Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dead Planet XV

Dead Planet XV

“All reet! All reet!
So jeet your seat
Be fleet be fleet
Cool and discrete
—Alfred Bester,
“Fondly Fahrenheit”

It was the kid—the other me.

I was Deckard—he was a young male Rachel. The process was very interesting. The android-humanoid relationship. How it develops into love. I can see why Tyrell was so laissez-faire about the whole thing—pretty much letting the kid & me do whatever we wanted.

That was the whole purpose of our affair—to study how a Nexus-9 droidboy mind-melded & became more human. And how a human mind-melded & fell in love with a droid.

“All reet! All reet!”

It was a simple matter of projection. The more we got into it though—the more complex it got. The kid could do things I couldn’t do—he knew how to get me into REM sleep real fast. Skipping all the cycles leading into it—alpha, beta, delta. So that mind-melding thing—took on a whole new meaning during dreamtime. It was a two-way thing—not just a one-way street.

I’d never thought about it very much—even when I was giving droids the Voight-Kampff test. I knew how to read the test results—whether the droids were droids or not. I didn’t even have to do that—others could give the test just as well as me.

The Nexus-9 droids were more human—much more human than your usual plain vanilla replicants. Cyborg science had advanced a long ways—since my bounty hunter days. Ambiguity on many levels had been programmed in—or rather somehow left outta the works. WYSIWYG took on a new dimension—more spontaneous, ad lib, more extemporaneous.

I guess that’s why Tyrell set us up the way he did—with the kid in the Hellas Zoo. He wanted his new Nexus model to be different—more open-ended, more human. An expanded replicant repertoire—more ambitiously ambiguous. A looser lifestyle robotics—that went far beyond Asimov’s basic robot rules. How to design it—an android Outsider?

Lots of astute textbooks had been written about projection—mostly only human projection tho. Even alien contact had pretty much stayed primitive—exo-projection was terra incognito. But what if the projection went both ways—what kind of android-humanoid Doppelganger Effect would take place? Would it be a sudden gestalt—or maybe a process? A kind of exo-evolution—or a steep learning curve. What, in other words, were the parameters & limits of such a thing?

“Reet! Reet! So jeet your seat!!!”

If a droid-human mind-meld thing was actually a two-way rapprochement —would there be a bleeding détente or slow seepage between the two parties? That they didn’t know about—something subconscious or unconscious?

Tech-psych engineers postulated that impulses— could translate unconsciously or subliminally or subtextually. So that things like human paranoia or joy could maybe—meld over to the droid? My hang-ups by externalizing them—became the kid’s sicknesses too? That the kid could end up indirectly or by implication—struggling with some of my pet-peeves and weaknesses.

Like my crisis of consciousness—the reason I got outta the bounty hunter racket in the first place. I got sick of it—especially with the opera singer droid. She was more gifted, talented & professional—than any human diva could be.

And then there was Rachel—how we skipped outta LA. I lost her after the Gulp Apocalypse—the Redneck Riviera zombies got to her. But that’s another story—it’s the reason I ended up here on Mars actually.

The kid knew all this—thru telepathic projection. I don’t know how it works—funny how droids are more into it than us humans. I suspect Tyrell did some reverse-genetic engineering—with the ancient Martians. Their DNA was all over the place—down in the circular ruins of Mars City far below.

I could go down the list—as far as the other ones are concerned. There’s so many of them—I’ve lost count. The kid told me once—what his planetary star system philoprogenitive heredity was like. Antares II, Alpha Aurigae, Acrux IV, Pollux IX, Rigel Centaurus—all of them colder than a witch’s tit.

Multiple-aptitude androids like the kid—were walking, talking, living Pandora’s Boxes from one end of the galaxy to the other. WTF did I know about these things—exo-genetics, exo-transplants, exo-this & exo-that?

All I knew is that I loved the kid—and maybe he loved me too. I dunno—Mars is an ancient world—and love is an old, old story. Part of being human, I suppose—is knowing it’s finite. You live, you die—you make money, you put some in the bank, you spend it, you lose it, then you say goodbye. If droids can learn that—well, they’re on their way to the human condition, aren’t they?

“Be fleet be fleet, cool and discreet, honey!”

The way I looked at it—my relationship with the kid deepened after that first year. Well, how can I put it? It’s him—he’s the one. He’s the me—that things really happen to. Before I met this Nexus droid—it was lonely here in Hellas Town. Living alone all the way up here—in this dumpy penthouse on top of the Hellas skyscraper.

The Hellas Towers used to be a very expensive, swanky, cosmopolitan, state of the art Martian condo. But now, unfortunately, crummy Chandler-esque ennui—and PKD kipple debris & decay had set in. Dirt and soot fastened leech-like on the once gleaming plastic walls. Streets were ill-tended—the elevator didn’t work.

The virtually unbreakable titanium-plastic coating of Hellas Towers was still there—its imperishable colors basically as fresh & bright as the day they were hover-crafted into the construction site.

Nevertheless, they showed the van Vogt shabby streaks of slutty time—plastic after all lasts forever. But it gets dingy & cracked—lonely in the cold hard Martian night darkness. The plastic skyscraper and tower of the future—still seemed somewhat brightly colored, pristine, semi-elegant.

But worn-out and old too—like so many Raymond Chandler’s film noir cityscapes. Like those old prominent ritzy LA mansions he wrote about—in the once exclusive Bunker Hill neighborhood that slowly fell into disrepair & cheap low-rent rooming houses.

There’s a certain run-down, neo-noir, urban-esque planetary cityscape—eternally imprisoned in time & always threatening to its inhabitants. Pervasive on all planets—like Big Sleep Planets and Kiss Me, Deadly worlds. Murder, My Sweet cityscapes—transposed straight outta detective fiction tradition. Stark & naked—Titan moons embedded with pulp fiction Grade-B murder movie nuances.

Planets get worn-out—just like LA neighborhoods. Chandler could feel it—all the way from the future. A kind of nostalgia for the future—even before it got here. But it was there in the future—and sometimes it could bleed back into the past. Like Tourneur with his “Out of the Past”—it catches up with you one way or another.

These depressing ghetto-reality Martian zones—they contained not only the narrative and characters of human decay. Mars was no different—Hellas Towers was like the LA decaying neighborhoods back on Earth. That’s where I found myself in time—sandwiched somewhere in between LA and Hellas Town. It had its own storyline—I was a part of the Text.

The penthouse at the top of the now shabby Hellas Towers—used to belong to an important TerraCorp executive. Then a suit owned it for awhile who worked for Tyrell—before disappearing underground and never being seen again. A series of owners came & went—as the TerraCorp development fleets moved outward to Titan & the rings of Saturn. Pretty soon only exiles, riffraff & gangsters took over Hellas—I fit in nicely with the moiling mob.

Now the Towers was in a state of disrepair—the lobby was boarded up & the elevator hadn’t worked since I moved in a couple of years ago. The elevator used to work—it got me to the top. But it got jerky and slow toward the end—stranding me between floors a couple of times. Kinda like that weird elevator in “Eraserhead” (1976)—the one Henry Spencer too up to his shabby apartment.

I didn’t mind Hellas Town at all though—I simply parked my hover-craft up on the roof. Plenty of privacy that way—nobody coming bugging me. No bums or creeps—knocking on my door. Not bad for an old bounty hunter’s lair—a guy who treasured his privacy & only wanted to be left alone.

I strolled thru Hellas Town—I’d browse thru the pawn shops. Go thru the junk stores—rummage around the ruins. Nostalgically caught up with that strange sort of nostalgia for the future I was talkin’ about—a future that had already come & gone. Keeping all its secrets & memories to itself—except for the funky architecture that didn’t mind being dumpy & used-up. Worn-out & tired—like the Martian Face pyramids out in the desert.

The fact was that Hellas Town—was a ghost town. Things had either moved subsurface—or off to the Asteroid Archipelago development & mining zones managed by Tyrell and TerraCorp. And then further out to Titan—and the methane sea oil rigs down below on the surface of Saturn.

The rings of Saturn—left over from earlier pre-Terran mining operations. And then, of course, even further out. Past Neptune, Uranus, Pluto—exploring the Oort Belt Cloud.

Leaving Hellas Town upsurface—abandoned & pretty much a ghost mall. Like all those empty shopping plazas and strip-malls back on earth. After the Last Depression—and the Gulf Apocalypse. TerraCorp got its start back then—doing work for BP & Exxon—in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico & Lake Michigan. A lucrative planetary development thing—a good corporate upscale conglomerate organization to make your executive mark on the whole Exo-Exploration thing.

A few joints & antique shops were my favorite haunts—lots of things for sale could be found here & there in Hellas Town. Martian memorabilia and Earth mementos—they were kinda like my hobbies. I collected old star maps, Ace paperback double-novels—van Vogt space opera novels and blue Titan china teacups.

I was plagued with these stupid vain attempts at making—even foreign, alien, android matters somehow relevant & meaningful to me. The older I got—the more nostalgic I became. My mind was like a greedy sponge for earth knick-knack stuff—an eight-limbed many-suckered octopus for Martian antiques.

The kid & I would fly out—to archeological sites in the Amazonis Plains desert. Abandoned by exo-archeologists—for richer finds on Titan & the Saturnian moons. The whole solar system was a big junk yard—full of cosmic debris & ruined civilizations.

Mars itself had been a troubled planet—bypassed in favor of the Asteroid Gold Rush migration. That’s when the business mentality of Tyrell & TerraCorp—really kicked in for serious business. All the best exo-archeologists & scientists began working for TTT & its outsource exploration squads.

Much of what they discovered quickly got covered-up—for corporate competitive purposes. Interplanetary copyrighting exo-tech was high priority—later they’d back-engineer the stuff downward & let some of it dribble out for the masses.

I lived simply—here in the Martian backwater zone. Who knows what Tyrell Corp was doing down-under—where the Krell exo-civilization was being resurrected. As far as I was concerned—modern Martian maturity meant only one thing. Getting on with my life & getting ready to die. Doing it with a little class—maybe a small modicum of gracefulness.

I lived, I allowed myself to live—so that the kid could spin-out his teenage douchedroid fantasies. Letting him flow thru me at night—with his android super-science accommodation online. His ongoing humanoid mind-meld thing—was okay with me. I was pretty-much laissez-faire about the whole thing. Living with the kid—like he was becoming me.

We didn’t talk much about it—but he probably had some kind of built-in timeline like I did. I was older than him—so I pretty much expected what was gonna happen. I knew I was doomed to die sometime—that utterly & inevitably oblivion would be mine. I was stoic & resigned about it—I was actually pretty lucky to get as far as I did.

Whatever fleeting moments I had left—well, little by little I’d been turning them over to the kid. Since Nexus-9 droids weren’t eternal I assumed—we both were kinda stoic about it all. What can I say?

Hopefully the kid would go on doing what I did—enjoying my Martian reprieve, perversely distorting time, subverting my memories, transgressing and magnifying them this way and that. A bricolage of being myself—and being him.

I would go on being myself for awhile longer—then maybe afterwards thru my Nexus boytoy android friend. His memory was phenomenal—could he encompass all of me and mind-meld me like some piece of nostalgic Martian memorabilia?

Would some tedious plucking of Phobos zither strings—bring me back in his memory for a moment or two some day in the future? Some skanky whiff from the Hellas Town sewers—remind him of my bad breath in the morning?

Probably not—if it was gonna happen, probably it would happen more like during REM sleep dreaming. Some kind of point-counterpoint fugue—but who really knows how a young droid-mind works? Or an old droid bounty hunter’s worn-out brain like mine?

A ka-plunk in some Martian Amazonis desert pond—ripples spreading out from the tattered ruins of my Terra incognito mindscape? Would I ever feel again— the stirrings that once made me feel so human and vulnerable?

For this young male Nexus kid—during some fading mauve sunset? Standing nude out there—by a pyramid surrounded by the red sands of Mars?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dead Planet XIV

Dead Planet XIV

“It’s Borges—
the other one,
that things
happen to”
—Jorge Luis Borges,
“Borges and I”

DroidBoy got us outta there.

Outta Hell City—and back to Hellas Town upsurface.

No one saw us slip outta Mars City Underground—back to the Martian surface. Back up to Hellas Towers—back up into the Borgesian circular ruined night. Leaving behind Old Mars nightmare down below—for his magic realism OtherWorld.

Leaving the contaminated Tyrell City down below—where telepathic leprosy was rampant. The fetid holocaust underground devoted to Death down there—Tyrell with his face the color of ashes. The unrelenting sub-surface exo-Zend foreigners—and lurking, skulking alien entrepreneurs unhonored by mankind, yet tolerated for their super-science.

I didn’t even wake up—I just sort of phased outta REM sleep. Back into the normal rhythms— my so-so, so-what, bourgeois existence. Cycling my way slowly back thru—alpha, beta, delta sleep. Whatever unconquerable cosmic plan they were plotting down there—strangling the future with old has-been Magellanic slime sleights & cynical interplanetary, otherworldly coldness.

The kid put his head on my shoulder—unconsciously I wrapped by arms around him. That tomblike Tyrell niche down there— where the kid was conceived & born. His all-knowing Count Frankenstein father could fuckin’ keep it—all that crummy rotting ancient Lost Knowledge twisting its way back into Time.

All that alien forbidden exo-shit—rotting forever down there. Draped on the underground walls—like rotting baroque curtains in some ruined crummy high castle or forgotten Egypto-ArtDeco exo-temple. Dust of stoic, taciturn gone centuries—clinging to the dank receding shadows. The cosmic dreck of dead creepy cosmographies—dredged up by Tyrell & his Krell Team to be doomsday déjà vu zeitgeist once again…

Smile like you mean it—the Krell circular ruins far below seemed to say.

Tyrell & TerraCorp had realized with great bitterness—that nothing could be expected from the human species inhabiting the solar system. The outside intruders weren’t much better—they had no affection or even a single degree of sympathy for solar sector human beings.

The aliens & exo-creepazoids were basically vampires from outer space—they lived thru us, their preexistence totally illusionary. Completely dependent on the genius of Tyrell’s brain—the Droidic magic recall technology was the corporate world’s only hope.

The aliens & exo-creeps lived in REM dreamtime—like all human beings did when they dreamed. But REM dreamtime was also their psychic prison—there was no Gulag escape or grand exit strategy from Hell. They did Tyrell’s bidding—great Martian Mephistopheles magician that he was. But even Tyrell had his limitations—that’s why he created the half-human Nexus-9 DroidBoy to be his Earthman intermediary.

Smile like you mean it—Tyrell said to his son.

The kid shrugged—he could care less. He was genetically flawed—and he knew it. He had a built-in lifespan—but nobody knew how long. It was Russian roulette—every day of his life. Bad biology—had made him all too human & yet not human enough.

Too young & foolish to know why he existed—too vain & smart to ever wanna go back to Big Daddy ever again. Tall, lanky, taciturn—at times intractable. High Balkan cheek-bones—a disconcerting way of zeroing in on only one thing. Down there—where humanoids know all about it. Where clairvoyance was like Coca-Cola—something to be bought & sold. Marketed & managed—consumed & thrown away.

I slowed him down a little bit—especially during REM dreamtime. I forestalled some kind of imminent clairvoyant disaster—intuitively I sensed something wrong. I was dumb as a doorknob—when it came to ESPN-ESP. If I were gifted—I would’ve cleaned up at the tracks & got outta the bounty hunter racket a lot sooner.

The kid was bound to burn himself out fast enough—if I didn’t hold him back a little bit. My own naïve stupidity—and low intelligence dragged him down like an albatross or anchor around his neck.

The learning curves he put me thru—mostly at night when I was REM skating on thin ice. I slowed him down a lot—he had to keep a third eye on me. The kid had to save me more than once—from falling thru & drowning in the Zoid depths.

There was more to creepazoidal consciousness—than I thought. I thought all that Lovecraft-stuff was just bullshit—but then the Martian dreams began. Mysterious dream-worlds with disturbing names—a pantheon of ancient alien gods. Exo-beings such as Cthulhu and Azathoth—and weird eldritch planets haunting our own. Lovecraft must have been in a nest of them—seguing in & out of New England towns like Arkham with its Miskatonic University.

Struggling & wrestling with the kid—gave me something to do. My so-called Terra life was pretty much shot—long before I got outta Earth’s ruined orbit and to ancient Mars. Why retire back Earthside in that toxic Apocalypto hellhole—that radioactive dump full of fuckin’ Corexit zombies everywhere? There’d be no end to it—all I’d be doing was retiring the Living Dead zombie creeps instead of runaway droids.

From the minute I met the kid—some kinda ultra-neon light started blinkin’ on & off. Like some old Bijou film palace marquee—with the latest flick for me to watch. “El Distructo Zero Hour”—as if that was anything new to me.

Usually I’d always get a seat in the Bijou ghost-mall balcony—sitting alone up there going thru a couple of REM movies. One would suck me into the other—so real they weren’t even movies anymore. Before I met the kid—I sorta phased outta one dream flick into another. Sometimes there’s be a chance intermission—and I’d realize I’d been living Sunset Blvd or The Big Sleep without knowing it.

It took a Nexus-9 droidboy—to get me to be more lucid and alive in the flicks. Until then there’d been no Brechtian dream alienation-effect for me—I simply took dreaming for granted.

The kid taught me the difference between—dream Entfremdung & dream Verfremdung. Entfremdung was an alienating condition—Verfremdung was a method of making that condition clear to dreamers. Not afterwards—but spontaneously within the dream movie itself.

It was an improvement over the van Vogt Null-A technique—there wasn’t any need to set one’s alarm clock every 90 minutes. To wake up & remember the Cthulhuesque or Azathothian underworld. It was Verfemdung Lite—alienation despite the Zoid Zone.

It held the kid back some—him holding me tight so I wouldn’t fall thru. In return, I shared things with him—like getting him to dig sad crimson Martian sunsets. Teaching him the unbearable lucidity—of restless young human insomnia.

Taking him outta Hellas Town on weekend hover-craft trips—out across the Amazonis night dotted with ruined plains far down below. Checkin’ out the Pyramid Face ruins—helping him to squander his young male strength just pleasing me.

The strength of his young male douchedroid delirium sometimes—abandoning the maze & labyrinthine mirror house inside his stale old droid dreams. Getting into the real marvavilloso task at hand—the silent Zen-contemplation of the ancient planet Mars. The Phobos moonship zipping by—high overhead in the nightsky above.

Getting both our minds—synching more closely. Him off his Tyrell past—me off my Terra memories. Focusing on us more & more instead—bowed down & broken by the planetary gods. Me uttering to him—
the only real words I knew how to pronounce.

The meaningless ancient wordless words—of my beating all-too-human troubled Terran heart. My love for him—that painstaking love that had overcome me. Salving the guilt of my bounty hunter past—during those brilliant Martian desert nights. Helping the kid to live his life—his way and not Tyrell’s way.

Stroking his double pulmonary arteries—down there with my forefinger. Such inspection pleasing him—making him feel proud. Staying up for dayz & nightz—deliberately not sleeping for long periods of time. Letting his heart feel how to be more human. Feeling it turn inside-out just for me—and not Tyrell below or the fuckin’ planetary gods above.

Stroking his Michelangelo physique—in the shadows of ancient pyramid ruins, No longer a droid-vat stippling kid—but instead an upsurface young adult. Getting to know the way human love—that can count the countless hairs on a guy’s body. The way human love can X-ray—a fully grown man all the way to the bone. Past his quivering REM eyelids—all the way down deep into his glowing-in-dark exo-skeleton. Night after night—I dreamed this kid more awake.

It’s an old story—gnostic conglomerates & ancient cosmogonies creaming the Milky Way. How many dark handsome angels—oozing squirting outta the groins of dark Greater Magellanic Clouds? How many young cute Alpha Centauri Adams—does it take to make an Eden? Young Martian guyz—with big adolescent Adam’s apples. Going spaz from one end of the galaxy—all the way to the other?

The galaxy I grew up in—the solar system that was my home. The Planet that was my Home World—the Apocalypto Nova that destroyed it all?

I threw myself at his feet—how many Wizard Apprentice droidboyz could I fall in love with? Before the Altair, Adebaran , Alpha Centauri gods grew jealous—destroying me in my greedy dread-inspiring love to be more than merely human?

One evening I was totally exhausted—near some ruined circular Martian temple we’d landed at nearby to explore. I finally fell asleep in a zero-grav hammock next to him—out there in some abandoned Amazonis deserted place. In my REM dreaming man’s dream—I dreamed the kid awake once again. He was calling my name—from inside the pyramid.

The consecrated period of Martian time long ago—it was beginning to recede ahead of time again very quickly. Subverting & transgressing all the arcane secrets of the kid’s inner universe—reaching backwards & stretching forward into Zoid-zeit realms of the future. Apparently he was the only Nexus-9 droid in existence—the other ones were waiting in the distant Martian past & Oort Cloud Belt future?

This was no big deal secret to anybody—his Tyrell inheritance & vat-birth beginnings were dream-memories from way back before I first met him. Under the pretext of android pedagogical love—the sorcerer’s apprentice became more like me. A lousy two-bit bounty hunter all for himself—taking in & keeping my own personal droid doppelganger kid.

The kid I knew would probably leave me soon—the important thing was that we both helped each other to understand. Eventually, inevitably, erotically—we’d become one. But Hellas Town wouldn’t last forever—sooner or later all the lost leagues from its past would catch up with it. All the impenetrable secrets of the ruins—bleaching the sun downstream somewhere in lost Martian time.

The kid would sooner or later forget me. Overcome by some uncanny zip-lock preprogrammed erasure ticket—the twilight circularity would continue with identical droid-human love affairs further on down downstream. I’d see him on the vidscreen someday—faces telling faces about a magical youth in a temple on Titan who can levitate. A youth who could walk on the Rings of Saturn—and not be methane-singed or burned.

I’d worry about the kid sometimes—whatever truths or lies he’d discover about himself in the future. That he was nothing new really—that a droidboy army of phantasm-drones were waiting subsurface. Created by Tyrell—trained by TerraCorp.

Conceived organ by organ—neuron by neuron. In vast underground Martian vats—submarine greenhouses of dreamtime slime. Taught a little love & private eye craft in Hellas—learned by him above-surface with me. Learning to smile—like they meant it. Thru a vast thousand—and one Martian nights.

And then strangely enough—the most amazing thing would happen. Exactly as Mars was finally cataclysmically destroyed—by powerful concentric rings of mega-holocaust atomic rays. The Red Planet Mars—becoming a brief crown of crumbling cinders. As the Golden Age—of Solar Space Exploration came to a close. In that flash-second, I had this final déjà vu dream-image—ahead of time & space by many light years.

I realized with a certain flashback humiliation & terror—that for all magical & practical purposes I’d been mistaken. The kid wasn’t just a droidboy fantasma—actually I was one too. I was but a mere Terran apparition—some droidboy from the future was dreaming me even as I spoke…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dead Planet XIII

Dead Planet XIII

“Gosseyn stared somberly
out of the curving corner
window of his hotel room.
From its thirty-story
vantage point, he could
see the city of the Machine
spread out below him.”
—A. E. van Vogt,
The World of Null-A

Well, the funny thing is—I ended up down there anyway. Deep down there in the Tyrell Corp headquarters boardroom. In the sub-Mars bunker zone anyway. What a fuckin' joke...

Like Dr. Tyrell said—my droidboy Lover knew the quickest way down there. Into the Martian Sub-City far below Hellas Town. And that’s when the kid took me—as soon as I fell asleep.

Smack-dab in the middle of the Tyrell boardroom—with all the TTT suits & off-planet creepazoids. Just like I thought would happen—I was fucked.

You can’t trust douchedroid boytoys—they’ll play dumb on you & then they’ll end up getting what they want anyway. What’s the use—once you’ve gone Droid, there’s no turnin’ back.

The kid waited until I was asleep in bed—working my way down thru alpha, beta, delta & all the other brain waves. Most humans did it that way. Sci-writer A. E. van Vogt knew that—he’d time it. The dream cycles just right. He knew how long it took to start dreaming. Ninety minutes…

Usually it takes 90 minutes to get into R.E.M. sleep. When your eyelids start jiggling & dancin’—that means you’re dreaming. Well, van Vogt set the alarm on his nightstand clock—so that he’d wake up during those REM cycles. He’d write them down in a dream journal—then he’d set the alarm & go back to sleep again. It’s simple enough—he discusses it in him memoirs.

That’s how van Vogt dreamed up so many unique, kinky, fragmented scenarios in his novels. Like Slan and World of Null-A—they were more like dream-journal adventure stories. It’s what gives his Astounding Science Fiction early stories like “Black Destroyer” so much eerie, oneric action & otherworldly atmosphere. Dreamtime storylines…

Van Vogt’s novels opened up the same effect—kicking in the Golden Age of Sci-Fi back in the ‘40s & ‘50s. No wonder so many juvenile Sci-fi fans got turned on by van Vogt’s swerve—he was “jacked-in” long before CyberPunk fiction. Long before Gibson’s Necromancer—captured the Internet generation.

I didn’t have to do that—it didn’t take me 90 minutes to get there. I dreamt instantaneously—and lucidly thanks to my droidboy lover. Droids don’t need all that alpha-beta-delta wave jazz—they can jump into REM just like that. The kid was good at it—instead of taking 90-minutes, he mind-melded & jacked me into dreamtime right away.

“Pretty neat, huh?” the kid said.

So like Tyrell wanted to meet me—after all I was an authority on online Nexus-9 performance by then. Plus I was pretty cynical & realistic—since I’d been a droid bounty-hunter back there on Earth.

It was more than cool. The Tyrell Headquarters—was this chic LA nightclub like The Cockatoo Lounge in Tarantino’s Charlie Brown. Cool, dark, lots of chrome & leather. A mirrored bar—with the usual suave bartender. All of it relaxed and air-conditioned—like a calm rendezvous with your girlfriend.

Except it was 700 stories beneath the surface—the hum of Krell back-engineered high-tech & rumbling invisible machinery in the background. The kid took me into an intimate backroom—that’s where the suits were waiting for us.

Tyrell was just finishing up an interview with a tall menacing Bill Gates drone—in his Microsoft Zoot-Suit with his gang of Venusian bodyguards. All women of course—cloned after Jan Sterling for some reason. They looked bored & slutty—like in Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole.

Slumpin’ down the rickety wooden stairs—on the outside of the dumpy café. Swooped up by nefarious Kirk Douglas—in some swank convertible. Kept around for his big newspaper story—the one about the poor sucker dying back there in the guts of the dark fuckin’ cave somewhere.

That’s how REM dreamtime imagination works—it never seems completely real. There’s always a little bit of magic realism involved—kinda like Borges’ seminal Spanish translation of Faulkner’s Wild Palms. That single one translation of Faulkner—kick-starting the whole real marvavilloso americano thing. The new South American “Boomer” fabulation genre. All the way from Buenos Aires, Argentina—to Havana, Cuba. And into the future…

Whatever that means…

So that whenever the kid—got inside my head. Well, there was always a little auteur cineaste aura to everything I saw and did. Not as bad as Severo Sarduy's Cobra—a little more like Borges’ Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. That’s what the Martian City down there reminded me of—that weird Borges Circular City story I read back when I was a kid on Earth. Before the Gulf Apocalypse…

So that when I talk about it—and describe it. About what happens down there—well, take it with a little bit of cinematic skepticism and cheesy Lo real marvavilloso americano. The baroque marvavilloso in a dream—it begins unmistakably when suddenly & unexpected you find yourself in a strange intensity and singularity.

It already presupposes a suspension in belief—as if that’s a big deal when you’re dreaming. Most people accept the reality of their ongoing dream without question—unless they’re trained to know the difference. To know you’re dreaming & still dig it—that’s the trick of magic dream realism.

There’s this swerve—this baroque shift into timeless liquidity. When everything seems fait accompli—with its own logical precision. But there’s always a little bit of stealthy swerve to it—something that incorporates metropolis marvavilloso thinking. Even if its from the far future…

Or paradoxically from the ancient past as well—the immediate, spontaneous magic dream-text being more realistic than any realist text could be. Baroque magic realismo turns into itself—like two mirrors bending backwards away from each other. One has to constantly refocus—to keep from being destroyed by Oort Cloud muck & galactic oozing mucous.

The muck & mucous is you—on the marvavilloso downslide moving thru REM time. The kid walked me thru it—at least he was good for something. He’d learned the gamut of human reactions pretty good—he could guess where the nature & limits of the knowable were for me. It helped to have a cute young hustler—being one’s guide as we tripped & transgressed supernatural boundaries down thru the usual ho-hum undesignated typologies of the fantastic unreal. The baroque subway…

I needed a little young male beauty—to offset some of the grotesque stratagems of the skanky hypertext imagination. That’s why Tyrell picked a bounty-hunter like me with literary leanings—I was a quick study for carnival sideshow scams and unresolved antinomies. Martian mythology was full of that kind of shit—like the myths & legends of the Aztecs, Mayans and Inca exiles.

Certain French directors got pretty close—like Jacques Tourneur in the voodoo flick I Walked With a Zombie. The same his The Cat People—and Out of the Past. Even more so with Night of the Demon (1957)—aka "Curse of the Demon. That opening scene with the doomed professor—driving thru the tunnel of dark trees late at night to the Magician’s mansion. That’s how I felt as we descended—quickly down into the depths of Mars.

The idea of alien terror can be both—rejuvenating and overwhelming. Everybody needs a guide down thru that kind of real marvavilloso americano stuff—whether he’s a young Virgil in Dante’s Inferno or a handsome Heurtebise in Cocteau’s Orphée.

The kid was my guide—I looked over at him. Driving the Mercedes dream-limo. He was my chauffeur down into Martian Hell. A couple of young doubles—were escorting us goin’ over 100. They were driving sleek black BMW motorcycles alongside us. Wearing mean beat-up leather jackets—and black leather boots. With dark thick goggles—and baroque Zoid rayguns under their belts.

What else? What else could get me down there—quick and just like that? It was just like Tyrell said—the kid knew the fastest way to get me down there. And that’s what he did—despite all my fuckin’ moanin’ & bitchin’.

“Smile like you mean it,” the kid said, as we entered the nightclub boardroom…

After Tyrell dismissed the Gates gang—the doors dialed shut & clicked. We were alone—and yet we weren’t alone.

Tyrell was telepathic, of course—I came to expect that kind of thing during these dreamtime episodes. It was better for business that way—no secrets, no special deals, no blackmail bullshit. Even the fuckin’ greatly feared Venusian Jacuzzi organizations appreciated it—the telepath-business angle.

So did the Exo-terrestrials—invisibly crowding the room. Earthmen at first thought—they needed tons of translators. Big mistake—translation was automatic. It’s hard to describe it—other than what you see is what you get. Exo-eidetic anyway.

It happens when you’re dreaming. That’s where the Nexus-9 droids came in—they were good at longdistance surveillance and distance exo-viewing. The kid was designed for that. He needed some private dick training tho—hook him up with Deckard they said. He’s a slough-off miscreant and neo-Martian misanthropes—but WTF he’s the best. They usually dug me up outta retirement—for that kinda shit.

Private dicks like me—were dime a dozen. The romantic dayz of Hugh Marlowe & Mike Hammer were long gone. There was that weird extraterrestrial nostalgia tho—a kind of Chandler-esque ache for LA noir. It kinda leaked outta the putrid past—into the crummy future.

A kind of van Vogt decadent voluptuousness—to the kipple decay of old Earth metropolises. Sterling Hayden in Concrete Jungle. Tarantino in Charley Brown. A kind of Kiss Me, Deadly swerve—a weird Mickey Spillane / A. I. Bezzerides melancholy echo of what might have been, what could have been, what really was when Null-A kicked in…

I looked over at the kid—he was in the wise-ass, pouty hustler mode. He usually played hard-to-get that way—when he was up-tight & didn’t know what was comin’ down. I leaned over against him—he leaned back. It was dim in there—Tyrell motioned for us to sit down at the table.

Tyrell zipped thru my mind—like the Yellow Pages. Lookin’ for something—but he didn’t find it. The kid had trained me in my sleep—to be kinda tricky. I knew they needed me for something—it wasn’t that I had something they wanted. It was just the opposite usually. They needed my newly acquired droidboy quasi-human skill—to get a job done. I knew that—the kid knew that. Tyrell knew that…

It was like a nest of vipers—down there beneath the surface. A Martian Termite City of thriving Terra-incognito mobs & no-good slimy Venusian-gangsters. Saturnian sluts lurked in the shadows—Titan transsexuals and Uranian queers were eyeballing the kid. Sizing him up—Nexus-9 droids were hot stuff.

The worst scum of the skanky solar system was down there—wheelin’ & dealin’ like all the other Late Capitalism sub-space dynasties in for the take. Lookin’ for cool deals and planning ahead. For the next fuckin’ Asteroid Archipelago Job—ready to suck up the apocalypto-profits & anything big coming down.

It wasn’t pretty—whatever it was. Nouveau riche barons were never polite—there was too much to gain & everything to lose. Planets didn’t self-destruct—their terraforming was closely managed. Developed by the best end-job raconteurs—it was just business.

Their motto was simple: “Smile like you mean it.”

The Terran Space Fleet was already mapping out war-game scenarios—EVE programmers & flight technicians—were already testing out the cyborg paradigms & psych-perimeters. The cyberpunk Neuromancer generation—that was the first test group. Now the galactic game-planners—were managing the next stage of it.

The Golden Age Sci-Fi Meta-Fiction…

I tried centering myself calmly & aloofly. Like I wasn’t really there—like it was just a fuckin’ wetdream in a house I once grew up in. On a street—where I was a kid. Way back when—way back when my juvie sci-fi imagination first kicked in. Back when I was a dumb teenage Heinlein punk—Have Earthboy Suit, Will Travel, baby…

I kinda smiled—like I meant it.

I felt the kid’s foot—nudge me under the boardroom table. He had a smile on his face too. It made me feel like he was on my side. I don’t think he like Big Daddy Tyrell—or being back down subsurface. Those stinkin’ fuckin’ droid-vats gave him the heebie-jeebies—the tubes he grew up in.

Lots of cyborg eyeballs were paying close attention to us—it made me feel nervous and expectant. I almost popped myself outta REM time to get away—but the kid kept me in there.

Those Nexus-9 boytoys had nerves like steel—did he still love me way down here? With Big Daddy in control—and the Replicant suits shuffling their feet. WTF did Tyrell want anyway? I don’t think the kid knew either—he had his Zoid gun ready tho.

“The Martian Archipelago?” Tyrell asked.

Not so much a question—more like an image.

The kid shrugged & dozed off. He wasn’t impressed by the Martian bargain basement routine down here. He had bad memories from all that time—wasted in the droid vats floating around in the virtual void.

“You mean the Asteroid Belt,” I tried to say. “That’s what we call it now anyway. I never heard it called the Martian Archipelago, tho, Doctor Tyrell?”

It was getting late—and I had this image projected by the kid into my sub-cortex. The last crimson rays of a Martian sunset—sliding down thru the Venetian blinds. Back upsurface—in our Hellas City condo. I was still nervous about this whole Tyrell thing—the recessed vidscreens in the walls all around us. Flickering silently—with tele-images comin’ outta nowhere into my head.

The Martian Archipelago? Jesus Christ—was that next? Where does Tyrell come up with this crap? I thought it was gonna be—some kind of fuckin’ shit about his douchebag droid-son.

Shacking up with me—both of us training each other. To be more human—to be more droid. To be Martian exo-lovers. The philoprogenitive planetary thing—extraterrestrial romance. Something the Desperate Solar Suburban Housewives out there—would go for?

But of course—it was business not sitcom shit. All the mining techs & engineers out there in the asteroid belt. It was a fuckin’ goldmine—for military-industrial wetdream development come true.

That’s why Hellas City existed—it was a Jump-Off Zone to the Asteroid Archipelago. The big bucks were out there just waiting—heavy metals, valuable ores, undreamed of riches. All exposed & easily accessible—for Like the rings of Saturn—it was there for the taking. It was like a gold mine—floating out there inside-out & ready for the stealth-freighters to haul the shit away

Plus gold… gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies. All the precious inner guts of whatever planet had been there. Easy pickings for research & development. The droid-mining ships—the whole new Baron dynasties. Lucrative as sin—opening up fast.

TerraCorp was in on it obviously—they’d blow up a planet just to get the natural resources. Plus every thing else—all the way down to the dead star core. Tyrell & TerraCorp had plans—TTT development plans. Managing the terraform meta-job—all the way out to the Oort Cloud Belt. Ah yes, the Zoid Zone…

The kid next to me was already dozing off. It was like talking to myself—without myself there anymore. That was one thing about Nexus-9 droidboyz—they never suffered from insomnia. Neurotic human bullshit—didn’t bug them. It was like Zonk all of a sudden—and they’d be outta there.

Which only meant one thing—the Tyrell interview was over. Already the nightclub interior was fading fast—Tyrell didn’t seem to mind. I guess he found out what he wanted to know—or knew how to come back inside my mind if he needed too.

Tyrell smiled ironically—like he meant it.

I knew he didn’t—the rest the TTT gang didn’t like it. I didn’t know anything about the stupid Martian Archipelago—I didn’t want to. Other than get the fuck outta there—if they were gonna blow it up?

Oh well, what did I know? And what did the kid know either—what does any droid kid know? The kid was just another fuckin’ droidboy—grown-up without any love or affection. No mother to love him—not even arms to hold him or a breast to feed him.

No wonder the kid—hated Tyrell and Mars. He’d been grown coldly & aloofly in a droid-vat—and then turned loose upsurface in a zoo parking lot. Left to fend for himself—victimized by the worse scum of Hellas Town.

Fuck the Tyrell connect thing…

The same thing with the worrisome interview with his father. And the hint in the back of my mind—that something else was comin’ down.

I felt the kid pull me back to Hellas Tower—outta Tyrell dreamtime. Back into time—back into the highrise condo that had been his only home…

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dead Planet XII

Dead Planet XII

“The next day my dearest
obsessive desire of which
I was quite unaware, given
my pathological character,
was suddenly fulfilled in all
its horror. Dr. Eldon Tyrell
gave me a videoscreen call
from the ancient evil Martian
Underground City down below.”
—Romain Gary, “Hocus Bogus”

''Rick Deckard, I've got good news for you. The special Nexus 9 droidboy you met in the Hellas Park Zoo. The one named JJ—that you’ve been living with for a year. He’ll be your Escort—down into the Sub-Mars Bunker City. I wish to interview you.”

It took a second for the pin to drop. “The Martian City Underground? But I thought it was off-limits to us humans. I saw it on the vidscreen news.''

''Listen, Deckard. Hellas City is just a fake City—the real Martian City is down here below. The new Tyrell Corporate Headquarters is totally sub-surface—and you know why. It’s down here over 700-stories deep. Prepare to expand your intellectual horizons a little bit, sir. The Nexus droid knows the fastest way to get you here.”

Tyrell sounded far away—his image on the telescreen was fuzzy and full of static. Tyrell was actually here on Mars? Jaysus christ—I thought he was back on Earth—or out there on Titan? And now Tyrell wanted me to journey downward into the subterranean guts of the Red Planet—just to see him? How did I rate such red carpet treatment? Tyrell Corp ran everything—all the way out past Saturn into the Oort Cloud Belt.

I breathed in deep—with all the strength my lungs could give me. I closed my eyes—and took a big sigh. Was I gonna be punished—or executed for taking in the droid kid? Was Tyrell really the father of JJ—like those dreams he had in the droid vats way down below? Big Daddy Tyrell peering into the droid vat—and smiling at the kid? I didn’t like the way the whole thing sounded—it was like I was being setup again.

“C’mon, let’s go,” the kid said to me cooly. He already had on his Saturn snake-skin bomber jacket. And some soft desert droid-boots—I’d never seen him wear before. He had that young hustler smirk on his face again—like he knew something really big that I didn’t know.

I had this weird feeling. Like I was somehow caught up in medias res—suddenly embedded in some sort of cheap lurid Pulp Fiction novel. The kind they used to read back there on Earth in the Fifties—those crummy little funny Ace paperback double novels. Published back-to-back—and upside-down facing each other.

That’s how I felt—some kind of fuckin’ trapped protagonist in a weird Pseudo-Forbidden Planet hocus-pocus space opera novel. Without a fuckin’ clue—clueless as Mike Hammer in some skanky Mickey Spillane film noir murder mystery.

Clueless as some Raymond Chandler private dick—fuckin’ around in an old mildewed flick like The Big Sleep or worse yet Farewell, My Lovely. Except it wasn’t nostalgic LA back in the ‘40s—and it wasn’t neo-noir New York City back before the Apocalypse. It was Murder, My Sweet Now—and this was mean fuckin’ Mars. I didn’t trust anybody—especially now.

''I refuse! Are you off your rocker?” I grabbed him by the shoulder & shook him. “You think I’m fuckin’ crazy or something?”

He just stood there—smiling at me.

“C’mon, so what if Tyrell is your father? What are they gonna do to me down there anyway? Give me a fuckin’ Voight-Kampff Test—to see if I’m human?”

The kid shrugged—he lit up an electronic cigarette.

“They’ll probably get me down there Underground—with all those fuckin’ Tyrell Corporation creeps. And grill me about everything—and blame me for you being my kept boy. A goddamn stinkin’ interview? With the fuckin’ Tyrell Nexus Wizard himself? Fuck that, no way Jose. They’ll just stick us both in one those droid-vats again—to shut us up. And let us rot to death—in our own fuckin’ piss & shit down there!!!”

''Listen, Rick, drop the act, will you? You're not a bounty hunter anymore, so don’t sweat it. All those droids you offed—it was just your job that’s all. The LAPD kept you around—paid you pretty good. Because you were good at it. It was just politics.''

''Politics!? Moi?''

''Calm down. You aren’t a bounty hunter anymore. You would’ve offed me if you were. You knew I was droid—from the minute you picked he up at the Zoo. You’re the only one that knew what I really was—a new Nexus 9 droid model boytoy.”

“I must be a psychiatric case—after fallin’ for you. I should’ve know better—droids are only trouble. It’s gotta be droid karma—boomeranging back at me. For all those poor droids I retired—WTF am I gonna do now?”

“You’re not a psychiatric case, Rick. You’re a good LA detective, that’s all. You’ve got an intuitive sense—for a lotta things. Like mind-melding and stuff like that. Big Daddy Tyrell has been following you all along—see this camcorder Third Eye of mine? Embedded here in my forehead—up above my bushy eyebrows? The security services have got a file on you. It's all in there. You like chicken droids that’s all—no big deal with that.”

I almost fainted. They knew.

It wasn't BP Apocalypse or Martian Black Market or Hellas nightclubs or horror of Pinochet or Palin. It was chicken.

Tyrell Corporation Psychotechnicians were sometimes complete bastards. I felt the kid’s forehead—covering it up.

''I don't want them to see me!''

“That’s okay, I’ve got another pair of them—down here on my double-whammy.”


''That’s right, all I can tell you is all the corporate execs & their wives—they know real good who you are & what you did. You get 10 stars, Rickie boy.”

“What people are you talikin’ about?”

“All the Elite—Martian TPTB & their Nexus offspring.”

“Fuck me. Some madman has written this looney-tune script. It’s not real—it can’t be so.”

''That someone else wrote your life—or else helped them write it down.''

This was a terrible blow to my gutter-press mentality. I was cracking up—I was really cracking up. I felt myself splitting in two—half of me a hunch-backed Nortre Dame freak. The other half humping myself and laughing about it. There’s nothing so absolutely horrifying—as knowing that my wounded dignity and pride were quickly going down the shitter.

''You mean I wasn't me? Wasn't me? Wasn't me? So who the fuck was I then?''

''Raymond Queneau. Louis Aragon. People are saying you don’t exist & never did exist.''

I was suffocating. My authorial well-being and private dick identity—felt like a fuckin’ flat tire. What gumshoe self-esteem was so bruised—that I swore I’d never get down on my queer homosexual knees again. Whether for a Nexus droid—or some lousy piece of “Earthboyz are Easy” whitetrash riffraff.

I started figuring in my head—how many times I’d slaughtered JJ’s exquistely pouty lips with my greedy kisses shamelessly gnawing his puffy lower lip as the kid lost it two or three or four times on those Lost Weekends on the wiggling obscene waterbed?

A hundred Nexus boytoy wads—without a second thought about trying to save my LAPD honor…

''Alright then. This so-called droid master-journalist or whoever invented me—he’s gotta be the one to blame for everything I did to you. I thought it was all about havin’ a good time—now I feel guilty as sin but what can I do? Take your daddy Tyrell a bouquet to console him—down there in the Hellas Mars Underworld Bunker. Shit, what have I done?''

''Don't overdo it, Rick. You have stay in character—be a cool cop. That’s what you do best—bounty hunters are sharp cookies.''

''What character?''


I don't know why I suddenly thought of Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet. It filled me with real Krell fear & loathing. Despair with a capital D for Doom.

“They’ve got powerful droid brain surgeons down there. They’ll probably transplant my stupid fuckin’ brain—into a fuckin’ chimpanzie politician or naked ape janitor or something. I bet they got plans down there for yours truly.”

It was a wellknown fact that Tyrell Corporation could do anything they wanted. They could turn you into fuckin’ slimy slug—or a Kafka cockroach any time they wanted. They were good at doin’ the Gogol Effect—turning a guy into a Nose. Or ratchet you up real tight—and metamorphose a guy into an embarrassing Roth-like breast. A tit with legs—all dressed up & nobody to blow.

''You have your own following already, Rick.''

''What following?''

''You're a YouFuck TV celebrity—you’re on all the vidscreen porno stations & murder mystery shows. Every droid you made love to—and then calmly offed. It was all recorded by the Ganymede Gestapo—in case they needed to pressure you a little bit. Or if you balked—doing your job like a good private dick. You’re a droid dick walking Chandler character—even Mickey Spillane liked your stye.”

“Well, thanks. But flattery won’t get cha anywhere, kid. C'mon, now. Tell me will ya? What’s all this leadin’ up to anyway?”

It’s true—I may have been a pretty good Earthman private dectective—maybe even the best. I’ll admit I was at one time an awkward bugger, a blogosphere bastard & even a louche Poughkeepsie pimp.

But I did try to maintain a certain vain aura—and really tried to keep it up as best I could. It's what we in the detective business—call tough guy integrity and street smart suavity. It's the best kind of advertising. You can't buy it—but it it really sells books. Philip Marlowe had it—so did Mike Hammer...
I could hear myself saying, somewhere far away, for it was surely someboy much smarter & wiser than me saying:

''In Argentina they’ve got Borges who is the most powerful Magic Realist in the country—the most fabulous Fabulist in the Land. You can pick up any of his books—turn to any page you wasn’t. And Bingo—you’re sucked into his bag of tricks. Mirror mazes and labyriths forever. Circular cities of the dead—dying doubles creating you instead. In Mississippi they’ve got Faulkner—with all his despicable Delta tricks. With guyz like Snopes and Pop Eye—realer than warm spit & twice as mean as Nixon. Once you read one of their gutter-press novels—you’re hooked for life as long as there’s Light in August & decent whiskey in Yoknapatawpha County.

And so there I was—standing there in my Hellas City condo living room. Doing the best I could—keeping up the evasive fantasy of being somebody who really wasn’t there. I was suddenly the man who wasn’t there or her or anywhere. I wasn’t even sure I was a man anymore—I’d never given myself a Voight-Kampff Test. It didn’t work that way—you can’t use the same questions on yourself that you use on droid suspect interviewees. I knew all the questions anyway—all the fake answers that droid gangsters used. Tyrell probably had a unique set—just for bounty hunters like me. Maybe I was a droid—I honestly didn’t care anymore. I felt betrayed…

I thought of hiring a lawyer—they were cheap & easy to be had on Mars. With most of Earth in sludge & cinders—the Planetary Bar Association was desperate for business elsewhere. The vidscreen yellow pages were full of them—even more specialized than back when they hogged up most of the yellow business pages in the Terra Phonebook.

I picked Slim, Slam, Thank You Ma’am—because I knew they were good at divorce cases. Even tho my love affair with the Nexus kid—probably didn’t qualifiy me in the Martian DOMA category. I knew accusations could come roosting at homeat any time—but WTF. Tyrell corporate attorneys would make mincemeat outta any excuse I dreamed up,

Then I chose Snide, Sneer & Smirk—the best Martian attorneys this side of the North Polor Caps. They inspired confidence in me—because I'd never met them and they’d never met me. Even tho Tyrell Corp would probably buy them off—even before I could say Boo.

Finally I gave up—after all, I hadn't been charged with anything. Droid molestation wasn’t on the books—most legal beaver stalwart punters were pretty submersible characters anyway. They worked for the Mars Mob—and took kickbacks from the Titan Gang. I couldn’t have touched them—with a ten foot pole. Tyrell, TerraCorp & the Ganymede Syndicate—ran the whole Solar System racket anyway.

Even if I found a decent lawyer—they’d probably tell me I didn’t need an attorney. What I needed was a psychiatrist—or a quick subversive submarine craft run for the Oort Belt Cloud Sea and hide my sorry ass out there where nobody could find me.

It was getting on my nerves—with all these stories I kept inventing in my head to get outta this Twilight Zone I was in. Why cover it all up or even try—I’d been videotaped doin’ the dirty every possible way imaginable. There was still a lot of interplanetary prejudice and droid discrimination goin’ on even in the twenty-first century.

Android incestuous miscegenation—between father and droid daughter had already taken place. That’s how my loverboy JJ got born—pure and perfect cyborg incest and replicant guilty sexual relationships. Tyrell risked opening up a pandora’s box—all his own with his droid daughters and Nexus neices. It was like the Snopes legacy in Yoknapatawpha Country—except with Tyrell it was interplanetary philoprogentive playing-around.

I felt cornered—about being taken down into the depths of the Martian Underground. I felt trapped in a state of galactic inauthenticity—already I could hear the electric scalpels slicing up my brainstem salami. Cruel reality was on the prowl—and Martian morality was at the end of the tunnel. At one point I contemplated a louche Uranian lobotomy—in a desperate attempt to cheat Tyrell judgment.

I didn’t wanna be known. All I wanted was a clostety life—with my young droid lover in hidden corner of the universe. Surrounded by unimagined aliens who didn’t care who I was—who managed to ignore human beings as detestable no-nothings from some entirely unknown boring backwater world. Yawn.

Writing about all this—makes me feel awfully nervous. I’m afraid of Tyrell Corporation—and the whole Necon Outer Space Empire of Terran Late Capitalsim. His Excellency the Minister of the Evil Dark Oort Cloud Belt—makes me quiver in fear. All Evil Dark Oort Clouds—end up right inside you. It’s dark enough in there—without the Oort Cloud darkness squeezin’ in.

At eight that night, Tyrell called up on the vidscreen.

“You’ve decided not to let me interview you, Rick?”

“Well, Mr. Tyrell. I was hoping for some Immunity. Excuse me—I mean Anonymity.”

''I thought so—that’s okay. Say hello to my son, won’t you?”

“Of course, Mr. Tyrell. Whatever you say.”

“Genetics is kinda like a crapshoot, Mr. Deckard.”

“Yes, sir. It’s quite a seminal matter, isn’t it?”

“Let me know if I can ever help you two out.”

I said goodbye—in a cold sweat all over.

I couldn't belive I got off the hook so easy.

I felt like telling Tyrell that I’d jerk off from then on.

I’d never mess around with his Nexus son again.

I heard my pretty boy snoring in the bedroom…

What a tempest—in a Titan teapot!!!

Dead Planet XI

Dead Planet XI

“There's a monolith there—
a very unusual structure on
this little potato shaped object
that goes around Mars once
every seven hours.”
—Buzz Aldrin

Hellas being just a temporary droid Mars metropolis—hurriedly erected on top of some incredibly ancient Martian-Egypto-Aztec-Mayan-Toltec ruins sunk down miles deep in the Amazonis plains. Most Earthlanders not knowing anything about it—or even caring less about it.

Nobody knowing the name of the ancient Martian metropolis—even tho it was bigger & deeper than any Earthside city ever was. Supposedly there were Archival chambers down there—more than equal to the Egyptian Library of Alexandria. Ten times more—a thousand times more. Things like Timescreen teleschrolling-archives & Spinning titanium disks speaking & projecting CGI 3-D beings against blue-screen images of what Mars used to be like.

Plus Forbidden Planet Earthside histories—mysteriously “meta” enough to make fabulating fools out of all of us. Detailed narratives of early landings that’d been made—by von Braun & his nazi Messerschmitt teams back in the ‘40s. All of it a part of the clandestine TTT agenda—the TerraCorp-Tyrell Mega-Cartel Development Zone. The Late Capitalism Terran flagships—already fleeing the next solar catastrophic denouement.

The further out the better—the Argentine & Chile bunkers of the Peron-Pinochet cliques already having been trashed & raided. The vast Latin American underground estates—ersatz & useless in the wake of fake Late Capitalism interplanetary agendas.

All the suave, supposedly sophisticated, bought-off Earth power-brokers supposedly in the know. Left to perish in the crumbling ruins deep underground—finally wising up & in the know. The Giza complex & Inca sky-castles—still standing as forgotten Krell reminders of what was coming down. Ancient cosmic remains & remnants—from the previous solar adjustments.

Adjustments? A fuckin’ polite way of putting it. More like cheesy apocalypto Last Tango in Paris. Terran Exo-Endgames—Götterdämmerung zeitgeist time. Confirmed years earlier by Aldrin, Medvedev, the Vatican—hinted by NASA mostly covering the whole thing up. All the usual various clairvoyante fakes—like Madame SOS Sosostris of The Waste Land literati fame. Hints of ersatz Cuban baroque forebodings—camp Ouija Board Telescreen schmoozing...

That and the somewhat tardy domestic “Space Summit” games—anticlimactically announced at Cape Canaveral way back in March 2010. Apocalypto Disco Inferno—Space Opera Sat matinee Bijou time.

As usual, the big problem for Tyrell & TerraCorp was deceptively simple—adroitly controlling the rate & direction of imminent Disclosure Planning. Not letting it accelerate—not pushing the panic button. Letting the needed leaks flow now & then—gradually managing & slowly guiding the shit hitting the fan. Imageering the inevitable smoothly—like good managers of reality always manage to do. Profiteering the dynastic possibilities wisely—investing in the new Neocon Future.

Following the Phobos revelations—like a long snaky, slinky row of dominos winding its way domino-by-domino around & around in a lazy labyrinthine path deeper & deeper inward. Zeroing in on escaping back to Mars again—where the whole déjà vu thing happened once before. Getting outta doomed dead Earth quickly enough—and down into the dark secret Baron subterranean bunkers of Amazonis depths safely. The quick founding of Hellas City spaceport—and all those post-Phobos development plans opening up like an evil Black Rose of Death…

The earlier color-coded 3-D interior MARSIS radar shots—how carefully the TTT intelligentsia spent forever & a day comparing & contrasting them with the previously posted MARSIS Phobos Google pics. These unearthly “catscan” images showing up on JJ's iPad vidscreen—MARSIS, SHARAD & MRO (Reconnaissance Orbiter) imagery. Detailing HMS Phobos stealthship—as an amazing thinking ancient alien spaceship orbiting Mars every 8 hours.

Later other droidship asteroid-bots popping up—various scattered solar system objects like “2867 Steins.” Turning out to be ancient stealthships too—like Phobos & even the ancient mothership itself Death Star Luna.

These extraterrestrial vehicle profiles slowly opening up—into the new Rosetta Stone Era of Neocon Solar Renaissance. Leading directly smack-dab into the incredible TTT Age of Space Exploration—with its inevitable Ort Cloud Belt Contact looming on the eerie magic realismo Event Horizon.

Former NASA scientist Richard C. Hoagland intuiting it pretty close—right down to the fucking Nexus nub. These Phobos-type truncated double-tetrahedrons—being stealth spaceships from the Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius Future. Neatly coated & covered—with svelte “cloak-shields” of radar-conductive casings.

Slick, sleek, smooth, slipstreamed Commander Cody spaceships—straight outta the magical realistic future. Meta disruptions outta modern realist sci-fi pulp fiction—transgressing multiple pulp fiction worlds. Destabilizing interstellar aesthetic subtleties—with a space opera poetics of Maria Montez Cobra Woman excess and shameless galactic glut.

Already fictionalized by early Borges Argentine fabulations—Golden Sci-Fi Age writers back in the ‘50s. Another example of Android Authorship—announcing itself ahead of time. Thru Null-A lo real marvavilloso americano—thru camp Cuban magic realismo planetary paradigming.

Alejandro Alejandro Alejandro — "¡como no!?!”

Slan Boyz Pulp Fiction levitation, flight, telepathy, telekinesis—postcolonial Creole Space Operas suddenly congealing, revealing, poised predominately with lots of surprises. Slipstream Cyberpunk fait accompli—Exo-Euro-Americano Apocalypto Narrative Tango slide back into commonplace bourgeois suburban Desperate Housewife Earth Time.

Lady Gaga descending in her sleek Martian Tetrahedral spaceship—caped, leather-clad, high heels, armed with a raygun & lots of bad attitude. Accompanied by her cute Alejandro gang of kept alien android boyz. Much like cool cerebral Devil Girl from Mars—exquisitely played by horror queen Hazel Court (The Curse Of Frankenstein, The Masque of the Red Death)…

Big, black, retro back-engineered football-field sized scary stunning steathships—hovering high over Moscow’s Red Square December 2010. Big 3-D CGI blue-screen projections—magically real, startling unreal or even perhaps maybe somewhere in-between?

Post-Phobos commentaries and TTT Archives getting sealed, pronto of course—really super-quick as the Phobos relic gets descended upon by teams of TerraCorp & Tyrell Exo-professionals. Exo-linguists, exo-archeologists, exo-economists—the whole usual Null-A World corporate team approach. That which distinguishes us from all previous extraterrestrial races. Our hyperspace hominid genius for organization & group-think dynamics. It will either save us or destroy us. So little Time for the Stars—how quickly Childhood Ends.

The Oort Cloud Belt-Shadow Effect thing—always hovering somehow out there in the neo-Plutonic Borges-void. One thing leading to another—event horizon surprises reactivating the van Vogt time-distortion neo-Gosseyn memory-game once again.

The Null-A continuum team (Hayakawa, Dr. Kair, Curoi, Grand Captain Treyvenant)—entering into final countdown & reconnaissance landing on Phobos. Ancient Phobos Ydd technology—instantly at Tyrell & TerraCorps disposal.

Gosseyn opening his eyes again—Slan seeing thru the vision-plate paneling inside of his helmet. Seeing down into twilight Hellas Towers bedroom—dull gray ceiling & stupid me sleeping there beside him. JJ waiting for me to catch up with him—brooding wakeup call for another Slan X version of van Vogt’s Lavoisseur again.

JJ exploring Phobos stealthy-labyrinthine inner chambers—doing the Titanic trip with his telepathic underwater radar and miniature distance viewing sub=sight. Time paradoxes kicking in as usual—clicking their ruby slipper heels just right. Up above they're at that very moment entering the Phobos stealthship.

. The doors are dialing open—immediately opening up a double synch-version of itself. Showing up “simultaneously” on the radar vidscreens—both for Hayakawa’s team & JJ here Mars downside with me. My young Alejandro android boyfriend down here in Hellas Town—smoking a cigarette in his puce Alejandro kimono. Waiting patienly for me to wake up—from my deepspace stealthdroid-induced dream.

Memories of the future flooding in—Solaris alien knowing & Stanislaw Lem not-knowing. The Martian Other—about as fuckin’ unknowable as JJ’s douchedroid Otherness. Subtle sub-space subtexts—slithering surrealismo surface discontinuities. Neo-Einsteinian space-time cause-effect mind-fuck distortions—enough to shatter the delicate synchronistic surface tensions of Roberto reality.

Mirror for Observers-esque appearances—Boyhood’s End Exo-Evita discontinuities. Phobos phantom Armando embraces—Fernando deep space protocols. Entering the Phobos stealthship—the post-NASA nostalgia for the future is overwhelming.

The only question being—how accurate are the reports coming in, despite the paradoxes involved? The Hayakawa team with no complete 3-D working blueprint beforehand—not lucidly cognizant of the Phobos ancient labyrinthine inner workings. Things like alien android exo-electronics—Space-time Destabilization Distorter gizmos. When all they have is just the same old—Null-A Game Machine Rules from way back ‘50s van Vogt Venusian vidscreen stuff.

Every TTT team getting sent into the Phobos ship from then on—suddenly disappearing & never seen again. Thus obviously putting a serious damper on—corporate back-engineering gaming plans. Discretely done earlier—under cloak & secrecy stealthy acts. Even those successful exo-protocols tho—outdated, outmoded, archaic now...

HMS Phobos ending up getting sealed off—as well as the orbiting Steins planetoid ship. Help sought from down below in the ancient Martian city—far down beneath Hellas Town on the Amazonis Plains. That’s where I came bumbling in—me & my reluctant lover-droidboy guide. JJ awake & calmly smoking an electronic cigarette—as I yawned & slowly woke up for a new Martian day. Our journey into the Heart of Darkness beginning that day so long ago...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dead Planet X

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Dead Planet IX

Dead Planet IX

“It was after midnight”
—William Faulkner
Light in August

It was after midnight. JJ had been in bed for a couple of hours. This is after I met him a couple of weeks earlier—hustling in the Hellas Zoo the way I bumped into him that humid night.

He didn’t talk about it much—anymore than I talked about LA or NYC back on Earth. Before the Gulag Apocalypse—down in the Gulf of Mexico.

He really didn’t remember that much either—some kind of android amnesia had erased his memory card before he met me. There’d been a couple of bad tricks—he’d been picked up by some louche Martian downworlder types. He shrugged—didn’t tell me about it. He didn’t remember it—I don’t blame him.

I found out thru sleeping with him—dreaming my way into the droid amnesia thing. For some reason there was this human-douchedroid thing—I could remember things inside JJ’s mind that he forgot or had been erased. We had different memory systems—yet somehow things fit together.

A funny thing about memory—memory believes before knowing remembers. Memory works differently than knowing—memory’s more deeply & intimately a part of us.

Memory believes—because the substance of remembering is sight, smell, all the senses. It’s the muscles—it’s the hearing & feeling of somebody you love next to you. The way JJ was in bed with me—the way we did things together.

The way knowing remembers things—it was different. Knowing how to fly a hover-craft—or knowing how to use a vidscreen to find out things. All the things that seem counter-intuitive to what love is—whatever it is.

Memory was different than cool, svelte knowing about this or that. The whole thing with knowing—was you either know it or you don’t.

But memory was different—you either believed in something or you didn’t. Even if you did believe in something or somebody—there was leeway and wiggle-room for doubt, regret, nostalgia, grief and all the other things that go into being human, being lonely, being sad or being in love.

JJ was learning how different it was—how different it could be. He was learning from me what humans took for granted—memory believes before knowing remembers.

For me it was pretty simple—memory was forever and inescapable. As long as there was flesh that lived and felt things and could hear & taste—then I was human. I could titillate myself, remember JJ but never forget him—I still masturbate just thinkin’ about him.

And I don’t mean just cruisin’ porno on the vidscreen—or pawing thru YouTube or VidPorn channels. That kind of knowing was like lookin’ at old French postcards—and beating off in airport bathrooms. Or whatever they did back then—before there were spaceports & antigrav-hovercraft.

Even droids had it—at least the Nexus 9 ones. Or at least they had the ability to get there maybe—because JJ was a fast study. A lot faster than me—some learning curves were just too steep for me to take.

But I did know that—if memory existed outside of flesh & blood, then it wouldn’t be memory. Because it wouldn’t remember the way humans do—it takes a human being to remember things they don’t wanna remember. Things like grief and heartache—regrets and remorse. Things you feel—but don’t wanna feel.

Things get meta—when it comes to memory. Pulp fiction & those early golden age sci-fi writers—maybe they felt mixed feelings about edging into new genres. Maybe there’s something to it—being possessed by nostalgia for the future.

Being a meat-memory being like the human being I am—it always amazes sometimes when memory believes in something even when I’m asleep. How else can I fuckin’ explain having wetdreams—about JJ even now while I’m a grown-up adult. Not a kid anymore—goin’ thru adolescence.

But whether it’s my dream-memory or my right hand—getting me off, it’s still memory. All bundled up and embedded inside a maze of meme—a labyrinth of lazy afternoons or mornings in bed. Muscles and odors—tasting him & knowing him. I’m sure he was going thru the same thing—learning as much about himself as he was about me?

So I suppose to make a long story short—it my right hand and this talking tongue of mine that freed me. To be more myself—no matter how many palimpsest layers there were to whoever I was.

JJ was the same way—he was always flirting with anonymity. Self-parody and feeling the doubleness of being a Nexus 9—half of him android & the other half Martian. He couldn’t seem to express himself or be himself—directly as anything just simply one or the other.

Was it the Martian side that felt degraded by being android—or the other way around? This JJ have a chronic sense of degradation being around me—lowering himself to my stupid naked ape level? I got that feeling sometimes—things would collapse around me.

Maybe we both felt that way—as if we’d been invaded & our privacy somehow profaned? Being the helpless victims—of our own physical body? I’m sure JJ felt that way about Tyrell—as if Tyrell his creator was the epitome of some kind of malignant power. An aloof source of power—ironic & smirking at his shock & outrage sometimes. For being too human?

Other times I could see JJ—almost dissolving into himself. Finding himself—listening to himself. Telling his own story to himself—quietly, the words coming not fast. But easily to his tongue & mind—as if he were having a séance with himself. JJ-as-source and JJ-as-moviegoer—both of them dissolved into the other?

Sometimes it was like—a wall was between JJ & me. I’d have to reach thru this invisible wall—to talk with the android-Martian kid. “Humans, shit,” I heard him say more than once.

I’d have to reach thru that wall—and scribble notes on the other side for him. Maybe he could read them—maybe not. Maybe it was all mumbo-jumbo to him—maybe it was just a bunch of invisible ink.

I dunno—it was all so immediate & quick. Immediate love & suffering—supremely lucid & yet gimpy at the same time. Feeling him up—it was like Braille sometimes.

Body language was all I had to go on—and yet other times just the opposite. JJ sleek & streamlined—more elegant than human. Kinda.

Other times I felt cooler—and more cerebral about it. Reimagining generations of exo-family genealogies—family fictions like JJ’s android-Martian background. Where JJ reconceives & figuratively begets his own fathers—physically & psychically thru android-Martian philoprogenitive meta-fictions like the ones I’m narrating here.

Such alien, android, Terran, Martian representations are more than just traced chronologies or exo-genetic genealogies. All that genealogy & inheritance stuff—I left up to Tyrell and his corporate managers.

Tyrell created JJ—they must’ve had something in mind. Maybe JJ was a runaway droid or exiled or maybe he was some kind of miscegenation mistake or exo-reject? Maybe a young Yoknapatawpha Planet retard or something weird like that?

I didn’t know—I didn’t care. Androids, Martians, humans—if things worked out they’d all be spawning & breeding throughout the solar system. Maybe they already were—extraterrestrial race & miscegenation issues were bound to come up sooner or later.

Disillusionment was just another thing JJ would have to learn about & deal with—just as humans & androids would be doing the same thing with guilty attractions & guilty pleasures.

Things like human ownership—and android exploitation. Can there be incestuous miscegenation—between androids and Earthmen? Between androids—and Martians? Is there such a thing as shame or incest—within extraterrestrial humanoid and android relationships?

Maybe that was the purpose of me—and my rendezvous with JJ at the Zoo? How appropriate—the Martian Hellas Zoo—a Pandora Box of genetic memories, a museum of extinct Terran creatures? Fictional performances—was that what the panthers pacing back & forth were all about?

JJ and me—a couple of minor, insignificant meta-creatures meeting each other in an archaic funhouse. Full of gone memories—and what could have been but not were just fictive animals in cages? Captivity narratives—both of us dispossessed of old storylines.

Whatever it was—it was the size of a puny little postage stamp. Licked & pasted onto some kind of apocryphal letter—that was addressed to nowhere, nohow, nowhen & nobody.

Later it would come out in The Martian Review—texts, translations, Tyrell footnotes, TerraCorp interviews and stuff like that. About me & JJ—inextricably caught up in Phobos thing…