Plugs

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Archive for the ‘Anan Muss’ Category

China Girl

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Note: This story, while it stands alone, belongs to the Anan Muss series.

Anan Muss was careful, but not so careful he didn’t make mistakes (after all, a legion of King Ash’s slitters once sliced arc-blades at his head on every quantum-entanglement port).   Anan’s caution primarily meant it took longer to do simple tasks–as if his brain had rocketed to light-speed, slowing down his time, relative to others’.  Washing, ironing, and folding laundry usually cost him a weekend, even with robots. Cleaning his apartment required a week’s vacation.

Love was trickier.  Courtship lasted eons:  a month or more to muster the courage to ask ladies to the aquarium theater, to talk intimately and walk the hanging orchid gardens, yet another month to kiss beneath bridges by the canals, and a year later to fall hopelessly in love.  The year after that might have been marriage, he supposed, but women rarely waited long enough for him to ask them out.

Luckily, the second-generation AI ladies appeared in Japan.  All the shy lads wanted one.  By design, quantities were low, demand high.  One would have cost his year’s accounting salary.

So Anan mail-ordered one of those borderline real phonies made in China.  His fingers trembled as he unwrapped her.  Her skin–a soft, off-ivory–accentuated her raven-black hair.  His heart wanted to gallop away, but he reined it in.  She accepted his hand and stepped out of the box, “Am I not beautiful?”

Caught off-guard, yet ever poetic, Anan sought the right words:  “Yes…. I mean, no…. I mean, you are beautiful.”

“Love me, and I will be whomever you want.”

“Being yourself is plenty although contents may settle, like cereal in a box.”

“And you will be whomever I want you to be.”

“Sure.  Within the limits of my present brain pattern.”

She laid plans of their future together.  He said he hoped she would have patient understanding, be someone he could share words with, someone who’d sharpen him gently, someone who would challenge and accept challenge.  “That’s exactly who I am,” she said, mentioning her unparalleled poetic sensibility.

As he painted her a porcelain love poem, he spoke of this inane idea he’d had of dating women virtually–not for love per se, but to understand women better.

He handed her his poem:

Laxity in

love milks

the black


swell of

twisted minutes

into hours

She shattered the porcelain and stalked away.  “I have no time for words.”

“She’s right.”  Anan sifted through the broken chips.  “It’s not much of a love poem.”

Hypocrite Écrivain, Hypocrite Lecteur: a Letter to the Editors of DailyCabal.com

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Note: This fictional creative-nonfiction comments on the underlying aspect in the Anan Muss series [click this link].

Dear editors,

Since its christening, I have faithfully read your zine. Its vessel has at times thrust itself into amazing worlds and has at times scraped its barnacled hull through narrow wormholes. SF Poet Anan Muss, however, has shipwrecked and should no longer captain your masthead (or even swab the decks).

His themes tend to be Darwinist variations on the idealistically fit who are actually unfit because of their idealistic naïveté, which causes them to be buffeted by the supposedly unfit (according to standards humanity claims to uphold) but who are truly fit because they obey an unspoken social Darwinism. While the themes should disturb the blithe and, indeed, deserve to be heard, it appears the poet himself does not abide by his implicit ideals: All have worth and ought to be treated as such.

Last year, I paid to attend a benefit for the SF Poet Society because Anan, a man of self-purportedly high principle, was the guest of horror–pardon, honor–teleported in from Jac-Sun V. He spent the late afternoon swilling a dozen Chardonnay and swallowing more than his share of salmon. Many tried to discuss literature, to stroke his ego discussing his work. He actually glared when I brought up his thematic disposition. He had eyes and words only for a third-rate poetess a third his age. One might surmise where he spent that night.

I do hope you’ll take a billy club and knock that man between his lustful, blue-speckled eyes.

Humbly yours,

Nobody the Poet

#

Dear Nobody,

Thank you for writing. My first reaction is “That’s not me.” But how many times have we gazed in the mirror–especially as we age–and been deluged in a self agnosia?

I could make excuses: Dionysia dissed me again, and I desired revenge (but that’s petty and not me). You or whoever else appeared sycophantic (but that’s egotistical since we all start somewhere). My only hope lies–hope springs–in misperception:

1) It wasn’t me you saw, or

2) you saw me but my mind was elsewhere (if we trust your version, we cannot but be disappointed in any writer who claims objectivity, to see all angles, to peer into the hearts of all characters with equanimity), or

3) my identity was mistranslated through quantum entanglement–maybe the distance between a good person and a bad takes very little leap (a quantum leap, if you will–another perennial concern).

You do realize your perspective is hopelessly idealistic: Most would merely blink after getting kicked in the teeth by someone bigger than they. That is why I thanked you. People should hold more mirrors and, using their senses, stand up to their own standards.

Bless you, dear poet of incorporeality. Let’s pray the slitters made his death excruciating.

Anan

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