SG Radio feat. Clive Barker, Mark Miller, and Thomas Negovan
Oct 2013 03

SG Radio feat. Clive Barker, Mark Miller, and Thomas Negovan  

Posted In All Things SG,Art,Blog,Books,Comics,Entertainment,Fiction,Movies

by Blogbot

This Thursday, October 3rd on SuicideGirls Radio, hosts Nicole Powers and Juturna Suicide will be joined on the phone by writer, filmmaker and artist Clive Barker, and in studio by the Vice President of his Seraphim production company Mark Miller. Art historian, author, and bon vivant Thomas Negovan of the Century Guild gallery will also be joining us to talk about Barker’s forthcoming exhibition, which he is in the process of curating.

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading naked radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

***

About Clive Barker

A visionary, fantasist, poet and painter, Clive Barker has expanded the reaches of human imagination as a novelist, director, screenwriter and dramatist. An inveterate seeker who traverses between myriad styles with ease, Barker has left his indelible artistic mark on a range of projects that reflect his creative grasp of contemporary media — from familiar literary terrain to the progressive vision of his Seraphim production company. His 1998 Gods and Monsters, which he executive produced, garnered three Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The following year, Barker joined the ranks of such illustrious authors as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Annie Dillard and Aldous Huxley when his collection of literary works was inducted into the Perennial line at HarperCollins, who then published The Essential Clive Barker, a 700-page anthology with an introduction by Armistead Maupin.

Barker began his odyssey in the London theatre, scripting original plays for his group The Dog Company, including The History of the Devil, Frankenstein in Love and Crazyface. Soon, Barker began publishing his The Books of Blood short fiction collections; but it was his debut novel, The Damnation Game, that widened his already growing international audience.

Barker shifted gears in 1987 when he directed Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, which became a veritable cult classic spawning a slew of sequels, several lines of comic books, and an array of merchandising. In 1990, he adapted and directed Nightbreed from his short story Cabal. Two years later, Barker executive produced the housing-project story Candyman, as well as the 1995 sequel, Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh. Also that year, he directed Scott Bakula and Famke Janssen in the noir-esque detective tale, Lord of Illusions.

Barker’s literary works include such best-selling fantasies as Weaveworld, Imajica, and Everville, the children’s novel The Thief of Always, Sacrament, Galilee and Coldheart Canyon. The first of his quintet of children’s books, Abarat, was published in October 2002 to resounding critical acclaim, followed by Abarat II: Days of Magic, Nights of War and Arabat III: Absolute Midnight. Barker is currently completing the fourth in the series. As an artist, Barker frequently turns to the canvas to fuel his imagination with hugely successful exhibitions across America. His neo-expressionist paintings have been showcased in two large format books, Clive Barker, Illustrator, volumes I & II.

About Mark Miller

As the Vice President of Seraphim, Mark Alan Miller writes, produces, and directs original content alongside master of horror Clive Barker.

Mark has been working as a writer since 2005 when he started as a columnist for OCWeekly. It was this that landed him the position of assistant editor on Barker’s recently released Novel Abarat: Absolute Midnight, for which he also directed the promotional trailer.

Since 2009, Miller has been shepherding the release of the director’s cut of Barker’s classic film Nightbreed. During that time, Miller has acted as producer on an in-house cut of Barker’s movie, which has garnered worldwide interest, and been featured in magazines such as Fangoria, Rue Morgue, and Empire magazine, and was just named TotalFilm‘s 14th best extended cut of all time.

Currently, he is editing Barker’s much-anticipated The Scarlet Gospels. His work can also be seen in the bestselling Boom! Studios comic book, Hellraiser, as well as the newly released Next Testament.

About Thomas Negovan / Century Guild

Century Guild was established in 1999 and has curated objects and artworks now on permanent display in a number of museums including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Detroit Institute of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The gallery moved to Culver City in December, 2012 and specializes in works from the Art Nouveau era through the Weimar Republic. Century Guild is located at 6150 Washington Blvd in Culver City, five blocks West of the Helms Bakery in the heart of the Arts District. For information on current and upcoming shows visit centuryguild.net/

**UPDATE**

ICYMI: This week’s show featuring author, filmmaker and artist Clive Barker, Mark Miller (the Vice President of Barker’s Seraphim production company), and Thomas Negovan of the Century Guild (who is curating an exhibition of Barker’s work).



Video streaming by Ustream

<b>SG Radio’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party feat. Gail Potocki, Thomas Negovan, and Juturna and Moon Suicide</b>
Aug 2013 14

SG Radio’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party feat. Gail Potocki, Thomas Negovan, and Juturna and Moon Suicide  

Posted In All Things SG,Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction,SG Radio

by Blogbot

This Thursday, August 15th on SuicideGirls Radio we invite you to join us for a rather curious Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Hosts Nicole Powers, Juturna and Moon Suicide will be joined in-studio by world-renowned artist Gail Potocki, and art historian, author and bon vivant Thomas Negovan of the Century Guild.

Potocki’s upcoming Century Guild show, entitled Fragmented Alice, offers a decidedly modern perspective on Alice in Wonderland, and uses the archetypes of Lewis Carroll’s characters to explore the way that we experience the fluid nature of time and its passing

In anticipation of the event, we’ve persuaded the Queen of Hearts to bake some tarts, and will be serving fortified tea in exceedingly clean cups. So don your top hats, Alice bands, and best tea party attire, and don’t be late for this very important date!

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading BYOB radio show live on Thursday nights from 6 til 8 PM at our new state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com/LA.

You’ll also be able to listen to our podcasts via Stitcherdownload the app now!

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Fragmented Alice opens on August 17th at 7 PM at the Century Guild in Culver City, and runs through the closing night event on September 21, 2013. For more information call 1-800-610-CENTURY or visit centuryguild.net.

**UPDATE**

ICYMI: Last night’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with artist Gail Potocki, bon vivant Thomas Negovan of Century Guild, and hosts Juturna Suicide and Nicole Powers.



Video streaming by Ustream

<b>SuicideGirls: Lupus in Fabula</b>
Dec 2012 24

SuicideGirls: Lupus in Fabula  

Posted In All Things SG,Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction

A very special winter’s tale (with a frosty bite in it) written by Robert Ropars for SuicideGirls feat. Gogo, Lass, Sash, and Radeo.


[Above: Gogo Suicide in Mononoke]

On a dark and bitterly cold winter night in Scotland, snow fell and the wind howled. Several members of the SuicideGirls headed north from Dumfries to the massive Forest of Ae. As they traveled along the A701, Lass, Gogo, Sash and Radeo shared coffee while they laughed, sang and tried to stay warm.

Lass was somewhat familiar with the area, but Gogo helped navigate with both a map and her phone’s GPS. She frowned and turned the map around and back again while taking a drag on a cigarette. Lass reached out and Gogo passed it to her. Lass refocused on the road, took a drag and exhaled. Gogo meanwhile repositioned the map so it made better sense and saw they were near their next turn.

“A few more miles than turn left onto Hillview. It’s just before the river…the…Water of Ae? Seriously? The Forest of Ae? The Water of Ae? What’s next, the Village of Ae?”

Lass smiled as she took another drag and handed the cigarette back to her friend.

“Follow Hillview up from the highway.” Lass continued to smile and reached for her coffee.

Gogo traced her finger along Hillview which ran north from the A701 and parallel to the river known as the Water of Ae.

“Fuck me….Ae Village…Not too original around these parts. Where’s the Hill of Ae? Are we staying at the B&B of Ae?”

Radeo was asleep; her head resting on Sash’s left shoulder. Sash smiled at the conversation in the front and drank her own coffee. She moved slowly and carefully so as not to wake Radeo.

Lass turned briefly to Gogo as they turned onto Hillview.

“I told you were staying at a friend of the family’s cabin in the woods. Our guide is waiting to take us there and we’ll have all weekend to shoot.”

Gogo frowned at Lass and looked out her passenger window at the water. It glistened sporadically as the light of the full moon was obscured by the winter storm. She sighed, at least it was going to be a quiet weekend, but the snow seemed to fall faster now and she worried about being trapped in the cabin. A cabin deep in a huge forest in the middle nowhere.

As Gogo turned to look at the road which was less traveled than the main road they had just left, she could see the snow had started to make things messy and Lass had some trouble keeping the car steady. To relax she drank some coffee, finished the cigarette, and again looked at the map. She used a small flashlight to hunt for interesting village names and realized that the Forest of Ae was massive and the nearest cities were miles in every direction. She felt decidedly less relaxed and sighed.

Gogo looked back at the road ahead illuminated by their rental car’s headlights. With a glance at the map, she estimated that they were passing Crow Wood which lay opposite the road on the other side of the river. Unseen in the snowy darkness beyond and north of Crow Wood stood Wood Hill From the map it appeared to be a large hill and she made a mental note that they should check it out in the morning. Ahead she could just make out lights which had to be Ae Village as it finally came into view.

Sash gently woke Radeo who stretched and yawned before rubbing her eyes.

“Are we there yet?” Radeo asked with an impish grin.

The other three turned and looked at her and smiled.

“Well I guess someone had to say it at some point,” said Sash. She gave Radeo a kiss, handed her some coffee and a cigarette all of which she accepted gratefully. Radeo briefly remembered a video they had made together a few years ago for the site and felt much less cold.

“We’re coming into the village now. The guide should be waiting for us at the pub,” Lass said.

The girls stretched and started to gather their stuff together.

*****

As they entered the tiny village of Ae, they were all happy to have reached their destination as the wind and snow had increased noticeably. Lass checked her phone and scrolled to the text message she’d received the day before.

“There should be a small pub on the left by a parking lot…there it is, the Elephant & Tower.”

She drove past the pub and parked in its nearly empty lot. As they got out, their footsteps scrunched in the wet snow that was already nearly an inch thick. They gathered themselves up and fought the cutting wind all the way to the pub. Though it wasn’t that far away, the winter weather made it seem to take much longer.

The wind caught the door as they pulled it open and it slammed against the exterior with a thud. They struggled to pull the heavy wooden door back into position and enter simultaneously. The bartender and a handful of patrons all stared in disgust at the blast of cold air and snow that accompanied the four girls into the pub.

All four scanned the room, saw a massive stone fireplace and practically fell over each other to get to it. They shivered while they stamped their feet and quickly recovered with the heat of the fire. The smell of smoke, the popping and crackling of the wood was comforting to them. The people in the pub returned to their drinks and except for the bartender paid them no further attention.

Lass approached the bartender, ordered drinks for them, and asked if Angus was there. The bartender looked at Lass and the others with a mixture of wonder and amusement. They were without a doubt the oddest group to visit their small village in his memory. Tattoos and piercings weren’t a common site in Ae, in particular on a lady. He felt sure he would remember this day for a long time. From behind him a throat cleared and reminded him that his wife as usual was unamused.

“Aye. That’s Angus in the corner. But what business could ye four have with ‘im?”

“We’re with the SuicideGirls. We’re going to shoot each other at my friend’s cabin in the woods.”

With that Lass scooped up the drinks with a wink and lead the other three to the table in the far corner.

“What did she say?” asked the bartender’s wife.

Crossing himself he turned to her and hugged her.

“They’re planning to shoot themselves in the woods. One of them suicide pacts you read about online.”

She looked in horror at the four girls who seemed happy as could be. Sash caught her eye and smiled.

“Shouldn’t we call someone?”

“Woman it’s not our business what strangers do outside our village. Say your prayers tonight that God enlightens them, but we won’t mention them again after they leave.”

“Aye.” The bartender’s wife crossed herself and muttered as she walked into the kitchen.

Meanwhile the four approached the man in the corner table. He was tall, bearded and had a face that seemed to consist of more wrinkles than anything else.

“Are you Angus?”

The man who had been eyeing them since they entered nodded.

“I’m Lass, that’s Gogo, she’s Sash and that’s Radeo.”

He looked from one to the next with no visible reaction. He might have just reviewed livestock at the county fair.

“So we’re anxious to get to the cabin before the storm picks up much worse. Is it far?”

“Yes…and no. Sit and finish your drinks while I finish mine. There’s plenty of time before it’s too late. Can tell by how my knee feels.” He patted his right knee while he spoke.

The girls looked at one another, shrugged and sat down to drink their ale. It helped warm their insides so they didn’t have much reason to argue.

“Are you four sure you want to stay at that cabin…in those woods. On a night like this of all nights.”

“The cabin belongs to a friend of my family. Well belonged. She passed a few years ago.” Lass paused to take another sip of her drink.

“Is that so?” The fire in the hearth behind them cast all manner of shadows over him. They crawled like fingers over his cragged facial features.

“Yes. It’s a small place as you know, but perfect for our needs. How far a drive is it from here?”

“Drive? Not far, few minutes from here is a place to park. Rest of the way you need to go on foot. There’s not much of a path so I’ll take you there and you call me when you’re ready to leave.”

“Can we go soon? We’re anxious to get settled before the storm gets worse.”

The man eyed them each in turn.

“You do know about the wolf.”

Gogo paused as she lit a fresh cigarette, one brow raised.

“Wolf?” Gogo’s totem was the wolf so she was all ears. Radeo and Sash each paused drinking and stared nervously at the man.

“It’s just a fairy story…” Lass smiled at the man with a look that barely hid the condescension in her voice.

“NO!” He yelled and the entire place fell quiet and turned to stare at the far table. For a few moments only the sound of the wind as it howled through various cracks and crevices in the old pub could be heard.

“It is no fairy story lass. It was the wolf that killed your lady friend. She was dragged into the forest from that very cabin never to be seen again. The only trace was a trail of blood and torn clothes and wolf tracks larger than any seen before or since.”

Lass grabbed a freshly lit cigarette from Radeo, took a drag and exhaled.

“My father told me she died in an accident while hiking.”

“Your father didn’t want to scare his wee daughter it sounds like. I’m asking you again, will you change your mind.”

Lass took another drag and through slowly blown smoke made eye contact with each of them. She suddenly smiled.

“I’m game. I still think it’s just a story and how exciting to be shooting in a scary place in the woods, with a wolf on the prowl.” Gogo laughed as she pronounced “wolf” with a “v” sound.

“I see you’re as obstinate as your family friend. I had to warn you. Get your things and let’s go at once so I can return to this warm fire as soon as possible.”

With a nod to the pub owner and his wife, he lead the girls out of the pub and into the strong wind and snow. They finished their cigarettes quickly and jumped into their car. The man started his car and they followed him south out of the village on a small road and then turned west on another.

Soon their lights panned across some buildings as the road ended and a driveway ran in front of them. He led them to the far end and stopped. They did the same and got out and gathered their backpacks and other luggage. After a few minutes they were ready and followed him along a faint path.

Despite the full moon above and their flashlights, they were barely able to see thirty or forty feet in any direction. The man moved with speed and confidence, clearly he knew the way. Within fifteen minutes, the path bent northwest and they soon approached a wall of trees. Soon they followed the dark path and the trees above hid the moon from them.

They shivered both from the cold and the trees creaked in the wind. They struggled to keep up and manage their belongings as their guide moved almost too fast. Occasionally, and with great irritation, he paused so they could catch up.

After ninety minutes, he stopped and pointed ahead. They all stood and stared into the darkness and at first saw nothing. Then one by one they realized that in the inky black ahead was a small clearing and cabin was barely visible in silhouette against the trees behind it.

“Your castle awaits ladies. The key is under the mat.”

“You’re not coming in?”

“It’s late and the snow is falling faster. I must turn back.”

The girls looked at each other nervously but what could they do? The man tipped his hat and turned without another word and soon faded from sight behind them. They started forward again as they shivered and their hearts raced. It seemed to take a long time to reach the cabin, unlock the door and get inside. But at last they were safe.

*****

Hours later, the girls were huddled in front of a roaring fire as they drank coffee, shared cigarettes and shivered. Though the cabin was sturdy, the wind outside was still able to rattle the doors and windows. Lass had brought some marshmallows and they dipped them into the flames, let them ignite, slowly burn and blew them out when they were nice and crispy.

“I haven’t had roasted marshmallows in years,” said Radeo.

“So good,” Sash said with a smile as she consumed another one.

Gogo stood and headed towards the kitchen to grab a bottle of wine. She selected a red and as she started to turn she glanced out the window over the sink. A security light on the rear of the house did its best to illuminate the small back yard and dense pack of trees that filled the view beyond. Gogo felt a pang of fear and stared at the trees directly out from the window. She had thought she’d seen a shadowy figure move behind a tree and out of view.

She waited and saw nothing but snow whipped on the wind and the branches of trees that swayed like giant arms with long bony fingers. After a few moments, she convinced herself her imagination had gotten the best of her. Gogo looked to her left she saw a door that lead from the end of the kitchen to the back yard. She walked over, turned the deadbolt and fastened the chain lock. Now that she felt more secure she returned to the main room, bottle in hand. Outside, one of the shadows between the trees moved quickly and against the wind.

“What took you so long?” Lass saw something odd in Gogo’s face.

“It’s nothing… I spooked myself. I thought I saw someone in the woods, but it was just shadows.”

The words had barely left her full lips when the sound of the wind was drowned out by a sudden, unearthly howl that vibrated in their chests. The four girls looked at each other with wide eyes.

“What the fuck was that?” Radeo stood and started to pace nervously.

“The wind?” Sash sounded like she didn’t believe herself.

“You’re right, what else…”

Another howl erupted from somewhere in the woods but closer. It was unmistakably the howl of a wolf. Though none had ever actually heard a wolf howl in the wild it sounded like it was coming from something enormous. They huddled together by the hearth in the center of the room as every sound seemed magnified a hundred times.

“Is there a weapon in this place?” Radeo tried to think logically.

Before anyone could answer, they heard a crash and loud noises from the woods beyond the front door. As they clung to each other, Gogo’s curiosity got the better of her. She broke from the others, put down the wine bottle she still had in her grasp, and slowly approached the front door.

“Gogo get back here!” Lass was terrified and didn’t really want to know what was outside the front door.

Gogo made her way to the door and then slowly inched over to the one window on the front of the cabin. It was small and to the left of the front door. Slowly her left eye passed the edge of the window and she could see the front yard. As in the back, a single security light cut through the darkness. She could see heavy snowfall, the surrounding trees and the full moon barely visible in the distance just above the tree tops.

Nothing else seemed to move and she felt relieved when she saw something strange. The ground was covered with several inches of snow undisturbed like a blanket in front of the house. But there was something else. A set of large tracks came from the woods almost out of view to the right. Gogo felt fear rise again inside her and her heart started to race. The tracks lead to the front of the house to the right and ended out of view. She took a step back and froze when she heard what sounded like a growl and movement along the narrow porch.

She turned to her terrified friends and pointed to the front door and said quietly “There’s something out there.”

All three stared past her as their eyes grew wider and Lass screamed.

Gogo’s head whipped around to see a massive black wolf’s head in the window. Its fangs exposed, it had the look of a hungry smile. Gogo stumbled backward and the wolf’s head arced back and let out another howl. Now much closer to them, they covered their ears and screamed. Gogo made it back to them and they huddled together as the wolf finished, turned once more to them and darted past the window out of sight.

“What do we do?” Radeo shivered and Sash held her tightly.

Gogo and Lass looked at each other and shrugged.

“We stay in here where it’s warm and safe.”

A sudden bang from the rear of the house made them all jump and scream. Something had just struck the back door, but the solid wood appeared to hold. From the darkness, another howl erupted and seemed to swirl in the wind around them. For the next few minutes they heard scratches, thuds and more howls all around and above them.

They then heard sounds from the front porch that came to a stop outside the front door. They thought they could hear the massive wolf sniff around the frame and they began to back away through the room to the kitchen. They had to stop and cover their ears as another ear-shattering howl shook the room. This was followed by a heavy thud against the front door.

The wolf charged and battered the front door and they scrambled into the kitchen to find a weapon or escape out the back into the woods if needed. Before they could say or do anything, the front door crashed open. Gogo couldn’t help but peek around the corner and saw a giant black wolf in the doorway, steam coming from its nostrils. Bitterly cold wind and snow burst through the room around it.

At that moment, the back door burst open and someone entered in a rush. It was Angus with a large axe in his right hand.

“I told you girls not to come here. Just like your friend. She wouldn’t listen either and I had to make her leave.”

The girls’ brief excitement to see him quickly faded. His last words hung in the icy air and frightened them. His eyes turned completely black and as he smiled a mouth full of fangs was exposed.

“I thought I took care of her that night, but she got away. Tonight I’m going to take care of her once and for all. These are my woods not hers. But first, I’m going to deal with you four.”

As they watched, his hair grew longer and his features altered until before them stood a man that was a wolf, but still a man. His height and muscles had both increased and he towered over them. He let out a howl and lifted his axe. The girls screamed and turned to be confronted by the black wolf. It stood in the doorway with hackles raised, ears down low, and massive fangs exposed. The girls were trapped and hugged each other tightly.

The wolf ran towards them and Lass who was closest screamed. Without thinking, Gogo pushed her friend away and swung at its face with a fist. The beast was too fast for her and caught her hand in its jaws. Gogo screamed and the wolf locked eyes with her. Gogo felt a stabbing pain and then a sudden rush of heat running through her entire body. She collapsed and the wolf released her hand. The others rushed to her and looked from one attacker to the other. The wolf turned its head to one side seemingly confused and then turned to the man wolf with a growl.

He had watched all of this with apparent glee and barked at the wolf. The wolf braced itself and launched at the man wolf. They collided and fell through the open rear door and into the yard. Sash ran and watched the epic battle rage back and forth and then into the woods. For a few minutes they could all hear crashes and howls from the darkness.

Then a violent shriek filled the air. Sash watched as a figure emerged from the woods. The man wolf walked towards them, axe slung on his right shoulder and she could see he carried something in his left hand. Sash backed away and joined the girls on the floor by Gogo. A moment later he entered, covered in blood, terrible wounds and torn clothing. He put the axe down and smiled as he lifted the bloody head he carried.

Lass screamed as she saw the dead eyes of her family’s friend and gaping mouth. Angus threw the head at them and it landed just beyond and bounced across the floor. The girls cried and screamed as the man picked up his axe.

“Now where were we? I’ve worked up such an appetite.”

Gogo’s eyes snapped open and she gasped. The girls turned to her in shock as she sat up. The man paused in confusion and watched with anger as Gogo changed before all of them. Her eyes turned completely black, her body grew in height and muscle, and her teeth and nails extended. She leapt to her feet, stretched and looked at Angus as she began to growl. The sound rumbled in the other girls’ chests.

“I feel…strong…”

“You bitch… I’m going to tear all of you apart!” Angus barked and glared at her enraged.

He opened his mouth to say something more, but Gogo leapt and landed on him. Her mouth opened she dug deep into his neck tearing it open. Blood sprayed her face and the walls as she hopped down and grabbed him with long nails that dug into his chest. She spun him once and tossed him with ease into the backyard. She picked up his axe and ran out after him.

The girls watched from the doorway as she finished him off with a whirlwind of axe blows. Finished, Gogo dropped the axe, lifted her head and howled at the moon. Turning, she made her way back to them, and the girls backed away in fear. Smiling she approached and kissed each one in turn.

“I need a smoke.”

She left them and returned to the main room, sat in front of the fireplace, lit a cigarette and took a deep drag before she slowly exhaled towards the ceiling. She turned to her friends who watched from the kitchen doorway and smiled lustfully.

“So…who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

One by one the girls approached nervously. Gogo smiled, finished her cigarette and looked from one to the other. The winter air howled around and through the house. Their screams were barely audible over the wind. Soon Lass, Radeo and Sash would awaken and Gogo would lead her pack out and into an unsuspecting world.

THE END


“Lupus in Fabula” is Latin for “Wolf in the Fable.”

Robert Ropars (@RobertRopars) is a Chicago based horror author, liberal/progressive, Doctor Who fanatic and bullying surTHRIVEor. You can read more of his stories via Amazon, Kindle and Nook. For more, visit his WordPress Library.

Related Posts:
Fiction Friday Halloween Special: Suicide Girls – Augmented Reality

Fiction Friday Halloween Special: Suicide Girls – Augmented Reality
Oct 2012 26

Fiction Friday Halloween Special: Suicide Girls – Augmented Reality  

Posted In All Things SG,Art,Blog,Fiction

A very special super spooky story written by Robert Ropars for SuicideGirls feat. Gogo, Radeo, Milloux, Spliff, Tita, Moxi, and Bradley.


[Gogo in The Twelth]

A black sedan drove slowly down a long, gravel driveway. A group of models was being driven from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to a remote farmhouse ninety minutes southwest of the city. The seven passengers were Suicide Girls: Gogo, Radeo, Milloux, Spliff, Tita, Moxi, and Bradley.

It was late October, and even though it was only dinner time, the sun was already near the horizon about to set. A long summer drought had left the various Autumn Blaze maples lining the long driveway nearly stripped bare of their foliage. A chilly wind blew some of their multicolored leaves across their view, illuminated by the limo’s headlights as they drifted past like spirits.

In the back, the Suicide Girls had now begun to gather their things. Gogo finished a cigarette and flicked it out the window while exhaling. Her breath turned into a smoky whistle as she saw the ancient farmhouse coming into view as the last trees were passed and they turned to approach the front porch.

“So that’s the Bellingham estate?” Gogo looked at Milloux and smiled. “How the hell did you find this place?”

Milloux smiled at her and replied, “I was in Chicago earlier this year and was looking up haunted places for our shoot. This one was remote enough for us, but not too far to get to.”

Radeo looked up from her phone as she finished a text message. “What happened here? You still haven’t told us.”

Milloux smiled and her eyes sparkled as she remembered what she’d read and the plan for the shoot. “No way! Let’s get in and settled first. I’ll share the story soon enough. The owners are letting us stay all night for our Halloween shoot…but they are sure we’ll never make it.”

The girls looked at each other and then the house with nervous smiles. Gogo smiled the broadest, excited at the idea of a scary photo shoot for Halloween. The others were anxious to stretch their legs after the long drive as soon as the limo parked. As the driver got their luggage to the aged porch, Tita and Moxi wandered over to a large tire swing hung from the maple closest to the house, the others ascended the creaky front porch steps.

Around the house was an outhouse, a large well, a silo that towered over them, a decrepit barn and behind all of these things a cornfield stretching to the horizon. As the sun set, it cast everything in bright oranges and reds and soon all would be in darkness. A security light on the barn had already come on illuminating a small area in front of it and two porch lights on either side of the door had also come on in the decreasing light.

As Gogo and Radeo walked over to a very old porch swing that rattled and drifted in a slight breeze, Milloux entered a code for the lock on the front door. The owner had added security after kids had broken in recently, and had set up a temporary number for their visit. The light turned green and she held the door for the driver who brought their things to the foot of a grand staircase. The house smelled dusty and moldy and Milloux pressed a light switch so everyone could see.

As the lights came on, a thunderous crash erupted from the porch. Milloux and the driver rushed out, the other girls stood and laughed at Gogo and Radeo. One end of the porch swing had come loose and they’d crashed. Moxi and Milloux shook their heads, helped them up, and one by one entered the creepy old house.

Milloux took care of the driver and confirmed that he would be back in the morning at 10 AM sharp. He smiled, said goodbye, got in the car, and started back down the long driveway. Bradley and Moxi watched from the front room windows as his tail lights faded from sight. Milloux closed the front door and they heard a loud metallic noise followed by some beeps.

“What was that?” asked Spliff.

Milloux smiled at Spliff who looked a bit jumpy already. “That was the front door locking.”

The others stared at her with a mixture of apprehension and fear. The girls looked down the main hallway to the back of the house, up the stairwell, at the faded and torn wallpaper and frowned at several creepy old portraits lining the wall that led to the second floor.

“Relax, the driver will be back in the morning and we’re shooting all night. Let’s get unpacked and meet in the main room in an hour ok? I brought stuff to eat and we can get our drink on. And I’ll tell you the terrible horror of Edward Bellingham and the ghosts some say still haunt this home. MMUUAAHH HAHA HA!”

“You are such an asshole!” Bradley punched Milloux in the arm and each girl grabbed their bags. Slowly they began to make their way up the creaky wood stairs. Reaching the top landing, they spread out and paired up in various bedrooms. Milloux insisted on being on her own and Moxi watched her carefully placing covered items on the bed. She was going to ask what they were, but knew Milloux had planned a night of fun and games.

Outside, the temperature continued to drop and the wind picked up. The creaking of the trees and the house around them sent shivers up and down most of their spines. Milloux was giddy with anticipation at the night ahead. She had planned that this would be a scarefest of a shoot they would all remember.

***

An hour later, the girls were gathered in the downstairs front room, a large crackling fire was burning, they’d finished eating and the girls were enjoying drinks, smoking, or sipping tea. Milloux stood and all eyes turned to her.

“Ok ladies, we’re going to have so much fun tonight. I’m so excited to be shooting all of you and we have this haunted house as the perfect backdrop. But before we get started, let me tell you the story of the house.”

Lifting her tablet, she began to read from notes she’d prepared for the trip.

“Edward Bellingham came to America with a wife and two girls, Emma and Eliza, in 1832. He had made a decent amount of money in London and sought a new life here in the Midwest. He had this place built and ran a successful farm for many years, but the period before the Civil War brought a new opportunity.

“Many slaves escaped and fled northward, most using the Underground Railroad. There was a hefty bounty for returning slaves to the South, and Bellingham devised a twisted plan. He got word out that his home was a stop on the path to freedom. But those who came down the long driveway to his farmhouse soon regretted the decision.”

Milloux paused dramatically letting her gaze cross the room. All eyes were on her.

“Edward had a tunnel built between the basement of this home and the barn we saw outside. He had his wife bring them food and clothes while he contacted members of the Klan to arrange his bounty. For a few years he managed to convince his wife that the men who took the former slaves away were helping smuggle them north. She discovered the truth one night when she overheard him talking to one of the smugglers and they had a bitter fight.

“As their girls held each other in terror in one of the rooms, the fight raged into the night until Edward lost control. He hit her so hard she fell down the stairs and her neck broke killing her right there.”

All the girls turned to follow Milloux’s finger pointing to the bottom of the stairs. The lights flickered briefly and everyone shifted nervously for a moment until they returned to normal.

“But that wasn’t the worst of his crimes. He kept up his smuggling business until one day a beautiful 15-year old Creole girl knocked on the front door. She had long since lost track of her family, and was trying to find a safe haven. The wealthy widower convinced her that staying as his house maid and nanny was her best option. It wasn’t a hard decision for her.”

The girls stared at Milloux dreading what was next in the story.

“Edward patiently let the girl, her name was Marie, get settled into her life as nanny to his daughters. He seemed like the perfect guardian with only one rule that she never enter his bedroom. One day he was out tending to the fall harvest and Marie was tidying up. For some reason we may never know, curiosity got the better of her and she entered his room.

“At first, nothing seemed out of place or particularly interesting. Then she saw the box on his desk. Made of wood, it had strange symbols carved on it. Opening it she backed away in terror and screamed. Inside was a skull with empty eyes that stared at her. Turning she ran into Edward who was standing behind her. Enraged, he grabbed her and said, ‘I told you never to come in here. You’ve upset my wife!’

“Edward choked her until she passed out and dragged her limp body to the basement. There it’s said he chained her to a wall standing up. She awoke and realized he was building a wall and he ignored her pleas and screams as he positioned brick after brick. When he finished, he could barely hear the sounds of her screams and chains. Even to this day, people hear the rattling of chains and the sounds of scratching if they linger too long in the basement.”

Gogo lit a cigarette and exhaling looked at Milloux with a combination of dread and anticipation. “What happened to his daughters?”

Milloux had an evil twinkle in her eye because she had saved the worst part for last.

“He began to have headaches and nightmares and stopped sleeping. He slowly fell into a pit of despair and became convinced his daughters were communicating with their mom’s and Marie’s spirits. They missed her and cried all the time. He knew they hated him and were plotting against him.”

Milloux paused and took a drink.

“And?” Spliff was on the edge of the tattered couch close to slipping off and falling on the ancient pine floor boards.

“Some say he tied them to scarecrow posts in the cornfield so crows could feast on them. Some say he locked them in the silo and filled it while they screamed for help choking on the dust. But some say there was plenty of room in the basement for two little girls. Nobody knows for sure, but it’s said their spirits still linger here.

“Edward slowly went insane alone with the sounds of the four women his only company. Finally, one night he ran screaming into the night and fell down the well outside to his death.”

Milloux put down her tablet computer and sat by Bradley on a chair and played with her hair.

“Wow…you really are full of shit!”

Milloux looked at Tita in surprise.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Tita looked at the others and then back at her.

“You made at least half of that up. Total bullshit.”

Bang! Upstairs, a door had slammed shut and the girls jumped and screamed in unison. Some looked really nervous while others laughed, though some of them nervously so.

“Girls it was just the wind. It’s an old place and full of gaps for the wind to get through.” Moxi did her best to reassure herself as much as the others. Then they heard a sound. Faint at first, it sounded like girls crying faintly on the second floor. Their eyes widened and they shivered. It stopped almost as suddenly as it had begun.

“That was the wind right?” Tita had a look of confusion and fear now doubting herself about Milloux’s story.

“Well I have a brand new app for us to try out some ghost hunting and seems like the spirits are ready to play.”

An app? For ghosts?” Radeo eyed Milloux skeptically.

“Girls listen. Phones and tablets have cameras, compasses, gyroscopes, decibel meters, magnetometers, and all kinds of other sensors. We’ve all watched ghost hunter shows right?”

Most nodded remembered various reality series featuring people using all manner of gadgets to detect the paranormal.

“This app called ‘Ghostdar’ just pulls all of that together to measure changes in electromagnetic energy and such to sense when spirits may be near and how strong. Let’s try it out.”

Milloux lifted the tablet, launched the app and her face was illuminated in a green glow. Holding it up, she focused the rear camera on the stairwell and moved it up and down and then held it above her focused on the ceiling. The others ducked down to look and they saw the ceiling with an infrared view, a moving radar animation over it and all manner of numbers cycling around the screen.

“Seriously? That’s crap…”

Before Moxi could finish her thought, two green lights appeared above them and began to move around the upper area. Their eyes were wide and no one spoke.

“Sad.”

The app spoke a word that also appeared on the screen before fading away.

Gogo exhaled smoke and said, “What was that?”

“The app analyzes the energy of the spirits and tries to translate their attempts to communicate. Sometimes you get lucky and words come through.”

As they spoke, the lights faded away. They waited a few more minutes and nothing else appeared. Milloux brought the app down and when it was eye level she jumped and let out a gasp. Several of the others screamed, having moved behind her, they all saw the ghost at the same moment. Standing at the bottom of the stairs was a woman with her neck bent to one side. She said nothing, slowly turned and drifted down the hall passing out of sight. Her strong red radar contact however continued on behind the wall and stopped before the kitchen.

They were all shaking as they heard the sound of metal and then wood creaking. The radar contact faded to green and vanished.

“Dark.”

The app spoke aloud again. Then they heard something, faint at first, then louder the sound of chains rattling from the basement. Milloux lowered the tablet and swept the floor and in the far corner of the house a red contact appeared.

“It’s Marie! The spirits want us to find her. Maybe if we find her, she can move on. Come on girls!”

“No fucking way!” Bradley looked at the others and back at Milloux. “No fucking way I’m going down there.”

Milloux scowled at her. “That’s fine. You can stay up here by yourself and keep an eye on things.”

Bradley scowled at her.

“We’ll all be together that’s the key. I’ve got the app and it has built-in video and sound recorders. Let’s go.”

Milloux led the way to and down the hall toward the kitchen screen held in front of her. She paused when she realized that the door to the basement was opened a few inches. She continued with the girls close behind and the floor boards creaked as did the walls around them and trees outside in the chilly October night.

Milloux reached out and pulled the door fully open. The hinges were extremely rusty and it was very noisy. Seeing a light switch to her left, she flicked it on and they saw a long wooden staircase, the steps open to the space behind them leading into darkness. It appeared that another light was on further onward, but the darkness fought against the light pools making it hard to see clearly. The lights flickered and they could now more clearly hear the sound of chains and something else that sounded like scratching.

Slowly, the nervous and giggling group started down the dusty, creaky stairs. The wind that howled above and the roof that rattled began to be muffled by the basement walls. Milloux reached the bottom and turned and as they gathered behind her, the saw a large red contact in the far corner currently in darkness.

“Ok girls, let’s get…”

Bang! The door at the top of the stairs slammed shut and they screamed as they spun around. Milloux held the tablet up, but didn’t see any ghost contacts above them.

“It’s ok, stupid drafty hous…”

At that moment, before Milloux could finish her thought there was a crackling sound like static electricity and the lights flickered. The basement was a big space filled in every direction with boxes, furniture, and all manner of debris. There were walkways through the mounds leading to the far wall and two lights hung flickering along the path.

“Let’s keep going. That’s got to be Marie back there.”

“Ok I’m going to try and speak to the spirits so everyone be quiet. Marie? We mean you know harm. We are here as friends and want to do some photos here.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Moxi asked through chattering teeth. Whether the cold, the fear or both caused the rattling even she was unsure.

They were now halfway towards the back wall. The rattling and scratching sounds were louder and now they heard a woman weeping.

“Trapped.”

The girls stopped.

“It’s her?” Gogo asked as the word faded.

“It has to be. She’s trapped and we can free her. Isn’t this exciting?”

Before anyone could respond, a floor board creaked upstairs sending a small shower of dust downward.

“Oh my god, what the fuck?” Spliff adjusted her glasses as she and the others looked up at the wood boards above. Milloux held up the tablet, and now a large red contact was above them slowly moving through the house. It faded to green and disappeared quickly.

“Spirits of this house, we are here as friends. We want to help you and learn from you.”

Only silence. Milloux got them moving again and now they were nearly three quarters of the way to the back wall. The red light ahead of them faded and the sounds of weeping, scratching and rattling ceased. Milloux scanned the back area and found no more contacts.

“Wreath…”

“Why the hell did it say that?” Moxi asked.

“Sometimes the words aren’t clear to the app I think.”

“You think?” Gogo was getting angry and scared at the same time.

“Wreath…”

“Why did it say it again?” Radeo was now terrified and the repeated odd word wasn’t helping matters.

Milloux looked concerned for the first time and wasn’t sure what to do.

“Maybe we should…”

Behind and above them, the door at the top of the stairs slowly creaked open. They heard a single footstep, then another on the creaky steps. A heavy, unseen set of feet slowly descended into the basement. At the same time, the lights began to flicker and with a pop went out leaving them in darkness save for the tablet glow.

The girls stood frozen in terror, momentarily blinded as their eyes adjusted to the sudden inky blackness. Slowly, Milloux raised the tablet to the stairs. Their eyes widened as they saw a bright red contact over a man who stood staring at them in old fashioned clothes. His eyes were completely black.

“Wreath…”

“Who the fuck is that and why does it keep saying ‘Wreath?’” Radeo was shaking and her words were uneven.

“It’s Edward. And it’s not getting the word right maybe.” She paused and said, “Is that you Edward? We mean you no harm. What are you trying to tell us?”

The man’s right hand lifted and he pointed at them and disappeared. The radar beeped and a large red contact appeared behind them. Milloux and the girls spun around and as the tablet focus its infrared view they saw Edward right behind them, empty black eye sockets gaping and his hands came up quickly towards them.

“Wrath.”

As the app translated the spirit’s voice, Milloux dropped it. The tablet shattered on the cold stone floor. Darkness and panic were followed by screams and silence.

THE END


Robert Ropars is a Chicago based horror author, liberal/progressive, Doctor Who fanatic and bullying surTHRIVEor. You can get more of him on Kindle and Nook. For more, visit his WordPress Library.

Fiction Friday: The Complete Killswitch Review
Jun 2012 15

Fiction Friday: The Complete Killswitch Review  

Posted In Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction,Geek,Internuts

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, finished last Friday. You can therefore read the complete Killswitch Review online.

The Killswitch Review is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World.

The Complete Killswitch Review

Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter One, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Two, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Three, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Four, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Five, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Six, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Seven, Part Five
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eight, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Nine, Part Five
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Ten, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part One
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Two
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Three
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Four
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – Chapter Eleven, Part Five
Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – The Final Installment

An Excerpt From The Final Rapturous Installment Of Cory Doctorow And Charles Stross’ Rapture of The Nerds
Jun 2012 13

An Excerpt From The Final Rapturous Installment Of Cory Doctorow And Charles Stross’ Rapture of The Nerds  

Posted In Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction,Geek,Internuts,Science

by Blogbot

For the best part of a decade Rapture of The Nerds was essentially a two part trilogy, which, like a threesome without a third person, though fun, lacked its defining and completing part. A veritable Crosby and Stills, awaiting a Nash (and with no hope of being joined by a bonus Young), Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross’ jointly-penned post-singularity novellas Jury Service (2002) and Appeals Court (2004) languished, with fans resigning themselves to the fact that they may remain, for all eternity, a duo. But now, thanks in part to a rather random April Fools joke, a third installment of the adventures of an uploaded and rather curmudgeonly consciousness called Huw is about to be unleashed. For many a geek, the completion of the triptych is as miraculous as the father and son being joined by the holy ghost. But since sci-fi fans don’t put much weight in blind faith when it comes to trinities, the good Dr. Doctorow offered up this excerpt to SG by way of empirical proof of the September 4th third coming of Huw. – NP, SG Ed.

THE RAPTURE OF THE NERDS

by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross

Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.

Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.

The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth’s networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there’s always someone who’ll take a bite from the forbidden apple.

So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth’s anthill, there’s Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors…

***

“I hope you enjoy the facilities here,” says the gorilla with a wink. “Nothing but the best for our expert witnesses—we have hot and cold running everything.”

It’s a far cry from jury duty accommodation in a crappy backpacker’s hostel in dusty Tripoli. Huw dials her time right up (sinfully extravagant: it’s the same kind of costly acceleration that got her into trouble when 639,219 called her on it) and orders the whirlpool-equipped hot tub with champagne to appear in the bathroom. Then she climbs in to marinate for subjective hours (a handful of seconds in everyone else’s reference frame) and to unkink for the first time in ages. After all, it’s not as if she’s consuming real resources here. And she needs to relax, recenter her emotions the natural way, and do some serious plotting.

Of course, the sim is far too realistic. A virtual champagne bath should somehow manage to keep the champagne drinking-temp cold while still feeling warm to the touch. And it shouldn’t be sticky and hot and flat; it should feel like champagne does when it hits your tongue—icy and bubbly and fizzy. And when Huw’s nonbladder feels uncomfortably full and relaxed in the hot liquid and she lets a surreptitious stream loose, it should be magicked away, not instantly blended in with the vintage Veuve to make an instant tubworth of piss-mimosa.

This is what comes of having too much compute-time at one’s disposal, Huw seethes. In constraint, there is discipline, the need to choose how much reality you’re going to import and model. Sitting on an Io’s worth of computronium has freed the Galactic Authority—and isn’t that an unimaginative corker of a name? — from having to choose. And with her own self simulated as hot and wide as she can be bothered with, she can feel every unpleasant sensation, each individual sticky bubble, each droplet clinging to her body as she hops out of the tub and into the six-jet steam-shower for a top-to-bottom rinse, and then grabs a towel —every fiber slightly stiff and plasticky, as if fresh out of the wrapper and never properly laundered to relax the fibers—and dries off. She discovers that she is hyperaware, hyperalert, feeling every grain of not-dust in the not-air individually as it collides with her not-skin.

Oh, oh, oh, enough, she wants to shout. What is the point of all this rubbish?

This is the thing that Huw has never wanted to admit: Her primary beef against the singularity has never been existential — it’s aesthetic. The power to be a being of pure thought, the unlimited, unconstrained world of imagination, and we build a world of animated gifs, stupid sight gags, lame van-art avatars, brain-dead “playful” environments, and brain-dead flame wars augmented by animated emoticons that allowed participants to express their hackneyed ad hominems, concern-trollery, and Godwin’s law violations through the media of cartoon animals and oversized animated genitals.

Whether or not sim-Huw is really Huw, whether or not uploading is a kind of death, whether or not posthumanity is immortal or just kidding itself, the single, inviolable fact remains: Human simspace is no more tasteful than the architectural train wreck that the Galactic Authority has erected. The people who live in it have all the aesthetic sense of a senile jackdaw. Huw is prepared to accept — for the sake of argument, mind — that uploading leaves your soul intact, but she is never going give one nanometer on the question of whether uploading leaves your taste intact. If the Turing test measured an AI’s capacity to conduct itself with a sense of real style, all of simspace would be revealed for a machine-sham. Give humanity a truly unlimited field, and it would fill it with Happy Meal toys and holographic, sport-star, collectible trading card game art.

There’s a whole gang of dirtside refuseniks who make this their primary objection to transcendence. They’re severe Bauhaus cosplayers, so immaculately and plainly turned out that they look more like illustrations than humans. Huw’s never felt any affinity for them — too cringeworthy, too like a Southern belle who comes down with the vapors at the sight of a fish knife laid where the dessert fork is meant to go. It always felt unserious to object to a major debate over human evolution with an argument about style.

But Huw appreciates their point, and has spent his and then her entire life complaining instead about the ineffable and undefinable humanness that is lost when someone departs for the cloud. She’s turned her back on her parents, refused to take their calls from beyond the grave, she’s shut herself up in her pottery with only the barest vestige of a social life, remade herself as someone who is both a defender of humanity and a misanthrope. All the while, she’s insisted — mostly to herself, because, as she now sees with glittering clarity, no one else gave a shit — that the source of her concerns all along has been metaphysical.

The reality that stares her in the face now, as she reclines on the impeccably rendered 20-million-count non-Egyptian noncotton nonsheets, is that it’s always been a perfectly normal, absolutely subjective, totally meaningless dispute over color schemes.

Now she’s got existential angst.

<#>

The Burj Khalifa’s in-room TV gets an infinity of channels, evidently cross-wired from the cable feed for Hilbert’s hotel. It uses some evolutionary computing system to generate new programs on the fly, every time you press the channel-up button. This isn’t nearly as banal as Huw imagined it might be when she read about it on the triangular-folded cardboard standup that materialized in her hand as she reached for the remote. That’s because — as the card explained — the Burj has enough computation to model captive versions of Huw at extremely high speed, and to tailor the programming by sharpening its teeth against these instances-in-a-bottle so that every press of the button brings up eye-catching, attention-snaring material: soft-core pornography that involves pottery, mostly.

Huw would like nothing better than to relax with the goggle-box and let her mind be lovingly swaddled in intellectual flannel, but her mind isn’t having any of it. The more broadly parallel she runs, the more meta-cognition she finds herself indulging in, so that even as she lies abed, propped up by a hill of pillows the size of a Celtic burial mound, her thoughts are doing something like this:

• Oh, that’s interesting, never thought of doing that sort of thing with glaze.• Too interesting, if you ask me, it’s not natural, that kind of interesting, they’ve got to be simulating gigaHuws to come up with that sort of realtime optimization.• There’ll be hordes of Huw-instances being subjected to much-less-interesting versions of this program and winking out of existence as soon as they get bored.• Hell, I could be one of those instances, my life dangling on a frayed thread of attention.• Every time I press the channel-up button, I execute thousands — millions? billions? — of copies of myself.• Why don’t I care more about them? It’s insane and profligate cruelty but here’s me blithely pressing channel-up.• Whoa, that’s interesting — she looks awfully like Bonnie, but with a bum that’s a little bit more like that girl I fancied in college.• I could die at any instant, just by losing attention and pressing channel up.• That’s wild, never noticed how those muscles — quadrati lumborum? — spring out when someone’s at the wheel, that bloke’s got QLs for days.• If I were really ethically opposed to this sort of thing, I’d be vomming in my mouth with rage at the thought of all those virtual people springing into existence and being snuffed out.• But I’m not, am I? Hypocrite, liar, poseur, mincing aesthete, that’s me, yeah? • So long as it’s interesting and stylish, I’ll forgive anything.• I’ve got as much existential introspection as a Mario sprite.

Enough, already, she tells herself, and cools herself down to a single thread, then slows that down, hunting for the sweet spot at the junction of stupidity and calm. Then finding it, she settles down and watches TV for a hundred subjective years, slaughtering invisible hordes of herself without a moment’s thought.

Satori.

***

The Rapture of The Nerds excerpt reprinted with the kind permission of Tor Books.

Related Posts:
Cory Doctorow: On Little And Big Brother

Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – The Final Installment
Jun 2012 08

Fiction Friday: The Killswitch Review – The Final Installment  

Posted In Art,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fiction,Geek,Internuts

by Steven-Elliot Altman (SG Member: Steven_Altman)

Our Fiction Friday serialized novel, The Killswitch Review, is a futuristic murder mystery with killer sociopolitical commentary (and some of the best sex scenes we’ve ever read!). Written by bestselling sci-fi author Steven-Elliot Altman (with Diane DeKelb-Rittenhouse), it offers a terrifying postmodern vision in the tradition of Blade Runner and Brave New World

By the year 2156, stem cell therapy has triumphed over aging and disease, extending the human lifespan indefinitely. But only for those who have achieved Conscientious Citizen Status. To combat overpopulation, the U.S. has sealed its borders, instituted compulsory contraception and a strict one child per couple policy for those who are permitted to breed, and made technology-assisted suicide readily available. But in a world where the old can remain vital forever, America’s youth have little hope of prosperity.

Jason Haggerty is an investigator for Black Buttons Inc, the government agency responsible for dispensing personal handheld Kevorkian devices, which afford the only legal form of suicide. An armed “Killswitch” monitors and records a citizen’s final moments — up to the point where they press a button and peacefully die. Post-press review agents — “button collectors” — are dispatched to review and judge these final recordings to rule out foul play.

When three teens stage an illegal public suicide, Haggerty suspects their deaths may have been murders. Now his race is on to uncover proof and prevent a nationwide epidemic of copycat suicides. Trouble is, for the first time in history, an entire generation might just decide they’re better off dead.

(Catch up with the previous installments of Killswitch – see links below – then read the finale after the jump…)

[Keep Reading...]