The sun set, casting the world into darkness. A thick, dense darkness, so dark that it would take extended sentences full of polysyllabic opacities to fully convey its impenetrability. Of course, that was broad daylight in comparison to my mind and heart, given that my wife had just committed suicide after killing my dog after that creature had been given rabies by my enemy and had eaten my daughter. So I set out to hunt that enemy down but tripped and suffered a compound fracture in the darkness. Now I lie here, writing this tale in my blood which is probably illegible because it’s hard to write in blood and very hard to do so in such dark, dark, darkness.
Okay, boys and girls! Just a tip: I’m tired of reading stories akin to the paragraph above. Usually, for the webzine stories, I just post about what seems good and let sleeping stories lie but I read thirteen stories of forty thousand words last week and, except for a downer of a forthcoming honorable mention, I didn’t appreciate any of it. So “I Die a Little,” and an all-horror issue of FFO, and an almost all-downer issue of Clarkesworld (and especially “Crown of Thorns” and “Real Ghosts”) and a boring Terraform and an all-downer BCS (with “Suddenwall” and “Ghosts of Amarana” duking it out with “Crown of Thorns” for most suicide-inducing tale)… I’m talking to all of you. Not singling out any one – anybody can do anything they want – but singling out every one for all writing the same story. Being down and dull and depressing with molasses-like prose doesn’t of itself make a story “adult” or “literary” or “good.” It just makes it down and dull and depressing with molasses-like prose.
While I’m at it, I don’t need to read so many Weird Westerns or VR/AI/holograms used as metaphors of familial isolation or so many superhero/comic book tales or so many postmodern cynical ironic satires of cliches which are far more cliched at this point than the original cliches themselves. And now I’ll leave you with some words from the philosopher of the gay science, the joyful wisdom (and a couple of tunes from other philosophers of joy):
All good things approach their goal crookedly. Like cats, they arch their backs, they purr inwardly over their approaching happiness: all good things laugh.
A man’s stride betrays whether he has found his own way: behold me walking! But whoever approaches his goal dances. And verily, I have not become a statue: I do not yet stand there stiff, stupid, stony, a column; I love to run swiftly. And though there are swamps and thick melancholy on earth, whoever has light feet runs even over mud and dances as on swept ice.
Lift up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher! And do not forget your legs either. Lift up your legs too, you good dancers; and better yet, stand on your heads!
—Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Kaufmann trans.)
And for audiovisual illustrations… Continue reading