Short Story Analysis: How ‘The Night Wire’ Connects You to Cosmic Horror

For human history, story has been a way for consciousness to explore worlds, to connect people to places they have never been and things they’ve never seen, to give the reader’s imagination access to the author’s. But with “The Night Wire,” H.E. Arnold uses story to tell us about how consciousness can now be connected to vast new worlds using technology, telling us of a fateful night in the lives of two telegraph operators receiving news reports from the strange town Xebico under attack by a mysterious fog and unidentifiable beings, directly linking our consciousness to a strange, weird world that we can observe in quiet, chilling terror but are unable to visit.

Continue reading “Short Story Analysis: How ‘The Night Wire’ Connects You to Cosmic Horror”

Short Story Analysis: Walking the World As Tutuola’s Complete Gentleman

When Amos Tutuola’s “The Complete Gentleman” closes, the Nigerian folklorist had taken the reader on an adventure into a mysterious world with talking skulls and juju magic to save a captured young lady. As with so much other “weird” fiction, readers had journeyed to discover a world that is so hard to truly define that even the genre’s masters have a hard time qualifying it. For their The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer quote the genre’s grandfather H.P. Lovecraft’s definition that the weird “represents the pursuit of some indefinable and perhaps maddeningly unreachable understanding of the world beyond the mundane” (VanderMeer xv). In The Complete Gentleman, however, it is the reader’s pursuit of the world that takes center stage, and Tutuola is able to navigate them through the story’s mysterious, supernatural world by providing a capable, magical protagonist that can transform it into new shapes so its substance and lesson may be laid bare.

Continue reading “Short Story Analysis: Walking the World As Tutuola’s Complete Gentleman”

Crowd Sourcing Human Survival: Why Civilization Requires Constant Technological Progress

Every major technological achievement reconstructs our civilization into a new one better able to sustain the increasingly large population building on top. Why is this important? As a civilization changes, it loses the ideas and infrastructure that supported previous technological eras and if it runs out of the resources the current level requires, the collapse will lead to immeasurable death. The perilous situation is best stated by philosopher Ayn Rand (1999) in Return of the Primitive & The Anti-Industrial Revolution: “In real life, there is no such thing as a gradual descent from civilization to savagery. There is a crash-and no recovery, only the long, drawn out agony of chaos, helplessness and random death, on a mass scale” (Rand, p. 273). Technological progress has set humanity down a path it can’t turn back from without suffering catastrophic consequences, but history has proven that the very mechanisms that built up civilization also improved its sustainability and we have no other option than to take full and immediate advantage of all our material, labor, and human resources if we hope to survive long term.

Continue reading “Crowd Sourcing Human Survival: Why Civilization Requires Constant Technological Progress”

The High Cost Of A Minimum Wage Future

Every day, workers compete in an ever growing labor pool for the same limited number of jobs, jobs they need to be able to survive in a time when the standard of living is going up. The competition only gets more intense when jobs can be exported to other countries or be outright replaced by automation that swaps cashiers with kiosks. In such an economic climate, people need more bargaining power to give themselves an edge up against the competition and sell themselves based on their individual needs and qualifications. While minimum wage policies sound appealing at first, minimum wage hurts people at all stages of their career and ultimately helps the wealthy and large corporations, which is why politicians push for it.

Continue reading “The High Cost Of A Minimum Wage Future”

The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels

I would have given up on Bebop if it weren’t for Ballad of Fallen Angels. I changed my mind the moment the church organ blared across the purple sunset above a crumbling Gothic cathedral. The beginning of the third act finds Spike, hands stuffed in his large overcoat pockets, walking up the cobblestone street to the lyrics of Yoko Kanno’s ‘Rain’. A woman sings.

I don’t feel a thing
and I stopped remembering.
The days are just like moments turned to hours.

‘Rain’s’ vocals are provided by Kanno-collaborator Mai Yamane. Yamane’s voice fills the air over a scene intercut with the silhouette of a silver-haired figure resting on one of the cathedral’s broken stone pillars, a katana leaning against his shoulder. Continue reading “The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels”