Makers: A Creative Commons Licensed Sitcom About a Nerdy Family

Posted on 23rd April 2018 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works,Geeking Out

In 2016, I was notified by a friend of a new partnership between Google and The Black List to give grants to screenplays promoting diversity and challenging nerd stereotypes in film. There were articles about it referencing the Computer Science Education in Media program run by Julie Ann Crommett at Google.

So I spent a month writing up something I was excited about. Makers is a family-friendly sitcom that follows the Glasper’s, a family comprised of two geeky, parents who work as software developers. Nef, a mother of African American descent, telecommutes on various IT contracts from her highly-unprofitable makerspace/gaming shop that has been in the red for so long the IRS has made her downgrade it from a business to a hobby. Zack, the father, works in Laboratory Information Management systems, and is a heavy gamer off-hours. They have two young children, Sagan and Ada, named for Carl Sagan and Ada Lovelace. The episodes were to center around modern first-world nerd problems: torrenting, gamer trolls, H1B1 ethics, generational conflicts over technology, code-switching, and gaming addiction.

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Future Forgers: A Creative Commons LARP for Kids and Parents

Posted on 19th March 2018 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works,Enlightenment Warrior
Tower of Board Games

CC-Licensed Artwork by Posthuman Studios:
“Neo-Porpoise Morph” by Jessada Sutthi
“Salamander Morph” by Silver Saaramael
“Infomorph Mercurial Investigator” by Daniel Clarke
“Flying Squid” by Joe Wilson
“Basic Pod” by James Mosingo
“Crasher Morph” by Jose Cabrera
“Menton Morph Brinker Genehacker” by Daniel Clarke

At this moment 7.5 billion human neocortexes are experiencing a world filled with technologies not even imagined just a century ago. Airplanes, roads, and the Internet make our world geographically smaller, but experientially larger. There are people living in space and circling the Earth every 90 minutes. There are hundreds of millions of people exploring virtual worlds on ome computers and game consoles. Advances in medicine and health education are extending our lifespans decades beyond that of our ancestors. The World Wide Web puts the sum total of all human knowledge at our fingertips.

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Creative Commons Children’s Book: ABC’s of Biodiversity

Posted on 23rd December 2013 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works,Ionian Enchantment

Download a PDF Version Here (30MB)

Download a PPTX Version Here (103MB)

This book is another tool in the myriad strategies we parents use to teach our children. The ebook format allows something print books don’t: an alphabet book with 10 examples of each letter. This means there are 260 images in this book. That can be quite overwhelming, but that’s nothing compared to the Earth’s actual biodiversity.

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Entropy of Imagination, a Creative Commons Ebook

Posted on 7th September 2010 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works
Entropy of Imagination
Entropy of Imagination
Credit: Moi

Trapped in a World Running Out of Ideas…

Thousands of years ago, before he was trapped on an isolated computer system, Flatline was programmed to conquer the world. Today he’s escaped back to the World Wide Web, where he hopes to find his way back to the real world. Except the World Wide Web has forgotten there ever was a real world.

The inhabitants of this future Web reside in a closed system, where all possible experiences will soon be exhausted. The Web is winding down, falling into stasis. Here, Flatline is a brief infusion of novelty, bringing chaos to the system.

Available at and for free, and for $0.99.

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The Safeguard, A Creative Commons Comic Book Script

Posted on 24th July 2008 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works

Posting this on the off-chance that there is an aspiring comic artist out there who might be interested in collaborating with an aspiring writer. I had found a fantastic cartoonist to work with me on this project, but, unfortunately, real life was making too many demands on his time, but this is our start.

The Safeguard is a mostly-comedic comic that will have a few, very dramatic issues after characters are established. It follows Nisha, Ziggy, and Arnis, three average people trying to play superheroes in the real world and dealing with issues of morality and seriousness of vigilantism, no matter how good the intentions. They battle Caleb, a teen who hasn’t figured out where he fits in, and decides to become the Safeguard’s arch-nemesis. Eventually, an amateur superhero fad takes place in the city.

Creative Commons License

The Safeguard is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

I’m giving this an open CC license. Take it, rewrite it, make money off it, anything you like. Please keep my name in the credits, and if you are serious, I’ll be happy to write additional issues or outline where this story is going.

Script for Issue 1 of The Safeguard in Microsoft Word Format: this version has pics of Ziggy’s yoga poses.

Script for Issue 1 of The Safeguard in Text Format

Here’s some character sketches from Robert Ricobaldi. Click on any for larger images. As much as I love these for capturing the way I envisioned the characters perfectly, artists are free to interpret the characters in their own ways:

The Safeguard - Most Detailed Concept Art

The Safeguard – Most Detailed Concept Art

The Safeguard - Less Cartoony Headshots

The Safeguard – Less Cartoony Headshots

The Safeguard - More Cartoony Headshots

The Safeguard – More Cartoony Headshots

The Safeguard - More Cartoony Version

The Safeguard – More Cartoony Version

The Safeguard - Full Page Spread

The Safeguard – Full Page Spread

An Invitation to Speculate: Your Clone and You

Posted on 5th May 2008 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works


Ryan Somma

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my free creative commons e-book Clones, and I was amazed that, while everyone had their own favorite stories from the collection, the one that got best reviews was Ryan’s Clone, where I speculate on what it would be like to spend a day at the mall with my own cloned child. It was the simplest, least thought-provoking story of all, but readers all seemed to agree that it was the most natural of the stories.

I don’t have any more Clones stories in me, but I want to read more of them. So I was wondering if anyone else out there would like to take a turn at the speculative helm and tell everyone about your own clone? It could be a short story, a blog post, or just a comment.

I think this is a thought experiment with a lot of merit. It’s an issue we’re facing in our lifetimes, an exercise in futurism, creative writing, social commentary, and has the potential to wrestle with some very sticky ethical issues.

Here’s some dimensions to consider:

  • Suppose you were to have a clone made of yourself. Why might you do it? To get things right? Raise yourself better than your parents did? Raise yourself with the wisdom you have of yourself now? Maybe it’s just plain old curiosity? Or maybe you need a kidney?
  • How old is your clone? Think about what you were like at that age, or ask your parents. Are there surprises? Insights into who you are today gleaned from seeing who you were then? There’s no reason your story cannot play out as a series of vignettes visiting with you and your clone growing up over the years.
  • What parenting activity are you engaged in with your clone? Are you helping your clone with their homework? Are you grocery shopping with a four-year-old version of yourself having a temper-tantrum? What would playing with dolls or action figures be like with your child-self?
  • How much of you is nature and how much is nurture? How do you feel about yourself, and how will that affect your interactions with your clone
  • Surprise me and everyone else by thinking outside these parameters.

Now please Write something. It doesn’t even need to be a short story, just some speculation in a blog post will do. The only request I have is that you begin your speculation with, “My clone was…” How you fill out the rest is entirely up to you.

Post it to Oort-Cloud, post it to your blog, post it to the comments section, as a letter to the editor of your local paper, or wherever. Notify me, and I’ll link to them. Or e-mail them to me with a creative commons attribution license (preferably the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license), and I’ll post them to Oort-Cloud crediting you.

You might learn something about yourself. : )

Note: This is for online collaboration only, a speculative exercise. I will only provide links and Oort-Cloud posts. If this idea gets a lot of good responses, I’ll see about contacting everyone to measure interest in collaborating on a vanity-press anthology or something along those lines.

Free Creative Commons E-Book: “Clones”

Posted on 28th April 2008 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works

Your cloned child is a mirror, simultaneously reflecting who you are and what you might have been. It’s potential was your potential. Can your clone achieve the dreams that fell to the wayside in your own life, or is it doomed to repeat your mistakes?

Clones is a collection of speculative short-stories that explores the relationship dynamics between parents and their cloned children.

Available for purchase or as a free PDF.

The Spiraling Web a Free Science Fiction E-Book by Ryan Somma

Posted on 29th February 2008 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works - Tags:
The Spiraling Web

The Spiraling Web

Years of writing and rewriting this novel and peddling it around to dozens of agents have made me realize it could eventually be overcome by events and never be read. This is a hard-SF cyberpunk novel that I wrote in 2003, and have been rewriting ever since.

Here’s the pitch:

The cycs are not a computer virus destroying the Internet as everyone thinks, but a sentience naturally evolved out of our information systems. Flatline, a hacker with seemingly supernatural powers over information systems and a demonically disfigured avatar, has assumed leadership of the AI hive, overseeing their domination of the World Wide Web and plots their conquest of the world outside it.

Zai, handle “BlackSheep,” a blind girl in a world where medical science has all but eliminated the condition, travels to find her missing online friend Omni; however, an emotionally traumatic childhood experience with a virtual friend will not allow her to believe in the possibility of Artificial Intelligence.

Devin, handle “Omni,” straddles both worlds, the virtual and the physical. He sees a war, where one side’s victory, human or artificial intelligence, means the tragic demise of the other’s entire civilization. When Flatline locks him out of the Internet, Devin must successfully navigate the strange, alien world known as Real Life if he is to prevent total tragedy.

What are the ethical dilemmas we face as chatbots grow so convincing, they begin to deceive people, especially children? How will culture evolve in a world where we cannot build on others’ ideas because everything is copyrighted or patented? Who owns emergent intelligence in information systems? It provokes speculation as it entertains.

Available for online purchase through LuLu.

Also available as a free downloadable PDF. Lemme know what you think, even if it’s harsh criticism. : )

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, meaning you can make all the copies you want, remix it, rewrite it, and even make money off it, but you have to give me credit for the original work and you have to give your derivatives a similar copy-left license.

To make writing derivatives easier, here’s the word document.

Have fun with it!

I also have a sequel written, titled Entropy of Imagination, which I will post sometime this summer once I have it polished. It will also be CC’ed.

Creative Commons Screenplay: “Shah Mat”

Posted on 2nd March 2007 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works

Download a free PDF of this screenplay.


Ian returns from college to reluctantly hang out and play a game of chess with is old friend Duf, who runs a comic book shop. Their competitive conversation mimics the competitive nature of their game.

Estimated Running Time: 73 Minutes

Creative Commons License
Shah Mat by Ryan Somma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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Creative Commons Screenplay: “Schroedinger’s Cat”

Posted on 6th September 2004 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works

Download a free PDF of this screenplay.


A man wakes up in a room without an exit and cannot remember who he is. He must piece together the person he used to be and what his role is in this twisted experiment. Only the truth may be too horrifying for him to accept.

Estimated Running Time: 109 Minutes

Creative Commons License
Schroedinger’s Cat by Ryan Somma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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