Sunday, November 2, 2014

Creative NaBloPoMo #2: A vignette from the Ark

Last year I started writing a novel on a blog. I called it The Ark at the End of the World, and it progressed across 18 installments to what I saw then (and still see now) as about the one-third mark. I was enjoying it, and I had a picture (albeit not fully formed) in my head of where it was going, but then life intervened, in the form of my by-then-hyper-hectic job and a mini health crisis - probably, I think with hindsight, the bellwether of this year's more thoroughgoing breakdown - and I lost the impetus and haven't yet been able to regain it.

The central idea I was playing with in The Ark, and that I'd like to get back to at some point, was around the notion of a two-tiered society where the only divide that had any meaning was that between "regular" people and Ark people. Here, I posited a near-future perfecting of the idea of reproducing human consciousness inside a sufficiently complex computer - the hoary old "downloaded self" thing - and I was trying to unpick how virtual people and embodied people might relate to each other. Crucially, I was interested in the difference between those whose consciousness has an unknown fate (ie "regular" people) and those who, barring technical destruction, expect their personhood to continue forever. How do immortals and mortals coexist? Can they?

Some of the side stories and back stories that inform the world of The Ark never got written and would have no real place in the narrative of the plot as it was unfolding, but have continued to float at the back of my mind. This scene, which is alluded to in the post Interlude: On History, is one I imagined / daydreamed in my development of the characters of Ciro Grady and Jessamy Mercantor. I've never written it up until now, though. NB: I've used the same textual style that I chose to denote inter-Ark communication between virtual people.

Above, A Star

- *roses, bursting*: I come! -

- *exasperation* *affection* Jess, I am working, here -

- *bubbling laugh* You work too much, my Kristeva. Come, look at the stars with me -

- I can see the stars anytime, Jessamy. This code has to get -

- *snort* Has to get written, or the Ark falls? Come, Ciro, that's not so -

- The Ark will stand, whatever we do. The Ark will stand, until ... The Ark stands. *sigh* Why the roses, anyway? -

- It's spring, back there -

- Back...? -

- There, Ciro. Where you come from. Where your soul was born. Life without end, not life without beginning, remember? -

- *frown* I didn't remember. It's been so long -

- Yes. Yes. *touch* Ciro, let's ... -

- Jess, we can't. *gasp* Oh, but I -

- You can, my lover. You can -


- *softly* There's a brightness, I feel -

- Roses are blooming in Copenhagen that was, my love -

- Yes. Yes. Oh, Jessamy -

- *kiss* And above, Ciro, above us -

- *sigh* Above, a star.

- end transmission

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