Friday, September 14, 2007

What elegant threads weave the good and evil of our souls together...(Almost day 125 but not quite)

As I lifetime insomniac I often find myself Awake in the Night

Following that link will take you to one of my newer online hangouts (sort of) and introduce you to one of the most bizarre and arcane works of Fiction known to man. Consider the story. Millions of years hence the entirety of humanity inhabits an eight mile tall metal pyramid that rests at the bottom of an immense valley that is home to hundreds of varieties of weird critter and downright evil.

Also the sun has been out for a few million years.

The world is immense beyond the usual heave-ho and a sci-fi landscape. Vast details paint a dark and morbid picture of the world to follow. Night hounds, tall as horses bay and prowl. Fixed giants, lumbering behemoths, giant gray people who eat armored men whole stalk silently. Grotesque ab-humans mock and defray all that humans hold sacred across the entire poisonous landscape of cold air and haunting voices.

Looming over these minor creatures, "like hills of watchfulness" are the watching things. There are 5 in all. To the Northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. Largest and newest of these is the watcher to the south. It is huge beyond reckoning, destined to rend the doors of the last redoubt *big metal pyramid protecting all humanity.* All that stands in its way is the vast bubble of the glowing dome.

In addition there are the Silent Ones who are always veiled in gray. Sometimes they walk along the great roads built by the ancestors of those who reside in the Great Redoubt. They dwell in the House of Silence far north of the last redoubt and not far from the road. The doors to the House are forever open and unmoving. In all recorded history no sound has ever escaped from the house nor have any lights wavered or gone out.

Now that's pretty MFN wild as is but on top of that there's the Ulterior Powers. These are immaterial things that twist and writhe in the darkness. In one story a great black bell materializes over a handful of men and pulls them helplessly to their deaths. In others mists and clouds wreak havoc upon not only the minds but also the souls of men.

Alone in the barren, bleak and mostly static world humans are only able to distinguish themselves from the monsters by use of the 'master word' which can be spoken aloud or sent through 'brain elements.'

Again, this was all conceived and written about in 1912 before WWI had troubled the landscape of europe and turned so many men *including the original author* into so much kibble.

Nowadays if you were to visit the site in question you can see where others have taken up pens and word processors to continue fleshing out this most disturbing world. Bear in mind back in 1912 the premise upon which the book rests is that the sun has totally died and people are alone in eternal night.

At this time the mechanism for how the sun works, namely fusion, was not fully understood. Some theory proposed that the sun's radiance came about as a result of magnetism and that based on calculations at the time would burn brightly for a scant 20 million years or more.

Also telephones, let alone computers, were not mainstream at this point. When extrapolating into the future you're sort of screwed because technology flails about in unexpected directions.

Computers are the most dramatic example but there are other subtler things to bear in mind. As a child of classic sci-fi even in youth occasionally stumbled onto stories where odd hunks of technology mangled together. In one such, a satire about technological 'progress' an entire war was lost because the superior side attempted to develop new tech to fight the enemy and the other side simply just built a shitload of ships and space lasers. My favorite part of the story involves a BATTLE COMPUTER with over a million vacuum tubes. For the youngsters out there early computers were built with these huge stupid glass doodads that were each as big and hot as a light bulb. A .39 cent calculator now has more processing power.

Now normally I don't give two whiffs of a shit about anything that invokes the supernatural, paranormal or pseudo-(adjective) because unless its supposed to be funny its usually a waste of time. I love fiction. I have loved reading fiction for as long as I have been able to read but my tolerance for bullshit wanes like Britney Spears' Popularity.

Why then am I, who lusts for what is true or plausible, so enthralled by this utterly implausible world and all its demented monsters?

I will tell you why. I have a soft spot for Tolkien and his errant beliefs in the nobility of the ancient man. There is something sexy about the idea that everything used to be just fine and dandy until we modern types came along and fudged it up. Nearly any work of 'fantasy' fiction or role playing game owes some or most of its inspirado to good ol' JRR.

Despite its outward incompatibility with my preferences there is something that counts for a great deal. Originality. Anyone reading this blog, or anyone's blog, who was used the internet for a few years *just long enough to get tired of pr0n* should be familiar with that desperate groping mentality of people lashing out into an electronic vista with the same greasy tentacles as everyone else.

Human experience is like water it gets peed out, evaporated and then rained back down good as gold to be consumed and peed out all over again for all time.

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