Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hope Lope Ares Worries Bradburied

"They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal walls, or cleaning the house with handfulls of magnetic dust which, taking all dirt with it, blew away on the hot wind. Afternoons, when the fossil sea was warm and motionless, and the wine trees stood stiff in the yard, and the little distant Martian bone town was all enclosed, and no-one drifted out their doors, you could see Mr. K himself in his room, reading from a metal book with raised hieroglyphs over which he brushed his hand, as one might play a harp. And from the book, as his fingers stroked, a voice sang, a soft ancient voice, which told tales of when the sea was red steam on the shore and ancient men had carried clouds of metal insects and electric spiders into battle.
Mr. and Mrs. K had lived by the dead sea for twenty years, and their ancestors had lived in the same house, which turned and followed the sun, flower-like, for ten centuries."

Ray Bradbury - Ylla

"Who wants to see the Future, and who ever does? A man can face the Past, but to think - the pillars crumbled, you say? And the sea empty, and the canals dry, and the maidens dead, and the flowers withered?" The Martian was silent, but he looked on ahead. "But there they are. I see them. Isn't that enough for me? They wait for me now, no matter what you say."
And for Tomas the rockets, far away, waiting for him, and the town and the women from Earth. "We can never agree," he said.
"Let us agree to disagree," said the Martian. "What does it matter who is Past or Future, if we are both alive, for what follows will follow, tomorrow or in ten thousand years. How do you know that those temples are not the temples of your own civilization one hundred centuries from now, tumbled and broken?"

Ray Bradbury - Night Meeting

Ten more voices died. In the last instant under the fire avalanche, other choruses, oblivious, could be heard announcing the time, playing music, cutting the lawn by remote-control mower, or setting an umbrella frantically out and in the slamming and opening front door, a thousand things happening, like a clock shop when each clock strikes the hour insanely before or after the other, a scene of maniac confusion, yet unity; singing, screaming, a few last cleaning mice darting bravely out to carry the horrid ashes away! And one voice, with sublime disregard for the situation, read poetry aloud in the fiery study, until all the film spools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked.
The fire burst the house and let it slam flat down, puffing out skirts of spark and smoke.
In the kitchen, an instant before the rain of fire and timber, the stove could be seen making breakfasts at a psychopathic rate, ten dozen eggs, six loaves of toast, twenty dozen bacon strips, which, eaten by fire, started the stove working again, hysterically hissing!
The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a cluttered mound deep under.
Smoke and silence. A great quantity of smoke.
Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam:
"Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is...

Ray Bradbury - There Will Come Soft Rains


October is Bradbury Country. That country where it is always turning late in your life. That country where your deeds are fog and your ambitions are mist. That country composed in the main of cold mornings, stale afternoons and exhausted evenings facing away from your self. That country whose seconds are autumn seconds, bringing only autumn thoughts. Whose ticking between the empty walls at night sound in vain.

Memento mori. Ex nihilo nihil. Tonight was Samhain, when the veil between the worlds of the living and dead seeps nothingness through, so you hid behind make-up and masks, and you camouflaged your corpses in fraudulent husks, laughed and pranced, cavorted your certainties off.

Good morning. It's the first of November, 2017, a meaningless date by a meaningless measure. Bundle up, it's getting colder. Walk out. Look up. Look away from the town around you in gradual collapse, away from other incipient corpses littering the street alongside yourself. Look up. Pick your favorite direction. I know you find life there, dear fellow lotophagi, living-dead, dear witches and werewolves on the edge of humanity. Look to your own particular hope, be it Venus or Mars, Diana or Jupiter's succulent harem, wherever you've dreamt something-else-besides-this might await you. Those others, your others, your own after you disown the rest of us. Copper-skinned, many-limbed, bright-eyed or blind cozy furry or scaly and stolid, they hover and crawl, swim, jump, hum and whine, all to lure, all to greet you from past or future, or whenever you'll have gotten there. Away.

There are worlds beyond this one, all dying their very own histories. Bestiaries house homely sapients, just awaiting your emigrance. Send them your wishes, feel yourself warmed by rockets jetting your hopes away from this inimical fray, but their day long ago strayed out of histories. Million by million wasted years, each a clear, light-filled otherwhen for a lycanthrope somewhere, watching the empty light-epochs toward earth's pretty blue-green promise of a world beyond empty canals, rust dust and chokingly thin twin-moon breezes.

Sometime far away, a world-weary Martian is/has/will be rhapsodizing humanity's last gasp on his death-bed.

(And even he thinks your costume was stupid.)

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