Mantra For an Open Universe
(The Project.com.au 2005, 1000 words)
image: Tim Parish
‘Mantra for an Open Universe’ looks at the cross-pollination of religion, consumerism and technology through the eyes of a young, reincarnated Dalai Lama mixin’ it up on the decks in a cyberspatial global hook-up…
Sample: “But I do not like the Pokemon avatars, Rinpoche!”
Stark and blocky 3-D cartoon creatures stand motionless behind us. One looks like a blue dinosaur, one a smiling anthropomorphic yellow rabbit, the other some type of small chick perpetually bursting from its shell. They remind me of happy Tibetan tulpas – spirits from the higher dimensions.
“They don’t play like proper Pokemon should!” he complains, his cherubic face all screwed up. Sigh. This is not the proper way for the 15th Dalai Lama to behave, no matter HOW young he is. But he is so strong-willed and that twinkling in his eyes is the same I used to see in Tenzin Gyatso. This is what I get for letting the young master play with the SEGA Dreamcaster, but the 21st century demands a digital bodhisattva just as much as the 20th needed a bodhisattva of compassion. And this marvellous technology has brought us all here to the SECOND LIFE sacred space that is hosting Earthdance 14.0, after all. Amazing, this shared virtual environment, virally programmed to evolve in real time simulation with the global party hookups. What is it the young people say these days? Ah yes.
TURN ON/ TUNE IN/ and DANCE.
(Future Cities Project 2005, 2500 words)
Image: Paul Kalemba
Breakfast @ YUMS was commissioned as part of the Future Cities Project – an exercise in intelligent dreaming sponsored by the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. Scientific opinion flirts with imaginative play to create a series startling visions and intriguing possible future worlds. Each year at our Future Cities Forum at the Melbourne Museum, leading environmental thinkers come together with writers and illustrators to play and to dream. The Sustainable Living Foundation and the project’s partners invite you to step into the future and join them in imagining an environmentally sustainable city 50 years from now.
Breakfast @ Yums explores a post-human, antediluvean world where net energy ratios are strictly monitored to ensure equilibrium. In this AI controlled permaculture world where all material goods are supplied, an elderly Tuvlan refugee seeks a meaning and sustenance that technology cannot provide…
Sample: Dawn broke over Port Phillip Bay, illuminating the permanent cloudbank that covered the horizon. The outside temperature was 40 degrees and rising. A vast, organic blanket of sensor arrays and nano-assemblers covered the surface of the waves, collecting the kinetic energy of tidal movement and channelling it back into the city grid for free electricity. A number of robot powered gondoliers were already on the waters and paddling down Harbour Esplanade, the waters mirroring the shimmering blue-white surfaces of the zaibatsu skyscrapers as they sucked in ambient carbon dioxide and breathed out oxygen. Across the Docklands, clusters of bio-organic buildings all opened their sensor dishes and drank in the day.
Permaculture One was a zaibatsu on the corner of Saint Mangos and Caravel Lanes, smack dab in the sunken 21st century waterworld that was New Quay, with it’s antediluvian archipelagos echoing back to the Age of Mass Consumption. On the twenty-fifth floor Vaka woke early as usual from her regulation eight hour sleep-coding shift and shook loose the last fading lines of data from her head. A dream about her husband, Sopoanga, may he rest beneath the waves. Gone thirty years and she still missed him every day.
They had left their sunken island home and gone to New Zealand as Tuvalu refugees before the second wave of global flooding peaked with the superstorms in the 20s. When Sopoanga was lost, she came to Australia with their children as part of the Oceania Free Trade agreements. Her two sons were all grown up and relocated across the Permaculture Zones in units of their own. They teleprescenced every day, but part of her had never taken to the new technologies, and what she really yearned for was the sea, the island beaches of her youth, not this tiny box.
To read the story click here
CARNEGIE MAGICK short story
(Voiceworks magazine 2003, 6,000 words)
An urban magick realist rollercoaster ride through the streets of Carnegie, blending aboriginal totem mythology with a white man’s dreaming and altered perceptions of Australia (6000 words). Originally published in Voiceworks #53, Winter 2003.
Sample: Keep your eyes on the bloody road, Kali chastises in a husky, bong-thick Greek contralto as the car swerves back and forth n tonka toy tuff across the snaking metal groove move of the tramlines. She runs purple stained fingers through purple dreddlocked hair and picks out the fag end of a joint, examines it briefly with big black magpie eyes, then tosses it out the window.
I’m trying to, man, but the moon, the moon’s so bright, I just want to follow it… Coyote sings back, howling at the blood-husk white mother in the sky, hands tight on the steering wheel, eyes lost to the night, the light, the white mother in the sky night.
All so long ago now; just another evening in the new millenium and the shit was hitting the fan, man, and blood, feces, paradigms and chunks of the ceiling were all going into hyperdrive as it fell. Us? There we were hurtling down the road in the Hoonmobile, knee deep in the crud of months of fast food husks, wrapped in a haze of smoke and memories, adrenaline and THC our only friends> spill spill spilling through the streets of Carnegie, the suburb that never evolved, where it’s always 1978! Hardcore neo-tek drum n bass soundscapes boomboxing through the Hoonmobile and there we were, urban disco ferals on the road, bedspread pants wrapped like Sunday mornings around our legs, crazy clothes woven from trip-hop dreams and magic dust covering our piereced and dyed hides. The Barrelfull of Monkeys. The crew. Tripping out of our skulls and into some serious damage control of the reality grid. So long ago.
Click to download the story: carnegie_magic
(2000, 5,000 words)
ISBN 0952331640. 256 pps, 220 x 200 mm, paperback (landscape)
RAINBOW DREAMING is a psyberdelic scavenger hunt across a near future Australia culminating in the Earthdream desert festival and the infamous Rave Olympics.
Originally published in: Alternative Australia: celebrating cultural diversity by Alan Dearling with Brendan Hanley (Mook Bahloo)
“It’s a celebration of, and roller-coaster ride through, many parts of alternative Oz. These are the braves and the tribal elders of the intentional communities; the forest blockades and other protests; the performing arts scene, the festivals, and the forest, beach and desert doofs.”
Sample: We were about 50k’s past Maree when we saw the first convoy of phreaks heading out to the Earthdream party, a motley, rainbow caravan of dust -encrusted buses and camper vans, VW’s and Bedfords, ferals, travellers and urban hedonists pirating the airwaves with their digital mantras, blanketing the quiet earth along the Oodnadatta Track and generally funking shit up. The big vans and buses were crowned with giant inflatable objects like bananas and mangoes and blazoned with anti-uranium logos and activist stickers. We’d been getting reports on the CB radio for days, up and down the coast from every direction – these Psy-Trance Cowboys had been rustling the archaic monuments of the 20th Century from quiet country towns and tying them to the roofs of their vehicles like scalps, plastic totems cannibalised from the Giant Ram, Giant Koala, the Giant Pineapple, the Giant Homogenised Icons of White Middle Class Prosperity.
Now here they were, all in a row like floats in a post-Apocalyptic pagan love parade, cruising through the desert at high speed and kicking up a storm. Yessir, they were riding their groove- boxes onto the high frontier, layered in bass and in search of a WAY COOL PLACE where everybody can DO Their Own Thing…