Intelligent Design 2.0

by Ian Watson


Story Copyright (C) 2010, Ian Watson.
Images Copyright (C) 2010, Rudy Rucker.
1,000 Words.

“Gosh,” said Adam fluently as soon as he woke up on his first day, lolling with Eve on a bed of lush veg. “This world must be millions of years old. Look at that T.Rex thighbone sticking out where the stream bank washed away.”

(And in the process he named, amongst other things, bank and stream and thighbone and T.Rex.)

“Thank God we weren’t around when that was hunting! We’d have been mincemeat pretty damn fast.”

“Please don’t swear,” said Eve, cuddling up to him nakedly for protection from the extinct menace. Already Adam had begun swearing, even though Eve named the activity.

“Adam, if you get into the habit of bad language, the children will hear.”

“Ah yes, I know what those will be.” Adam admired Eve lasciviously, and part of him stirred. “We’ve plenty of time yet for parenthood. First let’s enjoy ourselves. For the time being we need some natural form of what you might call contraception.” Adam’s consciousness had kindled at a very high setting. “Some roots or leaves to chew.”

Eve glanced at a dark cloud newly on the horizon, and warned, “Shhh. I don’t think He wants that. We could use the so-called rhythm method.”

Adam nuzzled her. “There’s only one sort of rhythm I wish to get into with you, my dear. Besides, it would take several months” – so saying, he indicated the ghost of a half-moon low in the sky – “to establish the rhythm you’re referring to. We’d need to invent counting. One two three four more, for instance. And zero and infinity.”

Eve was impressed. “You’ve woken up very wise.”

Adam preened himself. “Infinite zeros isn’t the same as zero infinities.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know yet,” he admitted. “I know all sorts of things in my brain, but at the same time I don’t know them yet.”

“I feel the same! Unknown knowns. As opposed to unknown unknowns.” Of a sudden she screamed, pointing into the bushes. “Is that a tiger?”

Adam rolled over and over, wrenched the T.Rex thighbone out of the bank, and scrambled up brandishing the weapon.

“It’s a marmalade cat,” he said as he saw from a better vantage point.

“Marmalade, yummy,” said Eve. She smacked her lips. “Spread on toast.”

“First we’d need to select grasses to grow grain, then roll big stones to grind flour, and tame fire for the clay oven to bake the dough. Hmm, there’s a lot of work involved in making toast.”

The cat pounced on a mouse.

“Maybe,” said Adam, “we should stick to hunting and gathering. Squeeze oranges for juice and forget about the marmalade.”

“Adam, your virile member has become so small!”

He glanced down, and lowered the T.Rex thighbone to cover his chagrin. “The blood all went into fight or flight.”

“Yet you chose to fight,” she said admiringly.

“How could I run away from the only woman in the world?”

“Adam, that’s so romantic. I think you’re in love. And I would have run after you.”

“But more slowly, waggling and jiggling and flapping your arms. So the tiger would have caught you. Now that I think of you waggling and jiggling, just suppose that you run away from me…”

“Don’t you imagine for one moment chasing me, hitting me over the head with that big bone then dragging me through in the grass by my long blond hair! That isn’t the sort of man I want. Anyway, you’d need to build a shelter of branches and leaves to drag me to.”

“I spy caves in those hills over there.”

“Horrid hard cave. Probably with a bear in residence.”

“There can’t be predators lethal to us yet. We might get eaten too easily and advanced consciousness would be snuffed out. Any predators must still be vegetarians, although with the wrong teeth. Things will alter only if we sin. Right now I can think of a sin I fancy trying. Your buttocks, Eve, are very shapely. Could be a way round that contraception problem.”

Vocabulary was pouring out of Adam into existence. Eve glared at him. “Sod that for a lark,” she said.

A lark took wing, singing sweetly as it ascended.

“Who’s swearing now?” asked Adam.

She wiggled her hips. “It’s much simpler to start a family. We should multiply.”

“I can multiply,” Adam discovered. “Two times two is four. Two times four is… eight!”

The cat trotted up to Eve, purring, dead mouse in its mouth, and placed the corpse near her toes.

“Eek!” she squealed, gaping for something to climb on to. However, there were no...

Adam laughed heartily “Chairs!”

Eve controlled herself. “That’s right, we need something to sit on. I think this pussy wants to be domesticated. I mean pussycat. Our first pet.”

“Why is it marmalade colour already, before we domesticate it?”

“To encourage us, Adam.” She glanced at the horizon but the black cloud hadn’t moved, although it still seemed to be observing. Vanity and a sense of privacy contended. So much was happening intellectually on their first day.

But what of Adam? His manhood was still small, and he was flailing that great bone against long grass like some reaper. Was he frustrated? Was he already becoming habituated to nudity?

“I need some lingerie,” said Eve.

“First we’d need to tame silkworms – “

“No, you can’t exactly tame worms.” Might her language skills be superior? “Cats and dogs, yes.”

A woeful howl rang out from some trees.

Hastily she added, “And cows and sheep and horses.”

They heard a distant whinny.

“As regards clothes, I’ll be content for now with vines wrapped round me and in winter a sheepskin.”

The word shopping hovered in her head, but seemed to make no sense, as yet...

“We must dumb down.”


About the Author


Ian Watson is a charismatic, inspiring figure in modern SF. Early works such as The Embedding and Miracle Visitors brought a visionary and mind-opening slant to science-ficion, drawing upon inner space, UFOs and the psychic subdimensions. His story collection, The Very Slow Time Machine permanently changed writers' notions of what is possible in an SF story.

Recent books include Mockymen and the Beloved of my Beloved (written with Roberto Quaglia). For now, Watson reports, "I'll concentrate on stories, always bearing in mind that nowadays we get paid exactly the same amount that we got paid 30 years ago, though strangely beer seems to cost 10 times more today. A capacity for mad laughter is essential to a writer."

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