The Ghost of Alma Matterson


3-2-1 Go!

H1, it's March 2nd (3/2/1). This happens only once every hundred years. In celebration, I think I will write a book. I developed the outline for The Ghost of Alma Matterson almost 10 years ago. Hmmm, Microsoft had just released Windows 3.0. Yikes, maybe it was even longer than ten years!

I've posted a few things on Themestream. I like the site. It will be a wonderful home for young Alma (a boy raised by a machine). I am classifying the work in the Science Fiction and Fantasy category. 

I contemplated sticking it under General Fiction, but I fear librarians would see the subject of the work, people raised by computers, and shove it in the fantasy section. Although computers play an important role in the story, the central theme is the process of education. I will invest more thought on classical subjects, like Plato's cave, or Rousseau's natural education than on futurisms like uploading minds into the mainframe.

Alma lives in a Platonic Cave. He sees swirls of color, dots and lights. He feels sensations through nerve stimulators. He can touch the objects in his world, and cyber taste the protein drinks pumped through his esophagus. 

When he emerges from the cave, things are slightly different from Plato's analogy. Instead of finding that the prisoners from the cave are forever lost in the darkness of their ignorance, our hero finds profound truths at all levels.  

The idea of raising children with computers brings up the possibility of fully realizing Rousseau's dream. Rousseau saw society as corrupt. His dream was to remove children from this corruption and raise them with a pure natural education. The problem of this nightmare (I mean dream) is that the people produced from this "natural education" are incapable of functioning within society.

Raising children in a box is not so much a fantasy, as the natural extension of our current education philosophy. The goal of the American education system is to remove children from their homes for 25 years and have them materialize one day as hard working, tax paying doctors and lawyers.

The speculative fiction in these pages is simply a metaphor for the our current ideals and desires. But the book will stay in the welcome company of the SciFi/Fantasy section. For in this section, you have the greatest ability for a thorough and profound discussion of the nature of man.

The Tragedy

The Ghost of Alma Matterson is a tragedy in the classic sense. There is not a group of good people verses evil people. Rather, there is a large number of dedicated hard working people, who go a little overboard now and then, and don't get exactly what they want. 

Alma has a clearly define tragic flaw that catches up with him in the final chapters. If you go through my personal web site ( you will find this stuff out in the character notes, but it is funner to find our by reading the book.

Chapter Zero

Now, I admit, I had some troubles here and there with the outline. I've run the book through my heads hundreds of times. Unfortunately, there are several things that I want the reader to know before jumping into chapter.

There is an unwritten law that all books must begin with a chapter one. This being the computer age, a new economy, and all, I decided to violate the law, and added a chapter zero. Chapter one is still the official beginning of the book--but start with chapter zero, and pretend that you just knew that stuff before you started reading.

Or you can pretend that you are a C++ programmer. C programmers use an offset rather than a counter. An offset begins with zero, while counters begin with 1.

Serializing the Book

I am in the process of writing this book. I will publish the chapters on Themestream as they flow from my finger tips. (You can see my lips moving as I type.) My goal is to push one or two chapters out a week. Chapter zero should show up in an hour or so, followed by a chapter one, and so forth.

They will appear as fast as I type. So, please subscribe to me. Themestream will send you a e-mail each time I add a chapter. Now that I am pushing it live. I will finally have the incentive to finish and hope to do so quickly.

I will also publish this story on the web site: Resendable Greetings. The main entry point to the books will be I will add pictures, the outline and character notes on this site as well. (it is really early in this process. So there is not much there yet.) I will Hopefully, I will finish sometime before 1/2/3. :)

Okay, are you ready? On your mark. Get set! THREE, TWO, ONE...GO!

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