For a long time I was debating whether to write a serial killer / science-fiction hybrid thingie — certain groups of people (I called them Mimics) were dying mysteriously, and this hard-boiled detective and a geeky hacker was going to join forces and hunt down the villain, which was this mysterious man who lived in the slums of Manila and had uploaded a virus onto the net. And then I thought, well maybe the Mimics were actually avatar-type creatures made of code, and therefore they could be infected by a software virus. That whole idea didn’t last very long, so the story’s completely different now. (A friend commented that he could imagine the pitch: “It’s Slumdog Millionaire meets The Matrix meets Blade Runner meets Macho Dancer.”)
Anyway, what used to be called Mimics is now American Idols.
From Chapter Two:
In the morning Brian will be awake before everyone else and will have burnt the pan de sal in the toaster oven and will be watching his Japanese robot cartoons. Delphine remembers watching similar cartoons with her older brothers when she was a little girl. Then President Marcos, in a dictatorial snit, cancels everything. Delphine’s mother tells her it is because the President was worried about children neglecting their homework and that discipline was what was needed for this country to progress upward and onward. Later the President would come for the video games, the arcades shuttered and padlocked. An entire generation of children, robbed of digital pleasure and prowess. Delphine’s brother wailed when he realized his robot cartoon was gone, erased from the airwaves by presidential fiat. Still they sat at 6 p.m. in front of the Radiowealth television set with the sliding wooden cabinet and waited in futility. Commercial after commercial and still no robots. Delphine turns the plastic knob to a different channel to make sure. Still no robots, and then finally their mother calls them to dinner. They have taken advantage of the disappearance of the robot cartoons to eat earlier from now on. She will never know what happened to Koji Kobuto, to the fey villain with the scar, to their lost scientist father. She is mixing up the cartoons now. She remembers that one of the robots had breasts which were also missiles. Delphine smiles in the dark.