The Code-Burner And The Fixer

While technology may change, human behavior does not. At least, that’s what reading the collection of Aesop’s Fables suggests. The characters and motivations in the parables, attributed to Aesop after he died in 564 BCE, remain relevant today.

Aesop 2021 projects these well-known (and not-so-known) stories into an age only a stone’s throw from our own. When cynicism and pessimism abound, hope becomes a rebellious act against the tyranny of the default. Each story recasts a fable’s lesson from our upcoming solarpunk future as a software tale.

The Aesop 2021 project is part of the Never Break the Chain March Writing Challenge. The original sources were translated by George Fyler Townsend and provided under the Project Gutenberg license. Addition reference provided by a Library of Congress interactive book adapted from the public domain book “The Aesop for Children: with Pictures by Milo Winter,” published by Rand, McNally & Co in 1919.

Below is the latest installment.

A picture

A Code-Burner worked remotely from his countryside house. While abstractions took care of much of the lower-level boilerplate, someone was still required to “burn” disparate hints, rumors, and functional assertions to non-volatile, replayable storage. The turnaround requirements demanded someone capable of intense bursts of productivity - and being ethically OK with unclean code that sometimes resulted. This kept him busy and provided a good life, but he was lonely.

One day, his friend from school, The Fixer, stopped to visit. In the 22nd solarpunk future, the title of Fixer has become esteemed. These individuals were specially trained in exhuming old code from a century’s worth of detritus, circumventing the licensed parts, and rolling back unused features introduced later in life. When their work was done, the conservatorship released these pieces of abandonware back into the public domain.

Hoping to rekindle the companionship of their youth, The Code-burner invited The Fixer to come and live with him, offering to split the housekeeping chores.

The Fixer replied, “I’m flattered, but it is impossible as far as I’m concerned. Whenever I’d find you working, I would be overcome with anxiety that I was witnessing my next project to maintain.”