirit.  These are people with a lot to lose.  At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, this fact can be expounded upon to illustrate a subtle sign that Everline-ilk, the supposed backbone of the Lunar economy, is not as interested in Lunar expansion as it may seem.

Seven months ago, in the midst of the UN’s monopoly-sanctioning negotiations with Wal-Mark and Everline-ilk, the London School of Economics submitted an unsolicited report to the UN suggesting a number of ways to hold Everline-ilk(ILM: EVIL ) more accountable for the security of the Lunar economy.  Perhaps the most salient proposal was to require Everline-ilk to provide heavy incentives for citizens and their families to be brought to the moon for long-term settlement.  These incentive packages would include generous insurance against a Lunar economic collapse.  If the Moon thrives, Everline-ilk benefits from a growing economy, but never has to pay out the collapse insurance money; a seemingly utilitarian proposal.

Three months later, a memo between higher-ups within Everline-ilk was leaked.  It dismissed the report’s economic proposals with the usual investment bank bravado.  Why would they offer insurance?  To offer colonists insurance would erode the insurance Everline-ilk has against the Moon’s highly probable economic instability.  Perhaps the most chilling element of the memo was the mention of a projected “expiration date” on the International Lunar Colony.

To understand the value of Everline-ilk’s set-up requires an understanding of the reactive nature of a successful financial institution.  Diversification, hedging, liquid coffers–these are all allowances to creatively benefit from any errant economy.  And in addition to this resilience, Everline-ilk is poised to be able to tactically swirl the currents of the entire ocean of the economy through its investment in the only other two members of the economy, Shell-Beignet Dust and Wal-Mark (ILM: WMC ).  Everline-ilk could be thought of as having a series of filters or collective devices positioned throughout this ocean, such that the more the economy swirls with semi-predictable entropy, the more they can collect the financial sediment that floats within the current.  By this same token, Everline-ilk benefits from as many laymen being in the market as possible, with increased market volume reducing slippage for Everline-ilk’s inevitable massive, market-shifting trades.

Colleagues have called me unpatriotic.  The prince of England took this one step further, calling me “antiglobalistic” and defriending me on Facebook.  To soften this blow, I offer a piece of middle-ground advice to prospective investors.  The best way to go long on the moon is to go long on the globus.  It is more liquidable (in terms of Earth currencies) than any individual stock within the market will be when the market opens next year.

For more evidence of the moon’s unsure future, look no further than the fluctuations of proxy lunar markets; you can already convert Earth currencies to globus, and trade moon-dust futures.  Once again, I urge you to heed my warning–look, but don’t touch!

***About the author****

Randy Wager holds a PhD in both Astrophysics and Economics from MIT and Harvard, respectively.  He is the assistant director of the Theoretical Economics Department at the Harvard-Yale Institute for Cognoscenti.


“Shoot for the Moon”

Business Editorial Section

The Wall Street Journal

September 23, 2081

Trepidation is today’s buzzword when it comes to predictions of the soon-to-burgeon International Lunar Market.  Every financial publication I read sounds like an overbearing mother.  They ask, “how will you hedge your portfolio with respect to the creation of an entirely new market?”  And this is a fair question–it is true that there are risks to investing in the hasty colonization of our planet’s natural satellite.  After all, if the great experiment of moon colonization failed, the globus would lose all value, and the conversion rate for getting your money into globus in the first place is $3.72 : 1g, meaning that if the market were shriveling, pulling out would not only require liquidating stock, but also liquidating your globus. But this economy’s warts of worry will soon be hidden by the flattering explosive growth of individual stocks!  Don’t you want to be there for the century’s greatest opportunity to multiply an investment times 100, times 1000, or times any arbitrarily large number you can think of? The main risk I see is one of underinvestment!

I want to dispute points made by a certain overly conservative economist who recently appeared in the New York Times.  He argued that Everline-ilk Financial Group’s benevolent investment in the lunar economy was compelled by motives ulterior to the economic growth of people across the world who are astute enough to put their own stake in the development of the Moon.  Strangely, while this economist acknowledged Everline-ilk’s significant investment in Shell-Beignet Moon Dust Collection/Refinement/Energy Distribution company, and Everline-ilk’s purchase of bonds from Wal-Mark, this same economist also argued that Everline-ilk (ILM: EVIL ) could somehow manage to hedge itself against the collapse of the moon.  In fact, he went so far as to say that Everline-ilk could be incentivized to allow or encourage the moon’s very collapse.

The world economy is currently growing at a rate that is, in a month-long or year-long time frame, more steady and explosive than in the seven decades prior to the 2080s.  However, in a shorter time frame (a day or week), individual companies and their stocks bounce dramatically and unpredictably, and those who are not big enough to weather the storm of daily flash crashes must be absorbed by large, variance-resilient blue-chip companies in order to survive intense devaluation.  This is due to the fact that the quantum computing revolution allowed self-teaching or “heuristic” trading algorithms to seize control of the market.  At this point, flash crashes happen as often as a heart beat on an EKG.  These heuristic algorithms are nondeterministic, and advocates for government intervention of computerized trading argue that it is Capitalism’s luck that the addition of these powerful trading bots has, so far, perpetuated economic growth instead of collapse.

Anti-business, big-government propagandists that have no faith in the algorithms’ continued benefits to our economy.  They argue that, some day, a flash crash will cause a dip that does not rebound.  That’s why restrictions against trading programs have been put on the International Lunar Market.  On the bright side, this further opens up the moon’s market to you, the individual trader!  No longer will you have to compete with quantum-powered investment banks making millions of trades every microsecond.

The New York Times economist suggested going long on the globus as a middle ground for the trepidatious investor who is sideways on the market.  I would argue that this is an anticapitalistic sin.  Every time an amount of Earth currency is converted to globus, the increase in liquid globus will be logged in computer databases around the world, and the more uncommitted globus floating in the marketplace, the more unsure the general market atmosphere will become, discouraging all Lunar investment.  On the contrary, a globus magnanimously committed to tangible growth will buy you a stock that pays dividends in feelings of fulfilled consumer responsibility and contribution to the international Lunar community–not to mention profits!

To go long on the globus at a higher velocity, why not invest in Everline-ilk?  Rather than being subject to the whims of an entire currency, let yourself be cradled in the arms of the largest financial institution in the world, which is doing its best to promote the growth of the moon through its generous investment in lunar colonial growth.  Don’t limit yourself to stifled profits of this emerging market.  Have your dollars, Euros, and yen converted to globus and ready to trade on July 4th, 2082!

****About the author****

Ken Livelier is a public relations consultant specializing in finance.  He currently works at Citizens for Abundant Profits.

Metanote: I would like to point out that, judging by a Google search for “sci financial” || “sci-financial”,  I am a genre pioneer.

Sample Query from MoonStocks Alpha

Welcome to the Lunar Market! Enter the month.


Enter the day of the month.


Enter the year.


Enter the hour of day (9 – 16).


What type of data are you interested in today?

1. General market data

2. Data on a specific company


Information about the general market:

Market average: 283.3333333333333

**********Press 0 to start over.**********


What type of data are you interested in today?

1. General market data

2. Data on a specific company


Enter a ticker symbol for information about a company.


What information about this company are you looking for?

1. Most recent price and volume.

2. Most recent piece of news.


Average price for EVIL is 271 globus.

Volume for EVIL over the prior hour is 63531 trades.


Lunar Market Opens for Business

Bloomberg Business News
July 4, 2082
7:42 PM

Today marked the opening day for the International Lunar Market (ILM), with the only three agents of commerce on the moon who were big enough to enter the market all announcing their IPOs in units of globus, the global currency created specifically for the new market ($3.72 : 1g). Though each of these companies have Earth-based market presence, the moon market has a unique set of rules, such that preexisting companies that want to have a moon IPO are required to splinter off an amount of their Earth company to represent that of their lunar presence.

The IPOs were presented as follows:

Wal-Mark Comestibles: 1,000,000 shares at a cost of 280g/share
Shell-Beignet Dust: 5,000,000 shares at a cost of 300g/share
Everline-ilk Financial: 8,000,000 shares at a cost of 330g/share

The groundbreaking day evoked a timid start, with investors still unsure how to approach the market despite three years of preparation since its planning was announced in early 2079. However, the market received a jolt of activity in the afternoon, when price fluctuations were triggered by incriminating news of France-founded moon-dust harvesting and energy distribution company Shell-Beignet Dust (ILM: BDST). In statements that were mandatorily disclosed by Shell-Beignet upon going public, the company claimed to have access to more dust-rich craters than SEC-sponsored lunar analysts could confirm, a fact which the SEC publicized at 1:20 PM EST, much to the chagrin of French Parliament, who were not consulted before the SEC’s report was released.

BDST dropped forty points of globus from 310 to 270 between 1 PM and 2 PM EST trading on heavy volume, and creating a dampened, similar effect on Everline-ilk Financial (ILM: EVIL) which dropped from 333 to 319 due in part to EVIL’s heavy investment in BDST.

EVIL also owns billions of globus of low-interest, highly liquidable bonds sold to it by Wal-Mark Comestibles(ILM: WMC), which needed funding for its ambitious plan to have a ten-year monopoly on food provision for the moon. The permission for this temporary monopoly took aggressive international lobbying to acquire, and the eventual UN stipulations allowing Wal-Mark to proceed with its monopoly overlapped with the stipulations that allow EVIL to have a similar monopoly on the moon’s financial nascence.

In an unprecedented arrangement, EVIL was given financial dominion over the first decade of lunar settlement on the condition that it bought several billion dollars worth of highly liquidable bonds from WMC, the liquidity of which was something EVIL lobbied heavily for. Under the negotiation, should WMC begin to show certain calculable signs of corporate crumbling, EVIL has a right to cash in its bonds. Of course, this cashing in would threaten to cause a certain amount of moon-wide financial instability, making EVIL seemingly disincentivized to aggressively cash in those bonds for fear of collapsing the very financial market it has a monopoly over.

Nonetheless, BDST’s and EVIL’s afternoon stock dips caused investor concern that the moon wasn’t quite prepared for capitalism. Bloomberg sent an e-mail to the computer that houses Warren Buffett’s brain to get its opinions on the tumultuous first day of trading. Seconds later, a response was received:

“Berkshire-Hathaway has been short on the International Lunar Market since the beginning. A trio of interdependent sector monopolies is simply too small to function as a balanced capitalist market. Just as diversity is an axiom of success and resilience, uniformity is one of failure and instability. And the worst part of this economy is that you have the notoriously cagey EVIL having everyone in checkmate. BDST and WMC have tangible stake in the moon, having created buildings, factories, and infrastructure, whereas EVIL has nothing but ATMs and a monolithic skyscraper. In other words, EVIL is keeping a very light stake in the moon, while at the same time leveraging the stranglehold it has on lunar development to dole out high-interest loans to private businesses and real estate developers–loans which will be very difficult to pay off should the moon’s colonization fail. EVIL is very good at maintaining an image of having a large stake in the moon (you will see its stock generally rise and fall with the rest of the market) but the truth is that it is becoming hedged to the point of immunity. This means that if the market swings (or is swung by EVIL) in a certain direction, it could be in EVIL’s perceived best interest to collapse the moon’s economy.”

By the end of the day, the market had rebounded slightly. Bloomberg waits with bated breath for more news on this strange new economy.