(This is an understatement, really.)
So the idea occurred to me that I could use it as a space for reviews of various media samplings.
For those of you just tuning in: Phast Phiction Phriday is a series of stunts I’ve been pulling at the week’s end to do something useful with my LiveJournal, since I almost never update the damn thing and when I do it’s just more ceaseless bitching. Following an avalanche of reader response – all one of him – I’m serializing a novel for the internet over here, like the aborted Listener project Warren Ellis was working on at mistersleepless .
Since I’m still not sure what the novel’s about, the serialization hasn’t properly started yet. What you’ll be getting for a few more weeks are little snippets taken randomly out of a larger work, and hopefully they’ll give a feel for the sort of writing it is/will be. For now, I’m trying to get my fiction chops back and flesh out the characters and plot in my dwindling spare time.
It’s set in a darkly comic near-future, like a number of Warren Ellis’ works. This seems fitting, since his work inspired it. Secondarily, it will also owe a heavy debt to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Hopefully this will explain why there are people shagging statues and eating particleboard. If people don’t buy the Sci-Fi angle, I’ll just say it’s “Expressionist,” or “Magical Realism.” I am fully prepared to deny everything under oath. Novel? What novel?
It just occurred to me: this may actually be a cry for help. It all depends on how amused you are.
The title of the work in progress is “The Day I Tried To Live.” I use this as a working title for anything I do, because I’m old and I remember Soundgarden with teary nostalgia for the youth I pissed away. Plus, it sounds cooler than “Untitled Work-In-Progress Number 11”
Why I’m doing this: it looks like it might be fun. And by putting it out in public I hope I can force myself to complete things and not abandon them. The other reason for putting things out in public is to get instant feedback on them, which is invaluable for a learner like me.
Which brings us to the bargain: if you like it, mention what worked for you; if you don’t like something, tell me what I can do to improve, or at least identify what you didn’t like about things. And if you laughed or got interested or whatever, link to it, tell people about it, IM someone who might enjoy reading it. I want people to read this; otherwise I wouldn’t have put it out here in the first place. The goal for this week is three unique commentors.
Links to the first two bits:
I have to go for now, because I’m doing this on the sly at my day job and there’s a ton of faxing left to do. But I promise I’ll post 0.3 before midnight local time. I’m committed to amusing you people.
See you in a few hours.
"Sweet Jesus," I said when I entered the restroom, "what the hell did that?"
The old-style toilet had been bifurcated through its middle into two roughly equal chunks, like a cleaved porcelain skull with a moist pile of weird-looking sewage for the gooey organic brainy bits. A few bottleflies batted themselves against the washroom's corners, trying to put distance between themselves and the strange pile of gritty offal, roughly the same volume as a medium kitchen appliance, that had cracked the floor tiles. The odor was a bad chemical approximation of the usual restroom odors, as if a computer had mixed assorted industrial waste to simulate human shit.
I mean, there's digestive troubles. And then there's blowing the fucking toilet in half.
I was stupefied, my full bladder completely forgotten. Trying to rationalize the surrealist tableau in the room was turning me into an H. P. Lovecraft narrator, simultaneously horrified and transfixed. Had I stumbled into an art installation? A nanotech student's project gone awry? In the long seconds of silence and revulsion, a vertical slice of the pile split off like an ice shelf from a glacier of filth, revealing an even more perplexing interior. Buffalo wings, whole with the bone still in. Recognizable -- if compacted -- slices of meat-lover's pizza and four-inch segments of party-size submarine sandwiches, both unchewed. Fragments of particle board. Styro insulation. Translucent silica kitty litter, like Aideen bought for her cat.
The Art Installation Theory was gaining currency. Clearly -- the doublethink I'd swallowed in countless classes at University asserted itself, warming up the bullshit generator for a term paper -- clearly the artist has intended some sort of commentary... overconsumption... modern consumerism and the end products of...
"'Scuse me, man."
The janitor who pushed by me had on a class B hazmat suit, one of the orange and yellow ones they use for body fluids and things that won't dissolve organic material in under an hour. He had the hood up to suck down one long last drag on his Lucky Strike while he muscled a shop vacuum covered with lurid red biohazard trefoils into the stall.
I tried to form coherent sentences while he arranged his safety goggles. "Is -- was there... malfunction... uh?" We stared at each other for a second. His face was deeply-seamed, enough to set his eyes in a permanent squint.
"Kids," he said, dropping his cig into a pool of runny brown liquid that had sluiced from the main pile. It sizzled and sent up dark smoke. "Asshole fraternity bastards load up on Salucept, go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, think it's funny..." His boot prodded the fringes of the pile and I heard the "clink" of a glass bottle scraping on the tile.
And it all snapped into perspective. This was waste produced from one of those high-end replacement digestive tracts. A friend of Aideen's had one, had explained them over drinks a few weeks ago; it was better to get the genuine article from Mitsubishi than to save money on the Brazilian knock-offs, he'd said, because the Brazillian companies were famous for warranty hassles. Mitsubishi's only problem was that they were always "updating" the EULA and the firmware.
Maybe this was one of the reasons for the updates: I could see how an idiot frat rat would turn his appetite up to eleven with a few hundred milligrams of Salucept, then download some script-kiddie bypass for the overeating failsafe on his expensive synthetic intestines to win a bar bet. But what was in front of me... I know that a hard object dropped from shoulder height will shatter porcelain, but was he hoisted up over the shitcan by confederates unknown, or was there a fratboy out there with a hack that turned his rectum into a projectile weapon? I hoped that it hurt the little bastard like molten steel coming out, but the absence of much blood or a fatally-prolapsed twenty-year-old in a banal sports bar T-shirt was spoiling my feeble attempts at optimism.
People ask me why I'm a misanthrope. Here was the reason in microcosm: give humanity a new piece of technology and they will, without fail, search out the most asinine abuses of it. And then surpass them.
The shop vacuum rumbled to life, and then the janitor and I both jumped as a chunk of the pile walked off of its own volition, frightened by the noise. He killed the power to the vacuum and I waited for my heart to start up again.
From the kitty litter strata of the processed shitheap, a furry ball smaller than my fist had staggered out, crusted with garbage. It coughed up yellow gunk, then gave one clear "meow" before it collapsed, justifiably exhausted. The janitor ripped the goggles off in exasperation. "Cocksmoking firey hell," he said as he scooped up the kitten, "not again."
I stormed out of the bathroom, my hatred for the rest of my species rising with the taste of bile in my throat. Usually I don't want to destroy the universe so early in the morning, but the day was off to a bad start.(Copyright 2005, etc. etc. These are preliminary stabs at something longer, trying to find the right voice for it. Rules are as follows: if you liked it, post an encouraging comment and tell somebody about it. If you didn't like it, tell me what I can do to improve. I'm hoping to double the number of unique readers this week, to TWO. Come on, dammit. Write something in the comments. I live to amuse you.
Via Boing Boing, the Ctulhu-Goatse Fast Fiction by Johannes G. over at monochrom:
Out of the black void of the bloated net I received a hideous JPEG attachment, a single glimpse of forbidden eons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. That glimpse, like all dread glimpses of truth, flashed out from this godless email I received. If I live, I shall never knowingly supply a link in so hideous a thing. [link]
Now, this may remind you of something else you've seen recently, possibly on this very journal. But I swear I had no prior knowledge of this (arguably funnier) item above. Just synchronicity.