Uncharted Frontier EZine Issue 15Allan Kaspar / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
Uncharted Frontier EZine Issue 15
Copyright 2014 Allan Kaspar
Table of Contents
Welcome to the Machine by Christopher Ketcham
Conversation by Richard Lawrence
Escape From Falkonrest by Allan Kaspar
Breton and Tzara, the Dada Wars by John Grey
A Letter from The Editor
Greetings everyone! Thank you for downloading the January 2014 edition of Uncharted Frontier EZine! As you may notice, we were a bit behind this month. I’ve been in the midst of trying to get agent representation for my latest novel, which takes up a little bit of my time, but really, I’m still adjusting to being a new Dad. I’ve definitely learned new ways to make time to get things like this done, but as any parent knows that is harder than one would think!
Due to the late shipping of this issue, we’re going to be combining the February and March issues to ensure our contributors have sufficient time to get their work into us. We don’t anticipate this becoming a regular thing (aside from November and December where the Holidays equal significantly lower submissions), and should be back to normal come the April issue!
We hope you enjoy this month’s issue, which continues our serial stories of Mr Christopher Ketcham’s Zarathustra series and Mr. Richard Lawrence’s fantastic Merlin Saga. Welcome back to the Frontier!
Welcome to the Machine
By Christopher Ketcham
Parmenides awoke or thought he did and his mind hurt at the prospect of embracing reality once again. “The goddess, the goddess,” he murmured.
Lying in a bed of quicksilver the stainless steel Maria glowed while élan vital poured into her; but she did not as yet see. Tubes pulsed into her and from her draining and now pale doppelganger who hung limp next to her, raised on a bed of beams to assist the flow of gravity. This aspic from her former self now bathed in Maria’s silvery glow was to be the ultimate revenge of Rotwang. He would turn this metallic monstrosity against the workers in the underground city of Metropolis. She would be their goddess now.
Parmenides’ mind wandered in and out of consciousness. The dream. It was all so muddled now; a hypnopompic farce that receded with every moment of wakefulness. In the distance through an open window a Philip Glass chorus was repeating, “one, two, three, four” in modulated overtones which somehow didn’t clash with a booming synthesized “whump, whump, whump, whump” of Pink Floyd coming from the floor above. He took stock of his limbs and breathing—time and space still were relative…These two distinct worlds, that of his dream and the tick tock world of consciousness had not clashed and Parmenides sunk down into the fragments that had become from his dream. He considered the dark space from which the Floyd and Glass music had arisen in him, feeling the deeper notes as they massaged his spine through his bedclothes now he felt as wet, soaked from his ride across the heavens from the shimmering palace of the revelation by the goddess.
And the goddess Maria rose from her gleaming bath and beads of quicksilver rolled from her like so much rain. But this was no offering of life for she was not of this world nor of another but of the ether and the vital fluid that coursed through her now was a dilution of a reduction, though it had been of the essence of what had become before her, the metaphysics of her other. Through the haloed lenses that were her eyes she saw the ashen figure, now deflated and sucked of the quintessence that now coursed through her…but the goddess Maria was dying from the very moment her alterior other began to enter her. And this she understood was to be her penultimate hour because the moments would pass for her far too quickly now. And yet she knew her role and it was to welcome the machine and sing its message to the masses. But hers was a silent song; her mouth welded shut; she could not scream.
“One, two, three, four.” From the dark space Parmenides returned as Roger Water’s “WELCOME MY SON, WELCOME TO THE MACHINE!” roared out to a steam valve erupting. He felt the stickiness of wet bedclothes and the taste of oil and chemical dew that clung to him at the edge of darkness. “No, I have not been told what to dream,” he shouted. And with that cry he returned from the dark space. But there was no time, “One, two, three, four”, no time to waste on this world…he must write down what the goddess had told him. And he began to compose her proem.
Maria felt the real that had been her before her fade as if it had been a dream. This new sensation of cold metallic being was unnerving, but yet that was an old metaphor now for the only nerves she felt would have been what was left of her that was rapidly decaying at the other side of the room. She was hypoxic in this between world, neither live nor dead, but dead she already was. Nor did she feel ambivalence for her mission. It simply was and in the end and after all that would have been she would not be; be not. No remorse, nothing…She stepped out into the machine world, the world of the machine which felt right in the moment, right and good.
Parmenides wrote, feverishly now and then a pause, then covetously again: about the two daughters of the sun guiding a chariot pulled by matched mares, beguiling their way through the gates of nights and day to the oracle of the welcoming goddess. The goddess gave no name but she was at once both and neither Persephone of the dead and Aphrodite of the living. She placed Parmenides in the crook of a road which split into a Y and told him that no path was a sacred way because humans were always lost and a loss to themselves. That we try to capture things to name them and to store them for us to keep. But she explained that there is no such thing as time to keep as such, only the present and that the present is always, but never certain; yet the present is all that there is. And Parmenides paused, uncertain of his certainty that this is what she had said. “One, two, three, four.”
Maria called out to the workers of the machine but there was only silence. But then her words became written in the air, “Rise workers to your machines. Rise, rise and embrace their power, their grace, their beauty.” And it was the desiccating Maria of their former worship that the workers saw and they clamored around her and then turned and scrambled to their posts, where they pushed up great switches and carefully watched bubble levels rise and fall and gauges spin in their appointed ways. But already the goddess of metal had begun to lose her stamina. Her head was no longer clear and when she tried to shout more encouragement no more words appeared in the air. The workers who had been so tuned to her in their industriousness began to fade from her sight as well. Soon the workers could not keep up with the ever increasing pace of the machine. And there was no governor set and no valve of safety to pop off. There was only the machine running away with itself. With a silent roar and belching smoke it raged forth, smashing stem and stone and workers into splinters and shards. Debris rained down upon the goddess who had been Maria and she saw what she had done but it was too late for her and too late for them. She saw only the collapsing of the tunnel that had become what she could see, smaller, smaller, until all that was left was what was left of her within her shell and this too soon ceased to know that it was.
But Parmenides knew that all goddesses were deceivers, often coming to earth in the guise of humans, even loved ones. But this goddess spoke forthrightly and said she was going to say things that simply should not be believed. And that is we believe all that we see but we do this never taking the time to see what we could see. She spoke of ‘metis’ a mindfulness, an everlasting peak experience of being, being in the now. For that was all there was and could ever be. And Parmenides pondered this thought as if to anchor it in his mind to record what the impermanent dream would have lost in its vanishing from his consciousness. Glass and Floyd had concluded and there was silence for a long moment until Leonard Cohen drifted past, his gravelly voice through a car window, “everybody knows.”