On my walk, I saw three guys on the field below Kerry Park working a roto-copter drone, or whatever you call these mechanical contraptions. Whatever happened to kites? Not thrilled to have a new source of visual pollution.

Drone as the term for a flying machine, also the noise that a machine makes, also the noise that a person who sounds like a machine makes. An author can drone on, yes, that’s quite possible. Drone On. There’s the title. Might make an interesting short story – a drone programmer gets into a scrape and drones a path out of it.

Journal entry, December 2, 2014

Outline for Drone On

Hotshot builds aerial drone fighters and wins televised arena games featuring high-speed aerial robotic combat, is kidnapped by a foreign militia to build suicide drones for deadly attack.

Protests break out: “Drones fly, people die!”

The arms race escalates. The domestic military wants Hotshot dead. They bomb the hideout. Hotshot escapes. Both sides are after him.

Hotshot enters livestreamed final battle against massive forces with new drone that appears to lose control and turn against its creator– a virus!?

Drone attacks and kills its creator. Except no, in a bit of theatrical sleight of hand, it was a simulacrum, a flesh-clad robot. Hotshot lives to fight another day in the sequel.

Reader’s Guide to Drone On

  1. Comment on the character of the protagonist: Young and amoral? Naïve and misguided? Overconfident?
  2. What are the characteristics of an effective suicide drone?
  3. In a war with suicide drones, where is the battlefield? Where isn’t it?
  4. How can a society protect itself from suicide drones? How would individuals react to these countermeasures?
  5. What are the critical areas of knowledge required to get a drone weapon system off the ground? Can this expertise be controlled? If so, how and at what cost?
  6. How did the humanities help the protagonist?