Skip navigation.
Write - Share - Read - Respond

The Singularity Hates Kansas

kelson.philo's picture

[[[feed pulled from azimuth.excitement.rec, bump-author: {wh3atstat3_bon3crackr}]]]

The butterfly that flits about me is a real butterfly. Not a spybot or a weatherbug or a wireless node. The downy, pollinated tufts of the cottonwood trees aren’t laced with malign virus, are not Twittering about yields and densities to googol-sized datapods walking around on the other side of the planet. I cannot, for instance, open one of the seed pods and pull out a pair of socks.

Oh, to be sure, I still hire a lawn-whisperer to coax the two and a half acres behind my chiropractic clinic into behaving, but the Red Spotted Purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, drunkenly looking for pollen is a real, independent insect.

Why does the Singularity hate Kansas, you may ask. First, go soak your head. Next, go away. There. That should cover it. You’re still there, I take it, eyeballing and psiballing through a Portal. I would sigh, but that would only increase the humidity around me. And more of that is something we don’t need. See, some speculate that it’s the summer humidity, that 110 percent summer sauna that feels like a rainforest, yet makes you wonder just where in the hell of hells the rainforest has gotten itself to, that is responsible for the Big S hating the Big K. Something to do with too much refraction through all that wet haze. Or perhaps it’s the sleet of winter, destroying all attempts at reliable optical connections. You get, perhaps, five days a year of Connecticut White Christmas snow and the rest of the time it’s just ice. That’s really all just fluff theory of course. The reality is very simple. The Singularity just hates Kansas.

OK. You’re not falling for it. Really, it’s just a phenomenon of lag. As a boy, I noticed that trends took their time filtering in from the coasts. These were pre-Net saturation days, of course, when you really had to pay attention to pick up on the new stuff instead of letting the new come to you. The West and the East was where all the action in what was the United States took place, they had all the connections with the rest of the world. Of course, they still do in a sense, even more so now. It wasn’t a bad thing, not really. It gave good ol’ Natty Selection a chance to get rid of a lot of crap, letting more of ‘teh cream’ trend-waveform have it’s day in the sun.

I crack bones for a living, it’s true. Alright now, we don’t use money, we are not all monolinguistic throwbacks to the dark ages here, though certain speculators beyond the event horizon might maintain that. I adjust people because I enjoy making their lives a little easier. Amazing how correcting a subluxation can brighten one’s day!

Yes, contrary to popular belief circles that I’ve seen on the forums (BTW, I’m ROFLMAO, Constance491, you wannabe hipster bastardo. Now, GTFO.), we have fabrication clubs. We don’t want for food or shelter.

For you hylozoists out there, what happens when a tornado decides to pick on things other than historical trailer parks? When floods hack the breakwater’s and dam-gate controls? Best to let some things remain asleep. Some things didn’t go back to bed, though, and now I pay my lawn whisperer handsomely in honest to goodness homemade apple pies every week as a result. Thank you, meta-pantheists, thank you. Oh, HAHAHAH…yes. We still have tornados. Seems that the WeatherNet tried for a time to limit their formation a while back and the rest of the planet wound up dealing with superstorms. That’s Chaos for you. I’ve gobbled from feed that parts of the Caribbean have aerial hurricane theme parks, though I doubt that we’ll attempt to do the same.

There are a few misconceptions that I’d like to clear up. First, you must understand that the Kansas seen in those Wizard of Oz Gollywood productions doesn’t really exist anymore. There are packets of self-imposed poverty that may resemble the Gale dirt farm, but they are few and far between. The second thing you must understand is that Kansas is not nearly as flat as it’s northern and southern neighbor geography. A brief jaunt in the Flint Hills would convince you of this immediately. The I-70 tube, back before the prairie grass rooted it out, hah, yes, a ride along that might have seemed flat as a pancake, but your claim of nothing being there is only correct at the resolution you see it with.

The singularity hates Kansas. Oh, there are packets of It, to be sure, the great Belly Button of the Invisible World is not without blemishes, lint or wild hairs. The educational centers need those invisible lifelines, for instance, though the English department up on Oread put up some fierce resistance. Watson Library was in the newsmeme for a whole hour. Unheard of!

There is a river of tech that runs from Kansas City, through the Johnson County Collective, on through Lawrence to Topeka with thin tributaries to Manhattan, Salina and Wichita, coupled with an extremely thin thread that punches back through the Border to the Oklahoma Space Authority. In these pockets the transhuman can find some rock to cling to in this storm of anti-connectivity. Outside these Limits, connections fizzle and die. Data rates drop to zero, lines to satellites are limited to GPS, infotainment and Exit Panic lines. Rare is the transhuman, transie as some folk here call them, who stays more than an hour on the cyberless prairie.

I should know. I was part of It, once.

I woke up one morning with an ache that being attached to the Beyond wasn’t fixing. The great Nu Perfect Overmind that arose from each of us acting like synapses in a mega-brain couldn’t fill the void that had opened within where I last remembered my chest to be. I was losing it, in short, and was soon to be cast out. Better to take control and make a decision for myself. And now here I am.

Those who stay probably have the same reasons as mine; I don’t know for sure, we don’t talk about it. But the others…still they come, but why? To sample the past, I guess. To remind themselves of where they come from in a real-time sort of way. Out in the Singular world, there are very few stories that don’t sound exactly the same as all the others. Here in Kansas, well, there are possibilities of an actual memory that can be shared, of living out a real-time story. No personality back-ups. No pause button for the great Game of Life. It cracks me up to type that in. The historical Kansas sometimes had problems with progressive idears (though I hear tell it was founded on some..) and now it seems to be a hotspot once more for entirely different reasons.

Kansas isn’t the two by four state anymore, of course, though it’s former geopolitical corners do touch the great ellipse of what the singularity considers Kansas to be. Indigenous folk, First Nations people including the Kaw, the Osage, the Shawnee and many others lie in wait with buffalo farms and tourist schemes for the unwary transie. Live in an honest-to-goodness tipi on the wind torn prairie! Hahahah…suckers. Many is the time a transie, brave in hacks and forum posts and collabs has fallen into the shuddering fear of the vast open sky and rolling hills that offer no data other than firefly flashes and no music streams beyond cicada rants, the bugs a constant reminder and admonishment of the life they were trying to prove they could live without. No more EverythingOnDemand 24/7 flitteringtwitter action,Constance491. Those turistas are some of my best customers, though. Leaving the Limits with a certain smugness on their face and coming back a day, a week, or a month later with a wide-eyed, child-like wonder in their eyes. “I had forgotten,” say some; “I never knew,” say others. “My neck really hurts,” say most.

So I content myself with the cornflower and dandelion, with the buffalo grass and cottonwood saplings, contemplating my time in the World’s Largest Exhibit to those pre-Singular days, wondering who is suffering who. Wait…Anyone there?...Hello? Gone in a puff of disbelief, I guess. Strange how the rush into the Omnicollab has become the largest security blanket in history!

Good Stuff

Good stuff. I was listening to our own correspondant talking about ice cream socials in South Carolina on the radio as I read this, it fit well.

Will there always be visceral experiences of hunting, and danger that we must experience for our own happiness?

In Iain M Banks Culture, there is always Special Circumstances for those maladjusted, which leads me to wonder if all these crazy political and alien events they get involved with have actually been created specifically for them.

There are ways of giving people the illusions they need to keep them happy.

kelson.philo's picture

Ha! That could very well be

Ha! That could very well be the case here. Mayhaps the reality of the situation is that this entity only thinks he's outside of the big It, when he's just been put through a simulation by his peer groups until his head is on straight. That's a n interesting possiblity i'll have to look into, maybe tweaking it a bit to flesh out that possiblity a more, without definitely saying that is the case.

That, and i'll need to catch up on my Iain Banks, thanks.


Also, I don't know exactly why, but I really liked the title - it really drew me in and made me want to read it.

kelson.philo's picture

I did a little sploogleing

I did a little sploogleing with key words 'hate' and 'kansas' and there seems to be a pulp novel by the name the gods hate kansas by Joseph Millard. Perhaps that somehow got in the back of my mind when this title bubbled forth?

I don't own the book (though i want to), and the cover art seems quite compelling. Reviews of the piece, however, don't lend much towards the theme of gods actually hating kansas:

Whippingly Great

Thwack! Great way to wake up in the morning. Scathing, searing and bright. Sharp prose. This ravenous rant from a level-headed midwesterner mired in the techno-sludge of the future leaves me aching for more.

kelson.philo's picture

Hey, thanks! It was meant

Hey, thanks! It was meant to have a lemon aftertaste...did it? Hahaha. I'm thinking of this as a stand alone piece, but i don't see why it couldn't be fleshed out further.

The Singularity Hates Kansas

Meaty, pithy prose that fair crackles along. I look forward to more of it.

kelson.philo's picture

Thanks! Hopefully more will

Thanks! Hopefully more will bubble to the surface.