[Void Galaxia] Chapter 41: The Lake Arrowhead Experience


      Fifty-four years ago, in a Ljubljana barr…


      ‘So fucking tired of all this cowshit, comrade. Nobody listens to philosophers anymore. Nobody cares about cultural theory or Hegel or Bōl or Kapok or anything. Why do we bother? I could’ve been an architect. Could’ve redesigned this whole pocket city, but no, no, I chose the insanity path. Cultural theory. Who beyond Allah has time for that? Ah, I know, I know, English graduates, reams of them. Infinite chutes pumping them straight out into my seminars. Honest talk, comrade, you have no idea how small the philosophy circle truly is…no idea how wankish it is. How chok. Sorry, Cantonese word, my fault.’

      The comrade took a sip of his cranberry juice and told Žižek not to worry, there were always ways to become relevant.

       ‘Yes, I know. I could go on TV, say something provocative. Get my dick out and-…’

       ‘No, not that.’

      ‘What then?’

       The comrade smiled. ‘Movies.’

       ‘Huh? Make movies?’

      ‘No, talk about them. Write about them. The proles watch movies, you analyse them through a theoretical lens, there’s your relevance.’

      Žižek stroked his chin and nodded.

      ‘Also,’ added the comrade, staring at Žižek’s chin. ‘Grow a beard. A giant one.’


‘And spit more.’



      One year later, after taking a stab at Die Hard and the comfort of crisis, Žižek broke out of the small [wankish] circle of philosophy and became an international luminary.

       In the same barr, with a bear-like beard, he told his old comrade he was a genius.

      ‘It was a simple idea, really,’ replied the comrade, stirring his cranberry juice. ‘I’m just glad I could help.’

      ‘No, not you…me. It was my idea if you recall.’

      ‘Fairly certain it wasn’t.’

      ‘What, do you not remember? You said, movie reviews are interesting, then I said, ja, why don’t I analyse movies? And then you said, ja, it could be a good idea.’

      ‘I remember it quite differently.’

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 40: Nostalgia In A Bucket


‘…after the double strike of Post Office and Dead Bitch On Pluto, an ageing Stahl abandoned LA and moved out permanently to the Ray Chandler lakes, lighting a match on his career comeback just as it was about to fizzle out anyway.

In the years since, there have been sightings, rumours and little else. E-mails are sent and not replied to. Phone calls are unanswered. Agents have even gone so far as to visit his new housse, but are always left sweating on the doorstep, waiting on a disheveled mess that never materialises.

Some people say he’s taking a rest. Others claim, more realistically considering the history of H-wood, that he’s had a nervous breakdown. Stephanie Clattenburg, his close friend and former director, believes he’s just sitting at home, learning French, watching old episodes of Stargate.

It might be true.

After all, actors are rich enough to do that and nothing else, and Stahl did miss his entire childhood.

But, for most of the movie industry, the question still remains: just what the Bōlian hell has happened to Nick Stahl?’

The star that extinguished itself, Ho-Watch online, August, 2035


Things were cold yet comfortable on the ski lift, though Lexi was only covered by her Tenebrae t-shirt

and I was in shorts

but it was better than Juana, who was still crawling up the slope

in that yellow jumpsuit

and every time we tried to shout encouragement down at her

Ryu would pop up on the second tier of the lift and tell us to stop cos

‘it’s only real help if you get off and carry her

and neither of you is that good.’

He was right.

so right that as soon as he said it, I was off the lift and on the slope

crawling next to the Mexican psychopath

and when I told her to get on my back, she laughed

held up a spoon and

dug it deep into my calf and


Lexi help, she’s

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 39: Artificially Psychotic



on the back of a neck, license plate

scalp off

spoon dipped in and

suplex yellow eyes


no sign of struggle or

Tenebrae shirt

on the floor

it’s okay, I’ve got the meds

don’t stop


here with me short-term

Nightmare Castle

absorb Portuguese juntos

you can be my

Adjani screams collapsed in on the words.

Lights at the screen ahead. Blue dress woman bleeding milk and blood from all orifices. In a Metro with zero commuters, zero life, zero

Wait, I know this.

This filmn.

Isabella Adjani and the-

My eyes adjusted.

I did a full circle with my head, taking in the wine glasses on the floor, the non-moving fan on the ceiling, the projection screen putting out Possession.

Kuso, it wasn’t a dream, this was-

A sleeve appeared from my left, pulling me back down.

‘Lexi…’ I said, checking the doorway behind and almost falling off the couch when I saw the Mexican cannibal poet leaning against the frame, eyes glaring yellow.

‘Are you awake?’ she asked, in the strangest tone.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 38: Milk On The Metro Walls


Lexi opened one eye and mouthed foda at the box with MACA stamped on the side.


Corridor floor?

Planet MACA??

It took a second eye to confirm that she wasn’t in any of those places, and then a quick backward scan to understand that Mark was tucked in behind, hand on her stomach, dick resting flaccid against the back of her thigh.

Ah, the store room.

Sofa bed.

She pushed off her share of the covers and sat up, looking at the door to the left. Then down at the floor, where their clothes were.

The connecting memory brought with it a sharp jab, forcing her hands up to both temples, grinding into the bone pocket.

Images of Mark on top of her screened inside.

Then her on top of him.

Swaying back and forth.

Hair clutching.

Inane dialogue.

‘Like that.’

‘I can see it going in.’

‘Where are the tissues?’

‘You should stay longer, move in with me.’

‘Is this sofa clean?’

‘What’s that mark on your knee?’

‘Foda foda foda foda foda…’

She reached down for her loyal Tenebrae t-shirt and put it on, then looked back at her new Japanese-Scouse lover. Boyfriend. Temporary sex partner. Ship in the shortest of nights.

Something in her brain told her it wasn’t right.

This isn’t really him.

This isn’t really you.

And she tried to push it away, throw it off a cliff, drown it in the sea, but it was insistent and when she pictured again the scenes from the night before, it wasn’t her playing the female role, it was someone else, someone with the same dark skin, a Brazilian model, speaking fluent Japanese, fluent Portuguese, fluent Slovene, fluent…

‘You getting up?’

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[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.


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.


‘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.’


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…’

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.


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[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.


      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.’


      ‘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.’

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[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?


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

      And there was that Puppet Master 2 poster…

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