Monday, March 30, 2015

Into The Vacant

There's no there out here. Back in the day, it was far worse than it is now.  It was being confined to a series of tubes or pipes, strings of intimate little rooms, voids, with an accentuated version of the existential airplane dread playing in your head 24/7 because outside a thin metal skin there was a killing vacuum and nothing else. At first, people were selected from a tiny cadre who piloted prototypes of flying machines and tried to find the edge between control and chaos. And even then, these archetypes of coolness in the face of were trained in simulations until they grew bored with the ritual and repetition, and were kept busy during the actuality with the minutiae of housekeeping in their little tin cans, and never traveled so far that they were ever out of sight of some spectacular view of Earth or Moon. But there's no there, here. Stars, if you squint, but hey, stars are stars. We made the ships bigger, turned them into ocean liners, but they were still strings of rooms, with endless etiquette numbing the nerve and thickening the air. So we made them bigger still, made them into worlds, and had to ask - what's the point of reaching any particular destination when all you need is to hand? But even when you go skiing on some alpine range in one of the cloud chambers, there's still that little hum of existential dread. You come into the resort bar tingling with cold and endorphins, and there on the TV is a report of a blowout. Six hundred dead, recovery craft deployed to recover the bodies from the void everyone spends their life not thinking about. And it's a thousand kilometres sternwards, and is the kind of thing that only happens once in a lifetime, according to the news thing, and your world doesn't have volcanoes or hurricanes unless someone gets a permit to order them up from environmental control, but still.  You think: what are we doing out here in the dark?
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