WRITING The End Game

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by unanun, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Why, as I watched Cheesecake groom herself, can I not just be like a cat?

    The few moments where I became lucid from my life were truly awful. No matter what perspective I adopted, it was clear that my existence had no meaning. For example, an atom has no purpose. Its motions are described by the probabilistic theorem of quantum mechanics. If a bunch of atoms are combined into a molecule, it also has no purpose. If molecules are combined into proteins, DNA, and other parts of the cell, the cell also has no purpose, but is just a complicated set of reactions to its environment. Cells become humans become society become civilization become Earth, then the Sun, then the galaxy, then the universe. At what point does purpose enter the system? It never does ...

    If this argument is not convincing, consider the reverse. Does a universe have purpose? It is safe to say that we don't even know the extent of it, or how it came into being or how it will go out - we only have models and good guesses about its nature. So it seems that instead of ascribing cause to the universe, it is much safer to say it does not have purpose - it is certainly less arrogant than the alternative, giving the universe a prime mover or some sort of sentience when it really is just a name given by humans, who are built from randomly moving cells from molecules from atoms. Thus, no matter how one slices the problem, from the top down or bottom up, the inevitable conclusion is that life has no purpose.

    Intelligence was a curse, enabling me to realize the insignificance of the world that evolution had given me intelligence to survive in. Everything had existed a billion years before me, and would endure a billion more. I still enjoyed eating, sleeping, and having sex; I was still content with existing just like Cheesecake the cat. The problem was the amount of time where my mind actively contemplated its own worthlessness, which took up a majority of my waking hours. I wanted to excise that portion and return to a simpler, more primal life. Was that not the goal of evolved intelligence? H.G. Wells wrote that intelligence evolved in response to a changing and unpredictable environment, but humans already tamed Earth, pouring concrete and steel into everything that could possibly move, and using electricity to defeat the climate and day-night cycle.

    Suicide was not an option; I wanted to eat and sleep. Neither was lobotomy, or any other method of debasing my brain; I did not want the possibility of living the nightmare where I was still congizant, and trapped, inside my damaged brain. The only option left was to degrade my consciousness, to transplant myself into the body of a cat, and enjoy a decade of life before peacefully expiring.

    After the third police visit on account of my abnormal electric use, I built a small fusion generator in my home. Mapping the entire brain would prove to be a difficult process - building an understanding from small rodents and gradually progressing to humans. In humans, I had to find patterns across all humans, rather than being lost in the microscopic details of a particular individual. Getting access to all these resources was difficult, cajoling dictactors for the uranium, building a global financial conglomerate, and schmoozing with the people in charge. I spent generations of scientists and engineers on the 'AI problem', on the 'human brain genome project', on 'the Longevity surge', using the results from the previous project to garner investment for the next in a never ending pyramid scheme.

    Fifty years in, it was clear my goal would outlive me, so I diverted my next ten years of effort to extending my life span - a simple telomere extension via leukemia gene therapy. Since the cancer resides in the bone marrow, it was the quickest way to replace the DNA in my body. The therapy was conceived in the first year, but it took patience and the next nine to turn over all the genes in my body. I had to spend ten years after that defending my research from the unfathomable greed of the human race, and fled to the moon where Earth law - and their nuclear rockets - could not touch me.

    A hundred years and innumerable cadavers later (and many pet cats), the collection was complete. I threw the generalized map of the brain onto the wall and stared at it. All the data was there, but now an even longer period of time had to be spent sifting through and analyzing the data, subjecting it to models and equations. The enormity of the task scared me, because I worried I would spend so long looking at the data that my hard disks would corrupt from the ionizing radiation hitting the moon's surface.

    Nine-hundred and ninety-nine years later, I had the solution. The solution said that it was impossible to transplant one's consciousness to a smaller brain. An inequality in the equations, previously misinterpreted, showed that it was equivalent to death, as the personality would be lost upon transcription. The cat would remain unaffected, since insticts are fungible!! All my effort was just spent to find a creative way of committing suicide.

    I snapped from my reverie. I had not been lucid for over a thousand years, but I finally realized what I had been looking for all along, the purpose of my evolved intelligence. It was to enjoy the indulgence of the instinct. The cold hiss of an opening beer was lost in the weak atmosphere, the golden liquid lazily floating out of the bottle. That was okay: outside I could enjoy the Earth, then go inside and enjoy the beer.

    @Tegan @Asmodeus
     
    #1 unanun, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  2. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!! >:[
     
  3. Feedback? >_>
     
  4. I was sad that he woke up. The first 4 paragraphs bored me. The middle was great.

     
    • Thank Thank x 1
  5. Thanks buddy!
     
  6. @Asmodeus, how did the beginning paragraphs help introduce the character? I remember asking for your feedback for a solo writing piece a while back, and you said that you had no sympathy for the character at that time, so this time I tried to frame the context of this fellow's actions.
     
  7. Well, it's a bit of a self-insert (trust me, I would know) isn't it? An ultra-scientific guy being all cold and logical and shit and worrying about the universe. And the dilemma he finds himself in is the same that all moderately intelligent people suffer in their late teens to early 20s. So it's not exactly setting the stakes high. It's like a teenager worrying about his virginity - sure it's a big deal for him, but how does it relate to the universal reader? The key drives of storytelling are love, conflict, acceptance, freedom, etc. You've gone for purpose, which is pretty important in the scheme of things, but still kinda "decadent" when you place it in the pyramid of human problems. Some readers won't relate, because they're more concerned about material issues. The problem has no origin in other people or world events - the conflict "comes" from nowhere but his own aspie brain. So I'm not inclined to feel sympathy.

    So you've got context, but not history. The character needs more definition, so that we see him as more than just an intellectual mouthpiece in a vacuum.

    *hurls a Kafka book*
     
    • Thank Thank x 1
  8. Thanks for the feedback, broh.
     
  9. I am tearing this apart in every way in MS. Expect a full critique today or tomorrow. The reason it is taking so long? I have read it 10 times and have considered every avenue and genre.


    Aside:



    #bettereditorthanwriter

    Happy Note:

    I think this has a lot of awesome potential in the grand scheme.

    @unanun
     
    #9 Tegan, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
    • Thank Thank x 1
  10. @unanun

    Why, as I watched Cheesecake groom herself, can I not just be like a cat?

    Makes no grammatical sense. Reword this half-thought half-action abortion. I asked myself “why can I not be just like a cat?” as I watched Cheesecake groom herself.

    The few moments where I became lucid from my life were truly awful. No matter what perspective I adopted, it was clear that my existence had no meaning.

    Instead of explicitly stating this, give at least one SPECIFIC instance where Nameless Protagonist (now known as UP) should become aware of his/her uselessness. Failure to help a friend/family person? Cliche scenario, I know, but it makes for a good example.

    For example, an atom has no purpose. Its motions are described by the probabilistic theorem of quantum mechanics. If a bunch of atoms are combined into a molecule, it also has no purpose. If molecules are combined into proteins, DNA, and other parts of the cell, the cell also has no purpose, but is just a complicated set of reactions to its environment. Cells become humans become society become civilization become Earth, then the Sun, then the galaxy, then the universe. At what point does purpose enter the system? It never does ...

    This is awesome and should stay, but this is an abstract, emotionless example. Your ‘science’-minded readers will get it, and if that is the audience you want to reach, great, but refer back to my initial suggestion of supplementing an example on the emotional level. Show, don’t tell. You CAN have your cake and eat it, too.

    If this argument is not convincing, consider the reverse. Does a universe have purpose? It is safe to say that we don't even know the extent of it, or how it came into being or how it will go out - we only have models and good guesses about its nature. So it seems that instead of ascribing cause to the universe, it is much safer to say it does not have purpose - it is certainly less arrogant than the alternative, giving the universe a prime mover or some sort of sentience when it really is just a name given by humans, who are built from randomly moving cells from molecules from atoms. Thus, no matter how one slices the problem, from the top down or bottom up, the inevitable conclusion is that life has no purpose.

    Intelligence was a curse, enabling me to realize the insignificance of the world that evolution had given me intelligence to survive in.

    Bleeeergh. Clunky.
    I evolved with the world to realize its insignificance.
    Or.
    The world evolved me to realize its insignificance.


    Everything had existed a billion years before me, and would endure a billion more. I still enjoyed eating, sleeping, and having sex; I was still content with existing just like Cheesecake the cat. The problem was the amount of time where my mind actively contemplated its own worthlessness, which took up a majority of my waking hours. I wanted to excise that portion and return to a simpler, more primal life. Was that not the goal of evolved intelligence? H.G. Wells wrote that intelligence evolved in response to a changing and unpredictable environment,. but But humans already tamed Earth, pouring poured concrete and steel into everything that could possibly move,. and using Used electricity to defeat the climate and day-night cycle.

    Suicide was not an option; I wanted to eat and sleep. Neither was lobotomy, or nor any other method of debasing my brain; I did not want the possibility of living the nightmare where I was still congizant. ,and trapped, Trapped inside. my damaged brain. The only option left was to degrade my consciousness, to transplant myself into the body of a cat, and enjoy a decade of life before peacefully expiring.

    After the third police visit on account of my abnormal electric use, I built a small fusion generator in my home. Mapping the entire brain would prove to be a difficult process - building an understanding from small rodents and gradually progressing to humans. In humans, I had to find patterns across all humans, rather than being lost in the microscopic details of a particular individual. Getting access to all these resources was difficult, cajoling dictactors for the uranium, building a global financial conglomerate, and schmoozing with the people in charge. I spent generations of scientists and engineers on the 'AI problem', on the 'human brain genome project', on 'the Longevity surge', using the results from the previous project to garner investment for the next in a never ending pyramid scheme.

    Fifty years in, it was clear my goal would outlive me, so I diverted my next ten years of effort to extending my life span - a simple telomere extension via leukemia gene therapy. Since the cancer resides in the bone marrow, it was the quickest way to replace the DNA in my body. The therapy was conceived in the first year, but it took patience and the next nine to turn over all the genes in my body. I had to spend ten years after that defending my research from the unfathomable greed of the human race, and fled to the moon where Earth law - and their nuclear rockets - could not touch me.

    A hundred years and innumerable cadavers later (and many pet cats), the collection was complete. I threw the generalized map of the brain onto the wall and stared at it. All the data was there, but now an even longer period of time had to be spent sifting through and analyzing the data, subjecting it to models and equations. The enormity of the task scared me, because I worried I would spend so long looking at the data that my hard disks would corrupt from the ionizing radiation hitting the moon's surface.

    Nine-hundred and ninety-nine years later, I had the solution. The solution said that it was impossible to transplant one's consciousness to a smaller brain. An inequality in the equations, previously misinterpreted, showed that it was equivalent to death, as the personality would be lost upon transcription. The cat would remain unaffected, since insticts are fungible!! All my effort was just spent to find a creative way of committing suicide.

    I snapped from my reverie. I had not been lucid for over a thousand years, but I finally realized what I had been looking for all along, the purpose of my evolved intelligence. It was to enjoy the indulgence of the instinct. The cold hiss of an opening beer was lost in the weak atmosphere, the golden liquid lazily floating out of the bottle. That was okay: outside I could enjoy the Earth, then go inside and enjoy the beer.

    Yeeeeah, I really liked this idea up to the point where it is revealed to be a dream. That is cheap hack sumbitch writing. Don’t do that to your reader.

    Agreeing with Asmo: expand the character and the story will naturally blossom around him. Go back through what you have already written and concoct his experiences that lead him to draw to these conclusions.
    This has the chops to be a very compelling life story of a ‘real life’ supervillian whose diabolical schemes are only his machinations for becoming a cat. It screams speculative fiction.

    Consider a new, stronger title. I was tossing around the idea of Cheesecake the Cat. Asmo said something dumb and vague about parallels with the moon and cheese or something.
    Every new experimental cat should be named Cheesecake over the years. He thus immortalizes the cat while he endeavors to destroy himself. Of course that doesn’t have to be explicitly stated, that one’s for the scholars. Just name every cat Cheesecake.
    I did some light reworking of your sentence structures and striked some unnecessary words. I did not get every single one, though, since you’re not through the first draft phase yet. I just wanted to alert you to the perils of writing for the ear when telling a story from the first person. It sounds nice when spoken in conversation, but is not pleasing when read.
    Scrutinize every gerund you use. I’m running. I run. I’m playing. I play. etc.
    Cut out words like: so and for example.
    Don’t agonize over passive versus active voice. Just go with whatever is the simplest, least barbaric way of saying something. See? I just explained active vs. passive in the passive voice.
     
    #10 Tegan, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Blue Moon Cheesecake



    ...because the moon is made of cheese... and he escapes to the moon... to have his cake and eat it... because his lucid moments come "once in a blue moon"... and his cat's called Cheesecake... and he's got the blues.




    Tegan crushed your spirit. But I blew your mind. :|
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. ... Blue Moon Cheesecake...


    I hate and love it.
     
  13. But,

    Cheesecake the Cat has a certain draw to it, you must admit.

    Cartoonized rendering of the Schrodinger's Cat model for the cover.

    EDIT

    YES THERE ARE SCHRODINGER PARALLELS ASMO
     
  14. o_o;;;

    *goes back to read*
     
  15. Argh, english. My only weakness.

    Also, I had no idea you guys thought it was a dream. I was trying to describe the state of person / mind where one is just 'going through the motions', and does not stop for introspection. I'll make that clearer ...

    Thank you both very much for the feedback. I know where I would like to eventually take this.
     
    #16 unanun, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014