[Void Galaxia] Chapter 37: Grape Valentine

+++

Nas ultimas duas semanas, eu tenho lido sobre Carl Jung e sua teoria do inconsciente…’

Lexi followed the line with the tip of her pen, eyes narrowed, the rest of the video caffé a Man Ray haze.

‘In the last two weeks,’ she said quietly, ‘I have…lido…seen about Carl Jung and his theory of the incon-…unconscious.’

Putting pen to lips, she revised her translation.

Lido…lee-do…

Was that seen or read? Logically, it had to be one of them…you wouldn’t do anything else to a theory of someone except read or see it…or trash it…would you?

‘I think that guy wants a coffee,’ said Mark, from the other end of the counter.

‘What?’

‘You want me to serve him?’

Lexi put the pen down and looked over at the only booth with a live, human shape. Foda. One of the art students, a regular, in a green beanie that was seemingly glued to his head.

‘I’ll do it.’

She picked up the pad [and pen again], and went over. As usual, the guy ordered a caramel latte with zero sugar and then coughed, muito artificial, before asking if she’d ever tried the VR plaza across the road.

‘Once or twice.’

‘They have Pluto 2280 now…probably gonna give it a shot later, if you wanna co-op?’

‘Is that the sci-fi game?’

‘Yeah, sequel to Pluto 2270. Muito légal, muito hype. Heard they’ve jazzed it up a bit too…more missions, more crisis events. Huge-ass servers.’

Lexi flinched at the Portuguese then glanced over at Mark, who looked, for a brief moment, like a rabbit in a fox-run pool hall, before blinking himself out and scurrying back to his phone.

Okay, so he’s still looking, she thought, turning back to the customer. Even if he’s barely said a word to me all morning.

‘Sorry, I’m not really a big sci-fi person,’ she replied, adding the same sympathetic smile she used on the elderly.

‘Yeah, me neither. Just the newness factor mostly.’ He nodded to himself and looked left, at one of the GRAPE FEST stickers Juana had stamped on the table. ‘How about this grape thing? Any interest?’

‘Only if I’m cultivating a migraine…’

He tilted his head, eyes squinting at her neck as if that had the answer.

‘I mean, I’m not good with large crowds.’

‘Oh.’

Lexi tapped the pad with her pen and said, ‘caramel latte, coming up,’ then made her way back to her side of the counter. Surprisingly, Mark was there, sitting on the stool next to hers, going over her Portuguese notes.

‘Think I can actually read some of this…’

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 36: Maybe He’ll Take Me With Him

+++

Elise at a Mexican restaurrant in Budapest.

Jame and Tariq next to the impossibly blue Lake Pukaki.

Ah To pretending to understand what the Indonesian fortune teller is saying.

Her, on a Pluto Ya duvet, in fucking Fresno.

Throwing her phone [and friends’ pics] towards the end of her bed, Lexi got up and stood like a powered-down cyborg in the middle of the room.

Twenty past eight.

In an hour, she’d be standing in pretty much the same state in the video caffé, waiting for the next customer to wander in and order blueberry pie…all the curious parts of her brain switched off.

No, that wasn’t right.

She still had her phone. And Mark. If he wasn’t too hungover from the welcome to the churn drinks Juana had forced on them the night before.

When did they leave again?

Half two?

Ah, didn’t matter. She wasn’t feeling that rough so he wouldn’t either.

Changing her Relaxed Bear shirt for one of her five Tenebrae work tops, she went out into the living room and immediately collided with Eisen’s attempt at I’m planning to go to the supermarket in Japanese.

A flat mate who didn’t do language exchanges as soon as he woke up, she thought, as she swiped her Tenant Card in the kitchen slot, turned on the kettle and grabbed two slices of bread from the basket. That would be nice. One who could already speak another language…who wasn’t from Fresno…who’d travelled to other places around the world…and for some reason had decided to stop dead still and work in the same tedious…relatively tedious…video caffé as her. A Japanese-looking guy called Mark, who appeared constipated whenever she asked if he was Japanese.

The kettle boiled, making a rattling sound that sounded like the washing machine.

Yeah, the whole thing was quite strange.

But he did say he wasn’t staying forever…in No Agro Lounge, about eight hours earlier, with her hand parked on his knee. Gods, that was pretty overt. But appreciated too cos he never tried to push it off. In fact, far as she remembered, they’d sat next to each other all night.

Wah…maybe when he left again, he’d take her with him.

If she let him know that was an option.

Anywhere in the world, por favor.

Except LA.

And Poland.

Continue reading

Things I Picked Up While Writing Planet Rasputin And Things That Sublimated Into The Oort Cloud Afterwards

+++

Ion drives take a while to get going.

+

Fusion power is 20 years away

+

Learning Twi as a second language is tougher than expected. Last time I checked, there wasn’t even a google translate option for it.

+

Slovene has written translation on google, but no audio.

+

All characters speak native Slovene in Planet Rasputin, so to get around my own lack of Slovene ability, I resorted to repetitive usage of ne vem [I don’t know] and ja [yes], as well as the occasional Slovene myth or idiom.

+

Atomic Rockets is a godsend [pantheist version] though also very dense in certain places, especially when maths + equations step in.

+

There could be thousands of dwarf planets out in the Kuiper Belt, still undiscovered. Maybe some big planets too. Planet XXX is currently predicted to be somewhere beyond Pluto, but closer in than Sedna. Predicted as in it should be there, some huge force is influencing the dwarf planets in that area, but has yet to be located.

+

Rasputin was too busy fucking palace staff to care about Marxist-Leninism. And was already dead by the time it really got going.

+

Did he fuck the Tsarina? Not sure. Could’ve been a bridge too far, risked his position too much.

+

Not a lot in the way of Anarcho-Communist sci-fi out there. The Dispossessed was written in the 70’s and was it really anarchist/communist if it was published via a major press? It’s an argument I’m still unsure about. We have to live in the system we have been raised in, survive in it, but at a certain point of wealth or influence, shouldn’t there be a little bit more? An attempt to change the way things are currently done?

+

I do not dream of having a Netflix adaptation. Do you?

+

Just googled other anarchist sci-fi and what I get back is all mainstream stuff. A band of utopian anarchists fighting the system/evil regime/demon deer.

+

Anarchist Library doesn’t have much sci-fi.

+

How would a future anarchist system work? In Planet Rasputin I had to add a huge shot of absurdism to make it believable that, in 2114, Slovenia and Ghana and a bunch of other countries could function in a semi-anarcho-communist fashion [compromised, of course]. It’s transition that’s always the problem. How do we go from this virus of a system that covers most of the planet to something else? When everyone in power is either a psychopath, a dormant psychopath, a smiling psychopath or a rag doll? When enough of the adult population sees no problem with this? Or no way out of it? Or truly thinks that they themselves are also capitalists? What does the exit ramp look like and how far off into the horizon does it stretch?

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 35: Exiting Duckula’s Castle

+++

Jabbing all the buttons but

the lift had already started to ascend and

they were both on it, her hand cult-gripped in his

not love, but definitely fucking.

I pushed past random miners, a depressed radiation mage, industrial insurance reps, Kontolian peace reps, other reps, a flickering darts promo and leapt up the spiral stairs three at a time all the way to the upper level and

just as I was about to reach the hold lift button

the beast started to descend

Ryu’s hand around her arm, the slow creep to the side of her breast, and all I could do was run back down the stairs again.

He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t

slalomed through the neurons of whatever this mesh was inside my skull

but I knew he would

this version of Ryu, he definitely would

and when I jumped the last four steps down to the lift pad, they were gone, on foot, already two thirds of the way down a corridor, heading to the habitat ring,

heading to bed and

I ran as fast as my boots would go

almost colliding with a tentacle alien and another alien with green skin and another with a slightly ridged nose and another in robes who looked like an aristocratic grey lizard riffing on the Waugh meme and

even before I reached the corner, I knew it was no good

they were already in bed

on top of the covers

fingers inside each other and

I couldn’t bear seeing that right now, not in this scape, so I stopped sprinting and turned left through a door and slumped down by the wall, with the guy opposite telling me it was okay, he’d killed the other Keni, stabbed the wretch and buried his remains in a twelve foot hole by the docks in Kawasaki.

‘With a shovel?’ I asked, looking up and filtering in the tanned face of Yosh. Without a single second’s pause, I told him to go fuck himself.

‘Let’s get another coffee, talk about future plans,’ he continued, poking the call button seven times.

‘He’s with her right now, in bed.’

‘The way I see it, with your doppelganger gone…’

‘Probably talking about Anarchism…’

‘…we can start up the game exchange again.’

‘…between fucking.’

‘Just call up your brother and tell him to be more consistent with his scheduling.’

‘Yeah. He won’t even talk to me.’

‘Then we won’t have to do anything.’

‘Keeps running away.’

‘Just sit back and soak up the cash.’

‘With my Sadia doll.’

The waitress came over and, after a second of appearing Honduran, morphed into Lexi complete with Mpama-tone skin and Tenebrae t-shirt, and told Yosh she wouldn’t serve him.

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 34: Basement Hauntology

+++

The walk back to his quarters was long and curved and involved one elevator pad, just like it did for everyone else on Dah Heen.

Also, like everyone else on Dah Heen, he had a flat-mate.

Helium miner, off-planet.

Far as he knew, she was currently out near Haumea, and, long as she didn’t pick a helmet with a crack in it, should be back within a few weeks.

Which meant his quarters was free.

He could kick back and sing out whatever crawled out of his ID, whatever he yanked out by the ankles, shit like,

‘motherfucking outrage’

‘fuck you on the megaship’

‘my grandma and your grandma dancing by the river’

Some others he couldn’t think of.

+++

Gone to Haumea.

Back in a few weeks.

I stopped reading and stared at the video shelves on the opposite side of the caffé.

Moon Prison stayed in my head for another minute or so – the idea of having a flat on Charon, singing from the swamp of my Id – then switched inevitably to Sadia and her disappearing act.

In some of my scenarios, she was still in Fresno, staying in a hostel, potentially coming back to this video caffé-store-timehole, while in the more persistent ones, she was out of Cali completely, in a loft conversion, fucking a tanned guy with abs who could write better than me…better than Lunar Crone and Dream Fucker and Yellow Muon Blob and whatever future shit I managed to vomit out the right side of my brain.

Unless I radically altered my style?

Maybe re-read her stuff and try to emulate some aspects. Or watch some old bizarro filmns like Holy Mountain and riff off of that.

Mildly intrigued, I pulled out my phone and searched bizarro filmns new-old.

The first on the list was Eraserhead, which had already been sucked dry by 90’s filmn students, so I moved on and on and on until I found one I’d never heard of.

Begotten.

Continue reading

Permanent Neon Ostracist

++

brother can you spare a diode?

a chalice?

pink nail for the robot hand?

+

sorella you’re leaking

generically so

+

otac please

not corduroy-themed

+

RO TATE LEFT

+

half the nation felt wretched after Countryfile

you will too

+

sin king and sank

dorm ant and done

put on sunglass and how

why what?

+

triple-slit but make the hole bigger

quantum when physicians call

suspekt EK

EK  X  X

XX XX X   X    EKs

+

tell us boy

tell us what you wanna do

before dilating

before buying out WordPress

before the end of the thirteenth quarter

before lore

before Jeff Fahey slides up through that manhole

before Titan Camp 7

before attributes of any kind

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 33: Poison For The Fairies

+++

Fresno, California, a few weeks earlier…

+++

      Sadia lay in bed, Anubis-real, static.

      There was light coming in through her window, which meant it was at least twelve.

      Rays of bleak normality…

      She thought about lifting herself up and reaching to pull down the blind, but there was no point. She already knew what time it was, and that half the day had gone, and trying to hide that fact wasn’t going to make it any less true.

      Work, activities, do something…

      She turned away from the window and faced the rest of her room. There was the medieval corset in the corner. That had to be finished at some point. Then over by the desk there was the sketch she’d started the night before, the one of the Slovenian castle, and…no, that was no good. She didn’t want to finish that one. It was a forgery, a lie. She didn’t even want to look at it.

      Up, you wretch…

      Pushing her head into the pillow, she tried to think of reasons why she should bother getting out of bed at all. The corset? The sketch? VR with friends? Mexican Video Caffé owner? None of them were powerful enough. Not even Juana. It was as if she were caught in two different universes and neither one would let her in permanently. Wouldn’t let her…just…rest.

      There was a knock at the door.

      ‘Sadia…’

      A turn of the handle.

      ‘Honey…are you okay?’

      The door started to open…

      ‘I’m drawing.’

      …then stopped halfway, coupled with a sorry.

      ‘It’s half past twelve.’

      ‘I know, I’m up.’

      There was a pause before the next words.

      ‘Lunch is downstairs when you’re ready.’

      ‘Okay.’

      ‘Getting cold.’

      ‘I’ll be there soon.’

      The door closed and the room reverted to miserable again.

+++

      ‘If she’s really been hexed, which I doubt she has.’

      ‘She has, really.’

      ‘Said who?’

      ‘The Oregon witch, found out last week and hexed her. Said something like-…fuck, what did she say again? Defences?’

      ‘Not buying it.’

      ‘Ah, that’s it. Cos she’s normal, or a sceptic…’

      ‘Witchcraft is a scam. Full of militant occultists.’

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 32: Hidden Plath

+++

Emerging El Topo-like outside, I took in the pharmacy opposite, counted out half the queue then walked left down the street until I found a collection of bus stops. The giant FRESNO GRAPE FEST poster stamped on the shelter[flanked by smaller versions promoting the same event] had some effect, but not enough to stop my finger running through the route listing. Herndon. Tarpey. Inspiration Park. Gordon. Most of the names were just empty signifiers, but there was one route with Wild Cat Lane – final stop, Prather – so I sat down, put my bag on the chipped part of the bench and waited.

      The bus took a while.

      More than a while.

      Half an hour and not one stopped, not even by accident.

      I stretched out my legs, almost clipping a woman passing by.

      Behind me, a waitress from the REAL THAI YEAH takeaway spot I’d been tempted to try earlier, shouted, ‘green curry, tom yung soup,’ seemingly on loop.

      Nope, not looking that way.

      Or at my shoes.

      Where else?

      Back down the street, opposite the video caffé, two VR plazas vied for attention; one white and minimalist, clearly a franchise, and the other visibly on its last legs. Visibly cos the biggest poster in the window was a fading MARS OR MEH, a game so old even my mum knew it.

      All the other shopps were either garish, foreign restaurrants or minor tech stores selling shit like patch cleaners and earphones.

      I pulled my legs back in, making space for the sudden rush of people traffic.

      This was Fresno then.

      Or one street in it.

      Not exactly Osaka or Ljubljana.

      More like a place holder, a rough sketch, do-for-now city waiting for its upgrade to arrive. Which, under the adventurist system, would probably take about half a millennium.

      No wonder Sadia wanted to leave.

      Was that too harsh?

      Maybe.

      The video caffé was okay…a bit extreme on the 80’s retro…but not unbearable.

      And there was that Puppet Master 2 poster…

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 57: Dracula, Minus The Mist

~~~

[Author’s Note]

After just over a year and 57 chapters, this serial has finally reached an end.

Could probably go on for another 100 or so chapters – you can pretty much make drama out of anything if you put your brain to it – but this feels like the right place to stop.

Just like in Destiny [the Fritz Lang film], character decisions have been made. But no arcs cos I don’t really believe in them. Both Sila and Joanna could regress at any moment. Follow a dark mood or a charitable one. Like any of us.

Hopefully, the plot/character actions weren’t too explicit. I did model it on films like Spirit of The Beehive where a lot of things are left unsaid. Gotta pay attention to details, work a little bit as a reader. And me as a writer. Some chapters really took me to the brink, especially the alien planet parts. How do you make something feel genuinely alien? By drawing black squares, obviously.

Future-wise, I’ll go back through and edit everything and then put the whole 173,000 word novel up as a free PDF. At some point. I have a feeling the early chapters need some trimming. The manic flow of the thing has to be sorted out too, don’t want it to be too exhausting, and it should only shoot off in frenetic directions at the right times. I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case as it stands right now.

Quite a bit to do then.

In the meantime, there’s still Void Galaxia, the other serial on the site.

A mix of sci-fi and experimental. Or experimental hidden in the costume of a sci-fi serial. It’s up to Chapter 31 at the moment, which is around halfway, and the second half is by far my favourite.

And in 2023, another serial…Dah Station 7. That one could run on for hundreds of chapters as it’s my Star Trek analogue. 27 chapters already written. 5 volumes outlined.

Also, I’m not much of a self-promoter, but all of my books are on this site, with a free PDF to read if you don’t have the cash to buy the paperback.

For sci-fi, try Planet Rasputin.

For pure lunacy, try KRV.

For sleaze and castle dynamics, try Castle Damijana.

For bleak/blunt autofiction, try Charcoal.

Thanks to anyone who made it this far.

Oli

~~~

Now for the final chapter…

Continue reading

[Void Galaxia] Chapter 31: Only Guy With Time For Puppet Master 2

+++

Tsukubashi-faced [but without the Oort Cloud paranoia], I watched the waitress walk back to the counter, the notepad almost slipping out of her hand either from fatigue or job apathy.

      What did she mean by the girlfriend thing? Did she know why I was here? Had Sadia come in and told her about me? Warned her?

      I picked up the menu again and stared at the overly-saturated pie pics, putting my doubts as caption bubbles nearby.

      She doesn’t know, it’s impossible. I mean, how could she? Sadia always came here, so technically it wouldn’t be impossible but… telling a waitress about some guy she was talking to online…that was just silly.

      But what about the girlfriend comment?

      I lifted the menu to almost eye level and did a slow pivot to the counter, performing a covert study. Kuso, she was actually quite pretty…the basics of her…but, facially, absolutely exhausted. Eyebags like…something…dark commas…apostrophes flipped on the side. Fuck, how long was her shift? Four months? And the other staff member, the tall guy, looked even worse. Like he hadn’t slept in a full calendar year.

      The waitress glanced up, just to the left of me, forcing a deft redirect to a booth nearby.

      Sitting there, very straight, was a man wearing a tartan scarf, on his own, eating unidentified pie. Not even the slightest bit interested in the Beverly Hills Cop poster on the wall next to him. Or the other 80’s filmn posters plastered up everywhere else.

      Swatting away the word hypocrite, I looked at the poster on my own wall and tutted. Puppet Master 2. I knew that one. Had watched it on GENTE+ one time, drunk, at three in the morning. The drilling puppet and the one in the revealing dress that vomited up leeches. Fairly decent animatronics, too.

      Beneath the poster was a selection of cut out reviews, printed and pasted up: Leech woman exits way too early. Chemical in puppets doesn’t make sense. Frustratingly inconsistent: sometimes they’re invincible, other times UN military.

      My memory was a little hazy, but I did remember the drilling puppet getting stamped on pretty easily. Was that what happened? If Sadia were around, I could ask her. She’d probably sat in the same seat at some point, read the same reviews. Elbows on this table, Nordic-pixie face in the same airspace as mine. Surrounded by men too shy to come and talk to her cos she was too pretty and too introverted and too-…

      The beeping device on the door rang, pulling me back.

Continue reading