I’ve been reading a lot of Ray Bradbury lately, both because I’m way behind on my classic Sci-Fi and Horror and because I find him an extremely interesting (if occasionally dated) read. He’s Ray Bradbury. I don’t have to sell you on Ray Bradbury: he did Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451 and had some pretty uncool opinions we’re thankfully not going to get into here. There’s no sense arguing with the dead Sci-Fi man right now.
None of that matters for our purposes. Anyways, I’ve been reading The Illustrated Man.
The Illustrated Man is a collection of profoundly disquieting short stories, the third of which is called Kaleidoscope. It’s about a group of marooned astronauts who find themselves hurtling away from one another at top speed, with no hope of rescue. They are unimaginably far from home.
Now, I won’t tell you to look Kaleidoscope up online and read it for free. I won’t tell you to do that because it’s illegal – for the same reason I won’t tell you to do it after dark, while taking breaks to look up at the sky and imagine yourself floating free above the earth, untethered and alone. In an endless and silent void perfectly mirrored by the deep sea, with no way home.
Don’t think about the way the perfect emptiness of space, yawning out forever on every side, can function as a metaphor for death. Don’t imagine the final conversations you might share with your fellow astronauts as you drift apart and your radio transmitters break contact range one by one. Leaving you perfectly, existentially alone.
Don’t do any of that.
But if you do, doomed astronaut, I’ve made you a mixtape.
This has been entry 11/31 of The Long Hallowe’en 2021!