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The Day Death Died (updated version)

It was widely known that Death had been ailing for some time. Its poor health had made it rather slipshod in the execution of its duties. Whole generations were being taken away in the flower of their youth, while other people were living for an extraordinarily long time – over 400 years in certain cases.

For a while Death hovered in a half-alive condition, with one foot in the grave, and mankind held its breath, fearing Death would rally and make a complete recovery.

And then the day came when Death breathed its last and nobody could believe their good fortune. It was hard to grasp that Death no longer dwelled in the world, and that one’s life would never again be burdened with the ever-present spectre of extinction hovering nearby. No one would have to grapple any more with the problem of incorporating one’s own demise into their lives.

The most eminent pathologists of the land were assigned the task of performing an autopsy on Death. Their unanimous conclusion was that Death died of natural causes. What nobody had suspected was that Death possessed a finite life span. Everyone had always assumed it would live forever, yet it too carried within itself the lethal seeds of mortality.

The next most pressing issue was the burial of Death. Issues never considered before needed to be addressed urgently, for the world wanted to be sure Death really was dead and would not rise again. Where should the funeral ceremony be held? According to which religion’s rites should the memorial service be conducted? Who should give the eulogy? Where to entomb it?

The matter of whom to invite to the service proved to be the most intractable issue of all. A certain number of tickets were reserved for those most deeply affected by Death’s passing – morticians, grave diggers, psychotherapists, blues singers, goths and horror film directors. Otherwise, it was nearly impossible to determine who was genuinely grief-stricken and who only wanted to attend the ceremony so as to be a part of this historic occasion.

Eventually, all of these matters were resolved by the International Committee for the Interment of Death. After lengthy debates, the Committee announced that the ceremony will be held in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, for Death’s death was seen as the ultimate fulfilment of Christ’s promise of Eternal Life. The heated objections of atheists and adherents of other religions were appeased somewhat by granting them special dispensation to be present at the ceremony inside the church. The world’s political leaders and its leading religious figures, philosophers and scientists all gave eulogies, each expressing their own views on the meaning of Death and the meaning of its demise. It was widely agreed that Death was given the exact send-off that it deserved.

Straight after the funeral, the world kicked up its heels and celebrated.

When the unbridled, hysterical wave of joy at being liberated from Death’s tyrannical rule had abated, people sobered up and recounted the ways Death had helped out in the past.

They recalled with fondness Death’s unique ability to provide clear-cut and definitive solutions to any inextricable, inflexible or abstruse problem of existence; its unmatched faculty of erasing all pain, shame and misery; the way it was always there to readily and obediently offer its helping hand to anyone who would ask for it and the way in which it brought equality to the world and granted perpetual rest to the weary.

Religions could no longer survive without Death, for their appeal and authority derived from the promise of ideal and everlasting existence in the next world and from their expert knowledge of the nature of the Afterworld. New religions arose, prophesying that one day mortality would return to Earth and the virtuous would be rewarded with Eternal Death.


Mankind recognised how fundamentally it depended upon Death’s existence for the preservation of social order and peaceful international relations. Given that capital punishment and armed conflicts ceased holding any threat to a person’s life, nothing stood in the way of lawlessness and immorality in human affairs, and countries went to war on the slightest pretext.

Life soon lost its meaning, for Death had been needed to provide the contrast that distinguished being from non-being. Without it, existence became unrecognisable, a grey shadow of its former vibrant self, and to be alive was now an unendurable, yet inescapable, fate worse than death.

Each human being was forced to find the strength and the courage to face a baffling future in which the saving grace of demise was no longer present. Only then was it realised how inextricably Death had woven its fateful thread into every aspect of man’s existence and how much had been irremediably lost the day Death died.

A SHORT LESSON IN LINGUISTICS

During the Medieval Ages there lived an illustrious scientist and inventor who, after much thought, came to the conclusion that there were far too many stars and planets crowding up the sky and that the heavens would look much better with a lot less of them.

He also realised that the lives of people on Earth were intractably complicated and unpredictable, because of the myriad stars and planets all exerting their own particular and often conflicting astrological influences upon mankind. This made forecasting the future nearly impossible and caused prophecies, divinations and horoscopes to be wildly inaccurate. With only a few celestial objects in the sky, existence would be so much more orderly and the flow of human affairs so much smoother.

And so this inventor-scientist applied all of his prodigious mechanical talents to the construction of a special weapon that could be used to shoot down heavenly bodies.

As an added bonus, when the gunned-down stars and planets landed on Earth, he dissected them and exhaustively analysed their inner structure in his laboratory, thus gaining invaluable knowledge which greatly advanced the field of astronomy. Once finished with his investigations, the scientist filed them carefully into his special astral album, like precious stamps and coins.

And that’s how the phrase “shooting stars” originated. Initially this phrase referred to the actual deed of gunning down stars, but over time its meaning shifted to refer to those falling stars that have been shot down.

Even to the present day, we continue to see stars falling from the sky, for they are the ones that have finally succumbed to the wounds inflicted by the astronomer’s gun hundreds of years ago.

painting by Vladimir Kush

THE SHADOW OF THE GREAT NEBULA OF ORION

One day, the nebula in the constellation of Orion, already the brightest nebula in the night sky, started to shine much more intensely, emitting a piercing blue-green light. Its luminosity was now so brilliant that it cast shadows during the daylight hours too, something that had always been the sole prerogative of the Sun.

Naturally, this generated great excitement, for never before had such an extremely bright celestial body been seen in the day sky. Everybody rushed outside to look at this heavenly wonder and to gawk at their double shadows, the old familiar one and the new one created by the Orion Nebula.

It was then that the world was hit by a very unpleasant surprise, for there was something quite peculiar about the shadows caused by the nebula. Instead of being mute, inert outlines of a person’s physical form, they revealed the shadow of a person’s character. Everyone’s inner anxieties, delusions and insecurities were now exposed for all to see.

No one could be found who did not possess a nebula shadow. Even newborns had a shadow accompanying them; thus, coincidentally, vindicating some psychological theories and theological dogmas, while demolishing others.

Naturally, the consequences of this new phenomenon were immense in their scope. Billions of lives were wrecked, relationships destroyed and careers ruined as a person’s innermost complexes and most tightly guarded secrets were revealed to their spouses, family, friends, work colleagues and complete strangers. The very structure of society was threatened, for its smooth running depended so much upon one’s true feelings and nature being suppressed and hidden, even from oneself. Consequently, these revelations came as a heavy shock to the many who didn’t know what apprehensions, self-deceptions and self-doubts they had been concealing from themselves in the remotest reaches of their psyches or in the deepest substrata of their unconscious minds.

Humanity was in a dilemma over how to cope with this situation. It certainly couldn’t dim or extinguish the nebula’s brightness. It could have tried to adapt to a nocturnal existence, when the shadows would be less distinct, but surely that would have been too radical and onerous a solution. Yet who could have risked or put up with the shame, the disgrace and the burden of walking around with all of their flaws and aberrations showing.

Inevitably, cults arose that chose to embrace with enthusiasm this new state of affairs. For them the Orion Nebula was The Bearer of Truth, The Great Enlightener of Mankind. Just as the Sun brought outer illumination, so the Orion Nebula was deemed to bring inner illumination to the world. The adherents of these sects took pride in letting others see their most intimate neuroses, and experienced catharsis in coming face-to-face with their fears, self-delusions and insecurities for the very first time. Having accepted their shadows, they felt more fulfilled and whole than they ever did before.

And then, just as suddenly as it flared up, the Orion Nebula dimmed to its usual luminosity. It didn’t take long for people to readjust to having only one shadow again. Lives, relationships and careers wrecked by the nebula were quickly rebuilt and almost everyone resumed living their old lives, maintaining total silence about that awkward period when their failings were revealed, the way a faux pas is ignored in polite company.

Anti-Labyrinths

The front cover of my upcoming book “Anti-Labyrinths” and a blurb about it.

 

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My Story Goes Hollywood

My story “The Curious Story of Frank” is one of the finalists in the Roswell Award science-fiction contest.
It will be read out  by a celebrity guest this Saturday,18th of May, 5:00pm – 7:00pm (Los Angeles time) at the Litfest Pasadena in Los Angeles.
You can find out what time that will be in your area using this link: https://www.worldtimezone.com/
You will be able to watch the whole event live at this link:
Do not despair, however, if it will be too late or too early for you, because a recording of the event will be posted online, and I will send you the link to it once it becomes available.
I include below 3 posters showing the finalists, the celebrity readers and the judges of this contest. And there’s also a poster about this literary festival.
Representatives from movie studios, networks and production companies will attend the readings and will judge the stories, and so there is the chance of my story being turned into a cinematic format. 
After the readings, the first, second, and third place winners will be announced. 
There will also be an audio message from me played at this event.
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Gallery

An Interview by The Australia Times Unearthed Fiction Magazine (Please click on the images to make them readable.)

 

Gallery

An Interview by The Australia Times Fiction Magazine (Please click on the images to make them readable.)

 

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Welcome to the Machine – El Diario article (English translation)

Welcome to the Machine Canary Islands Newspaper English image 2Welcome to the Machine Canary Islands Newspaper English image 3

HELL ON EARTH OR EARTH IN HELL?

Dear Friends, despite the scepticism of some, I have been able to fully justify your view that I am a philosopher of hope and joy.

I am proud and delighted to announce that recently, while attempting to come up with a new proof of the Pythagoras’ Theorem, I serendipitously stumbled across the most beautiful, elegant and ingenious mathematical proof that we are all, in fact, living in Hell.

Consequently, we have nothing at all to worry about as things cannot get any worse and there is no hope for salvation.

People who think that this is hell on Earth are actually extremely inane optimists living in a fool’s paradise, still clinging on to the false hope that things could improve, whereas our real situation is in fact infinitely worse. They should have their illusions demolished by a helpful and gentle pointing out of the error of their beliefs.

People who realize that this is not hell on Earth, but rather that the whole Earth is in Hell are free from any delusional hopes and are in a better position to deal with the realities of life.

I will attempt to render this proof accessible to a layperson some time soon.

My Stories in a Sci-Fi Anthology

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to let you know that 3 of my stories have been published in a science fiction anthology titled “Synthesis”.
I’m one of the featured writers of this book and my name appears on the back cover of the book. I include an image of the front and back cover below.
As a big added bonus, the foreword to this book is by the actor and author Robert Llewellyn. If you have ever watched the classic British sci-fi/comedy series “Red Dwarf”, you will know him as the actor who played the robot Kryten. I include a photo of him below.