Why We Will Never Make It (or Maybe Why We Will)

“Face it. We’re all selfish bastards.” I punched my straw through the ice. “We donate and volunteer, but in the end it’s just to get what we want.”Phone 257

Val flipped her phone upside down on the bar. “The last thing this world needs is more people.”

“The problem with people–”

“Yes.” She smiled at that. “The problem with people.”  

“They lack self-awareness.”

“The weird thing is that we want these versions of ourselves, people who we think will understand us.”

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“Maybe even care.”

“Maybe.”

“Which means nothing.”

“The problem with people.” Val repeated it like a song lyric. “They say stupid things.”

IMAG3466I liked this topic too much. “And they actually believe they will be something good.”

“Good.” She checked for messages. “Whatever that means.”*

(*excerpt from The Ark)

Systematic Rape: Extract from “The Ark”

I remember my second year at university. All of my friends wanted to go down to the field and initiate the freshmen, cover them with whipped cream and blue dye, make them do stupid things, just humiliate them and get them horribly drunk. I looked at these people – my friends, good friends – and they were practically foaming at the mouth, intimidating these kids.I don’t know. It was like rape.

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)

These kids were only a year younger than us, just a year, but we had had it done to us, and so it was our turn. It was our turn to be bullies. That’s what we were trained to do. We called it a rite of passage or some bullshit about growing up, but it was just rape. And it doesn’t stop there. It’s in everything we do, in school, at work, buying groceries, getting on a plane, walking in the street.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

We learn to accept it. We learn to give it back. Worse than that, we learn to derive pleasure from giving it back. We feel justified in giving it back.That’s why I don’t have faith in us. We’re more infantile than when we were kids.

Stanislaw Lem’s “Solaris”

Continuing in my science fiction research, I have begun Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris. solaris_a_living_planet_by_justv23-d4honx8Made into a film by both Andrei Tarkovsky and Steven Soderbergh, it is the story of a planet with a living consciousness, Gaia in the extreme. Although the writing is dense at times, the narrative is artfully dream-like, almost in a trance. Most impressively, the notion of a living mass conscious comes across as an effective precursor for what we are heading for here, our collective and unspoken mission to be eternally plugged in.WEB-robocalypse18rv6

The Oblivion of Science Fiction

Oblivion epitomizes everything about science fiction that makes the genre frustratingly mediocre at best. oblivion_movie_sky_towerThe biggest problem is the complete lack of originality, beginning with the predictable post-apocalyptic setting first seen in Planet of the Apes – the poor old Statue of Liberty buried yet again;planet of the apesa hodge-podge of futuristic themes, combining The Matrix (machines taking over), Total Recall (memory problems) and Moon (clones running the show); moon_sam_rockwell3the inevitable twist (clones/machines who care) derivative of everything from Terminator to Short Circuit; short circuitand the sickeningly silly ending of the vanquished evil mother-ship, reminiscent of Star Wars and everything since. Cowboys-And-Aliens-570x289While there might be a few decent plot reveals, they always turn to disappointment and the endless parade of effects. In the end, it isn’t anything more than a vehicle for Mr. Cruise. tom-cruise-oblivion-stills-released-02Which leads me to the real question: What’s next? Might he be interested in piloting The Ark?

World Boat Tour

I have always been fascinated by the idea of traveling around the world by water. tankerIt is an incredibly exotic and slightly terrifying thing to do. RaI am working out such a scene for The Ark. The question is which type of boat to use. Manpower? rowboatWindpower? sailboatOr horsepower? yacht2

Character Tattoos

Personally, I don’t understand tattoos. As much as I might be fascinated by Hannah Arendt at the moment, I think it would be a mistake to get a tattoo. hannaarendtsudomenica16ye8The same is true for Kiribati.

Kiribatan flag

Kiribatan flag

It’s even true for Victoria’s Secret. sexy witch nameAll of that said, a tattoo can be good short form for an aspect of a character in fiction. It’s a device I am toying with at the moment in The Ark. One character is a video game addict. video-game-famous-characters-tattoosAnother says little. away tattooAnd the last, ironically, overstates.tree tattoo

Kiribati in “The Ark”

The story of The Ark has drifted briefly into the Pacific Ocean and a collection of islands known as Kiribati. kiribatiThe location is one of the poorest nations in the world and is best known by Westerners as the site of The Battle of Tarawa in World War IIkiribati junkand the most likely nation to vanish due to global warming. Book your tickets quick.kiribati beach

Truth in Fiction

While not everything is true in fiction – hence the word – writing is based on what I know. It’s a guessing game. The following is the first draft of a dialogue from The Ark:

“I ruined my knee when I was a kid, skiing in Vermont, torn acl, mcl, everything. I had arthritis after that. No cartilage, 15%, something like that. It was just bone on bone. I had to have a replacement.” Taken while hiking the length of New Zealand He cut the seal meat into strips, twirled one length around his thumb and chewed. “I sat on the edge of the plastic mattress in that green paper dress and the surgeon drew a pair of red x’s on the side of my knee. There was a nurse with a clipboard of forms and the anesthesiologist with more. Everyone was wearing those plastic shower caps.” He pulled a bit off. It looked like fur. “And then I decided I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t going to surrender. I wouldn’t sign. The surgeon stood in the doorway with his arms crossed. He explained everything to me like I was a child. But I wouldn’t do it. And so he left. Everyone did. No one came for a while after that.”

“You didn’t have the surgery?”

“No.” He thrust his hands back and forth in front of him, miming. “I did the elliptical instead.”

“What’s that?”

“The machine. I worked out every day and took cartilage pills.” He ate the rest of the meat. “It’s fine now. Still. No running though. I can only dream about that.”running beach

“You were afraid you’d die?”

“I don’t know about that. I don’t know. I remember the feeling as a kid, when I had the first surgery. I woke up cold. They had monitors attached to my chest. I wasn’t going to surrender just because they said I should.”

“I broke my hand. They put me out before I knew it.”

“You have to sign.”

“It was in Newfoundland.”

He tore off another strip. “It’s probably better like that.”

I did ruin my knee in my younger days and use the elliptical daily; however I’ve never backed out of a surgery, skied in Vermont nor eaten seal meat…as of yet.