Monday, December 10, 2018

Nightmare No.73

Photo by P.I.

I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a two-dimensional world.
A world where you have everything handed to you on a plate.
There is no need to think; there is no depth.
I’m being handed this plate that holds no nourishment.
A steaming bowl of shit.

Friday, December 07, 2018

'38 Rue Utopia ~ Ep.36

I can tell your name
by the markings on your face
~ David Byrne ‘U.B. Jesus’ 2001

Rick Griffin

How long does it take for the inevitable to be born into the funk of the mundane soap opera that plays out on this cliff edge of survival?
The seeds planted by the old’s man’s garbled whispering gestated in Ellie’s head for months.
What tipped her she wonders, what straw broke the camel’s back?
She supposes there wasn’t one really. No straw. No camel. No broken back.
It was more like a bird she remembers seeing; in a museum; way back when; a thin-necked glass bird filled with bright blue liquid, its bulbous body pivoted at the top of its glass pillar legs, nodding with the movement of the water inside its body until the accumulated momentum of thirty or maybe fifty nods caused the bird to peck the ground, the water thereby returning the body to the upright position with a jolt that reset the system.
She left the Clave without goodbye, it was easier that way.
She doesn’t remember leaving but was unsurprised when she found herself on the road back here; back to this.

David Byrne
U.B. Jesus

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Don't Let Them Destroy Your Happiness

N.K.Jemisin is trying to stop the world from ending
By Joshua Rivera

The most critically acclaimed author in contemporary science fiction and fantasy made history this year. Now she's trying to make the future.

Nora K. Jemisin wants to talk about cities.

First, Ferguson, Missouri. As Jemisin, along with the rest of the world, watched a city rise up in rage in response to the injustice of then-officer Darren Wilson's murder of Michael Brown, she slowly began to imagine a new way for the world to end. A society that had endured environmental disaster after disaster for generations in a cycle that was irregular but always inevitable, so much so that people were born into the world believing the Earth hated them. A world where you live one way when the seasons changed as usual, and another when the Earth churned in anger, threatening to kill everyone on it. She called these recurring cycles of disaster the Fifth Season, a name good enough for a title.

The Fifth Season is a novel that demands you see it through the moment you begin it, as a man stands over the young son he's murdered with his bare hands in one part of the world, while in another, the end of the world begins. The significance of one event to the other isn't immediately clear, nor does it seem to matter at first. With those two events, The Fifth Season introduces us to Essun, its protagonist and the wife of the man who just killed their son. Now she wants to find and kill him, and she doesn’t care if that means walking straight into the apocalypse.

Thus begins Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, a three-volume epic that maintains a remarkably sharp focus thanks to building itself around on Essun’s revenge, powered by the real-life rage that comes from witnessing a nation’s violent history of injustice catch up with it. It’s also a cycle of novels that would lead to Jemisin making history, becoming the first black woman to win the Hugo Award for best novel—speculative fiction’s highest honor—with The Fifth Season, and then becoming the first writer ever to win that same award three consecutive years in a row with the next two books in her trilogy, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky.

"I ended up gazing into the abyss of a country that genuinely hates us, that genuinely wants to exploit us, wants to prey upon us," Jemisin says to me as we sit at a small cafe table. " It's harming the country, and they don't care."

We're in another city: New York. On the day I travel to meet Jemisin at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman building in midtown Manhattan, cell phones in my subway car ring in alarm. We don't know it yet, but fifteen mail bombs had just been sent to some of Donald Trump's most frequent targets—one of which, addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, had been intercepted in the Time Warner Center, just a dozen or so blocks north.

Armed police in kevlar vests and bearing assault rifles are stationed outside of Bryant Park just behind the library. I pass them as I walk east down 42nd Street, and tense up just a notch more before crossing the library's courtyard, passing behind its marble lions. It's cloudy, and the city is nervous.

I wanted to talk to Jemisin because she wrote a trilogy of books that largely took the world as it is now—buckling under the weight of systemic racism, income inequality, and environmental disaster—and portrayed it, through the lens of fiction, as what it truly is if left to momentum and entropy: the end of the world. It’s not a farfetched notion.There are cops outside the library, and they’re carrying assault rifles because a man whose fervent support of the nation’s president has moved him to terrorism.

“If the United States right now in this moment decided that it wanted to invest in educating every child to an equal degree, making sure everybody had actual equal opportunity, then we would become one of the most powerful countries on the planet,” Jemisin says. “We'd be able to reverse climate change. We would be able to do amazing things. Any country that genuinely harnesses its entire population and treats them all like people has nowhere to go but up.”

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Guardian Delivers a Greater Lie

Blood on the Moon ~ Bastien Lecouffe Deharme

You zoom out from the black ink dot of her eye, kohl shaded, lashes mascara thick; out from the newspaper white of her face, slashed by sharply defined lips, a glimpse of tooth between; out from her sculptured and, presently curler-bedecked matt black hair, escaped wisps of spiralling curlicues ruffled by some apocalypse wind; out from the studied anarchy of her clothing, from the tabloid raised before her while the hairdresser checks the curlers with probing red fingernail, flicking ash from the cigarette in her other hand. The ash snows down to the dusty and ash-strewn floor.
The assignment is (as you could probably guess) printed in the personal column, page 47: lurking betweenSeamas O'Reilly wis ere” and “I love what you’ve done with the place ~ Ayleen 56”.
“Vivacious fifth-columnist seeks like-minded for future legends & laffs”
– translates roughly as a morning pickup to be delivered to the doorway of the evening edition.
Thus, a dream package is to be collected from the half-raised shutter at the south east corner of the warehouse of abandoned expectations.
Delivery may prove problematic - what with the full moon and all – but not impossible since the old bloke in the gatehouse is susceptible.
The package is handed to the Second Assistant Sub-Editor (Current Affairs) in the fluorescent flicker between the rattling presses that fill the print room ceiling to floor and wall to wall with noise.
The gunshot is camouflaged perfectly in the clamour above which no voice may be raised. The gunshot has no voice here save the visual which describes her slumped profile filleted into the angle between deck-plate and press; black blood on cold concrete.
The Second Assistant Sub-Editor (CA) looks up from the package that is unfurling in his hands like an octopus and you zoom into the black ink dot of his eye.

Tales for an attention deficit world

This story was conceived between sleep and waking, the title floated
into the imagery while, half asleep, I wrote down the bones of the dream.
The story is in some way prescient to the fabricated Manafort/Assange story
that appeared in the Guardian some days later.

Friday, November 30, 2018

'38 Rue Utopia ~ Ep.35

But if I don't like what I see
And my grip starts loosening
The edge of the big reveal
Could be the end of the story
~ Silversun Pickups ‘Dots and Dashes’ 2012

The old man: he whose teeth reside in the glass case from whose surface Ellie’s greasy fingerprints are even now being erased by Kay’s cleaning hand; the old man used to say that fetish is a consenting lie, where the giver and taker agree to the rules of the game and act out accordingly. He told Ellie that she’d have to be prepared to do unthinkable things in order to protect that lie.
Much later he said “My life is a lie…” through the pain. It was some days before he finally gave up the ghost and the room was full of people.
Ellie leaned in, and hissed into his ear “You’re a fucking wizard Gil” she being the only one who ever used his name, the others preferring to address him as Granpa.
He’d grinned his metal grin at that, his right hand clasping hers, his left waving everyone else from the room.

Silversun Pickups
Dots and Dashes