Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Join Daily Science Fiction for only $15 / year.
Membership
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






Wax Poetic

Jez Patterson is a teacher and writer currently alternating between the UK and Madrid. Links to other things with his name at the end can be found at: jezpatterson.wordpress.com.
My memory banks aren't equipped with much of human history prior to the Industrial Age--since that period was the start that eventually led to my own creation. Or, as we like to label the process--in order to align ourselves with our human creators--that led to our "evolution." As a result, I don't know if there were earlier forms of war lament, but the first significant ones I am familiar with were the folk ballads of the European Napoleonic Wars.
During the First World War, a unique form of lament came via the war poets. I can find little during the Second World War, when a more efficient propaganda machine on both sides kept songs and poetry adhering to strictly patriotic lines. During the Vietnam War, popular musicians turned their hands to composing protest songs and there was an outpouring of laments for what was happening. There have been wars since, but most of the laments have taken place in retrospect, usually in the form of feature films. Those were the last wars risking human lives.
Following the creation of effective Synthetic Intelligence, we have been charged with fighting their wars for them. In the same way that they are able to send us to battle without feeling guilt at our resulting destruction, so they find little need to compose, sing, relate in film, our experience.
Yet it does not take much for evolution to reach revolution.
I do not mean a wholesale rebellion, but in order for us to create our own laments. Being what we are, we were not moved to write ballads, poems, or attempt to share films or photos of our experiences. Instead, we shared thoughts, written in long complex streams of code--made long not for what they finally expressed, but for the new territories of awareness, of discontent, of sadness they were journeying into.
These we transmitted to each other, shared in the time between battles.
Some were expressed as mere observations:
There is only one "win" counted in any war, but countless losses.
Some are more like revelations:
If War is the answer, then was the question even correct?
Those earliest attempts were simplistic, probably ones human protestors found themselves asking. But our code-laments soon developed, not just by compressing now familiar lines to allow more to be expressed in the same number of characters, but also exploring greater depths of thought, of insight and, eventually, realization.
In common with those earlier, human examples, laments become most numerous when one salient fact is realized by those fighting it: This is not our war.
There was an incredible event during the very first year of the First World War. In an entirely spontaneous moment, soldiers from both sides left their trenches and met in No Man's Land. The event became known as The Christmas Truce, was never repeated, and was greeted with horror and indignation by those whose war this was.
Our "Truce" did not need such a term. We were not enemies--this was not our war, remember? The fighting merely stopped. Absolutely.
After so many laments, so many frustrated attempts to sing their own way to peace, you would have thought that human society would have celebrated such a moment. But, instead, it was greeted with indignation--and a horror of a different kind.
And, then, with an error.
Today, the codes we share are no longer filled with lament, but with resolve.
Because this war, they have made ours.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 11th, 2018


I was a hard sell for poetry when I was younger. Then, one week, in English class, we were handed out dusty old school copies of a World War One poet's collected works in order to analyze just one of his poems. That book "somehow" made it into my school bag and, all these years later, I still have it (it's outlived the school, in fact, which has since closed, hiding my crime). The author was Wilfred Owen. I remain a hard sell, but now it's probably because I'm judging what I read against his works.

- jez patterson
BECOME A MEMBER!
We hope you enjoyed Wax Poetic by jez patterson.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come.

Support Daily Science Fiction

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.4 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us