Let us begin by introducing the characters in this text.
A computer science major at a university from Germany
doing a study abroad in Taiwan. He wants to start his own computer
software company, but is currently busy with an internship
at a small hi-tech startup in Taipei. At times he worries about
how governments and powerful corporations are increasingly controlling
information. However, generally he regards this with detached resignation.
Often bitingly realistic, Bill is also something of a dreamer. His imagination
is rife with fantasies, but when focussing on work or study he tends to put those aside.
“I am one-pointed about one thing at one time” he says, “but during the
course of a single day, my focus shifts many times.” Although Bill’s parents
hope he will marry and start a family soon, Bill sees no advantage to that.
“I can get everything I want online,” he contends - half-realizing this is actually a myth.
A Russian software programmer and translator who is finishing
her Ph.D. in information science at a university in Taiwan. When she
was younger, she also did a lot of hacking on the side. "It was exciting"
she confessed, "but I can't really keep up with the game." She is honest
about her limitations and dislikes idealistic-sounding claims. She also
has an almost instinctive distrust of religion. “Faith is for the uneducated”
she proudly asserts. However, at times her Christian mother’s voice echoes in her consciousness
and she actually envies those accept the simplicity of a Grand Narrative.
While sober, Nadya tries to keep her personal life a secret. She does not like
other people knowing about her intimate details. After a few drinks, and with
some nice jazz music, however, she opens up and is more forthcoming. The best
thing about Nadya is that she can laugh at herself. She readily concedes that
her life has been a series of magnificent follies.
Many years ago he started an educational software company in
Taiwan, but now is semi-retired. His company is being run by his son, who
often has very different business ideas. Although Liao was one of
the pioneers of information technology in Taiwan, he often feels like a
fossil and is increasingly unable to keep on top of the field. "Soon no
human will be able to keep on top of things. Technology is now too complex and rapidly
evolving. Only computers systems will be able to actually understand many of the most recent developments,” he mused.
Seeing the dehumanising nature of the contemporary world, at times Liao feels tempted
to embrace traditional religion. He received a Jesuit education and admits there are some
things about Christianity he admires. However, part of his brain is too “scientific”
to embrace any religious mythos.
Gus is a mult-talented and multi-lingual university drop out and long time friend of Liao.
He is one quarter Japanese, one quarter Brazilian, one quarter Indonesian, and one quarter Isbukun Bunun (a Taiwanese idignenous group),
A nerd who is uncertain what to do with his life, Gus feels quite certain that he loves Nadya. Unfortunately, it is a one-way emotion and Gus is too
socially inept to really sort things through. He works part time
at the same company as Nadya and Liao, but actually dreams of creating
his own animated comic series. This seems unlikely to happen, however, because he
spends far too much time on online games. “I am probably net-addicted,” he concedes.
However, he also tells himself that if a “real human” would ever accept him, he would not
spend so much time online.