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1
The Last Ditto by Frank Maddish
2
The Myth of Authority
3
The Death of Sex
4
A Comfortable Prison
5
A Cowardly New World
6
Nightwalker
7
When Hackers Go To Heaven
8
A Silent War
9
The Inhumanity of Humanity
10
Sci-fi Nightmares
11
The New Normal

The Last Ditto by Frank Maddish

Science fiction writer Frank Maddish's debut novelThe Last Ditto follows the terrifying account of one man’s journey through decades of deep sleep exploration, into the farthest reaches of the subconscious… and beyond.
The Last Ditto is a thrilling fictional study of the darker side of lucid dreaming, a spellbinding voyage to a metaphysical world, placed squarely at the borders of madness and death.

Exploring the psychology of being, with the aid of a whistle-blower from the other side, Frank Maddish delves into the effects of the laws of observation, the power of received truth over the subconscious, and their major contribution to our current worldwide existential crisis.

The Last Ditto is the story of one man, who breaks rank with humanity to seek an alternative to our reality, and find a way to leave this place behind… forever.

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Chapter 1

1. FOG

I’m watching another old TV movie, a digital rip from a battered VHS collection, complete with fuzzy sound and tape warp. This kind is the best for my work, anything too well known, anything that’s been professionally re-mastered, won’t cut it. It won’t do at all, and here’s why.
science fictionWhen I breach, a state of flux that has taken much of my life to accomplish, I am propelled into an abstract field. The very one this Earth is projected upon. For the process to be effective, source materials must be carefully selected. Television static, radio interference, visual encoding errors, broken frames in poorly dubbed movies, and all the inconsequential details that the audience is expected to ignore.
science fictionAny familiarities, be they personal, cultural, or iconic, act as dead weight. Their excessive perceptual mass forms from slowly oscillating light particles, coalescing like cosmic mould, until emotional gravity takes effect. To successfully pierce the flat vision that stands before every human being on the planet, one must adjust one’s peripheral view. The momentous shift in perception can be immediate and overwhelming, for discovering for oneself the most ancient of all lies, is far more than enough for one lifetime.
science fictionI might have found the method far earlier, if I’d known what I was looking for. At first I watched mistakes, peculiarities in human behaviour, poorly predicted outcomes, misprinted data, (particularly hand copied pieces), and failing personal belief systems. I’m not choosy where I find clues, nor even the purpose of each insight. It is a messy process, rather damaging for a young mind no doubt, but I’m an old hand at this now, and I can take it in my stride.
science fictionBack in the day, the merest glimmer of first-hand knowledge, revealed a tapestry of errors in the world around me. Brought to life by childhood dreams, haunted by the spectres of the subconscious, lurking at the furthest reaches of human comprehension. Their trail of stolen memories, scattered like confetti in the dawning sun, left behind for those with the patience to piece together their own minds. A vast majority of our race would rather live with the responsibility, their curiosity outweighed by their instincts to survive. For many can never accept the enormity of the situation, the extreme delicacy of our unique position, and will remain as strangers to all they know, including themselves, until the day they die.
science fictionSome of those strangers I’d studied as a child were supposedly my family, but none of us seemed particularly convinced at the time. Throughout that period I resigned myself to sitting out the whole miserable episode in an astral stupor. Eventually, after years of childlike duality, my consciousness riding it out in a space fifteen feet above my body, off with the faeries as it were, I realised it was time to come back. I dipped my toe in the human melting pot, not too hot, not too cold, and slowly blundered through the social niceties.
science fictionIt took me a while to get the hang of it all. The hackneyed conversations, the meaningless quest for entertainment, but with the aid of narcotics and a newly discovered sex drive, before long I was making friends and enemies, left, right, and centre. In order to maximise the efficiency of each social exchange, I subtly shifted my core into an approximation of a compatible personality. Just a little at a time so few would notice, yet, still convincing enough to ensure my social camouflage didn’t turn back into a pumpkin, at the stroke of midnight.
science fictionIt all ended one night in an empty flat over a chip shop, rented by a Sicilian girlfriend who needed to move on. Sitting at 4am in front of a mirror on a heavy dose of LSD, I witnessed a thousand faces, and every one of them had the same insane grimace. It was at that precise moment I had an awful realisation, that those few kind souls who had bothered to tell me the truth, were right after all.
science fictionI had changed, or rather, I wasn’t me anymore.

Chapter 2

2. LORE

The tape is perfect, I have found at least four glitches. One of which appears on the bald, sweaty pate of a bit-part janitor, as he tips his hat to the shabby TV detective. There’s another in the wet mop shine of the chequered tiled floor, feathered with overexposure but fit for purpose. The other two are darker, hidden in the reflection of a locker room mirror, but still distinguishable enough to handle.
science fictionI collect the visual fragments in my mind and draw them together in a freeze-framed sigil. Controlled chaos takes little imagination, but more effort every day. I make adjustments to my psyche, instinctively compensating for the numerous flaws and tears in my perceptual field, all scars from past experiments, my pioneering flights of fancy, and many with near disastrous consequences. As I manipulate the space around me and drag time to a stop, I stare into the mid-distance, and pull the plasma from the screen, to cloud the light before me like a microscopic storm.
science fictionI rarely make it further on from here, and when I do I lose the memory, none the wiser to my achievements or failures. The only proof that I have even left the room and travelled to another place, is missing time, and a nagging feeling that I had something important to say. But no matter what I have won or lost, what sights I have seen or worlds I’ve encountered, everything extraneous to this particular reality, quickly fades into the background.
science fictionI’ve always enjoyed exploring, it beats being explored anyway. I’ve travelled far and wide, without ever leaving my room, but the process can be messy, and I have frequently been followed home. I couldn’t sleep for the commotion in those early days, psychic distortions spilling through the walls and under the door. Then after a while it all simply stopped, and I was left to my own devices. I hadn’t even noticed at first, I was that grateful for the peace and quiet. But as I grew older and made friends, and discovered a life of some description, they found me again, the holes and slices.
science fictionEventually I broke free from my new improved persona, and strayed off the party circuit to stroll through loneliness, night after night in night bus country. I’d trip alone and watch all my faces in the mirror, all those I had known or been, or might become, and knew I had a lot of company to keep.
science fictionAs soon as I had discovered lucidity, I never fully slept again. My dreams are filled with creeps, and lazy ones at that. All utterly dismayed at my complete lack of cooperation, and angered by my lack of admiration for their fly-by-night reality. Much of what’s out there in the immediate metaphysical neighbourhood, is the poorest of the poor, a discarnate plane, filled with frantic desperation and a bloodlust for life.
science fictionThe non-existent existentialists live behind the mirrors, and sup on daydreams like tea. But at night they frenzy in an orgy of THC, and minds like mine are a favourite aperitif for the connoisseur. They love to surf Gamma Waves, peppered with a dash of Epsilon and Theta, it’s like cocaine and meth on steroids to them. If you’re aware of the parallelism, and can stand your ground in astral perplexity, then sooner or later, you’ll find yourself the toast of their painted red town. But that soon wears thin, especially when you begin to realise how ugly they are inside.
In fact it’s worse than that, they’re ugly inside out and outside in, with nothing in between. They live for life and exude death like bad indigestion, and their appetite is insatiable. After a while, you too, will meet your nemeses, a legion of experts, soft killers whose thoughts and unspoken words are so sweet, that some mistake them as saviours.
science fictionThe best way to avoid the majority of creepers and shadows, is not to feed them ammunition. They’re big on facial recognition, the more friends you have, the less chance you can truly control your dreams. Some see it as a lesson in the generosity of spirit, I see it as an all out war on the subconscious senses.
science fictionThis time around I’m avoiding crowds, I have one human, and three feline relationships. I’m keeping all social contact to a bare minimum, at least for the foreseeable future. It seems it’s the only way I can maintain some form of status quo. When I say that, I mean a regular irregularity, a dynamic flux of false variation, an arc of illusory potentiality that can handle the fractal structure of the edge of this reality, and beyond.
science fictionI’ve come to learn that if you want something, you have to get out there and meet people, but the people I need to meet aren’t here, they’re down the wormhole that churns within the core of mind and spirit. It’s the same old tell-tale told time and again, but in the first person, and without the hand-me-down baubles of self-realisation. Advice is subjective at the best of times, no human can truly say they’ve looked back until the fat lady sings, and by then no one is listening. Well, that is, except for me, I listen, and I listen hard.
science fictionIt all needs to be this shape, a beautifully random pattern of absurdist behaviour, or I couldn’t fit through the cracks, the holes, the gaps in the academic propaganda of a once benevolent hive mind. A herd of military animals that insist on rounding up the stragglers, for yet another staged alignment. The lords and masters of a destiny I have no part in, have no interest in the likes of me and my kind.
science fictionWe are hardcore, an aggregate of people, laid down like gravel. It’s all over and the worse thing is we already know it, although, most of us are far beyond the point of caring. The waking day is a weaponized public relations campaign, popularizing gullibility as it feeds us to the grinder. That love, hate, life, death, money, power, spirit grinder.
science fictionWe’ve all paid our taxes, we’re all owed a rebate, I’m just going over their heads, maybe not to the top, but high enough to make a stink. I’m done with playing human, this hamster wheel of life and death is a systematic slaughterhouse for higher consciousness. Every history’s like the last, every journey the same as it’s ever been. Only conjured fiction and empty lies feel as fresh as a new dawn, for an undiscovered hinterland of blind hope.

Chapter 3

3. FLUX

I’m not what you’d call a gadget man, I only use technology when I need to. Although I’m still prone to drowning in the frequency soup of modern life, I try not to let it infect me. Wherever possible, I avoid the temptation to play repeater to the corrupt transmissions of an artificial hegemony.
science fictionThis is not my kingdom and my glory, my borders are far beyond the control net. Though they may be just as dangerous, they’re not so thick with dogma. In life I have the distinct sensation that I’m merely going through the motions, having spent a good chunk of my childhood struggling to be human. I’m self taught mind you, no help there, except for the odd chink in the armour of a blue moon stranger.
science fictionIt took me a while to sort the wheat from the chaff, to understand the priorities of the paradigm, our primordial society, and this atavistic world at large. I took so long to realise that my tutors were attempting to teach me, I missed out on all the parrot fashioned fun. Perhaps it was their delivery, the monotone ambiguity, the rigid reflexes of an institution in decline, or simply dumb luck.
The secret that teachers, parents, and every other adult holds back, though not so much since the technological liberation of a panoply of karma, is the terrible truth that things really are this awful. It’s not the best way to enlighten young minds, but of course, if you have a monopoly to maintain, proliferating desensitisation is never a noble cause, just a necessary one.
science fictionI’ve stared out of more windows than I care to remember. One that I do recall, revealed the freedom of the iron gates, beyond the nightmares of the playground, the killing fields of hope and childish wonder. In class I learned to appear concerned at my own failure to comprehend, and regularly held that expression in repose. With that one talent, I was free to dream and drift away on the meter of the bell, ignoring any risk of ridicule, should a teacher call upon my full and immediate attention.
science fictionRiding the autonomic canter of my tutelage, I’d occasionally pluck out a dulcet turn of phrase, and run rings around it in my mind. I’d spend years avoiding the gaze of teachers, frowning at the most obvious of concepts, and faking admiration for their pets.
science fictionI was no more adept at physical education than academic. A gangly pile of skin and bones, has little defence against the rain and sleet. I was told the exercise would do me good, even if the overweight PE teachers in tracksuits chain-smoked roll-ups, and snapped wet towels at bare arses in the showers. All that cross-country running taught me, was to use less effort wherever possible, and bow out at the very first opportunity.
science fictionSlow days stretched into years, half-asleep and hypnotised by proscribed monologues, anonymously passed through the lips of governmentally approved mouthpieces. No matter how exhausting I found the learned incarceration, I could always rely on the rabble of other sugar rushed, and glassy eyed pupils, to make things worse. Staring at those future bankers, sales executives, care assistants, and shelf stackers screaming and fighting, was as stifling as classroom etiquette.
science fictionBy the time I’d left school, with little to show for it, except for a few embroidered truths and unreliable facts, I learned to hide my lack of sanity, and to some degree, feigned conformity. Then again, my recollections may be little more than the fantasies of a child’s imagination. My past and present collude with each other, to camouflage my disappointment, and my uninspiring prospects for the future. All of which does little more, than dimly highlight the truly ravenous effects of prediction, and the highly addictive synaesthesia of temporal flux.

Chapter4

4. PAL SYSTEM

Most of us are under the delusion that we’re here by chance, fate, or divine intervention. Even science struggles for a theory, a freak simian mutation must be the lamest excuse ever, but it’s understandable considering the context. It can be difficult stepping back from a situation, when everyone around you is busy aping a lower life form. Rage is all the rage, it’s been that way for a long time, or at least as far as society is permitted to recall.
science fictionThe disturbing truth is that something was tampered with long ago, by someone with a terrible sense of humour, the whole caboodle reprogrammed, and even encrypted for purposes unknown. But that’s a different matter, altogether.
science fictionI find that dreams are the best way to learn about oneself, and to some extent, recapture control of a subverted mind. One of my favourite dreams that fell to the cutting room floor, featured the kind charity of a warm and loving family, whom I’ve never met, and most likely never will. Wandering through the familiar streets of a fictional northern mining town, cobbled together from classic soaps and sitcoms, I came across an archetypal stereotype, a fat and jolly salt of the earth.
science fictionHe wore a ten gallon hat he’d picked up on his last vacation, and he drove a beaten up Cadillac he’d salvaged from a local scrap yard. He spoke little, but had a kind face, and a self effacing manner that put me at ease. He asked if I was down on my luck, so I told him that I was lost and looking for a job. He offered me a lift, swerved the open-top heap with a sharp right, down a cul-de-sac of a quaint cottage-style council estate.
science fictionHe led me to a green door, played knock down ginger, and was gone. A woman in a dressing gown with brood in tow, took me in and fed me. Then she trimmed my hair, dressed me in old but clean clothes from her late husband’s wardrobe, and set me on my way with a little change for bus fare, should one pass.
science fictionI awoke abruptly, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I’d been walking in someone else’s shoes, perhaps a dead man. My memories can barely muster a friendly face at the best of times, let alone domestic bliss, and with such convincing detail. I’m more experienced at nightmares, a vast majority of which feature a frantic chase, with no beginning nor end.
science fictionDreams and nightmares share one thing in common, a lack of closure, that awful nagging feeling that the whole charade will be over, before I’ve even had a chance to learn the rules. Worse still, all that wasted effort, for a seemingly pointless exercise in transcendental futility.
science fictionI’ve learned two things from my nocturnal ventures:
science fictionscience fiction1. I regularly get stuck in other people’s dreams. They’re never friends, nor total strangers, but homoeopathically connected through hearsay, like a diluted synchronicity.
science fictionscience fiction2. The speed of life is mirrored by the speed of time, which is a side-effect of the false barometer of the soul, known as the mind.
science fictionI’ve only dreamt of one inhuman life, an energetic being, living in an electric blue frequency of light, peppered with plasma pools, which effervesced in a cobalt cave of fool’s gold stars. A symbolic construct for my benefit, counteracting my limited understanding of a greater reality, than I could possibly comprehend. A place outside of time and space, home to a society of all-knowing and benevolent creatures of silence and solitude. Highly learned beings, some as tall as trees, who sat peacefully, or bathed, or merely glanced and smiled in the direction of yet another wide-eyed intruder. Their voiceless conversations guiding their young, soft soothing thoughts crystallised with experience. A spectacle of sensorial splendour so beautiful, my heart sank as I struggled to form any kind of human comparison.
science fictionI felt ashamed at my limitations, the gross acts of an instinctual individuality, barbed by the longing to hunt and gather information. I left there with the distinct feeling that I, and all my kind, are at best obtuse in a place like that, and at worst, the embodiment of vulgarity.
science fictionAs I slipped back into my body I met a fellow interloper, one of many who I assume have traded sleeping lives with me. Their engram of reassurance was a break from protocol, yet a welcome sign of interdimensional compatibility, and a potential friendship from beyond my imagination.
science fictionThose familiar shadows, neither living, nor dead, that stand sentry in my first and last waking moments, seem as unsure of me as I am of them. They know that I know what’s going on, it’s more than lucidity, I’ve woken up in sleep. Two versions of myself, conscious in the subconscious, hurriedly exchanging cryptic messages in an intergalactic semaphore, confirming the truth that waking life is just another dream. That’s not something you can simply shrug off, in fact quite the reverse, I wear that memory like a crown.

Chapter 5

5. DEFLECTION

I am an interloper, a metaphysical day-walker, who hankers for a nocturnal past. I used to suffer from insomnia, I still do to some degree, but at its peak I’d spin around the clock like a roulette ball, now it’s more like bar billiards.
science fictionI’ve just about got the hang of mornings, that great wall of incongruity that greets me every day. As a coping mechanism, I constantly immerse myself in sound, in the deep end of the auditory pool, to mask out all intrusion, and avoid the mental bends of dream decompression. Like a deep sea diver in a bathysphere, I sink beneath the muffled screeching gulls and screaming kids, past the barking backyard dogs and wailing cats on heat. Far below the heavy drone of black helicopters, and the whining queues of chemtrail jets that criss-cross my coastal sky.
science fictionA view that used to be far more blue, has turned as white as a sheet, even silver, when the sun breaks through the tramlines of barium and aluminium chaff. Whether the weather has been modified to save the world, or kill it, seems pretty academic now, watching the seasons blur into each other, as the sky transforms into a giant TV screen.
science fictionOnce evening falls, the stars hang too low for my liking. Some of them glint so strangely, I can even make out double and triple lights of neon primary colours. Then there are the black triangles, the floating orbs, and tiny shooting stars. The night sky’s far too busy to bother with anymore, it doesn’t make sense to me these days. The wandering seasons and planetary bodies, even the sun doesn’t know its arse from its elbow, and when it does decide to pop up from some random direction, it flickers like a shitty fluorescent tube.
science fictionI’m getting tired of surprises, there are so many glitches I can barely bring myself to glance upwards. The last time I took a peek, I saw the sun rise and set within an hour, it’s almost getting embarrassing how fake the world’s become. The lies have left me feeling numb, and If my thoughts have ever been controlled by a shadow government, I’m sure they’d have lost interest by now, I know I have. What really gets to me is a tediously repetitive sense of déjà vu, somewhat sprinkled with disappointment. Whoever cooked up this world needs to find another job.
science fictionWhen we sleep, our brains are submerged below a tide of cerebrospinal fluid, that looks like the sky when it was still clean. At nightfall, the pinpricks that twinkle-twinkle, are the synapses of the human brain ticking over, dreaming of a new tomorrow. Each dawn, the brain floods with a deep blue neural brainwash, stripping universal truths from the short-term memory, leaving nothing but the subliminal instructions of a nocturnal yesterday, to play for today.

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The Myth of Authority

Let’s get this clear from the outset, no one can claim legal authority over another without their consent. With that in mind, it seems strange that merely by the involuntary act of birth, we are expected to accept the legitimacy of those who hold dominion over us.

Democracy is a collective decision, the will of the people coming together to build upon the noble aims of a fairer society. Yet despite the good intentions, authoritarians, plutocrats, technocrats, and those of superior rank and royal bloodline, still rule the world. The playing field isn’t level, it’s an insurmountable peak, for the game is fixed, both sides are cheats, and the true results remain hidden from the public gaze.

Any political party that promises to represent its citizens, is lying through its teeth. We’re nothing, you, I, and another six or so billion others on this planet. Any form of resistance provides little more than conundrums, intriguing problems for the experts to figure out in the years to come. Kill empathy, emotion, any true sense of identity, the concept of family, friendship beyond mere social expectation, love, hate, life itself. That’s what’s coming over the horizon, and to be brutally honest, we, the shepherd’s flock, the grovelling penny pinching masses, who daren’t peek our heads above the parapet, deserve everything that’s coming to us.

The price of freedom is far too high to give up on all this crap, the internet, smart devices, music, movies, celebrity gossip. Culinary delights from around the world, vacations to far off climes, sharing photos and handy tips, the illusion of friendship, and the instant gratification of synthetic sexuality. For many freedom is a misnomer, exchanging everything for liberty offers little comfort for the brave. The law of the jungle, the brutal conquering the weak, the loneliness and the boredom of a lifetime of subsistence, spent scraping away at the soil for a bite to eat.

There’s no point in choosing sides, everyone in power is connected, if not through bloodline, then through shared vision. The rest are fools, duped by the promise that anybody can make it to the top. Of course, the greedy are cheap, they’d rather sell their souls to sit on the top of a heap of shit, than keep shovelling. The remainder are perhaps the most gullible in all history. We, who still have hope that by some miraculous turn of luck, humanity will shine through and win in the end. It won’t, and it never has. Every example of collective responsibility has produced a figurehead, and a corrupted one at that. Namely those with enough guile and cunning, the greatest liars of all-time, who’ve cast themselves heroes and heroines of history, fighting for a better life for all.

When are we going to snap out of it? I’m sure long after I’m dead, if ever. It’s such a shame, I knew all this as a child. My mother, neighbours, teachers, all would accuse me of having a problem with authority. I do, with all my heart, I’d rather die senselessly in a world of absolute true freedom, unshackled by the self proclaimed interests of crony capitalists and corrupt dictators, than be martyred for their fashionable cause.

As far as I, or any of my generation are concerned, we’ve lived our lives long enough to know if the shit hits the fan, we’ve had our turn. Some people wish they could be young again, I’m not one of them, if anything, I pity future generations. Things are going from bad to worse, and all they’ll have to inherit are our mistakes. The worst of all being our willing subjugation to the tyrannical indiscretions of a brutal social order.

As long as those who enforce the rules of conduct, administer laws and cultural traditions, we’re destined to obey the illusionary power of authority. No matter how much the individual resists, eventually their compatriots will betray them for the chance to survive the devastation of humanity. With much of the population decimated through various means, infertility, martial law, tainted food and water, only the loyalist slaves will remain.

Yet even they’ll be punished for their collusion, destined to live as mindless drones, chemically altered and psychologically programmed to be happy with their lot. Shift workers afforded brief rest in coffin-sized cubicles, working to zero hour contracts in unfit conditions. Dedicatedly following the orders of an artificial intelligence, that much like its creators, is slowly learning to despise the human race.

The problem is that too many of us fear the alternative, a perpetual state of anarchy. Humanity lacks faith in itself, and dreads its inevitable descent into madness should the hierarchy collapse. It’s human instinct after all, or rather reptilian, the survival programming of the lower brain. The myth of authority is a ruse, a ferocious beast dressed in the fineries of wealth, cloaked under a guise of respectability. Our race persists with its primitive rage, both master and servant live by the same fundamental rites. The law of the jungle is alive and well, the strong wield power over the weak, and those who control our natural resources, will continue to hold sway over all others.

The Death of Sex

It’s becoming a very lonely world out there. Few even consider love nowadays, and as far as sex goes, whole generations have become flashers. They used to be dirty old men in the park, dressed in nothing but their socks and shoes, and a loose fitting mackintosh. Now it seems that everyone’s at it, or at least those most proud of their natural assets. Then again, those not so confident might splash out on a few enhancements, a bigger chest, a longer wang, liposuction, Botox, new hair, new teeth. You name it, there’s someone out there willing to carve you up for the right price.

Then there’s the problem of unrealistic expectations. If you’ve seen enough adult content, you’ll start to wonder if every man out there has a foot long snake in his pocket. The same goes for women, men expecting fresh faced good time girls, as thin as a rake, with humongous breasts and a tidy foo foo. All scrolling through potential dates on their phones, picking out sexual mates like they’re online shopping, and no one ever able to return the goods if they’re dissatisfied with the service.

It reminds me of a scene from a corny old sci-fi movie, one of my all-time favourites, Logan’s Run. Although, I admire it more for its nostalgia-infused camp value, than any profound dystopian message. Obviously, Logan’s Run got a lot wrong, an entire population dressed in jumpsuits, facing compulsory death at 30, all busy frolicking around in a shopping mall without a care in the world. But as far as Grindr, Tindr, or any of the other ubiquitous apps out there go, the movie predicts the phenomenon to a tee. Michael York dials up Jenny Agutter, but she’s not in the mood for fun. No worries, before long his best pal turns up with two more hotties, so they get high on a purple smoke bomb and start fooling around.

Then there are the robots, sci-fi hasn’t really dealt with the subject very well, at least not in terms of sexual relations. Instead of lying back and thinking of England, or Japan, or wherever they were manufactured, they think of nothing, because they haven’t got a brain. Much like the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, but with less straw and wearing suspenders. I’m sure there are male robots too, but you won’t hear the media jawing on about synthetic gigolos. Why, you may ask? It’s obvious, women have been finishing themselves off with all sorts of devices for decades. But now technology is advancing, and men have graduated from rubber dolls, and found something better to massage their ego, amongst other things.

It’s all the rage in Asia, robosexuality is here to stay, that is if you can believe the hype. Look up the male virginity rates in Japan, so many men playing with dolls, so many women who can’t see the point of relationships. I guess this might come across as a little insensitive, but has anyone ever considered the connection between a lack of physical contact, and the escalating suicide rate? Just saying…

I think it might’ve been Futurama that first came up with the term robosexual, I’d fact check but what the hell. Imagine a future where millions publicly profess their love for cold, unemotional, highly attractive automatons. Sounds a bit like Hollywood to me, glossy propaganda reducing love and romance to a simple formula. Looks plus money plus sexual athleticism equals a happy ending.

I guess in the future there might even be robot-pimps, hiring out mechanical pros to turn tricks for soft-bodied saps. Who knows, when people get desperate enough, they’re just about willing to do anything to get their rocks off. You can see what’s coming, can’t you? Finally, with enough advancements in AI and robot rights, our faithful sex machines will spurn the human race and do the nasty without us. Leaving us on the sidelines, a pitiful race of voyeurs, lost in a world of auto-eroticism, wondering where the hell it all went wrong.

A Comfortable Prison

Have you ever heard of shrinkflation? It’s a neat little trick that food manufacturers, especially confectionery brands, use to manage our expectations in this permanent state of austerity. Instead of paying higher prices, we get less bang for our buck. Just to put this in context, there’s not been widespread food rationing since WW2. It’s an economy of truth, a cheap trick to keep the masses in check. The worst thing about it is that we, the consumers, prop up our corporate paymasters, who in turn sway the political agenda, ensuring that everyone plays along with the ruse. So much capitulation for a measly sugar rush, it’s rather sad really.

The thing to remember, is that with an ever growing population there should be more money in circulation, not less. Ever since the crash of 2008, governments around the world have been printing money to offset their enormous debts. Yet, for all their frantic activity, most of us find we’re earning less, and barely able to make ends meet. It’s not as if consumers can go on strike. We’d only starve ourselves to death, achieving little more than a spike in insurance premiums, and a short-lived boom in the funeral sector.

There’s only so many things a trillionaire can buy, until all that’s left for sale are people. We, the population of the Earth, have been bought and sold a thousand times over, and yet so few of us realise our material worth decreases by the day. So what’s the point of maintaining the status quo? We only have ourselves to blame, we voted for this, or we didn’t, but nevertheless we still play the game. We accept the notions of law and order, embrace the economic truth, and speak the language of our tormentors with our every utterance. We are caught in a trap of our own making, and it’s been this way for so long now, we’ve become accustomed to the impotence of democracy.

We’ve traded in our freedoms, our inalienable human rights, for a temporary stay in a third rate Elysium. No one here is free, not unless you have the money, not unless you can afford to ignore the rules and pay the fines. Even then you won’t need to, if you have true wealth and power, you’ll most likely help write the rules, new laws for every land.

Inevitably there’ll come a crisis point, a day of global unrest, a worldwide riot. A time when the walls come tumbling down, and the lunatics take over the asylum. Then every person of influence, the leaders of our pitiful race, will scuttle off to their luxury burrows, hoping to avoid drowning in the human soup of hunger and pain. When the pyramid of power is toppled, and the hierarchy is no more, there’ll be no sanctuary, no escape, only comfortable prisons for the rich, and mass graves for the poor.

A Cowardly New World

I was born here for the sake of love. I and my wife had arranged to meet in Britain during our last stint in the hereafter. I arrived first, followed some two years later by my friend and lover of many lifetimes. Our lives encircled each other, inexorably drawn together to share the journey, as we have done so many times before.

I have the nagging feeling I wasn’t as keen on Britain as my wife. She, far more than I, errs on the side of caution when it comes to manifest destiny. During our preparations, perhaps over a year, a decade, a century, time seems inconsequential when you’re dead, we assumed that Britain would be a safe bet.

Now we’ve lived a good proportion of our lives, we’ve slowed down and become settled in our ways. We like to watch old movies, the tat you’ll find floating about on Youtube, the kind of quaint drivel that overpowers the melancholic with nostalgia. We barely follow the plot, and hardly take notice of the dialogue. Instead we inspect the architecture, the lush and verdant natural landscapes, the lack of cars on the road. The time taken over everything, basic common decency, a true sense of community, the innocent pleasures of our youth. Then we cry, although only a little, just a few tears at most. For we miss our childhood history, and the world so many have forgotten.

Today there’s no peace, no quiet, only vacuous conversation and neutered opinion. There’s music blasting from every window, and at least a few arguments a week, drunks in the street and domestic squabbles, kids screaming for new tablets and consoles. There’s little time to relax, but when there is, and the sun is out, and everyone can’t help but smile, chemtrails fill the sky, and it rains for days at a time. Tainted showers of subversive biochemistry, grey and metallic, inducing viruses of various sorts; common colds, migraines, and sometimes with the aid of frequency manipulation, psychological control.

It’s a shame I was so young when I was born, I never really did appreciate the glories of an empty world. The ancient trees, long walks on unmade paths, never a soul to be seen for mile upon mile. A time, and not so long ago, when one could choose to live life on a human scale, independent, individual, schooled in the commonsense of everyday practicality. They’re all dead now, the people who took the long view and saw everything through to the bitter end. Soon it will be my turn, perhaps in a decade or two, along with my whole generation. All mouth and no trousers, desperate to make our mark, but too terrified by life to make a difference.

As the generations pass and the human race thinks more, and does less, a time will come when all ideas of past and future will fall by the wayside. A blinkered masterpiece of social cohesion, sold from birth and reinforced by state education, the most successful example of mass indoctrination in all history. The time will always be now, and the ever increasing population, and powers of corporate cartels will result in a cowardly new world. A race who wouldn’t dream of saying boo to a goose.

The cowardly new world order will abolish economics, private enterprise, personal wealth and property. Everything rented on a lifetime leasehold, including yourself. Taking shifts to sleep in plastic pods, offering free entertainment, friendly propaganda, and high protein food substitutes, guaranteed to shorten life expectancy. All working together, or against each other, depending upon one’s gullibility. Fighting tooth and nail to earn more social credit for the basic requirements of life.

The human race of slaves will be paid with tokens, rather like now, but they’ll be born into personal debt. They’re existence taken as contractual obligation, to help settle the fictitious debts of their mother nations. When this comes, most of us, at least the troublemakers will be long gone. The rest of you who are destined to create the future’s future, you’ll have it hardest of all. Most of you aren’t even born yet, and when you are you won’t know you have been. The ultimate state of normality awaits you, impotent, imperfect servants to a technocratic elite. They’ll seem like giants, perhaps even gods, as life extension techniques pave the way to the greatest divide of all.

In the future they’ll be two kinds of people, those who live centuries at a time, and those who’ve hardly lived at all. Like the life cycle of the mayfly, human beings reduced to little more than insects, a highly domesticated childlike race of idiot savants, who’ll serve their purpose, briefly take flight, dance in the light, and die.

Nightwalker

I used to sleepwalk as a child, as did my sister in our formative years. Following a terrible fall, despite my father’s heroic actions, she fractured her skull. Our psychic link was severed, our shared dreams came to an abrupt stop, as did our nightly strolls around the house in the early hours.

As far as I am aware, I’ve slept lying down ever since, or at least until last night. Perhaps, over time, I’ve developed more self control, or just as likely become too lazy to bother. But last night something bizarre happened, I sat up in my sleep and immediately knew where I was. Still dreaming, yet, back here in this body, in my bedroom, on Earth.

I can precisely recollect the sensation of breaking free, like coming up for air in deep water. I remember my surprise at how much light there was in the room, with swirling colours blooming in the gloomy haze. My brain was flooded with natural opiates, awash with DMT, manifesting as a spontaneous psychedelia. But more than that, I could make out several figures, beings so strange their presence has left a deep impression.

The first was a living shadow, I have witnessed many of them before, some of which hang around far too long for comfort. I see shadows most nights, and even in the days. Most are generally of human proportions, asides an overgrown cat that seems to follow me everywhere. This was what I’d assumed had leapt to the foot of the bed, something I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. At times I believed it to be the spirit of one of several pets, those who’ve served their time as faithful companions in life, and presumably in death. Now I’m not so sure.

The creature could not hold its form, and soon floundered in abstraction, firing off a series of explosions of black ink that splattered everywhere. Before long it appeared to calm down, almost as if to reassess its strategy. It quickly retreated into a more defensive position, contracting into a tight ball which randomly jut forth long and flimsy spikes. At that moment I came to the conclusion I was witnessing my own fears come to life, an amorphous mass of terror faced with its own reflection.

Gradually the dawning realisation coloured my surroundings, and ever so slowly, the air around me glowed with a shaft of soft cobalt light, imperceptibly casting strange patterns upon the bedspread. I looked up to witness what appeared to be liquid sprites, each chasing the other in a circular swimming motion. They seemed huge and disproportionate, a pair of mutant electroluminescent organisms crowned with phosphorescent halos, twisted and deformed by the ripples of a hidden tide.

Then it struck me, there was somebody else in the room, a giant with shoulders broader than the door frame. Their arms folded and head bowed, almost like a genie. I fought the urge to collapse back into my body, and dream a dreamless sleep. The endorphins fast overpowering my mental fortitude, I took one last look at the figure by the door. Their face seemed familiar, although in the dark it was almost impossible to see it clearly.

I’d lost consciousness, I had fallen back to sleep, and now I found myself standing over a body lying in the bed. I was watching myself, eyes closed, breathing deeply in the dark. I stepped outside and closed the door, and returned to the place that each and everyone of us knows, but cannot speak of in the light of day.

When Hackers Go To Heaven

I’m useless at programming, and I think I lost the knack in my early teens. I wasted a whole summer coding animated glyphs on a BBC Acorn, an ancient PC borrowed from school. The end results, despite a great effort on my part, were disappointing to say the least, but I still can’t help admire those who can, and do.

During the height of the MMORPG years, I dipped my toe into see what all the fuss was about. After hours of clicking I came across the odd glitch, errors in the game, exploits of various kinds. Soon others came and milked them for all they were worth, some even made a few dollars selling on their ill-gotten virtual gains.

I’ve never been a gamer as such, I don’t go in for killing, the horrors of competitive hate that so many adore. The virtual horrors of war, rewarded with false spoils, upgraded weapons and armour, just to repeat the process all over again. I did, however, used to enjoy God mode. There are plenty of cheat codes out there for many popular games, if you’re so inclined. In God mode you’re indestructible, and more often than not you’ll clip frames, walk through walls, and even fly. As a game god you’re free to explore every inch of your pixelated dominion, to vanquish all enemies with little effort. Eventually after clearing one level after another, or skipping to the final round, you’ll beat the boss and find the exit.

Life is a game, a great holographic construct formulated to fool the race. If I were dead and had one piece of advice I’d give to the dying, it would be not to hold onto preconceived notions. Belief is an anchor that weighs us down and puts us in our place. On the other side of the veil are creatures, some good, some bad, much like human beings, the worst of all feed on our expectations and suck our spirits dry. Those malevolent spectres that guard the outer perimeter of mortality, the last border before impossibility. If you can get past them, you’re free, and will never need suffer the torment of physicality again. If that sounds more like a threat than a promise, then you obviously still need to work it out of your system. Love it or loathe it, this world is a prison. There’s no God mode here, only players.

Some die young and some are born old. Those who recognise this place as soon as they’re born, those countless faces and highly familiar places, it’s time to admit you’ve been here too long. You should make plans to move on, there needn’t be a next time round, as long as you can take this message to heart. When you go, accept that your allegiance to this world is over, and try not to hang about too long. The only way back is the way you came, for without flesh you’ll be ignored, limitless in thought yet devoid of all action. In death, we’re hardly given a thought, let alone presence of being. Seeing is believing, that’s the rule down here, where people remain human, and perceive all others as the same. Perhaps it’s time to try a different tactic, to gather the numbers of the dead, and fight for true freedom outside of the human paradigm.

Despite tradition, or more likely bad habit, death doesn’t necessarily mean a round-trip journey. Try staying open to the idea that this world, and even the human race, are a mass consensual illusion. A trick we play upon ourselves to help us bear the tyranny of mortality, an unending shadow play, duped by a dualistic ruse of universal proportions. When you leave, as we all must do, try looking for glitches, errors in the metaphysical coding of purgatory, the loop the loop of lies. Anything you can do to break the spell will help avoid the theatrics of demonic actors, who play their parts to perfection, as long lost relatives and friends, leading us through the tunnel of light.

We all need to think more like hackers, in both life and death. We need to buck the perceptual trend, fool the holographic mind control of our ancient persecution. We are slaves to flesh, laid prostate by decay, we, the human race, are built to fail. Like everything here, life is intransigent, fleeting, gone in the blink of an eye, and ultimately expendable, replaceable, including you and I.

If you feel you’ve outstayed your welcome, be patient, live your life as best as you can, as humanly as possible, and perhaps enjoy it for the sake of experience. When the time comes, it will be worth it. There are many working hard to change the balance of power in the great beyond. We should help them, and seek to ensure that none of us are forced to repeat our mistakes, ever again.

A Silent War

It seems that after a bout of good weather, the nights are filled with secret military operations. At least they are down here on the South Coast. I’ve talked about the strange occurrences to neighbours on occasion, and they too have noticed the sonic booms, the low flying helicopters. Yet, through some bizarre reasoning, a dysfunctional subconscious logical compensation, despite the fact that a vast majority of the choppers and jets are black and unmarked, most people on my street are convinced it’s simply the coastguard.

Perhaps I’m just unfortunate enough to live directly under a flight path for military exercises. Nevertheless, the incidents are increasing week by week. What might have been a one-off event, has developed into hours and hours of covert airborne activity most nights of the week. Nowadays, I’ve almost become accustomed to the noise, and it rarely wakes me, unless a chopper decides to hover above my particular roof, which has happened in the past. I’ve even managed to catch a few at the brink of dawn, they’re smothered with all sorts of transmitters and dishes. I’m guessing they have heat sensors and the like, and have infrared records of a highly paranoid fiction writer, typing in his spare box room.

The jets, on the other hand, fall into two camps. There’s the familiar slow crawl of the jumbos, flying off to Europe, and then there are the military planes. These too can be subcategorised, and simply by the sound they make. The most common roar across the skies, but you can hear them from miles off. Then there is the other kind, a strange whining coming from nowhere, it just arrives all of a sudden, rattling windows and roof tiles, and then it’s gone in seconds flat, just as fast as it arrived.

On bright clear days I’ll often make a point of looking up at anything flying by, just to familiarise myself with different craft, comparing their appearance to their sound. None of which generate anything like the nightly ear piercing screams, buffered by the deathly silence, that always marks their mysterious arrivals and departures. For a while I began to wonder what was so important about this little town I live in, and which residents could accrue such interest or even suspicion, and why. And then I realised the truth, that this is happening everywhere, in every town, in every country of the world.

We are already under martial law, we just haven’t noticed yet, a global military coup conducted under the cover of the night, every night. I suspect that more people have noticed than let on. I guess, much like myself, they’d rather sleep and dream of freedom, than accept that what has been hard fought won, can as easily be lost.

The Inhumanity of Humanity

Imagine if you will, just for one moment, that consciousness in its most natural, primal state, is meant to be free of physical constraint, the temperance of time, the limits of biological corporeality. Instead of giving us life, these bodies of ours are prisons, they encapsulate the impossibility of sentience, and restrain its potential for a deeper understanding of the nature of the supposed real.

Being human takes a full-time commitment, and once you’ve opted in, you’ve no choice but to play along. Some lose themselves, and truly believe that this world, this humanity of ours, is the be all and end all of consciousness. But they’re wrong, the body is merely the vehicle, it carries the engine of the mind, the transceiver of thought, the fuel that we must feed on to continue our philosophical experience.

Of course, we could always dip in and out, if we were insects, or plants and trees, or rocks atop mountains and deep beneath the sea. We could choose to ignore the totality of the situation and simply focus on the basics, energy, reproduction, mineral decay, chemical reaction, gravitational excess. Then again, who knows, a cut flower might feel the same degree of pain as we do, or worse. We aren’t built to share in their experience, we are meant only to reflect on all around us from the centre of our universe. The pupil of the eye, the mechanics of God, the tricks we play upon ourselves to keep our chins up, and our eye on the perpetual dawn of a new horizon.

It’s painful really, we’re bullies. There’s nothing on Earth that can beat us but ourselves, which we do so most regularly. Yet we punish all forms of life, including our own, to all manner of excruciating ordeals. It’s a shame it takes death to teach human consciousness that it really isn’t the be all and end all of intelligence and emotion. Maybe that’s the point, as long as the human race is left in the dark, it can never truly reflect upon its own horror, and the inescapable truth that collectively, we do more harm than good.

Sci-fi Nightmares

So, when I was a kid, probably beginning with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and generally encouraged by my father’s blind optimism, I was sucked in by science fiction. Throughout my teens I gorged on sci-fi literature, everything from Dick to Gibson, and even with a dash of Burroughs thrown in for good measure.

Eventually I knew that what I and my late father had been looking forward to, was our technological downfall. He didn’t live to see the end of nature, or the death of our innate freedom of expression, he died wondering if he’d just missed flying cars or holidays on the Moon. Some still think it’s just an upgrade, the technological homogenisation of the human race, one primed for cut-price intergalactic travel. But the future isn’t a Wild West story, no one on this planet will grow up to be brave pioneers of strange new worlds. It’s all there, laid out as plain as day, from Orwell’s fears to Matrix memes. We’re trapped, we’re screwed, we’re absolutely finished, and like the slaves that built the pyramids, if that’s even true, no one is going to remember us.

Judging by popular opinion, the only way forward and out of this sociological time bomb world, is through the death of the natural, and a blind obedience to scientific vision. I’m afraid we’ve been duped, they promised us the stars, but it turns out they’re just coloured lights on a screen. Our new way of life, engineered for the convenience of the few, has already hit its peak. It’s all downhill from here, just another lousy dystopian tome, like every other religious text, it doesn’t exactly make for light reading.

The new world has arrived and we never moved an inch, we just sat and stared as integrated systems of logic spun their web, dividing us into subcategories of being, concentrated together in accelerated time. Nobody has to think anymore, they can look it up. No need to fall in love, there’s sex on tap. Don’t bother creating useful tools for independent living, just design another app. But whatever you do, if your thoughts are divergent, if you can’t tow the line and stay within the preset social parameters defined by the all-seeing, all-knowing technocratic gods on high, keep your head down and your mouth shut.

The New Normal

As I sweltered on the beach, (yes, I finally decided to venture out in the sun for a change), I couldn’t help but help but notice how carefree everyone seemed. The media hype, the chaos and confusion caused by a litany of deaths, through infrastructural neglect and terrorism, had done little to spoil their fun.

You could see it as British stoicism, I suppose, much like that awful relic of state propaganda so many have mistaken for nostalgia, keep calm and carry on. But I believe it’s more than that, it’s a fundamental shift in perception, a mass behavioural adjustment, a change in attitude that cannot be undone. The value of life in the human market has just taken another tumble, and there are grave doubts it will ever recover.

Under the law, the British have little choice in how they protect themselves. Several citizens have even been jailed for defending their homes during an armed robbery. The UK government hates have-a-go heroes, they’ll tell you to stay where you are in the midst of an inferno, to run and hide from one’s assailants, to tittle-tattle to the state rather than exercise one’s own right to freedom of speech.

So we sit in the sun and burn, and if anybody puts the radio on, they’ll skip the news and put on some tunes to keep the atmosphere light and bubbly. People will criticise, or even apologise for the way we live, of what we think and do, how greedy the rich, and lazy the poor. Never once suspecting that the little we have left at stake, our crumbling institutions and the jaded hearts of the tired and dispossessed will soon be the stuff of dreams. Our lives are under evaluation, mobilising strategies for broader rationalisation and ongoing recriminations. A whole new political agenda is on the cards and the odds are stacked way against us.

We’ve been offered the choice of a comfortable slavery, in return for the notion of freedom, censorship to protect free speech, the weaponization of the state for our safety, and the death of individuality in trade for a veneer of civil society. It’s all for show you know, no matter how the media spin the story, the human race has been reduced to fighting over territory in a global prison yard.

I don’t envy the young. If the world fell apart tomorrow, at least I’d had some fun, and had my say when people still bothered to listen to opinion. Over the years I’ve managed to gather together a few home comforts, a roof over my head, a nominal opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings without the fear of recrimination. But for those who’ve not been here long you have a choice to make, to carve out a world you can tolerate, before someone else does it for you.

My grandfather served in WW2, but as far as my later father and I are concerned, we were able to discover our own unique ideologies, unhindered by state propaganda and forced military conscription. Few of my generation have had to take up arms, and I doubt any of us ever will. The vast majority of people in this country drive cars and vans to get from A to B, we don’t see the world as conflict, and every tool at hand as a weapon. But the time is coming, following the precedence of suffering and terror, when a whole swathe of the young will find themselves signed up to a war they never believed in.

Suicide is the biggest killer, not terrorism. Depression isn’t just an economic term, it means that things aren’t as good as they used to be, and that we must all make do with less, and share more, or leave. Modern life isn’t about charity, or caring for one another, it’s fear and cowardice, waiting for others to fight the fight, whilst the majority sit it out and wait to make compromises. Billions, hoping against all hope that very soon everything will return to normality. When it doesn’t, we’ll waste our time in endless well-meaning discussions, until eventually we’ll make a compromise too far, and simply decide to accept our fate, and learn to embrace this hellish modernity of ours, the new normal.

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