Saturday, December 8, 2012

TRUTH CAN BE UGLIER THAN 42


Now, that is a bit hard to explain.
Why is truth uglier than number forty-two?
That’s really a weird affirmation even for a weird story like this, but believe me it does make sense. I was, and still is – at least until Miss Reaper doesn’t take me out tonight – a fan of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the first novel, a group of hyper intelligent pan-dimensional beings wishes to learn the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything. They build a supercomputer for this purpose and it takes seven and a half million years for it to compute the answer. It turns out to be ‘42’. Yet, the Ultimate Question remains unknown. So, when prompted to produce it, the supercomputer replies it cannot. Nevertheless, it can help by designing an even more powerful machine that could. Further events in the story will later reveal this new supercomputer to have been our planet Earth, but the Ultimate Question is never revealed for the Earth is destroyed five minutes before the process reaches completion by a series of coincidences. Well, they weren’t coincidences, but I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story to you. You have, I hope, still time to read the whole series, why I’m afraid, have not.
Because, unfortunately, I know the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. I asked for it. And the answer, well, the answer is uglier than forty-two.
The same author declares: ‘There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.’
The Ultimate Question and the Ultimate Answer can’t coexist. It’s just like mixing matter with antimatter. Oh, and that’s funny for, somehow, there’s a relation between number forty-two and the victory of matter over antimatter at the beginning of our universe. But I’m not going to tell you, and trust me is for your best.
In May 2010, scientists at the Tevatron collider at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, demonstrated how that battle was won. The experiment has shown a small, but significant, one percent difference between the amount of matter and antimatter produced, hinting at how our matter-dominated existence came to be.


What you have just read is not my departing epitaph, but an extract from ‘FIVE’, my latest tale.
After a long battle, I successfully wrestled the thing, and it now stands corralled in the ‘To Be Published’ pen. It was a though beast to conquer, but it is magnificent – at least to me.
I remember the day when its plotline galloped across my prairie, whinnying and prancing in the fading sun. It was in a sizzling hot Thai evening, my wife and I were watching ‘Megamind’, an animated movie about a villain turning into a good guy, and I had just enjoyed reading a short story by Natalie G. Owens, when this dude – Arthur J. Jones – began repeating this line into my head:
“What would you do if you knew you are going to die?”
I immediately knew there was a story behind this, and this desperate hombre was begging me to tell it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the palest clue about it.
The more I tried to focus, the more the meaning eluded me, until I remembered the story I always wished to read, yet nobody wrote. As you probably know by now – if you have been following me – I’m an avid collector of myths, legends, and folklore on spirits and thought forms.
One of the legends charming me most is that of the Djinn (or Genie) from pre-Islamic culture. These creatures are often remembered for their ability to grant your heart’s desire, but in truth, they were better – or worse – than that. Born before the angels and humanity, they were crafted by Ahura Mazda from smokeless fire, and they were among the most magnificent of creations, but were so full of pride to demand adoration from lesser creatures. Later, Islam, had them rebelling against Allah, and one of them Iblìs, refused to bow to Adam when ordered so, and for this he was cast out of Heaven and became known as Shaitan.
There are many similarities between the Jinn and spirits – or powerful beings - of other cultures, such as the Greek Titans, the Japanese Oni, and the Norse Jotun giants. They were, initially, even font of inspiration for my (still waiting to be written) science fiction novel ‘Echoes from a Distant Star’.



Well, I always dreamed reading a horror story based on these legends. But it had to be different: no lamps, magical stones, or rings. It had to be scary and touching your soul. It had to make you stop wishing and enjoy all the good things you already have, or have had, in life. It had to be about knowledge and the pain associated with it. So, I caught the message this Arthur Jones was trying to send me, but like the alien derelict on LV 426 (in the movie ‘ALIEN’), it wasn’t a call for succor, but a warning.

For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:18






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