What I Thought While Reading The Book of Revelation

By Christian Verotik

(Intro: How do you introduce a piece by the unpredictable Christian Verotik? Let’s just say you encourage readers not to expect the expected and just let the man take you on his lucid, crazy, thought-provoking and sometimes hilarious and frightening ride. – Charlie)

Let me assure you that I was once just like everyone else. In the beginning.

I’m trying to understand everything, at once.

I was lying in bed, reading my Bible, with my no end nowhere unemployed life seeping into my cerebellum, when a blinding flash outside the window aroused me. I wasn’t asleep, but it felt like sleep walking as I honeycomb stepped over to the bee washed windows. Peering through the periphery, I saw that the sky had been split in half. Looking across the horizon, I saw the normal sky as you’d see it every day, but in the middle was a gaping maw, but not a hole. It was a looking glance into Wonderland, X-Files, Invisibles, Narnia – all wrapped up into one. It was all.

When I turned around, my sepia room was bleeding colours. All the colours of the rainbow. First black, then white, then infrared, then yellow into orange into red. All the colours of the rainbow, all blended together at once. I knew at once physics was a lie.

The colours, they existed. They spoke to me. And, no, I’m not a drug-addicted, hydrogen smoking, schizophrenic, reality hopper hooked up to sexual stimulus overload meeting the dimension of hyper-non-senses deprivation.

This was real. Realer than reality. Continue reading

How Bad Were the Asses of the Vikings?

by Pål Hellesnes
Artwork by Vasudha Shankar

(Editor intro: This really needs no intro from us, as it explains itself so well and is a very entertaining and inspiring piece. – Charlie)

It’s a common enough game for young boys (and girls?) to play: one sits around a table and discusses the martial prowess of various warriors against one another. Hand There are really no limits on who can be involved in these virtual battles: one might as easily pit the ancient Spartans against the Mongol Hordes as the X-men against Superman. In comic-book circles this kind of debate has its own label: They’re called “vs.-debates”, and among more sophisticated comic-nerds (such as yours truly) it’s seen as sort of inane. I mean, WE don’t care who’d win in a fight between Morpheus (of Sandman fame) and the Incredible Hulk — to our cultivated sensibilities it is the STORY that matters.

And yet… Continue reading

How Did I End Up Here?

By Yining Su

(Editor intro: In her essay about struggling with the French lagnuage as an English-speaking Canadian, Yining Su tells of the shortcomings of her early education and shows us that sometimes, even when standardized tests are wildly inaccurate, they may know us better than we know ourselves.)

How did I end up here? How did I get myself so deep into this? Those were the thoughts that went through my mind as I sat in front of my midterm French exam. During the following hour and a half, I was expected to read a poem by Charles Baudelaire and write a five hundred-word analysis on it. In French. So, how did I end up there? Continue reading

3 O’clock Robot

by J. Robert Novak

(Editor intro: In this short science-fiction piece, J. Robert Novak proves that there are some things that science can’t fix.)

Dr. Schneider was, as they say, washed up.

Oh, sure, in his prime, he was considered to be one of the pioneers of robotics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence. He did, after all, create the computer that beat Grandmaster Ivan Rasputichivichinski in Chutes & Ladders. His research did lead to advancements in prosthetic toes (with 13 points of articulation!). He even designed the new robots, the ones completely indistinguishable from, well, the old robots. His name was once synonymous with “the future”.

That was, however, in the past. At the present, his name was slowly fading into the abysmal obscurity that dooms many who peak early. He sat in his dusty laboratory. His equipment, once state-of-the-art, was now the robotics equivalent of Tinker-Toys. His investors were not happy, and they were threatening to sell all of his equipment for scrap, tear down his laboratory, and retire him to St. Turing’s Home for Obselete Inventors.

Dr. Schneider had one last chance, though. The 120th annual Robotics, Cybernetics, and Artificial Intelligences Expostition (or RoboCyboArtifExpo 120, as those “in the know” called it) was tomorrow, and he had an idea. Continue reading

Local Color: Down My Local

By Charlie Kondek

I want to tell you about this new web-based “zine,” Local Color, and to do so I want to invite you inside my head for a moment.

It’s a colorful place at times. Several of my fantasies are colliding at once with my realities. First of all, I am thinking of this as an “origin story.” Any nerd knows that in the origin story, you start out as an ordinary person who falls into a vat of radioactive yogurt or is sucked through a quantum straw and comes out the other side with fabulous super powers, abilities that perhaps you yourself don’t understand yet. But this is a “team book,” which means that when each member of the team meets, they at first mistake each other for villains and have a tremendous, building-leveling, non-lethal brawl before realizing, oh, wait, we were on the same side the whole time. That makes me Professor Xavier to the zine’s X-Men. No, wait, I’m Batman. No, Captain America. Doc Savage? Continue reading