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About Varied / Hobbyist Jonty LevineMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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Jonty Levine
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United Kingdom
As a child, I never liked writing stories. Now I am an author. My head is filled with the first drafts of at least five novels. I still haven't give up my love of drawing either, if I could only find my pencils.
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Everyone was saying this’d be the best thing to happen to humanity since opposable thumbs, or some other huge milestone. This 'update' was going to carry us to a new plane of existence. Or possibly destroy us, we just didn't know. I personally didn't buy all the hype - "It's just a point update," I'd say when someone brought up the topic.

Don't get me wrong - it was a big deal. I can see why the news channels were covering it 24/7, despite there being nothing new to cover. Of course people took to the internet to speculate. And I saw an interesting essay about how a benevolent god might have planned the update to remove all prejudice from our minds. But most every other comment seemed to be someone's wishlist of the awesome superpowers they wish we all had.

And yes, it was all of us. 7 billion people saw the progress bar at the exact same time, in the corners of their eyes, at 1% and counting. Alongside it were a few words telling them they would soon be updated to Version 1.1 of humanity. No one yet knew what this would do to us, or if there was any way to stop it. Some people actually committed suicide before it finished, reasoning that if they were to be changed into something that wasn't human, they'd rather die with their humanity intact.

So yes, I can see why this was a big deal. It's just... I wish it wasn't.

After three months, the progress bar reached 100%, and something happened that few of us expected. No one changed immediately, but in the corners of our eyes there appeared a new notification: Human Update 1.1. Hold your breath for 10 seconds to finish installation.

It was so simple, hold your breath for 10 seconds and that was it. People were afraid to do it, and rightly so. But with 7 billion of us all poised to undergo the same transformation, someone was bound to try it first. People curious to see what would happen, and those with nothing to lose, were among the first to change. 10 seconds without breathing, and they were bathed in a silvery light, and then...

Luckily for us, the effects were non-deadly. Those who’d been holding out for a biblical apocalypse were duly disappointed. In fact the most immediately obvious change was the loss of all freckles as their skin turned to a marble-smooth complexion. Over the next few hours, those who underwent the change lost all their bodily hair, except for on top of their heads. Conversely, bald people’s hair grew back. And hair that’d gone grey with age gained its colour once more. Many people compared it to the ‘various interface improvements and bug fixes’ of a typical software update. Losing their freckles, I suppose, was one of these so-called ‘interface improvements’.

Over the next few weeks, some of the subtler changes became apparent. Their vulnerability to certain autoimmune diseases went away. Poison ivy ceased to have an effect on them. And allergies to nuts went away entirely. One of the more interesting changes though was the need to sleep. People who’d undergone the update, or ‘human-point-ones’ as they are called, found they felt fully rested after 3 or 4 hours asleep, as opposed to the usual 7 or 8 hours for us ‘point-ohs’.

And yes, I am still a point-oh. We still exist, thank you very much. I don’t need a reason for not ‘upgrading’, though I do have one. I like the freckles, okay? I also think some men look better with beards - there I said it! I don’t want to change just because everyone else is. I think the update robs us of our differences. It’s well known that some subtle racial features are erased by the update, but none of the point-ones seem to care. And those people are now the vast majority. Within the first week, over 60% of the world population had changed into point-ones, and people like me are in an ever-dwindling minority.

It’s getting harder and harder to live normally without finishing the installation, becoming like one of them. People won’t let you rest! Since we’re supposed to all sleep for four hours a night now, we’re expected to spend the extra time working. Because apparently the thing to do when you free up four hours a day is to not enjoy any of it!

There is this widely held belief that the update really did erase our prejudices. Most of this however is pure media spin. While it is true that racism is going out of fashion, and some old grudges have been set aside, the truth is that point-ones are more tolerant... towards each other. Yet they see nothing wrong with treating the point-ohs as an inferior species. “If you don’t like it, accept the update,” they always say.

That’s not the only benefit, they say. It also increases your self-control towards food. And it will improve your sex life, they say.  Those point-ones think they’re so bloody perfect! Don’t think I haven’t considered taking the update myself. All I’d have to do is hold my breath for 10 seconds. That’s the scary part. If I’m not careful, I could do it accidentally. Anyway, it’s become so much a matter of principle now. Not being able to go scuba diving is the least of my problems.

Remaining a point-oh has its challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I can avoid this update for as long as possible, preferably the rest of my life, then it might have been worth something. And after I’m gone, I hope they put me in a museum. So then future generations might gaze upon my grey hair and imperfect skin, and learn of a strange extinct species that once ruled the world: human-point-oh.
Human-point-oh
As seen in the Nottingham Writers' Studio journal!

Well hi there. I don't often do prompts, but this one caught my eye on Reddit's front page. The prompt: 'One day everyone notices the words "Human Update 1.1 progress 1%" in the corner of their eye.' www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompt…

By the way, I am actually like this with my iPhone. I haven't installed a software update in two years because I don't like the new look of iOS 7. One of these days I'll be the only iOS 6 user around. I guess that's why the prompt resonated with me.
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Two planets, hitherto sharing an orbit around 90 million miles from the young sun, had been edging ever closer over the last epoch. They shared a mutual twirling dance while comets rained down upon their parched surfaces, peppering them both with holes and coating them with a thin film of water. Eventually however they got too close, and gravity pulled them inexorably towards a collision, every atom of one planet tugging on every atom of the other one. They hit. Though the smaller of the two bodies crumbled first, the impact tore them both nearly to pieces, churning their centres to the surface and burying parts of their surfaces in the centre of the new merged planet. This planet, not like the two that came before it, was spinning rapidly, so that within mere hours, it had shown its entire surface to the parent star. This was the first full rotation of the planet that beings on its surface would later decide to call the Earth. And though its rotation has slowed down a lot since those early days, this could still be said to be the first true 'day'.

The stately stone of the time machine, safely camouflaged as an asteroid, witnessed this from a comfortable distance, far enough to avoid the red hot debris from the collision, but near enough that the two witnesses aboard could observe the splendour with their own eyes, that of their home planet being born.

One of them, a priest born in 1592 and now in his fifth decade of life, was aghast. God had spoken to him throughout his time on earth, to tell him of how He'd sculpted the world, peopled it with life, given them the gift of free will and thus allowed into it the first evil. But this glowing cinder that loomed in view of the observation deck was terrible, because it was something God had no answer for. It was not simply that it looked like Hell, but the way its formation looked like an accident, that troubled him. There had been no divine hand guiding the two spheres. The first day of creation was over. God should be separating the land from the sea by now, but instead… nothing.

The other inhabitant on this craft, who in spite of wearing men's clothes and having a 'man's name', was female, and knew nothing of God's ways. Her physics education had ended at A-level, but she knew enough about how the earth was formed. She and the old priest had been debating this very fact until she had finally offered to take him back in the time machine to prove it. By now though she had made her point, and would have been about ready to put her hand on the man's shoulder, to console him, as if to say 'sorry about your god.'

But she didn't, not through lack of compassion, but because she too was aghast. She, who had witnessed the earth being born, something she’d only ever seen before in CGI reconstructions, was conflicted in her own way. Because nothing could have prepared her for actually seeing it with her own eyes. And though she knew what would happen next – the tidal pools, the great ice age, the Permian – she wished she could see it all. Because there was something truly awe-inspiring about watching her entire world being forged from its raw materials. More than that, it was almost… divine. And all of a sudden this 'crazy colonial priest' didn't seem so crazy after all.
Day One
Hoo boy, I hope I haven't managed to offend both Christians and atheists in under 600 words.

This was my (perhaps overly ambitious) response to a (perhaps overly complicated) writing prompt from UoN's Creative Writing Society. Our task was to choose three time periods, and write a story with two characters from each of them in a setting from the third. We were also constrained as to which ones we could choose. I went with the 1630s, 'the Noughties', and of course... Day One.

I haven't used these characters in anything else, but if you'd like to use them yourself, feel free.

Cover image is from UnivEarthS www.univearths.fr/en/i1-format….
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You are my favourite element, C?
Four bonds you offer, in strength and security
There is no element that you, carbon, will not embrace
So from the diamond on my ring to my true love's face
You make everything that matters in my life
Your covalent bonds could not be cut with a knife
Stronger than ruby, topaz and quartz
And every organic compounds depends on your supports
For it would not be organic without you, carbon
So much more reactive than neon and argon
If not for this fact, there would be no life
Carbon, I wish to make you my wife
So much more faithful than a human lover
I only want atoms under my bed covers
That collection of atoms may call itself a person
But it's the elements within her that I love for certain
So with this diamond ring I get down on one knee
Giving atoms to atoms. Carbon will you marry me?
Ode to Carbon {poem}
You really don't know where you'll end up when you commit to a rhyme scheme.

Another one from Creative Writing Society. It went in a rather different direction from how I was anticipating, but when I showed them the first few lines they begged me to finish it.

I mean what the hell? I don't even like diamond rings.

Preview image is by ilovebutter on Flickr. www.flickr.com/photos/53464383… (licensed under Creative Commons)
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If you are reading this in GCSE English class

Know that this is not a sonnet. It is not a piece of rap music
And it most definitely is not romantic.

Your teacher may push you to seek out meaning in the
unexplained line breaks, subtle symbols
Turn the page on its side, perhaps, and you will observe, contemplate, infer perhaps
the deeper allusions behind the bed of spikes
formed by this stanza,
representing the angst and the deathly cringe within the mind of some so-called poet
(hint: the line break is a metaphor for death)

Or is it a city skyline? Representing the tragedy of my home town.
Teacher is really grasping at straws here.

It's not even a proper poem
I couldn't write it in iambic or trochaic pentameter.
And that's just sad.
Seek out Heaney or Duffy instead. They are far worthier poets.

If you are reading this poem in GCSE English class
Find your own meaning. It belongs to you now.
If you are reading this in GCSE English {poem}
Another from UoN Creative Writing. I am not sure what prompted this, but it came from the same session as this abomination - fav.me/d8060w0 - but nonetheless, I am actually quite proud of this. I can actually imagine it being analysed, explained and interpreted to death by a GCSE English class. Does that mean I compare myself to Seamus Heaney?
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like THIS, like THAT! i WILL do ANyTHING
to KEEP this POem IN iAMbic FORM
shakeSPEARE would BE scorNING me FROM his GRAVE
but SCREW that, HE wrote HIS own RULES so WHY
can't I do THE same? OKay IT may NOT
be PROper PENtamETer AND those LAST
few LINE breaks WERE someTHING quite HIDeOUS
but WE'RE pushING onWARDS, riSING, fallING
bringING a NEW rhyTHM to EVEryDAY;
conVERsaTIONS and SPEEches WILL neVER
evER be THE same AND it WILL be GREAT!
if YOU hate IT at FIRST, get USED to IT
and TELL your FRIENDS the REvoLUtion's HERE
and IT won't EVen HAVE to RHYME, so THERE!
accENT upON the WRONG syLLABle NOW {poem}
I'd like to apologise for my complete butchery of the iambic pentameter and 14-line sonnet forms. Nevertheless, this is a poem about a new and fantastic way that we should all speak, and it is intended to be read aloud with an emphasis on every second syllable, hence the use of uppercase to denote this.
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:iconkarstenharrington:
KarstenHarrington Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi!
I love your stories!
You seem to write stuff about "My life as a...," and those interested me the most. They're very good stories.
Um
Do you take requests?
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:iconarkiniano:
Arkiniano Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014
Thanks for the fav! :D
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:iconchikkv:
ChikKV Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Thank you for the fav
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:iconark4n:
ark4n Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013
Thanks for the faves ^_^
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:iconrelhom:
relhom Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you..:)
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:iconmicha-vom-wald:
Micha-vom-Wald Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Thx for the fav!
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:iconart-lover-murad:
Art-lover-murad Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
Thanks for the fav
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:iconjamesf63:
JamesF63 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much for the fave :)
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:iconremixedcat:
remixedcat Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
ty for the fav ;-))
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:iconudvardi:
Udvardi Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for the fav! :D
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