Friday, May 3, 2013

Crow in space


"Apologies for the late arrival but the last time we dropped by this sector, perhaps a thousand years ago, things seemed to be going along swimmingly with your development and it would appear we put your planet a little further down the list for follow-up than would now appear to have been wise. Oh dear, you have dug quite a lot of holes down there, haven't you, and what's all that smoke and nasty colored stuff in the water? Didn't there used to be quite a lot of trees just over to the left and where are the tops that I'm sure were on those mountains last time?"

This, dear susan, was how the conversation began when I renewed my acquaintance with Bijou Son Dopazine Al'ka Quil (you can call me Dope) on his/her/its most recent visit to Earth. Dope, a freelance pan-galactic cryptozoologist by profession, has returned to Earth to see how you people are getting along and to invite any interested members of the planet's intelligent species to join his/her/its cosmic venture. This invitation isn't being offered to humans, by the way - at least not quite yet. Crows, whales and many more, however,  are busy packing their picnic baskets and breathing great sighs of relief.

I first met him/her/it centuries ago when I was on a grand tour of the the outer spiral arm. Dope doesn't actually come from a planet. His/her/its people gave up planetary living so long ago that none of them even remember  which part of the galaxy was once called home. Instead, they live on giant ships, by that I mean ships that could house the Death Star half a dozen times with room left over for several oceans and many forests. They find living on planets to be far too much of a constraint to their natural curiosity. 

Not to worry, I won't be going on this trip. Once our friends have been comfortably accommodated on the mother ship 'Seen Enough Yet?' (currently orbiting at L1 and safely outside missile range - haha, fireworks!), I'll be returning home. In the meantime Dope offered a suggestion for humanity that he/she/it hopes will be acted upon before their next visit in 500 years or so:

"Be nice to each other and look after this place. After all, even you should be able to see it's the only planet you've got since all the other decent ones are too far away for you to get to. Besides, they all have their own people anyway.

If you do that and don't accidentally kill yourselves we may be able to provide you with some assistance when we return. Most important is to stop digging all those holes!"


I'll be flying in tomorrow evening, my friend. Don't forget to warm up the Remy and chill the fruitcake.



I'm dedicating this post to another good friend I've never met, Iain M. Banks, whose books about the Culture describe life in a star-spanning "empire" organized along socialist/libertarian/anarchist principles, achieved through post-scarcity technology. The seven or eight humanoid species that founded the Culture along with the others which joined later live without want, and without the need to work; practically anything they can ask for, they can receive. This is largely because the organic Culturniks are under the benevolent de-facto dictatorship... ahem, guidance of the A.I. Minds that control the starships and space habitats the entire Culture lives on.

Could the future be like that for us? As Iain Banks once answered "Only if we're lucky". He is far more clever than me and the books are a treat. I'm hoping we get lucky.




24 comments:

  1. What? Space for Crows and Whales on the excursion, but not for Bears? How can that possibly be? There is no justice! And there are way too many holes. (This holeyness we do not need!)

    Please tell Crow to enjoy a piece of fruitcake for me.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

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    1. You're right. The list has been amended to include worthy others and bears are surely among that group.

      Crow sends his regards.

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  2. But...but...I am a Crow, albeit wrapped up in a human body. Couldn't they look inside and see that I'm Corvid at heart and soul, and perhaps allow me to go with them?

    I'm ready; in fact, I've been ready since the day I was born.

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    1. Anyone so closely tied to their animal totem as you is certainly among those whose presence will be welcomed aboard the 'Seen Enough Yet?' in its ongoing journey around the galaxy. I'll be right there with you.

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  3. I tried to post last night (or rather, this morning) after thrashing around sleepless for hours, but it must be invisible. This picture is magical. I love the other- dimensional-ness of the border. Maestro say "beam me up!"

    Planning some small holes, which will immediately be filled with little green babies.

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    1. Funnily enough I had trouble getting to sleep last night as well - likely my body's revenge for ignoring its rule that I get off-line before midnight. I'm happy you like the picture which took more time than usual but turned out well worth the effort. Maestro and you will both be welcomed aboard.

      The small holes for little green things are certainly acceptable :-)

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  4. As long as it's not a Star Wars paperless universe. I don't want to compose my crappy verse on an iPad.

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    1. Paper is just fine and old-fashioned gold nibbed pens too. Of course, you could also grow a neural lace and never forget anything - if you'd find that amusing.

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  5. What a dream-like image! But Dope's message makes me very sad indeed. What have we done and why can't we stop?! Pass the brandy and fruitcake, please. Like gfld, I must now go make small holes for little green things for summer is here. (I'll check out 'the Culture' later, thanks, Susan.

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    1. Oh, Marja-Leena, I'm delighted you like the image and very sorry to have delivered a sad but true message. So long as everything that gets done has to be profitable for a small class of people I'm afraid nothing will ever change. For now all we can do is plant our small green things and hope that a little care will bring out the best. I remain cautiously optimistic for the long term.

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  6. Susan, this drawing is spellbinding, sublime. One of my favorites of yours, as of this visit. From the borders to the dots of stars it is absolutely exquisite. Your creation of Dope absolutely confounds me, as he/she/it is a dreamlike character that I wish was real. I love his/her/its physical appearance as well as the mission. Thank you for the total escape this evening! I find it very hard to believe that Iain M. Banks is any more creative than you, my friend (but thanks for the interesting tip about his book).

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    1. You've made my day, Lydia. I had a lot of fun envisioning and painting this particular picture so it's extra nice to know you liked the details. Dope is a very cool character.

      We all need creative nourishment and Iain Banks has provided a lot of that for me.

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  7. I know some people who think that "science" is going to get us out of the pickle we put our planet into so we need not panic. I am not so optimistic. More fruitcake please!

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    1. After three centuries of fossil fueled drastic social and technological change, there are many among us who believe in progress as a religion. This widespread faith doesn't allow for ideas that are unacceptable, chief among them being that science may very well not be able to cure everything - like running out of cheap fuel.

      We'll just have to enjoy our fruitcake and wait to see what comes next :-)

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  8. "Seen Enough Yet?" is a typical name for a Culture vessel ... :-) I've been very saddened to read reports that Iain Banks is dying of cancer. I will miss him and his wonderful creativity.

    Here's a little song from Monty Python which, it seems to me, offers an appropriate accompaniment to your wonderful picture and text.

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    1. My favourite characters overall in the Culture novels have been the Minds (Excession was amazing) and the drones (remember the outrageous Mawhrin-Skel/Flere-Imsaho in Player of Games?). I was very shocked and deeply saddened when I read his announcement in The Guardian early last month. Part of that was definitely selfish because I'd been planning on reading a new Culture novel every year or two as long as I could. Since he's seven years younger than me I figured that was a good bet. Oh, we can be so wrong about these things, can't we? I haven't forgotten Jams either. At least it's been nice to have been able to tell Iain just how much his work has meant to us. One remark that made me smile was the person who wrote him to say he could take some satisfaction in Maggie Thatcher having walked The Crow Road before him.

      You know I love The Galaxy Song. It's indeed a perfect accompaniment.

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  9. He is a rather snazzy dresser, is Crow. Not sure about the boots though, but big feet with very skinny ankles do pose special problems.

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    1. Next time he'll be wearing a nice pair of spats.

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  10. a magical painting, dear susan! i adore it. i too am digging lots of little holes. i thought i'd join my other critters who are doing same in the back 40. soon i shall perhaps have something in them besides volcanic ash and bagged soil amendment. and dopazine is a great name! ;D
    xox

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    1. I had a lot of fun painting this one so I'm happy to know you like it too. Ah yes, the little holes dug for growing things are the only ones Dopazine's people are pleased to condone. May your greenies thrive :)
      xoxo

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  11. wonderfully fantasy of a painting. my second comment so not sure this is working... much love to you! having fun walking around the neighborhood. xx

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    1. Your other one came up just fine but I'm still glad you like it :-). It was a cold damp day but we walked around the park anyway.
      xoxo

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  12. oh how strange... hi if you are sitting there on the other side of the continent. :) xoxox and shouldn't you go to bed? nah, it's too early... at least it would be for me.

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    1. Well, if it's 11:00pm where you are then it's 3:00am here. I stay up kind of late but I'm usually in bed before 1:00am. The four hour time difference came as a surprise to us too - I hadn't known there was an Atlantic time zone.

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