Saturday, 9 November 2013

On Mobius Dick

A few years ago my favorite blog BoingBoing had a competition to 'mash up' two authors. There was a prize; I forget what. I submitted a mash-up between Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville. It didn't place and so perhaps failed to achieve what it set out to do, but here is my entry for your amusement.

 [Image is from this article on the space whale meme. I love the Internet.]
Mobius Dick, by Thomas Pynchon & Herman Melville

Our imaginations set aflame by yelling, our shouted slogans, our inflated sense of team spirit, we all sensed the gigantic apparition at once. But though each of us saw the same thing with wide-open eyes, none of us knew if the thing was in the real world, or whether it had been ripped out of us and made to appear real by the strange times, the extenuating circumstances, the insanity of the moment materializing for us as bleeding heaving flesh, our pure goal. Anyway something every one of us, freaks and ex-cons and escapees, all of us lost devils, could believe in. Something we could bet our lives on.

When it came Captain A-Man climbed and climbed and climbed. He didn’t stop climbing but continued beyond the upper edges of our limping vessel’s ragged rigging, climbing, as we swarmed in awed confusion below, to an impossible perch. The A-man could gaze at the water and see all its mysterious beasts and he could see inside them, could enter into each one. He fell into the dark water to enter all the beings living in that vast heaving chaos. He was billions of vectors of thought accelerating out through earth’s oceans looking for life that inflected in a whisker’s breadth so that at once he was pushing himself, his multi-vectored self, like a reverse big bang, from all directions with fantastic speed into just one little speck, a tiny speck in the midst of vast oceans, one beating heart among the billions. Inside that great heart the brave man burst like a firework, sparkling out into every cell, and then into every cell’s chromosomes and every chromosome’s nucleotides and each nucleotide’s atoms, until at last, lost in salt watery wash beyond the reach of normal vision, there was no more climbing to look outward, there were no more vectors in flight. He had become what he had wanted to become, what we men had all fought and bled and died for him to become, had done at last what he had needed to do, what you and I need him to keep doing; conflicting desires, conflicting lives, conflicting needs and ambitions and dreams, resolved by the simple application of a meta operator. At last at long last, he was (at peace and whole! So marvelous!) the hunter and the hunted at once.

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