Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Fifteenth - Throwback Thursday

I'm not really a big hard-science fiction reader anymore, but have to admit that it was my first literary love. So, for today's Nightmare Fuel, I present to you an homage to one of the giants of American twentieth-century SF. He wasn't not an author whose politics resonate with me today, but was one of the figures who drew me to my love of speculative fiction. Enjoy.


TV Preview: Out of this Real World

If one TV producer has his way, humans will walk on Mars not in the spirit of exploration but as a desperate gimmick to breath life into the rotting corpse of the reality genre. Decades after would-be space cadets were first bilked out of thousands of dollars for a "one-way-ticket to Mars", fledgling streaming service RAHStream seeks to make the ambitious "Survivor in Space" the centerpiece of its original programming. Technical details remain to be worked out, but tens of thousands of hopeful space survivors have already signed up....

Application for Participation in "BarsoomHouse" Project [excerpted from criminal court documents]

    Other (specify) __________________________
Religious Affiliation:
List all social media usernames and passwords for background verification

Mogul to Join Barsoom House Cast - On his Own Terms
Promises his own ticket will be "one-way" as well

Billionaire Ansom Roberts revealed plans to join the starlost "survivors" of his reality franchise "The Real Barsoom" in a one-way trip to Mars. More accurately, they'll join him. Roberts plans to leave in the single-passenger rocket Harriman one week before the remaining castmembers, allowing the flamboyant mogul  and financial backer of the project to greet the interplanetary castaways at the landing site.

"We're looking back at the history of reality television, nodding to that," a spokesperson explained. "...

[Excerpt from Screams into the Dark: The Personal Blog of the One who Sees]

You all remember my proof of how the selection process for Real Barsoon was rigged, don't you? Well, if they wanted to silence me they rigged it wrong. Maybe they thought that my death on the launch pad would bring too much attention, get the wrong people reading this blog. Well, they miscalculated, didn't they? I'm still here, and still exposing them.

Remember, Roberts' endgame is nothing more than the hegemony of his secret Hindu faith over the world. The very name of his ship, the Harriman proves as much. Harri ... Hari ... Krishna. Wake up Sheeple! Does he need to spell it out in mile-high letters?

Feature: The World's Loneliest Man
No return trip for Ansom Roberts

He never planned a return trip.

That much we knew, but last week's incident on the launchpad - one still being investigated - drove the point home in an unexpected way. Ansom Roberts continues toward Mars, not as the ringmaster in a made-for-streaming-TV circus but as the loneliest man to ever live, doomed to die farther from his fellow humans than anyone has ever been.

Scenes of his preparation are that much more poignant; the row of compressed air cylinders, still labelled with broad paper tags. A utility knife, some freeze-dried food, a few tools. Enough to have lasted him until the  Star Minnow was to arrive with passengers and supplies for long-term survival, if not comfort...

Final Words of Lone "Martian" reach Earth
Over a year after his ill-fated launch, Ansom Roberts' final transmission reached a record audience of RAHGlobeStream's subscribers. The ironically-live feed of his dead body is still available, and will remain so for as long as the transmitting camera functions - this may be years. Viewers can see his spacesuit against the backdrop of empty space, with earth sadly missing from the background.

A sharp-eyed viewer can see the torn-off tag from a compressed air cylinder, pinned to the Martian soil at his feet with a knife. On it are written his final words, from British poet Robert Louis Stevenson

"Under the wide and starry sky
"The Astronaut" by Devin Francisco,

dig the grave and let me lie
glad did I live and gladly die
and I laid me down with a will. 

This be the verse you grave for me
"here he lies where he longed to be
Home is the sailor, home from the sea
and the hunter home from the hill"

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