Category - Science Fiction

Science fiction by British writer Frank Maddish

1
How Hollywood Will Die
2
Schools Are For Fish
3
A Constant State of Panic
4
False Positives
5
The Conspiracy of Perfection
6
The Myth of Authority
7
The Death of Sex
8
A Cowardly New World
9
Nightwalker
10
When Hackers Go To Heaven

How Hollywood Will Die

Big budget movie makers don’t bother sifting through scripts anymore, they have software to do that. Using artificial intelligence to conduct surveys and polls, they analyse forecasted profits, global reach, and potential merchandising deals. Unfortunately, the majority of movie lovers have no imagination, and simply ask for what they know. The tried and tested formulas that used to put bums on seats, are now little more than fodder for mass ridicule.

Connectivity has utterly banished the element of surprise, and the audience’s attention span has reached such critical proportions, Hollywood’s major production houses have resorted to perpetuating urban myths. Much like the recent spate of axe-wielding clowns, that has proven a far cheaper and more effective alternative to expensive teaser campaigns. Even if it does cause panic amongst the nation, viral is viral, no matter how you look at it.

The silver screen is tarnished and torn, and only the most devout acolytes of meaningless drivel and sensationalist plots, still appreciate the efforts of those behind the scenes. The bulk of the majority has seen it all before, sequel after sequel, remake after remake, each deploying the same subtext, heavily skewed by a microscopic echo chamber of political consensus.

Hollywood is in its death throes, but even with its final breath, it shouts louder than ever before. The ravings of a suicidal maniac whose lost all hold on power, unseated from its throne by a silent revolution of cynical consumerism. Which might be why the cinematic concept, paying for the privilege of watching someone else’s TV, seems positively antiquated in the present day.

Hollywood used to manufacture idols, created for worship and adoration, but nowadays people prefer to make them suffer for their entirely misplaced good fortune. The poor little rich kids and their extended family of nepotists, have made some desperate moves into politics, pressing all the hot button issues to ramp up the takings. But as they monotonously repeat their scripts, spearheading tactics for moral outrage under the repressive regime of their beloved new social order, the shining lights of the phony cultural revolution are called out for their hypocrisy.

They’re very fragile creatures, the slaves at the dream factory, the broken people who made it to the top, only to see the bottom fall out of the market. But it won’t be long now before they’re usurped by new advances in technology, and the millions of potential actors and directors subsisting on the internet, all of whom are more than willing to do it for free.

The smallest screen, the one that people carry in their hands, has swallowed up the world. The more reality shrinks from view, the less the distorted reflections of Hollywood have to offer. Their consolidated vision has been blinkered on all sides by blind greed and panic. Flooding the world with new faces, attention seekers who dream of stardom and live in luxury, lecturing the oppressed to appreciate their bondage into consumer slavery has left them isolated and alone.

Hollywood’s elite can sense their own extinction, and no matter how much money they throw at the problem, in truth, they know it’s time to roll the credits. They’re painfully aware that this life, this world, this phony stage upon which we all take our turn and play our parts, is far from glamorous. The difference is that now the audience is the director of their fate, and our humdrum lives, filled with such fetid disappointment, abused from birth to death by Hollywood’s psychotic agenda, has turned their dreams to shit.

Schools Are For Fish

Some people, given a little power, have a tendency to go crazy. I’m pretty sure I’m not one of them, although I doubt I’ll ever have the opportunity to test that particular theory. I’m what you might call an underachiever, an accidental rebel, the quiet kid who found himself at the back of the class, after years of being slowly shuffled further and further from the front.

I wasn’t exactly a troublemaker, I simply leaned more towards peaceful resistance than subservience. Nevertheless, I was sent to the headmaster on many occasions, and each and every time I was caned. I attended a grammar school with an identity complex, the headmaster at the time had obvious aspirations for something private and far more prestigious. As it would turn out, some years after I’d left, when corporal punishment had been outlawed, he went to town on some poor kid and was dragged away by the police.

His name was Bird, a great lanky fellow with a pompous air about him, he and his deputy insisted on always wearing their mortar boards and capes. Of course, both carried their canes wherever they went, should the opportunity for instant reprisal arise. Then again, all of the teachers at my school were screwed up, most of which merely went through the motions, staggering from classroom to classroom like zombies. Those few who still believed in their chosen vocation, who showed the slightest sensitivity to their pupils, suffered the constant backlash of jeers from the crowd.

My French teacher at the time, an overweight, red-faced alcoholic with a love of jazz and red wine, went by the nickname Links, (although I’d never bothered to ask the other kids why). Rather late in my grammar school education, he had me punished for looking at him the wrong way. That’s the exact phrase he used, at first intimating that I, a fourteen year old boy, had the hots for a middle-aged pig in white flannels. Not exactly impressed by the ridiculous insinuation, but getting rather sick of being sent to the headmaster, I decided to double-down and frown. As I glared at the bilious oaf he stuttered in protestation, holding a trembling finger in the air and ordering me out of the classroom.

Soon enough the deputy head swooped down like a vampire and dragged me by the ear to see Bird. The bastard peddled his usual hypocritical drivel, under the delusion that caning me was purely for my own good. I joined the queue, the usual nogoodniks, all smirking and nodding at each other with a subdued mutual admiration. Except for one kid named Brian Loader, almost everyone picked on him, although he never did do himself any favours. He couldn’t help the lisp, and like I, coming from a poor single parent family, his clothes didn’t fit him, his shoes were dirty, but he was just one of those kids who didn’t know when to stop.

He was small and he couldn’t particularly defend himself, but even when a rugby team grunt had him pinned to the ground, with his matted blood and hair in his clenched fists, Brian just wouldn’t back down. That’s why he was always in Bird’s office getting six of the best, at least once a week I’d say. Except for one late Friday afternoon, a week before the Christmas break, when Bird had decided he’d had enough of Brian, and with a wooden yard rule, took a long run up and smacked the kid’s rear with all his might.

It shattered to pieces, the ruler, and as shards and splinters of wood shot in the air, Brian, I, and half a dozen other kids jumped for joy. It felt like time had slowed down, Bird’s hand was bleeding everywhere, it was such a beautiful sight to see, the man who’d made so many suffer, receiving a little of the pain he’d dished out through the years.

Authoritarians should take note, nothing lasts forever, not rulers, nor careers, and most certainly not power. For be it in this world, or the next, a time will come when those who believe they are here to maintain order, may find chaos has come to consume them.

A Constant State of Panic

We’ve always had bad weather. The difference is that we now live in an interconnected world, with a global media fixated on milking every story for all it’s worth. No matter the truth, or consequences, they’ll tow the official line, and avoid all mention of industrial-scale cloud seeding, or high-frequency auroral injection. What’s more, they’ve suffered so many budgetary cutbacks, that much of the time you’ll find them lazily relying on their viewers. All the suckers, readily armed with mobile phones to record every moment of the supposed impending disaster.

If ten thousand people die in a flood in India or China, you might hear about it on the news, you might see a few video clips, even a reporter or two on location. What you won’t see is wall-to-wall coverage on every MSM channel, or YouTube recommendations for a dozen up-to-the-minute streams. Most of which are accompanied by a live chat that races by so quickly, you probably won’t notice that the viewers aren’t watching the weather, they’re just there to argue the toss.

When the highly popularised term Global Warming was embarrassingly debunked, and amended to the more generic climate change, you’d think more people would’ve clocked the mistake. Of course, humanity has made a mess of the world, but we’ve more than paid for it, the consumers, the taxpayers, with a lifetime of hard graft without fair reward. If on the other hand you’ve made a billion or so from selling us crap, and rained it back down on our lives everyday, give the money back, give it back now. We, the people of the earth demand a refund, cancel all debt, level the playing field, force those with the bulk of the world’s currency to spend it on cleaning up their act.

Of course, if you’re one of that select few, you won’t. Instead I’m sure you’ve made plans, and think you know a way to sit this one out. I expect you and your nest egg have a lovely place lined up, a tropical island, a mountain retreat, somewhere to watch the collapse of civilisation in comparative safety. But you’ll miss us when we’re dead, and most likely in the end, you’ll join us. When your robot slaves have broken down, and you’re shitting yourself in your panic room, because your maintenance clones have revolted and escaped on your yacht, you’ll kill yourself. It’s only human nature after all, because the rich are mere mortals like the rest of us, and are nothing without their money.

So, what about the age old argument, those who supplied it, denied it? Yes, to some degree, we humans are a filthy lot and we have made a mess of this world. Not that it would take long to repair, should we all suddenly disappear from existence. But, until every environmental evangelist has weather modification at the top of their list of pet peeves, I’m bowing out. I’m not wasting my life arguing the toss with those who’d prefer to blind themselves to what they see.

Rather than using their own eyes, their own brain, they cite something they’ve heard on the news, advocated by the academic establishment, so that we, as individuals, living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth, should suffer the guilt and remorse of our impoverished lives. We, in turn, are expected to throw our pittance in the pot, to fund the extravagances of well paid administrators of highly obscure organisations. That was the idea anyway, unfortunately for them, too many people aren’t playing the game, and now the idle rich are sick of us, our penny pinching, our seething frustrations, and they’re determined to put civilisation in its place.

If you believe the crazy storms, sunspots, and mid-winter heatwaves, are down to car pollution and plastic bottles in the sea, you’re an idiot. If you think that all that muck in the sky is just contrails, you’ve been conned. I know what a contrail is, I saw plenty of them as a child, they’re made from water and they quickly evaporate. What we have now is a sky full of aluminium flakes and barium. It deflects light and heat, and hothouses the world, dispersing toxic rain to cause major respiratory disease, amongst many other medical complaints.

It’s too late now, there’s nothing we can do, we’ve already handed over our individual sovereignty for the sake of co-dependency. We are all equally guilty of complicity, we helped build this god-awful corporate age. Which in itself, is just one of a succession of feudal states, designed to covertly reign over us without too much complaint. Democracy is a smokescreen, and our Pharisees, our so-called democratically appointed representatives, kowtow to their unelected masters, to administer unjust laws upon those who dare to disagree.

So why, you might ask, would anyone want to deliberately ruin the world?

I’ll tell you. There’s no point having all the money, power, and influence you could possibly imagine, if your subjugated masses don’t do as their told. Which is why governments of the world, protecting the vested interests of the corporatocracy, have inch-by-inch, legal amendment by legal amendment, slowly eroded our inalienable human rights. Until now, those amongst us who disagree with the subjugated majority, are policed and punished by both state and society.

Eventually, after a few more years of bad weather, they’ll start switching off the power, and then they’ll shutdown the Net, and leave us to tear each other apart for a while. Maybe for a month, a year, a decade, who knows?

Then comes the reboot, Humanity 2.0. The consumer age being long dead and gone, replaced by a far smaller and more manageable society, will proffer the decree that open slavery increases productivity. The value of life forever held against a false barometer of limited resources, our descendants being mere products of an almighty corporate entity. Only the most subjugated will be offered the illusory enticements of advancement, offering slim rewards for the most compliant and complicit members of the highly controlled population.

A time of renewal, I’m sure that’s what they’ll say to calm the natives, a new and improved subspecies formerly known as mankind. A future populous of domesticated beasts, artificially bred to feel more contented in their slavery, to work efficiently and consume less food and energy, and to never again complain about the weather.

False Positives

I saw a photograph of a piece of inane graffiti art recently, a stencil work on a highway. It read SMILE. There’s a major difference between encouragement and coercion, no matter how slick the presentation. Being forced to express positivity, even for the sake of art, always sends a cold shiver down my spine.

People seem to need more visual cues every day, what to say, what to wear, where to go and why. It’s a rare sight to see someone follow a hunch, to think off the top of their head, without fact checking their every move, just in case the world thinks differently.

I was planning to write a post on the power of the lie, but it seems I’m in sync with several newspaper journalists at the moment, which is something of a worrying development. I wanted to share a theory I’d come up with, in fact I will anyway, who cares what the papers say.

I get it, research shows that the better the education, the better the liar. But to be honest, the art of lying is a fundamental tenet of a successful society. There hasn’t been a single culture in history worth noting, that hasn’t at the very least dabbled in a little exaggeration.

To be a success one must become a liar.

Great artists fool the eye. Musicians may play with the truth, but sooner or later, if they’re offered the deal of a lifetime, they’re sold on a lie. If authors weren’t writers they’d be some of the most successful con-artists in the world today, asides the politicians, who are the masters of deception, peddling lies great and small to their gullible electorate. Money too, it’s nothing but a sham, printed with a broken promise to pay the bearer on demand. Society itself is merely an aggregate of falsehoods and untruths, ensuring a smooth succession of power, whilst the masses keep living a shared delusion of civilisation.

If there were no falsehoods, if people were incapable of lies, the world would soon tear itself apart, no longer protected from its ghastly self. It’s a shame, but we’re only human, and for the most part we do the best we can to work with what we’ve got. It’s seems that for far too many in the world, the truth doesn’t merely hurt, it makes the difference between life and death, survival and collapse.

So many have jumped on the bandwagon, there’s precious little left beyond the pale. Individuality is dying, as is knowledge, empathy, and anything remotely resembling higher consciousness, is slowly drowning in a sea of glamorised conformity. We, the last remaining individuals of the world, must pretend to play the game. We are forced to speak and behave as those around us, yet we alone have been granted witness to the true deceit of society and its inbuilt redundancies. As for those who say otherwise, those who proclaim to be fighting for the truth in the name of freedom, they are at best martyrs of conjecture, and at worst, the greatest liars of all time.

The Conspiracy of Perfection

If reality is a holographic construct, then perception is everything. As the human race loses itself in a real-time digital mirror, one by one trading their individuality for social currency, those left on the sidelines are vilified, ostracised, and ridiculed by the majority. Collectivism is the new fascism, devaluing emotion through oversensitivity, propagating a narrative so narrow and constrained, human instincts must defer to the social protocols of the ill-informed and gullible.

Each of us will leave this place alone, our former ties and allegiances broken by our inevitable demise. Political factions, peer group pressures, familial responsibilities, questions of identity and purpose, engendered ideologies and philosophies, all fall away at the point of death. What remains, at least for those who truly understand that their consciousness is not bound by the sum of their experience, and the limited paradigm of our physical existence, will have time to reflect, a brief respite between one subjugated role and the next. The rest will languish in the abstract, awaiting new commands, each subsequent life offering simpler codes of behaviour and concepts of individuality than the last.

The new world order is as old as the hills, and has always relied heavily upon the complicity of the masses. No matter how many occupy this world, few are afforded the opportunity to supersede general opinion. Instead they are encouraged to contribute to the whole, to push forward the narrative for greater compliance, and as history shows, will almost always suffer the consequences. Humans are inevitably guided by the subject rather than the process, misunderstanding the dialectic of duality, and are invariably more than willing to choose sides in a pointless argument.

Belief systems, be they religious, political, sociological or otherwise, take precedent over insight, forethought, and any form of holistic understanding of the human condition. Education has much to answer for, discouraging enquiring minds from reading between the lines, barely engaging with each generation’s audience, tasked solely with creating new workers who can take orders.

Beauty is used as a weapon, a social defence mechanism to propagate conformity, exploiting the power of vanity to dissuade the masses from reclaiming their sense of individual identity. The most beautiful of all are considered the most perfect, those who have the ultimate proportional relationship of features. The mathematical viability of beauty relies on the golden ratio, the proportions and length of the nose, the position of the eyes, and the length of the chin.

Those who do not conform to the standard do their best to improve or disguise their assumed physical imperfections. Through cosmetics or even cosmetic surgery, fashion, hairstyle, or even digitally altering selfies for Instagram, in one way or another people try their best to cover up nature’s mistakes.

Hollywood, the media, advertising, the music industry, the fashion world, all do their damnedest to keep the lie going. It’s a well known fact that sex sells, but beyond that, perfection is the ideal that keeps the money flowing. Which is why, beneath the surface, asides the minor tweaks and improvements in technology, design is for the most part an afterthought, a way of reviving old and outdated expectations.

People who say they want change, an ideology so many politicians in the past have exploited, rarely ever stop to question what exactly they want changed and how? We’ve been duped, history was never as old fashioned as the documentaries would have us believe, and the future is filled with modernity and scientific splendour. We are what we are, imperfectly perfect in our vision, and forever one with the natural order. Artifice and synthesis never last, not in the great scheme of things. We can strive all we like, chase the dream and grab it with both hands, but the world’s an ugly place, and it’s high time we got used to it.

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 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.

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