Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Ah, let us step into this crack here for a moment...'

Ah, let us step into this crack here for a moment (it's roomy enough, once you're in it, and the time passed there doesn't count)and be informed about the Hemispheres. The two Hemispheres were very old and of disputed origin, and they were prized possessions of the college. In form, each was a perfect sphere, and yet they were called hemispheres: It was said they had originally existed in the same spherical space and that they had then been separated. They were of heavy glass, each at least a meter in diameter. One of them was crammed with creatures, rats, rat-faced people, proper people; but their faces were bigger than their bodies and the eyes were bigger than the faces. They seemed alive and avid to burst out. Most of the bodies and faces and eyes were cracked and shattered (you know that it was done by an eye-cracking sound), broken like glass and the pieces falling out of them. yet they seemed alive and flexible, not rigid. They didn't seem at all miniaturized, but there were hundreds of them in that hemisphere.

The other spherical hemisphere was all green meadows and game-parks and cities and oceans, unoccupied, but waiting for visitation.

Ah, out of the crack again. But be careful: Don't mention that stuff.

-R. A. Lafferty, 'The Man Who Walked Through Cracks' (1978)


Kevin Cheek said...

Sounds like the result of the mortgage crisis here.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Hm, interesting, Kevin.

'Lawmakers, consumers, bankers, and businesspeople scurried to reduce the effects of the mortgage crisis. It set off a dramatic chain of events, and will continue to unfold for years to come. The public got to see "how the sausage is made" and was shocked to learn how leveraged the world is.'


Kevin Cheek said...

I was thinking of the city of Tracy, California where I lived from '89 to '05. When the mortgage bubble started to bust, people started losing their homes. Developers were building bigger and posher subdivisions all around the town based on speculation that prices would continue to rise, and customers would be abundant. These developers then chose either to abandon the projects incomplete or mothball them, leaving hundreds of beautiful new homes around the edges of the city sealed up and unoccupied while people were moving into smaller and smaller apartments, moving in with relatives, or moving into rented mobile homes (where the landlords wouldn't perform a credit check).

Almost exactly what Lafferty was describing, really.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Wow. That is a remarkable visual similarity to this passage.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Oh, and the very last line of this story?

'They do not have happy home lives.'

Now it's just uncanny.

Kevin Cheek said...

Appropos of nothing in this thread: Try this: Read "Ginny Wrapped in the Sun," then read Bradbury's "Zero Hour," then if you can get ahold of it, read Sturgeon's "Tandy's Story," and then re-read "Ginny Wrapped in the Sun." The Bradbury and Sturgeon stories deal with alien invasion via young children, while Lafferty is talking about evolution (or the reversal of a contingent evolution). However, beyond that, the portrayal of children as the vehicles for these changes is similar, and the element of enthusiastic, hyperactive, super-cute menace is there in all three.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Sounds like a delightful experiment. I shall try it if I can get hold of the Sturgeon story.

Kevin Cheek said...

A Very Merry Christmas to all! May you and yours have the all the joy this holiday promises!

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Thanks, Kevin! Wishing Christmas joy to you and everyone else too. (I'll try to post a new Laff quote today as a Christmas gift to readers!)

'It was all strong talk with the horns and hooves still on it.'
(R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead)