Description: You are the Progeny of Modern Convenience—your attention span is HEY LOOK OVER HERE.
To hold you over till tomorrow’s sale on the book, here’s something that was knocking around in my brain only a few minutes ago. A bit of sci-fi to chew on this afternoon:
It was sometime around 2025 that we began to suspect something was amiss in the Information Field. IF was a known phenomenon before then—too many spontaneous appearances of it to ignore unless you were a flat-earther or something—but it was a novelty, mostly. We liked to play with it. We were like people back when sticking electrodes into dead frogs’ legs and giggling when they kicked, back when that kind of juice was still just one of those things. At a party, somebody’d fire up a supercomputing instance and momentarily swap the identities of everybody in the building (you’d/they’d hear stuff yelled from floors below like, “Why in the hell did I/you just do that? I/you hate/love that/you!”), that kind of thing, and you’d all go off in gales of laughing.
But sometime in the mid-2020s, stuff started to happen even when no one was trying. Big stuff. Equations didn’t add up, was one thing. Knowns no longer were. First it was at universities and such, way back in the backs of labs where they were mucking with data about data. One guy programmed something wrong while he was thinking about a PlayStation game and permanently broke some symmetries in some exotic particles and now, they say, it might be a hot death for the universe after all, maybe a couple dozen billion years from now or maybe tomorrow (more on that in a second–or a trillion years or … just read). That was one of the first ones. One of the lesser ones.
Yeah, we thought logic was isomorphic–how naive was that?–but turns out, that’s only true within certain frames of reference. Only in your universe, pal, and that’s not such a secure gated community as it first seemed. And so you don’t get to take things for granted anymore, grandpa. Can’t. There’s no point in setting the alarm clock when 8 a.m. comes between 3 and 4 p.m. Just as a for instance.
Everybody’s got a theory about why. The iffies say it’s like this: Information has something like a mass, they say. Nobody ever thought of it because the amount of information it takes to notice the effect is so big, so astronomically beyond conception as Saint Douglas used to say, that it wasn’t until computing started raising theories to powers of themselves that it started to happen. But when we got someplace into the trilliards of data, something like a black hole formed and started to bend all the information around, stretch it out, change the rules. It was small at first, but they always are, aren’t they?
So now, all bets are off. There will be no messages out. No one knows what happens inside the event horizon (apart from us, of course, and who cares about that?). Some days the sun don’t rise in Alabama. Some days are giraffes. Inside certain circles you will find more than 360 degrees. Kanye West Jr. may discover the next penicillin. Anything could happen.
Right. So just go back, you think. All the rules are summarily defenestrated, as they say, so just zip back through time and prevent it, right? Give an Under Siege-era Steven Seagal a DARPA grant and a Humvee and it’ll all be jim-dandy.
Well, I said all bets are off. And they are. Time is not a bet, unfortunately. Time isn’t anything at all, unfortunately. The tapioca chunk in the bubble-tea that is the IF field actually revealed that to us. Time is not. So you can’t change it. It’s an illusion, an utter illusion. You’re stuck with it. You’re stuck with this. And sadly, there is one other immutable law which we might never have discovered otherwise: the universe itself likes to laugh. And this, it turns out, our situation, that is, is pretty dosh-garned funny.
So har har and hardy har and see you on the B side, folks, because that … is …
MP3s of Borges’ complete Norton Lectures, which the writer gave at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and the spring of 1968
I am only into the first lecture here, but I’m ready to say this is one of the most thrilling things I have ever heard. It’s like getting to meet a friendly Prospero.
PS Did you notice the aleph in “This Album”?
This is the coolest thing about self-publishing: I can make bad choices that make me happy
On tonight’s show, we’ll be discussing intertextuality and unreliable narrative.
These were the subjects of our last show, of course, and three of the past 10 episodes of the podcast References and Allusions from the Victor Borges Hour. That show of course is about paleolithic architecture.
Can you be more specific?
via Los Angeles Results.
We’ve got plans.
Our next guest tonight will be Cynthia Epimeta. Cynthia has been called “the niña of the sky.” She is a character in a book. (A book of course is a patriarchal cult of the modern West.)
–No, I say that.
–I heard you, Brigid, I did. I’m sorry I couldn’t respond.
–Can you put the English into that? she hears an old woman say, and she laughs, because that really is the way translation works.
Prometheus’ fire singes Victory’s feathers. Milo Minderbender pours grains of fennel into a barrel of pickles. When you land at DFW, you receive an “F” in Narrative.
I’m Jorge Borgia and this, is that, is …
Iola hears staticky music, classical music, the latest song from The Script playing over the restaurant PA as they wait for their chicken goujons. Her skin prickles. What is happening? She shakes her head a little. She’s having trouble dialing in. Patrick’s presence is like the humidity of a warm summer morning haze, softening the edges of everything for miles around, closing in, enveloping. This hilltop is covered in woods, burning, filled with tears on a cold, rainy morning, crossed again and again by feet bare and shod. Who is he? Who am I?
In an attempt to spark some interest in the book, going to try a “Kindle Countdown Deal” this Friday, December 6. The ebook will be reduced to just 99 cents– roughly 75% off the regular price (99p in the UK–61% off).
It starts at 12 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and runs until midnight (a little longer in the UK).
Of course, if you want to support a starving writer and get a book that’s gotten some pretty good reviews, you could always buy “This Album Full of Angles” at $3.99 before the sale. There are drinks at Starbucks that cost more!
Thanks as always. Anybody else tried the Countdown Deal? What was your experience?