Sunday, April 19, 2015

Quirk Strangeness and Charm

So yesterday was the mandatory refresher course in "Social Responsibility for Mad Scientists". None of the speakers specifically singled out the alarums and excursions with the vat-grown godmeat and the giant telekinetic vat-grown brain, but they certainly seemed to be giving us more than our fair share of glances. Not to mention the Riddled Participle Accelerator, which fortunately no-one mentioned.*

So they were all "Remember the time when Borges hybridised stag and eagle conceptual DNA in the laboratory, and then Perytons escaped from the cognitive containment facility into the fictive realm, and people accepted them as figures from genuine classical mythology as opposed to modern fakelaw myths?"

Yeah, yeah, we rounded most of them up in the end. Now there are only radio astronomers using "peryton" to label a kind of spurious burst which are emitted by mis-operated microwave ovens (and are totally not signals from the alien overlords instructing the radio astronomers as to the next stage in the master-plan)... which is kind of cool.

"Remember the time when Francesco Colonna managed to cross-breed insectile and proboscid archetypes, and suddenly the noösphere was awash with half-ant half-elephant imagery?"

"The episode was vastly exaggerated," said Colonna.

"Shut up," we explained. "You're not supposed to be here, everyone thinks you died in 1527."

"Remember the time when Another Kiwi went back in the Riddled time machine and revised the Declaration of Independence so that it encouragedthe Fur-suit of Happiness?"

Of course no-one remembers that because it was all promptly un-happened again. The Chronocontinuity Police were not well-pleased with all the extra work, although I happen to think that the resulting version of America was more fun than the one we have now.
New Accelerator
* The goal is to accelerate articles and participles and bang them together at high energies to restore the broken symmetry between strong and weak verbs, in the hope of creating new parts of speech. The possibility of a general syntactic collapse into grammar-free LOLpidgin are ENORMOUS EXAGGERATE.

Don't forget, tomorrow is International Talk Like a Jack Vance Character Day! I hope you have all booked costumes ahead of time.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Tomorrow, I shall cast a prodigious hoodoo on the autochthonous population.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I'm in love with that cover illo- the circuit diagrams on the Jinxman's vestments are an inspired touch.

For the record, "The Miracle Workers" may be my favorite Jack Vance work, even though it is fairly uncharacteristic in its paucity of baroque prose.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

although I happen to think that the resulting version of America was more fun than the one we have now.

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

Some refuse to say America took a wrong direction when the Boîte du Bois program under the aegis of NASA and the Atlanta board of tourism implanted fuel cells and photovoltaic imaging systems in the not quite cold corpse of Vivian Leigh, who promptly decamped for South Carolina and recast herself as Lindsey Graham.

rhwombat said...

Fuel cells and photovoltaics? I thought Sen Butchmeup ran on fule sells and "clean coal"?

rhwombat said...

As far as Francesco Colonna's work goes: have you never had trouble getting both halves of an elephant down your anthole?

rhwombat said...

Thanks for the pointer to the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili woodcuts. I particularly liked the anchored eagle interrupting asp perversions.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

anchored eagle interrupting asp perversions

Sounds like a prog rock album title!

Smut Clyde said...

Cloven-footed elephants clad in fish-net stockings.

JP said...

I was going to say that there seemed to be a jolly lesbian Leda-and-the-swan thing going on in the above-linked woodcut, but then I wondered why I assumed the swan (goose?) was female. Prob'ly because I am a lousy prevert.

JP said...

And it seems to be a drawing rather than a woodcut, anyway. Which reminds me that I need to get back to my pen-and-ink proclivities sometime soon.

Smut Clyde said...

I wondered why I assumed the swan (goose?) was female
According to the Font of All Knowledge [not Comic Sans], the main difference between a cob and a pen is that the cob has bigger feet. Which is no help at all.

And it seems to be a drawing rather than a woodcut, anyway.
Woodcut, a very good one.

JP said...

Woodcut, a very good one.

The fine shading on the elephants' heads and some of the ladies' dresses and hair is extremely impressive.

rhwombat said...

B4: Yes - Tales from Herpetographic Oceans.

rhwombat said...

Never mind the little Ledaphant etchings - this is just satyrical.

rhwombat said...

...and what about quirks (of Muster Mark) of other flavours, hmm? What about top and bottom? What about up, down, turnaround, and truth (you little beauty!)? Not to mention quantum chromodynamics ...antigreenish Hugh?