Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for September 27th, 2008

‘Hell Is The Absence Of God’ by Ted Chiang

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This is one of the two stories in this collection that I’d read previously. It is also pretty much what I would consider to be the anti-thesis of slipstream.

Chiang’s premise is that God exists and Heaven and Hell are empirical facts. From here everything unfolds rationally and rigourously; it is an essentially science fictional mode of storytelling which is in opposition to slipstream with its emphasis on the inexplicable. At the same time though this is very much a story about the inexplicable because what else could God be? Chiang’s story is rational but the acts of the creator are not:

Perhaps, he thought, it’d be better to live in a story where the righteous were rewarded and the sinners were punished, even if the criteria for righteousness and sinfulness eluded him, than to live in a reality where there was no justice at all.

The power and the beauty of the story is in the confrontation of the inexplicable. I can’t see any reason for it to be included in this collection though (and as far as I can tell Kessel and Kelly offer no justification either.)

Quality: ****
Slipperiness: *

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

27 September 2008 at 19:03


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I went to see Down The Rabbit Hole this morning. It was very bitty in the way these things often are and contained some nice imagery without adding up to much. I did like the house band, The Molotovs, though.

Afterwards I saw something truly amazing:

This is Seizure by Roger Hiorns:

The initial structural alterations effected the transformation of Flat 159 into a completely watertight tank, reinforced by steelwork on the outside, with its upper surface open and accessible – through holes punched through the ceiling – to the flat above. The super-saturated copper sulphate solution itself was prepared onsite. Hundreds of bags of the chemical powder were mixed with very hot water in large steel tanks. More than 70,000 litres of the solution made in this way were eventually pumped into Flat 159, to fill it to the brim. 


Written by Martin

27 September 2008 at 18:03