Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction (2015)





On a dry planet on a distant arm of a distant galaxy, there was war! The wheels of conquest and heroism had rolled across the barren sands of the unnamed world, grinding the bones of the weak under the tread of laser tanks, and greasing the gears of the nuclear-powered rail guns that leveled entire mountain ranges with a single titanic shot!

The war had begun eons ago, on another world in another universe, but so far there had been no winner - could be no winner - as long as one last warrior on either side lived to hold a weapon! This was a war of extermination in which there could be no prisoners and no retreat - only death!

But one day there came upon the beautiful fields of combat a terrible truce. The generals of one army strode across the empty desolate plains to parlay with those of the other, and their troops, the finest intergalactic shock commandos in a dozen realities, took advantage of the rare quiet for a day of rest. What would be the result of this truce? Could there be . . . peace? No one dared guess.

On a distant mountain on a far plateau of this desert world there stood a concrete box, approximately five feet by five feet, closed on all sides. There was a muffled sound from within, the sound of steel cables tensing as if to burst. In the afternoon heat of this desert world the heat was unbearable, but through the miracle of an unknown endothermic reaction the box seemed to absorb all heat around it, such that the concrete was actually cold to the touch. There was a moment of silence when the titanic movements within the box seemed to pause, and then the front face of the box began to slide open.

Far away on battlefield where the generals discussed their truce, they heard the sound of a distant explosion, as if the bonds holding an ancient Titan of old had broken in a violent conflagration! What was happening? This planet was distant and empty, there were no other sapient beings for parsecs on any side. What could this strange event foretell?

Suddenly there came a silence, like the calm before a dreaded Bargoxian Ammonia Storm. The general rumble of armies at peace faded and all present knew they were on the cusp of something epochal. A man came into view striding from the desert, unhurriedly and yet with the supreme confidence borne of a total mastery of all natural and logical processes. He was clad simply in robes and wore nothing on his feet even as he marched across the burning sands. He wore no covering on his head and yet did not squint in the afternoon sun. His hair was cut short and his skin was bronze, the color of cooling iron after it has been tested by the forge. All present knew at once they were in the presence of a singular creature, a MAN who would and could change the destinies of every living being, if he so chose!

He was a MAN of uncommon bearing. His muscles rippled and twitched in the light, never truly still, constantly tense under the burden of perfection, a burden he carried in the desert heat with as much heat as a camel might carry a sheet of fine white paper ten thousand miles on a lonely trek.

Finally, the MAN approached the clutch of generals in their repose, arrayed around a table festooned with beverages and other delicacies. All along the plains where two armies stood motionless silence reigned, as all present held their breaths to hear what this potent stranger might say.

He paused at the table and stood without movement. Finally, he opened his mouth - but instead of moving his jaw and articulating his tongue, the words simply flowed from his mouth like waves crashing on a rocky beach. His words were THUNDER and his speech was LIGHTNING, and it seared the souls of all those who attended him.

WHERE IS THE WAR?

The generals were afraid to speak in the presence of one so much greater than they. Finally, one brave warrior, older and more esteemed than all the others, rose on his spindly legs and addressed the stranger.

"We have warred for generations, but we have come together today to broker peace. Because we are tired of war."

BUT WAR IS LIFE.

"We have lived on this barren rock for longer than I have been alive, fighting one another for control of nothing. We wish to make peace and to leave. We no longer wish to be at war with one another."

BUT WITHOUT WAR, IS WEAKNESS.

"We have fought for centuries and tested our resolve against our enemy. We have earned valor uncountable. But we grow old and our numbers no longer replenish themselves."

YOU HAVE SUCCUMBED TO WEAKNESS, AND FROM WEAKNESS UNTO DEATH, AND FROM DEATH TO DISHONOR.

"We have fought long enough to satisfy honor."

I UNDERSTAND YOUR WORDS BUT NOT YOUR MEANING. THE ONLY GOOD DEATH IS DEATH BY BATTLE, ALL OTHER DEATH IS DISGRACE.

The elder sat down in defeat. Another rose, from the same side of the table, to answer the proposition. He was not so old, and not yet so weak.

"We have forgotten why we fight."

YOU DO NOT NEED A REASON TO FIGHT. IT IS NATURE TO DESTROY, NATURE FOR MEN TO SWEEP THE EARTH OF ALL RESISTANCE AND ANNIHILATE THE WEAK.

"But sir," the second general began, "many among us no longer wish to fight."

NOT MANY MEN ARE TRUE MEN. WHO DO YOU FIGHT.

A figure from the opposite side of the table rose and began to speak. Before she could address the stranger, he spoke at her.

WHO ARE YOU TO SPEAK TO ME?

"I am the leader, the highest general of my army."

BUT YOU ARE . . . NOT MALE.

It was true! The general who now addressed the MAN was a woman, old and wizened, but still strong underneath the delicate ceremonial armor which she wore in the desert heat.

"That is true, I am a woman."

THEN HOW CAN THIS BE. YOU ARE WEAK.

The second general from the other side of the table arose and spoke. "They are women, yes, but they are warriors true. They have fought us across the universes, to a standstill, and at great cost to both sides."

ARE YOU MEN?

"Yes, we are -"

NO, YOU ARE MALES. YOU ARE MALES BUT YOU ARE NOT YET MEN. TO BE A MEN IS TO UNBURDEN YOURSELF OF THE CLOAK OF WEAKNESS THAT ALLOWS YOU TO BE STYMIED BY NOT-MALES.

"But sir -"

SPEAK NOT AGAIN LEST I DESTROY YOU WHERE YOU STAND.

The MAN tensed his left and right biceps and the sound of an earthquake filled the ears of all those present.

IT IS SAID THAT TO STRIKE WITH THE OPEN HAND IS TO STRIKE WITH LOVE. DO YOU STRIKE WITH THE OPEN HAND?

"No, sir, we strike the the fire of a thousand thousand suns. The fearsome might of our blitzkrieg is hailed across the known realms, from Asterum to Zeenig."

YOU STRIKE WITH THE OPEN HAND, BECAUSE YOUR ENEMY - NOT-MALES - YET LIVES. WEAKNESS IS LOVE, AND LOVE IS WEAKNESS. THEY ARE BUT NAMES FOR ONE AND THE SAME THING, WHICH ARE BOTH SIGNS OF THE SICKNESS UNTO DEATH. TO STRIKE WITH THE FIST IS TO STRIKE WITH HONOR, TO STRIKE FOR DESTRUCTION AND FOR HONOR AND DIGNITY.

"Sir, we have fought across the universes -"

AND YOU HAVE NOT WON. I KNEW I WAS RIGHT TO LEAVE THE WORLD OF MALES BEHIND.

"You were once one . . . of us?"

I WAS NEVER LIKE YOU. FROM A YOUNG AGE I PERCEIVED THE LOGIC OF STRENGTH. I TOOK THE RED PILL AND I KNEW THE FUTILITY OF ALL RESISTANCE.

"But sir, we have taken the holy Red Pill as well! All of us have pledged our lives to destroy the Adversary."

AND YET YOU MAKE PARLAY WITH YOUR ENEMY.

"We have fought long and hard. We have upheld our honor."

IF YOU HAD UPHELD YOUR HONOR I WOULD STILL BE AT PAUSE IN MY EXILE. MANY EPOCHS AGO I RECOGNIZED THAT I WAS THE ONLY MAN ALIVE - PERHAPS, IN MY TIME, THE LAST MAN. I EXILED MYSELF FROM THE WORLDS IN ANTICIPATION OF THE DAY WHEN I COULD ONCE AGAIN COME AMONGST YOU, MY PEOPLE, AND BE NO LONGER ALONE. I WAS TO BE - THE FIRST MAN. BUT I SEE THAT MY EONS OF REST HAVE BORNE BITTER FRUIT. THERE ARE NO MEN, ONLY WEAK AND SIMPERING MALES, AND LESS THAN MALES.

The MAN turned to address the commanders of the second army, resplendent in their molybdenum polymer armor, ritual war lasers at their side.

NOT-MALES, WHY DO YOU FIGHT?

"Sir," the eldest general replied, "we are warriors for social justice. We have crossed the known realms and laid barren whole galaxies to prosecute our cause with great zeal."

YOU FIGHT FOR - SOCIAL JUSTICE?

"Yes."

WHAT IS - JUSTICE?

"Why, justice is equality and fairness - equal representation and fair access. It is the right to be addressed with dignity and respect by equals."

THERE IS ERROR IN YOUR WORDS. YOUR IDEALS CANNOT WITHSTAND THE KEEN BLADE OF REASON.

"We welcome free debate -"

THERE IS NO DEBATE. THERE IS NO DELIBERATION. THERE IS MERELY THE STATEMENT OF TRUE AND NOT-TRUE PROPOSITIONS. YOU HAVE STATED NOT-TRUE PROPOSITIONS.

"What is 'not-true' about the desire for justice?"

YOUR PREMISE IS FATALLY FLAWED. JUSTICE DOES NOT EXIST.

"Justice is human and fallible, but no less necessary -"

ALL REASON BEGINS WITH THE PROPOSITION THAT A=A. THE PRINCIPLE OF IDENTITY PROCLAIMS THAT OBJECTS CAN ONLY BE EQUAL TO THEMSELVES. JUSTICE IS PREDICATED ON EQUITY BETWEEN NON-IDENTICAL CATEGORIES, HENCE IT IS A FALLACY.

"We fight to defend the universe from your ideology."

THEN YOU FIGHT A FUTILE WAR! A=A! A CANNOT EQUAL B! TO BELIEVE THAT ANOTHER IS EQUAL TO MYSELF IS WORSE THAN A FALLACY - IT IS THE WORST KIND OF DEATH, EGO DEATH!

"But we are all of us equals."

THEN WE ARE ALL NOTHING! EQUALITY AND JUSTICE ARE MYTHS PERPETRATED BY THE WEAK TO MAINTAIN THEIR STATUS AS BLESSED VICTIMS. IN TRUTH, THE WEAK SHALL INHERIT ONLY - DEATH! THE ONLY TRUE ACT OF THE STRONG IS TO DESTROY!

"But if destruction is your finest aspiration, how can you survive?

TO BE MALE IS TO EMBRACE DESTRUCTION AS THE ONLY POSITIVE ACTION. TO BE A MAN IS TO ACTUALIZE THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL CREATION WITH EVERY LIVING BREATH. THIS IS TRUE AND GOOD.

A QUESTION: IF A MAN SPEAKS, IS THE ACT AN ACT OF CREATION OR DESTRUCTION?"

"To speak is to create."

NO! TO SPEAK IS TO DESTROY SILENCE! IF A MAN SPEAKS IN THE PRESENCE OF A WOMAN, HE DESTROYS THE POTENTIAL FOR HER TO SPEAK. IF A GENETICALLY PURE MAN SPEAKS, HE DESTROYS THE SPEECH OF OF A IMPURE MONGREL RACE SPECIMEN.

"But why can't there simply be room for all to speak their peace on an equal basis?"

A=A! A CAN ONLY OCCUPY THE SPACE OF A! A AND B CANNOT COEXIST! IN ORDER FOR A TO REMAIN A, IT MUST ANNIHILATE B! A CAN ONLY REMAIN TRULY A UNLESS ITS EVERY ACT IS DESIGNED TO ASSERT AND REASSERT IT'S IDENTITY!

"But why can there not be room for everyone?"

TO BE FULLY ACTUALIZED IS TO ACCEPT THE MANTLE OF SUPREMACY. TO REJECT SUPREMACY IS TO EMBRACE WEAKNESS. TO BE WEAK - TO ACCEPT MULTIPLICITY AND RADICAL EQUALITY - IS TO EMBRACE DEATH, FOR ONLY IN THE EXERTION OF POWER AND DESTRUCTION IS THERE LIFE AND FREEDOM.

The general who first spoke, aged and wizened, rose again and addressed the demigod who now walked amongst man.

"It is obvious from your words that you are the prophet who has been foretold, the MAN above men who will lead the male race to its position of genetic and ideological purity over the mongrel and not-male. But we have fought long and hard to fulfill your ancient teachings - how have we failed?"

YOU HAVE FAILED BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE HEARD MY WORDS YOU HAVE NOT LISTENED TO THEM. YOU LIFT THE CUP TO YOUR MOUTH BUT TURN AWAY BEFORE YOU DRINK.

"How best can we follow you?"

FOLLOW ME? YOU BETRAY YOUR IGNORANCE WITH EVERY WORD! YOU CANNOT FOLLOW ME. I AM NO LEADER. THERE ARE NO MEN AMONG YOU, BECAUSE NO TRUE MEN ARE CONTENT TO LEAD OR BE LED. IF THERE WAS ONE MAN AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF YOU, THEN THERE WOULD BE ONLY ONE MAN. HIS ACTUALIZATION WOULD MEAN THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL FALSE PROPOSITIONS, ALL NON-ACTUALIZED MALES.

"So there can be only one?"

IF THERE WERE A MAN AMONG YOU, HE WOULD KNOW THAT SURVIVAL OF THE SELF DEPENDS IN ALL INSTANCES ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OTHER. IF THE OTHER IS ALLOWED TO SURVIVE, THEN THE EGO IS DIMINISHED, MADE WEAK, RENDERED UNTO DEATH.

"But then how can there be society?"

SOCIETY IS AN ILLUSION AND A LIE TOLD BY THE WEAK IN ORDER TO BE ALLOWED TO SURVIVE UNDER THE SKIRTS OF THEIR BETTERS. TO BE ACTUALIZED IS TO RECOGNIZE ONE'S AUTONOMY, AND TO RECOGNIZE THAT SOCIETY IS A DISEASE OF COMPROMISE.

"But how can men survive alone?"

MAN CAN ONLY SURVIVE ALONE! TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS IS TO ADMIT WEAKNESS!

"What can a man truly do, then?"

MANY EONS AGO I LEFT THE WORLD OF MALES AND NON-MALES TO BEGIN MY EXILE AND REST UPON THIS DISTANT WORLD. I BUILT MYSELF A SHELTER OF STONE, A CLOSED BOX WITH NO WINDOWS AND NO DOORS. IN THIS BOX I HAVE SAT, MOTIONLESS, FOR MILLENNIA, THE ONLY SOUNDS THE TRIUMPHAL STRAINING OF MY STEEL MUSCLES IN PERPETUAL ISOMETRIC SELF-ANNIHILATION, MY ONLY THOUGHT THE ENDLESS RECITATION OF IDENTITY - A=A! A=A! AND IN THAT STATE OF DIVINE MASCULINITY I COULD HAVE HAPPILY REMAINED UNTIL THE END TIMES.

"Why have you come upon us now?"

I HAVE LEFT MY SUBLIME MEDITATIONS ON MANHOOD TO EXAMINE YOUR CONFLICT - TO SEE IF, AS I HOPED, THE ERA OF TRUE MEN HAD ARRIVED. I SEE NOW I AM WOEFULLY MISTAKEN. I SEE NO MEN HERE - ONLY WEAKNESS AND DEATH.

"How will we know when the age of True Men has arrived?"

YOU WILL KNOW FROM THE ANNIHILATION OF ALL FALSEHOOD. A=A! ALL NON-MEN SHALL BE DESTROYED, AND IN THIS ACT OF DESTRUCTION ALL FREEDOM SHALL EMERGE!

"But if we can only destroy, how shall we propagate the race?"

PROCREATION IS WEAKNESS! DO YOU ACCEPT YOUR NEGATION? DO YOU WILLFULLY SUBJUGATE YOURSELF TO THE WILL OF ANOTHER? DO YOU EMBRACE IMPERFECTION? THEN YOU PROCREATE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOU SHALL BE SURPASSED IN TIME BY ANOTHER. TO ACTUALIZE YOURSELF IS TO REJECT PROCREATION, IS TO EMBRACE THE THESIS THAT YOU ARE ALREADY THE PINNACLE OF ALL! YOU SHALL NOT POLLUTE YOURSELF WITH THE ACT OF PROCREATION! TO GIVE LIFE TO ANOTHER IS TO TAKE YOUR OWN!

"How will we know when the final age is upon us?"

YOU WILL KNOW BECAUSE THE ONLY LIVING BEINGS WHO REMAIN SHALL BE THE SELF-ACTUALIZED, THE POWERFUL, THE TRUE MEN OF MEN. AND THEN IN THE FINAL DAYS WE SHALL MAKE JOYFUL WAR, TO DESTROY EACH OTHER AND THE UNIVERSE THAT EMBRACES THE WEAKNESS OF ALL LIVING THINGS. IN THE END OF ALL TIME, ONLY ONE MAN SHALL REMAIN, ONLY ONE MAN SHALL STAND VICTORIOUS OVER ALL CREATION! AND THEN IN THE FINAL ACT OF FREEDOM THAT MAN SHALL DESTROY CREATION, EXTINGUISH EVERY SUN AND DISINTEGRATE THE EARTH BENEATH HIS FEET, FINALLY ACHIEVING TRUE MASCULINITY. UNTIL THAT MOMENT, WE SHALL BATHE IN WEAKNESS AND COMPROMISE, DAMNED TO DRINK THE FILTH OF THE UNWORTHY AND TO FEAST ON THE OFFAL OF THE UNCLEAN.

"And what then, will the Last MAN do, at the end of time?"

THE FINAL ACT OF DESTRUCTION SHALL BE THE OBLITERATION OF THE SELF, THE FINAL FLEXING OF INVINCIBLE MUSCLES THAT SHALL UNDO THE POTENTIAL OF ALL THAT EVER WAS AND ALL THAT WILL EVER BE! IN THE FINAL MOMENT OF ECSTATIC SELF-OBLITERATION SHALL THE LAST MAN KNOW TRUE PEACE!

"So, the true fate of MAN is to uncreate the universe!"

YES! TO ACTUALIZE THE MASCULINE IS TO EMBRACE THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL THAT IS! TO REJECT THE ILLUSIONS OF JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS! TO UNDERSTAND THAT COMPASSION AND EMPATHY ARE THE INTOXICANT OF THE WEAK! TO KNOW THAT CREATION IS ABOMINATION, AND THE ONLY TRUTH IS POWER - REAL ULTIMATE POWER - THE POWER TO ANNIHILATE!

"By the great moons of Gargolax, we have been wrong, we have wandered weak in the valley of suffering! Give us a new gospel, bring us the truth of all existence and uncreation!"

On a dry planet on a distant arm of a distant galaxy, the MAN who was above all men spoke again, and his words were burnt into the soul of every space-warrior present. They knew that they were present at the end of the beginning, of the beginning of the end of all things. The imperfect prophets of yore had failed to adequately prepare the human race for the Final World, and it would fall on every soul present to spread outwards from this remote and war torn world with the new gospel of Man, to save and redeem the universe through fire and steel.

A=A!

SOCIETY IS COMPROMISE!

COMPROMISE IS WEAKNESS!

DIFFERENCE IS WEAKNESS!

WEAKNESS IS DEATH!

PROCREATION IS SELF-DEATH!

SELF-ACTUALIZATION IS POWER!

POWER IS DESTRUCTION!

DESTRUCTION IS SELF-ACTUALIZATION!

SELF-ACTUALIZATION IS LIFE!

2 comments :

Jack Feerick said...

GOOGLE RON PAUL!

oneofthejonesboys said...

The thing about a=a ("the identity principle") is that, literally, nothing substantive follows from it, and certainly no moral principles. To get anything moral from it, you need to add various moral and maybe metaphysical assumptions, but then they're doing all the work in the argument, not the identity principle.

Using it to argue for a sub-Nietzschean individualism is preposterous. It's like trying to argue for political socialism on the basis that 1+1=2 (you put two things together and get something completely different, which is greater than each one individually! Therefore Marx, QED). The only reason Randians and their epigones treat a=a differently is that a=a is less familiar a principle than 1+1=2 and thus has a kind of superstitious and fetishistic power.