SYNTH, Chapter 3!

SYNTH is a gorgeous Everlark fan fiction in which Katniss is an android called KTNS-12, manufactured in a lab by Genius Scientist Beetee and Junior Scientist Peeta, the latest effort by humans to develop a weapon that will help them win a war against — well, it’s not clear who exactly they’re fighting against, but anyway the humans are holed up underground in bunkers, and it seems they are very reduced in number. KTNS-12 is the first prototype that succeeds in walking, talking, fighting, etc., and Peeta made her. Yes, he made her, coddled her from a clump of cells in a petri dish to a full-grown, gorgeous woman.

Faster than you can say “Pygmalion and Galatea,” KTNS-12 begins following Junior Scientist Peeta around like a baby chick (She even begins climbing into his bed at one point, and no one thinks to stop her). Nurturing Peeta is so adorable, and Beetee expounds his theory of “imprinting” (since Peeta talked to Katniss’s cells and coaxed them into growing, his voice has imprinted on KTNS-12. Oh this is just too ADORBS!)

KTNS-12 has an anomaly: she has feelings. She knows she has been bred to be a fighting machine (Again self wonders why the scientists bothered to make a gendered fighting machine, even with reproductive parts. Wouldn’t that seem like such a waste of time, since they’re not supposed to procreate, anyway. Or — are they? DUN DUN DUN!) and she’s deathly afraid that these feelings are going to cause them to recycle her parts. When a dastardly team of scientists led by Dr. Cato and Dr. Gloss do all kinds of experiments on her (such as, tightening C-clamps on all her digits until the skin splits), she has to pretend she isn’t afraid, but she thinks Gloss knows. Because every day, he schedules more vivisection and . . .

The last self read of Synth was way way back in the beginning of the year. Six months ago. Two chapters dropped, and the end of the second chapter was quite a cliff-y: Katniss being taken to a lab (with no Junior Scientist Peeta present!) where horrible Dr. Cato and Dr. Gloss are waiting with awful sharp surgical instruments and C-clamps.

For over six months Synth followers like self were forced to imagine the most horrible atrocities perpetrated on KTNS-12. Paging Junior Scientist Peeta! Emergency! Paging Junior Scientist Peeta! Your immediate presence is required to save KTNS-12!


Finally, yesterday, followers were put out of their agony: Chapter 3 dropped. Evil Cato and Gloss clamp KTNS-12 down on a table and slowly up the pressure on all her limbs until finally, finally, KTNS-12 does feel something: “It’s a sensation like dark is a color. There really isn’t anything there, but it’s far too real to be nothing.”


Horrible! Just horrible!

Puke! Barf! NO!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Never Known Such Kindness

Today, self was late meeting a friend for lunch. So even though she knew which train she needed to take, and her Metro Card was newly topped up, she ended up hailing a cab.

The thing about cabs here in New York City is, the cabbies are willing to talk. The one whose cab she hailed today discussed possible routes with her. You see, this is the thing about New York City. Everyone communicates. It’s the only way.

She managed to persuade the cabbie to try her way. He was cool about it.

On the way back, she did take the subway. And lo and behold, a man offered her his seat. A man on the No. 1 train actually got up and offered her his seat. The car was crowded. Normally, self would have been more than happy to accept the man’s offer. But she was getting off at the very next stop. Still, she thanked the man and smiled.

Such small kindnesses mean the world to her these days.

It is so hard, sometimes, to understand the world. But kindness is a language of its own.

Stay tuned.


Directions for the Journey to the Meaning of Reality

While self was wandering around Florence, early this month, she stumbled into the Palazzo Vecchio. Milling about in the lobby were participants in a conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani. It was the first she’d ever heard of this man who, one of the conference staff told self, was a much admired teacher and writer.

Self walked away with a brochure of his writings, and wasted no time opening the brochure. She was very struck by this statement:


Then, she read a discourse on the meaning of the word “Thing”:

I would be amazed by the stupefying repercussion of a presence which is expressed in current language by the word “thing.” Things! “Thing,” which is a concrete and, if you please, banal presence which I do not myself make, which I find. A presence which imposes itself upon me. At this moment, if I am attentive, that is, if I am mature, then I cannot deny that the greatest and most profound evidence is that I do not make myself, I am not making myself. I do not give myself being, or the reality which I am. I am “given.” This is the moment of maturity when I discover myself to be dependent on something else.

Self has a story in the New Orleans Review called — THING.

The consonance of her Thing with Monsignor Giussani’s discourse on the word Thing is super-mindblowing! It’s as if self’s frail tendrils of story, and this always-churning imagination of hers, has transported her across the ocean to Italy, simply so that she can receive a brochure at the Palazzo Vecchio where a teacher and philosopher tries to explain the meaning of Thing. Of Thing-ness.

Self’s story is about humanoids in the post-apocalyptic Earth. Where no one looks human anymore. Hence the use of the generic to describe that which-is-neither-here-nor-there. That which is thing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Still More Trios! Florence

More from the trip to Florence, more on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, TRIO.

While self and her niece were in Florence, niece booked us on a tour to the surrounding towns of Siena, San Gimidgiano, and Pisa.

The church (or Duomo, the word Italians use to refer to a cathedral) at Siena was beautiful. The front of the church has three entrances:


The Duomo at Siena: So beautiful!

And here’s another museum, whose name completely escapes self, but anyhoo: It’s in Florence, which has 62 museums.

Each wall facing a central courtyard has three arches:


A museum. Somewhere in Florence.


Three figures above a door to one of the smaller chapels next to Santa Maria del Fiore

Deepest apologies for being so lame about specific museums and what-not. Self is in New York City, and she still hasn’t fully unpacked from her last trip (to San Francisco). Will fill in the names when she gets a breather!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Fan Fiction for MIDDLEMARCH?

This evening, self began looking up fan fiction for George Eliot’s classic novel, the one she’s currently reading: Middlemarch.

She found not a single one.

But, in the course of her research, she found several highly literary books that have fan fiction. Here are a few (all titles beginning with the letter “M” because she doesn’t have time to search the whole alphabet for fan fiction stories!)

  • Lev Grossman’s Magicians
  • E. M. Forster’s Maurice
  • Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Kafka’s Metamorphosis
  • Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex
  • Moby Dick
  • Jody Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper

Fascinating, simply fascinating.

Stay tuned.

Late Last Night: A Disturbance

It’s late, self hears screaming from next door.

Hyper-sensitized, self is.

The doors here are metal. Must be for a reason.

Finally, a man exits the room next door, laughing.

“I hate you!” the woman screams. Her scream tails off, followed by the man’s loud laughter. “You love me!” he shouts back.

“I hate you!” the woman shouts.

“No! You love me!”

And it goes back and forth like that, neither the man nor the woman giving an inch. And self, who is always on the verge of calling the cops, is just so fascinated by this interaction that she can’t move.

The man has the last word. The elevator comes and he shouts: “I’ll see you in a few days!”

The woman makes no response.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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