Sunday, 29 October 2017

Fun

After the gods had created the universe, and the multiverse, and Man, they wondered what to do.

“Consider Man,” said one. “Man invents obstacles, then overcomes them. This he calls ‘fun’.”

“What is an obstacle to the gods?” said another.

“This!” said one, and split into a billion stars, each a fragment of the whole.

“This!” said another, setting to study what was, before the gods.

“This!” said a third, and placed a sliver of himself into a Man.

One day they will end their fun and return to themselves, and their creations will vanish like a dream upon waking.



This story — and indeed most of my fiction here — previously 
appeared on Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Weekly Challenge.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

When The Gods Were New

When the gods were new, they assembled together to know what they should do.

“I have made a strange thing,” said one. And he showed how out of nothing he conjured a vast universe of whirling balls of fire and rock.

Another said, “I will make a stranger.” And he punctured that universe with many holes, and inside each he showed that self-same universe reduplicated.

A third said, “I will make yet stranger.” On a single tiny lump of rock in that multiverse, he created a host of small figures that fought among themselves, and took themselves to be gods.

“This is the strangest thing,” they agreed. “Let us call it ‘Man’.”



Monday, 23 October 2017

My dear Dr. Brezoianu:

I regret that the Journal of Neurosemantic Research must decline to publish your paper, “Obstruction of Remote Memetic Excitation by Aluminized Mylar Composites”. It has been closely read by three referees, all experts in the field, who unanimously recommend rejection on the respective grounds that its results are absurd, well-known, or trivially obvious. Furthermore, I don’t care for the over-familiar manner in which you approached my wife at the Oslo conference last summer.

With best wishes for your publication, but not in any journal I have anything to do with, 

Prof. Dr. Dr. Jarogniew Grzeszkiewicz (Editor)


Humanity

The sun would soon rise, and in the pre-dawn glim a group of a dozen people were walking down a rocky path. Among them was a woman with a two-year-old toddling along beside her. As toddlers do, she toddled, and wobbled, and fell down, going all her length on the ground, then burst into tears. Without missing a step, her mother bent down and swept her up into her arms, bouncing her on her shoulder to calm her, and walked on.

Just an everyday incident, in a tribe of Homo erectus, a million years ago in the Olduvai gorge.



This story previously appeared on Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story weekly challenge.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Life

“Are robots alive?”

——What is life?

“I don't know, but I know it when I see it.”

——That’s easy then, just look at a robot. Do you see life?

“That’s not fair!”

——It’s fair, you’re confused. How about asking one? Hey, metal man over there! Are you alive?

——What do I know about philosophy?

——Whadya think? Lifeless machine, or alive with better things to do?

“I don't know, that's the problem, how could I tell?”

——What about me, then, your perfect drinking partner? You act like I’m alive. What's your real question here?

“I guess it’s... am I alive?”

——Well...


Sunday, 15 October 2017

A Beautiful Thing

People say we lived like kings. Ha! These days, king just means a bigger mud hut and a gang of men with clubs.

We could fly round the world faster than it turned, talk to anyone, anywhere, instantly. We had men on the Moon, nearly got to Mars. We knew the age of the universe, the speed of light. You've never even seen electricity.

You don’t believe any of this. You’re stupid. Everyone's getting stupider, generation by generation.

Sure, we had wars, all that shit. But Goddammit, we had civilisation, and it was a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing indeed.



Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Room

A young woman sits on a chair, in the middle of an empty, silent room. She is of slight build, very slight. She would call herself “delicate” if she spoke, but she does not speak. She would think of herself as “delicate”, but she does not think, rather she is suspended in a single, unending moment of reverie.

Everything about this room is faded and indistinct: the wallpaper, the carpet, the curtains, her dress. The room is illuminated only by a dim light through the curtained window, too dim to discern the patterns these things must once have had.

She sits quietly, her hands in her lap, her eyes half-closed, her gaze turned inward. There is a faint smile about her lips. She does not move. Even her breathing is scarcely discernable. The chair is a plain upright wooden chair, placed in the centre of the room. There is nothing else here. The door—for surely there must be a door, for it would be unusual for a room to have no door, and there can be nothing unusual to disturb her reverie—the door never opens. The window never opens. The curtains are never drawn. No-one enters this room. For this slight young woman, sitting in silent reverie, there is nothing outside this room.

There is nothing inside but the chair on which the slight young woman quietly sits, her hands in her lap and her eyes half-closed. There is no past and no future, no elsewhere. She does not think that this room must be part of some larger house, that the house was once built by bustling labourers placing brick upon brick, hoisting rafters, laying floorboards; she does not think that the wallpaper was once fresh and new from the printing press, and was pasted up on a bright, sunny, noisy day; she does not think of the view through the window, were the curtains opened. She does not think of how she comes to be here.

She thinks of none of these things. Here in this silent room, sitting quietly with her hands in her lap, her eyes half-closed, and a faint smile about her lips, there is only an unending present. Here, at last, she finds peace.