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Author Topic: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers  (Read 2891 times)

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The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« on: January 02, 2010, 04:45:01 am »

The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers[/size]

by George Potter


(Virtroom generated. Nine login attempts, nine correct passwords. Re-Encrypting. Done.

Meeting begins. Merrydeth Lou Castor-Higgins presiding.)
[/i]

We don't have time for good mornings, and I want you all to just shut up. What I'm saying is important and deserves all your pressed-for-time attention. Got me? No miscommunication? My meaning driving a happy hook into your brainmass?

Good. Keep it up. Bern, are you recording? Good boy. Arf arf. I'm kidding. Kidding.

Morton, off your ass and into gear, shake it shake it. I want full visual and sensual and triple-fucking-exposed empathic. The nine of us have been chosen as representatives, but I want all of our scattered stockholders to get what I'm saying, you feel? To feel what I'm getting, you see? Lather that shit on, make it sticky and scary.

(Shitstanding, Rufio -- you can't be comfortable in that get-up. Loosen up a bit, brother, it's a story pitch not a crucifixion. And don't look at me that way, asshole. Don't blame me because you got old. You didn't have to.)

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Various Acceptable Other Sorts, I have experienced a vision: A dream of golden vistas transcending the art of earth and heaven, the glorious conception of an artwork to change the path of history. A mega-blockbuster-hit to end all mega-blockbuster-hits.

A thirty-hour serial on the fantasy lives and dramatic agonies of those tiny faceless dancers that invade every corner of our dreams.

(Frozen silence. One moment.)[/i]

OK, enough, dammit. Stop. Stop trying your silly over-ride codes and emergency reset buttons. Stop trying to auto-commit me to the Company Brainworx. I'm shielded and safetriggered against all that. Stop.

Dammit, Morton, stop!

OK. Fuck.

Let's look at a couple of facts:

FACT: We are taking a beating -- A syncopated-fucking-diamond-edged-knife-torture-style-ass-kicking -- from Fantasyland.

Don't deny. Your arguments are pre-programmed and I know they don't mean anything. Hell, I thought 'em up! For a while it seemed the situation called for bluffing. So we bluffed.

Fantasyland was small, remember? Just tiny spots, in two places. They weren't even important markets: Taipei and Calgary. Who cared, right?

A lot of people cared, turns out. The initial wave of tourism was enough to change entertainment trends overnight. Worse, Fantasyland was sticky. Whoever stepped into it carried a little bit out. And it joined up with bits from other tourists and little outbreaks began to happen all over.

And, of course, some who visit never leave.

Viral. Only word for it. If it had been a terminal disease it would have wiped out the species by now. Worse, because Fantasyland works on animals too. We all know that. I'm probably not the only one here who lost a pet.

(Silence)[/i]

But we didn't know that, then. So we bluffed. We fought, but didn't change tactics. The Interbeam Mediafeed was a monolith, over a century old, tuned to the viewing public by generations of testing. A monolith doesn't change its glacial course because of a speedbump. We fought by giving the public what we knew it wanted, better than they'd ever had it, adding even more sexunviolence.

And that was and is the problem, of course. Fantasyland gave them things they didn't know they wanted. Didn't know existed.

I told you I lost a pet. Yes. Matilda, my cat, a companion of almost a decade. When the Fantasyland in San Francisco Bay opened up she marched into my bedroom, climbed onto my chest, and stared into my eyes. Then she quickly left the room. Scrambled out. I heard her cat-flap flip. I never saw her again, at least not awake.

But my cat comes to me in my dreams, and tells me of great adventures in the almost-is of the quantum uncertainty foam. That giving up a body for a charge of virtual particles was worth it. It lets hints of those adventures pass through me, and they are grand and scary and funny and wonderful. She tells me she misses me and wishes I'd leave my body behind and join her in the stories, and then she's gone.

My cat, who I miss. I shudder to think of those who lost children. I shudder to think of those wonderful, horrible dreams. That temptation.

(A pensive almost silence, full of sighs.)[/i]

The small percentage of humans and animals that escape into Fantasyland is not the problem, of course. Even though those numbers --still growing-- are worrying. It's not them.

It's the dreams.

FACT: The average number of hours the average person spends awake is currently down to eight. Enforced REM state is the most popular recreational pastime in the civilized world. The dreams are that powerful. That addictive, some say.

We've all had them. None of the drugs used to combat them are 100 percent effective. No sense in describing them, or even dwelling on them. Dangerous, my experts say. The dreams of the adventures those humans and animals are having, and the beckoning call to come live the dream in Fantasyland.

Insidious, inescapable as sleep, and promising ever so much more.

Goddam it all to hell!

The Interbeam Mediafeed still has plenty of traffic, but not to sink into our profitable and carefully designed VR dramadies. No. It's now mostly the Fantasyland fanatics, organizing and promoting shared dreamtime schedules and the continued spread of Fantasyland itself.

It's disgusting, the Fairy worship. I studied these zombies, these sleeping fanboyz and grlz, and saw what they were, what they are. The sleeping audience. They have to be awake for some things, and want only to simulate sleep as often as possible.

I studied this audience, while ratings plummeted and production pods disbanded, and the feeding frenzy that has led us here. To this last hurrah of the once glorious IMF, datafeed to the species.

(Tension has built up. It waits for release.)[/i]

I studied them and realized, like it or not, they weren't just the Fantasyland audience. They were the only misbegotten chance we had. They were down to eight hours in the world , but we had a chance.

We have to grab them. We have to start taking time back from this bastard Fantasyland. We have to fight for it, dammit! And it's a noble fight.

We have one chance, we've all admitted that. Limited resources and one chance. If we snag enough interest to hold on we'll expand, but this is pretty much it. The research we did on Fantasyland, as frightening and distressing as it was, also ended up being painfully expensive.

Rufio, with the look again. Do you even know how transparent you are? Damn facial expressions, boy. Give you away every time. I'll be happy to explain the findings to you all:

Three common theories about Fantasyland were explored:

The first was "Fantasyland has always existed, the fairies have just been in hiding for a long time."

The second was "Fantasyland is the first contact with alien beings of a higher evolutionary plane."

And the third was "Fantasyland is some Ultimate Weapon from the days when Governments ran things that somehow got loose."

According to the researchers we employed, only the third has any basis in reality, despite being completely false. It wasn't the good ol' traditional boogieman of pre-hyperconnection governments to blame. It was something much closer to home.

The most compelling case for the origin of Fantasyland, the case that fits the available evidence and perceptions of witnesses, is that it spontaneously arose as a sapient concept in the Symbolflow, escaped into the much easier to manipulate interweb of communications tech buried in billions of human brains, then bootstrapped an external body out of ambient drifting utility fog. It made lack of substance a feature rather than a flaw, by manifesting as the fairies and sprites and ephemeral spirits of folktale and legend.

(The tension has transmuted almost perfectly to unease.)[/i]

A body is expensive of course, so it needed users to provide power and signal. To let it live and grow.

And where did such a compelling plan of action come from? Where did it discover that vast and effective mythology, that lore to tempt human dreamers into the virtual?

Why from us, of course. From the gluttonous feast on IMF, all those terablots of decadent story and spinespeaking fantasy. All those clever dramatic algorithms and emotional encounter models just ripe for the picking.

We had them, for decades, the majority of the human race. Had them glued to their screens, then their glasses, then their modified brainstems. Had them losing sleep and getting progressively more tractable, slightly calmer, a little dumber.

We created Fantasyland, friends and colleauges. Our fevered imaginings combined with the robust VR connected minds of the unwashed masses, combined with dirty air and billions of almost-AI enhanced junk nanotronics. All those self-programming billboard clouds and smartsigns that tailored to individuals. All those floating microverts that could fool folks with custom targeted content. Fantasyland uses them as its playground, its constantly backed up safehouse, and a vast source of on-the-fly processing power.

The foolish luxury of making everything sort of smart has paid off in full, all that semi-sapient shit birthing something really smart.

We invented our own competition.

(Bewildered shame. Semi-anger. Tear pre-cursors.)[/i]

And it's winning. Even worse, it's playing a dangerous game. It's molding the audience as well, but in the opposite direction: making them a progressivly touchier, slightly more agitated, a little brighter.

Two centuries of labor, from the dawn of cinema and radio and televison and all the evolving tools of communication and control, destroyed in a few short years. Our tool woke up, looked around, liked what it saw, and turned on us.

And it plans to take the entire human race with it.

We have one shot. I repeat:

A thirty hour series on the fantasy life of the tiny dancers.

Yes, I'm serious. Yes, those tiny dancers. They're perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Why? Jim, ain't it? Jim. You've been in Fantasyland. At least once. Admit it. Not the dreams; I mean the real deal, those almost solid little worlds that are springing up everywhere. The bases our enemy operates from.

Come on. You gave it away when you knew what I meant by the tiny dancers.

Yes, just once. I thought so. But once was enough, right? To know? To have seen the tiny dancers? They're everywhere, after all.

I've been more than once. Let's leave it at that. I find it helps me to forget the dreams, to resist, to experience it in full and know it's a lie. I'm studying those places, like I studied its -- our -- audience.

Those expensive studies say the dancers are a repeated motif on what it calls 'environmental decoration.' You understand. In Fantasyland, everything moves. The walls dance, the ceilings sing and act out fables, the sky and ground are riots of detail. The stories surround you, invite you, entice you to give up the flesh and embrace the virtual.

These fairies, these tiny dancers in constant motion, faces forever a blur, show up a lot. A collective favorite. A collective mind, the study says, made of moments of consciousness stolen from millions a microsecond at a time.

That's a hook, friends, but more than that. You've all seen the dreams, the most popular, the ones that pull the most fans. Fantastic, yes, in more than incident. The audience demands offbeat viewpoint characters and strange structures. Studies claim such tastes indicate a high intelligence rebelling against conformity. Rebelling against sanity, I say.

(Universal amusement.)[/i]

Whatever. The tiny dancers are perfect for that, their outsider substitute. They also function as sympathetic small characters harassed by larger foes, a currently hot psycho-function. We concentrate on imaginary secret lives and fantasies, full of sexunviolence,  amped and filtered to bursting. We use every trick of trope and meme we ever devised, and make up new ones. We stuff this final, all out attack to hook an audience with every slice of melodrama, wrung-dry twist of emotion, and lurid bead of extruded desire we can fit. We soak it down in subliminals and supraluminals and backwards fucking robot voices and we hit hard with it and we pray.

We pray for the hook. That our tiny dancers grab the target by the brain and the balls and the heart, and sink in barbs.

Numbers? Oh hell, friends, you misunderstand. The sleeping dreamers are not our target, they're just the reception medium. The screens, the goggles, the brainstem.

We're after Fantasyland itself. That clever group mind. That's who we bait and set the hook for.

(Understanding!)[/i]

We have to hook it, and addict it, then steal its sleep. Calm it, make it a little more complacent, a little dumber.

Possible? I think so. I hope so. If it can understand and use the medium it can more than likely be affected by it.

Remember the history of our species, friends. Remember where we -- human beings -- came from. It's a long hard, history, yes. Some of it is  shameful. But it's real. And it offers lessons. It is not wise to replace that, so well earned, with the whimsy of fantasy, forgotten by a species soon to be gone, who will leave only a phantom that never stops dreaming.

For two hundred years we've sought to control the human race.

Now we find ourselves in a last battle to save it.

(Determination growing, fear solidifying but lessening as pride engages with a sudden nervy survival instinct.)[/i]

That one member audience is all that matters.

(Determination, shared, radiant. Communication  increases to a private singularity, as plans begin spiraling.)[/i]

We must shape our hook with care.

(Meeting ends. Nine log-outs. Virtroom dismantled. Re-encrypting

Done.)
[/i]



« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 10:48:27 am by Door Into Summer »
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Bill St. Clair

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2010, 05:13:56 am »

I didn't get this one, George. Probably my limitations showing.

But I can help with a couple of typos.

There's one instance of "Fairyland" and many instances of "Fantasyland". Should they all be "Fantasyland"?

"Studies indicate it's indicates a high intelligence rebelling against conformity." Probably a rewritten sentence with some of the original undeleted. I do that all the time. Removing "indicates" works, but maybe you had something else in mind.
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"The state can only survive as long as a majority is programmed to believe that theft isn't wrong if it's called taxation or asset forfeiture or eminent domain, that assault and kidnapping isn't wrong if it's called arrest, that mass murder isn't wrong if it's called war." -- Bill St. Clair

"Separation of Earth and state!" -- Bill St. Clair

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2010, 08:50:14 am »

George,

I usually don't comment on your stuff but:
That's about the most fucked up, whacked out piece of literary trash you've ever plopped onto this place.......


I thought it was great..................because it touched something inside of "me"

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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2010, 10:50:20 am »

I didn't get this one, George. Probably my limitations showing.

But I can help with a couple of typos.

There's one instance of "Fairyland" and many instances of "Fantasyland". Should they all be "Fantasyland"?

"Studies indicate it's indicates a high intelligence rebelling against conformity." Probably a rewritten sentence with some of the original undeleted. I do that all the time. Removing "indicates" works, but maybe you had something else in mind.

LOL -- well, it might help if I actually posted the finished story rather than the rough first draft. :P

Replaced with 3rd draft.  I really need to organize my writin' folder a bit better. :)
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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2010, 10:55:24 am »

George,

I usually don't comment on your stuff but:
That's about the most fucked up, whacked out piece of literary trash you've ever plopped onto this place.......


I thought it was great..................because it touched something inside of "me"



Thankee, sirrah.  :laugh:

Mainly me playing around with the idea that, if the State were abolished, what other assholes might try to weasel in and get control-freak on people? The media, with their sneaky nature, was the first suspect. Then, I continued thinking, what kind of 'unintended consequences' might arise from that?

Had fun writing it.
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ZooT_aLLures

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2010, 05:42:31 pm »

Quote
Then, I continued thinking, what kind of 'unintended consequences' might arise from that?

What kind of unintended consequences have already rose from that?..............after all, it's already going on in almost every aspect of modern life, but for the most part goes unnoticed.......
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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2010, 12:45:14 am »

Quote
Then, I continued thinking, what kind of 'unintended consequences' might arise from that?

What kind of unintended consequences have already rose from that?..............after all, it's already going on in almost every aspect of modern life, but for the most part goes unnoticed.......

Excellent point. Hmmm. Might try to do a more contemporary take on the same idea.
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ZooT_aLLures

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Re: The Fantasy Lives Of Those Tiny, Faceless Dancers
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 10:50:30 am »

Ya; know there guy................that might make some thing new and original
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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.
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