Just how does AM interact with the rest of the characters? How can a giant, immobile supercomputer be capable of creating entire landscapes, grant immortality, and mutilate people into half-formed monstrosities? Does it have psychic powers or something?
Yes. It has psychic powers. Unfortunately a specific rule behind these powers involve having to do everything outside the narrative. The narrator would have been alright if he hadn't stopped for a breather after killing all his friends.
Seriously though. That's like saying that humans can't do anything because the bit they think with is just a squishy bit of jelly suspended in a skull. We have hands, arms, an entire body. The brain isn't the bit that does it, it's the bit that directs it. AM obviously has technological methods to do everything you just said. It just doesn't come up in the story because it's unimportant. Who cares if AM directs its power via a network of field-projecting satellites or clusters of nanites?
Of course its not "important"-important, but its still understandable that people wonder about this, as I myself has done quite a bit. The purpose of the story isn't to speculate about how AM got his powers, but it can still bug you how a supercomputer is able to accomplish all this, hence why we have it on the "It Just Bugs Me" page.
I always assumed that AM was a Reality Warper. Which becomes quite interesting when you cross it with the revelation that he's still a "dumb" AI incapable of learning or creativity.
One of the things AM stood for before it became sentient was "Adaptive Manipulator", which suggests they programmed it to find and invent more and more ways of manipulating matter.
I'd definitely guess it is manipulating nanotechnology of its own development. It's the only thing I can think of that makes sense.
Military super computer. It more than likely controlled various robots, factories and other such. And early on, it's likely that it coersed people into helping it out.
I don't know about the rest, but the immortality is justified by AM apparently using an eternal youth serum that Nimdok and Mengele created. Said fact is revealed during Nimdok's chapter.
From the short story, it says near the beginning that a character sees his own corpse. I always thought they were uploaded, and that AM basically re-draws the map when they're out of sight.
The way I understand it, AM creates virtual realities overlayed onto the landscapes he manipulates. Remember, AM fills up the entire planet and can alter his own machinery to suit whatever needs he has, so whatever setting he needs, he can just build it and alter the circumstances as easily as playing The Sims. The problem is that he can't come up with anything new and he can't create sentient life beyond the hollow dolls he plays with. Take Ellen's Yellow Rapist, for example: even he has no idea what the guy really looked like because Ellen doesn't remember anything but the jumpsuit. All AM can do is copy what he can get from her, and it easily falls apart. Or the kid from Benny's chapter: AM has no empathy, so the kid can't mourn his mother.
Why does AM have such an enormous open body cavity anyway? To practice "manipulating matter" in? Or did he just clear it out himself to put his five victims in?
It's probably not literal. They are probably in a virtual reality, but that's just what I think.
Because it's not actually said in the story. It's not implied to be the case in either the book or the game; it's Wild Mass Guessing. For good measure, this theory is already up in Wild Mass Guessing.
I always imagined AM adding onto itself before and during the genocide of humanity, working and adding and building until it pretty much encompassed the entire planet. (The ice caverns always seemed to be located in the Arctic to me, for example.) So it's not much of a stretch to imagine that the enormous body cavity is the center of the earth and everything in between that and the surface. There are also multiple mentions of computer banks and other things that were rusted and useless, so it could be that the space was cleared out by AM specifically to hold the humans captive.
A minor gripe, but... at one point, the five of them set up camp for the night, and AM provides them punk to burn for warmth. But why would AM do that? If he has such an enormous hatred of the group that it's almost inquantifiable, as he claims, then why would be provide anything that would give them some sort of comfort? Granted, it may not have been good quality wood, but evidently enough to start some sort of fire with...
The brief moments of rest allow him to catch them off guard with the next bit of torture he has planned.
Exactly! If you were to spend eternity getting brutally tortured by a sadistic monstrosity, wouldn't it stand to reason that you would eventually adapt to it's tortures? The brief respites of hope and rest and pleasure that AM offers them are to soften them up in order to make the next torture seem just as painful and terrifying as it was before. It's basic torture 101 stuff, kid. You have to let them have some semblance of hope, even if it's just the hope of slightly less pain than before, or else they start to adapt and you're left with somebody who just shrugs and goes "meh" or becomes Too Kinky to Torture, thus ruining the fun you can get out of their fearful, broken bodies writhing in erotic agony! ....Not that I would know, or anything.... Cause I don't!
This Gamesmaster "Gore Special" video shows several scenes that seem to have been deleted from the game (obviously for being way too offensive). Where the heck did they get them? Is this from a special version, from early development? How come there is no mention of them elsewhere?