100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week#9 – Sci Fi Genre – “Learning Day”

07 Sep

Mary thought nothing of the future. Why should she? Her life had been fun and games. Her path was chosen.

Today was her Learning Day.

She removed the interface from the wall socket, connected herself via the port children had installed at birth. Her download had begun.

Two hours later she emerged from her room. Her face showed a new confidence born of the knowledge she now had uploaded to her enhanced mind. Tomorrow she would start her new career.

Her mother, an historian, marvelled, “In your great grandparents’ days, you’d have attended school for years.”

Mary frowned, “Snail learning? How quaint.”


20 responses to “100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week#9 – Sci Fi Genre – “Learning Day”

  1. ventahl

    September 7, 2011 at 21:22

    Really good. I did find it a bit chilly. Esp ‘port children had installed at birth’, like everyone accepted it as normal. The way you airbrushed a cybernetic future with innocence was well done. And a little disturbing the way she disdainfully said ‘How quaint’. Like the process had purged her emotions. Brrrr

    • Ross Mannell

      September 7, 2011 at 21:43

      Thanks for the comment.

      It would indeed be a bleak future where all was simply uploaded rather than experienced through a vibrant educational experience. We are more than the knowledge we store. We have emotion and our learning is touched by the experiences along the way. 🙂

      • Sally-Jayne

        September 8, 2011 at 01:08

        I take your point guys, but I really like the idea of children being children and having fun and games without the stress of homework and tests and more tests, and then having a learning day and suddenly becoming a responsible adult. Some people never make that transition despite the vibrant educational experience they get.

      • Ross Mannell

        September 8, 2011 at 06:35

        Hi Sally-Jane,

        The idea behind the story was the children have a care-free childhood and, on reaching an age, are able to upload the information they need for their chosen career. If this were the only educational experience, it would truly be isolating and lacking in emotion.

        I would assume there would be a push in such cases for social learning in the old fashioned way. Children could meet and experience sport, craft, art, music and being together in the same old way. To simply upload at a given time without any other learning experiences would be very limiting.

        The question would be who would allow such a thing for their child? Some would if they saw an advantage but that would rob me of what I love, working with children on their learning journey and rob them of the experiences with others along the way. Former students have taken the time to point out how much of a difference I made in their lives.

        Would I make personal use of such a process? With a lack of time, it would be great to upload languages I could use in travels or greater knowledge of music. So, in certain situations, I would make use of such a process but as a consenting adult not as a child expected to do so. 🙂

  2. Dan

    September 7, 2011 at 23:01

    Hi Ross,
    Firstly thanks for all the recent comments made to the Plymouth Grove website in Manchester. You are now tagged on our huge world, paper (get that…how quaint) map.

    Really enjoyed reading this. It made me remember that there is much joy in the learning process. If we simply downloaded this…what a lot poorer life would be. I wonder who may decided what content was installed.

    I will point my children in your direction.

    Dan Heap (teacher)

    • Ross Mannell

      September 8, 2011 at 07:08

      Thanks for the comment.

      For a much more accurate placement, I live in the town half way along the coast between Sydney and Melbourne in the state of New South Wales. It is a tourist town in our shire and a favourite place for retirees and families. I have had family (mother’s side) in the shire since my Scottish ancestors arrived in the 1840s.

      As a long time Australian family, I also have a convict ancestor (father’s side) who was transported here in 1789. He was a rare one in he could read, write and calculate so, rather than as a labourer, he worked in a Government Storehouse until free and granted land. 🙂

      As far as the story plot.. as posted in a reply above, it would be a sad world if the only experience was via an upload. Imagine if knowledge of relationships and friendships were downloaded. There would have to be more than the upload but I could see some uses. 🙂

  3. Anna Halford

    September 8, 2011 at 03:25

    oh, I so hope this is not the future. Technology is great; but needs to be tempered IMO. I love your style of writing Ross.

    • Ross Mannell

      September 8, 2011 at 07:14

      Thanks for the comment.

      While as a stand alone general method of education, this future would be truly tragic. We would need experiences along the way to allow for social interaction. However, as suggested above, I would consider the process if I could upload languages so I could communicate when travelling and learning by interacting with other cultures. 🙂

  4. robinhawke

    September 8, 2011 at 22:28

    One of your most important sentences could be stronger:

    Her download had begun.
    Her download began.

    I like how matter-of-fact her actions are: shows her acceptance is personal and cultural.

    • ventahl

      September 9, 2011 at 05:33


    • Ross Mannell

      September 12, 2011 at 21:05

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, ‘had begun’ was a careless choice. I could have reached the 100 additional word target elsewhere. 🙂

      • robinhawke

        September 13, 2011 at 00:16

        No problem, I’m always amazed at how many blind spots I pass by when I write.


  5. Frankie Parker

    September 8, 2011 at 23:56

    Oh how scary if this was the future held for our children. They would miss out on so much of life skills…

    • Ross Mannell

      September 12, 2011 at 20:25

      Thanks for the comment.

      I agree, if that was all an education involved, children would lose so much. You may be able to download information but trying to do the same with emotional experience and physical development wouldn’t be likely to ever work no matter how much into the future.

  6. Gill

    September 10, 2011 at 21:28

    Very interesting indeed. Excellent/true to genre choice and gives so much food for thought . . Well done Ross on a great piece!

    • Ross Mannell

      September 12, 2011 at 20:28

      Thanks for the comment.

      SciFi has been an interest of mine since my teens so I took the chance to use the genre in this 100WCGU.

  7. jfb57

    September 10, 2011 at 23:54

    This is brilliant! What an imagination you have Ross! I love it & could see it as a kids series! Fabulous!

    • Ross Mannell

      September 12, 2011 at 20:30

      Thanks for the comment.

      One of these days I may hit on an idea a publisher may like. Meanwhile, the 100WCGU and Saturday Centus are great ways to exercise writing skills. 🙂

  8. sparksinshadow

    September 12, 2011 at 12:59

    Oh I love this! A whole sci-fi story in 100 words. And it’s intriguing, too. I’d love to read a sequel.

    • Ross Mannell

      September 12, 2011 at 20:31

      Thanks for the comment.

      The challenge is a great mental exercise. I try to hit the exact word target to add to the challenge.


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