Thursday, May 15, 2008
Me2: A Novel of Horror excerpt by M. Christian
ME2: A Novel of Horror by M. Christian
Do You Know Yourself?
He looks just like you. He acts exactly like you. He takes away your job. He steals your friends. He seduces your lover. Every day he becomes more and more like you, pushing you out of your life, taking away what was yours … until there's nothing left. Where did he come from? Robot? Alien? Clone? Doppelganger? Evil twin? Long lost brother?
A shocking new view of queer identity, Me2 is a groundbreaking and wildly twisted novel that you'll remember for a long time – no matter who you are, or who you think you may be.
Me2: A Novel of Horror
Alyson Books (March 1, 2008)
"What? What did you say? That's what I thought you said. No, no, it's okay, it's not that weird. I just don't get asked this kind of question very often.
"Well, if I had to guess, I'd say it probably had to do with technology, with a machine. It does sound kind of ridiculous, doesn't it? But that's what I'd think if it was happening to me. I saw too many movies when I was a kid, I guess. Something like that.
"There's just so much happening. Hell, I remember Liquid Paper, even black and white television. It feels like only a year ago that cell phones were like bricks; now you can swallow them if you inhale. I have an iPod now. I hold it in my hand and just can't believe that it can hold 5,000 songs. That's more than I've ever owned. 5,000 – and it's this big. Amazing.
"But that's nothing. Have you seen some of the stuff coming out of Japan? We lost the race. They won. Sure some of our stuff is okay – I think Macs are sexy – but what they're doing. It's all wonderful but also creepy.
"I saw this thing a week or two ago on a Web site – and that's something, too. When was the last time you read a newspaper? Pretty soon we won't have books anymore. Just screens and little beeping devices everywhere. Like bugs. Fireflies.
"What? Oh, the site. Yeah, it was one of those technology ones. Cell phones, new iPods, flat screen TVs, that kind of thing. I don't look at them very often, but I was just clicking around one day and saw this new thing they'd developed.
"It was really creepy. I said that, didn't I? Well, it was. Really. I mean I know they've done some great things, but this was over the top. It looked just like a woman. Perfectly. A Japanese woman, of course. But you couldn't tell it was a machine. Not at all.
"They had a video clip of it. This Japanese guy was talking to it – just like you and I are talking – and it was talking right back to him. I couldn't tell what they were talking about, of course, because it was all in Japanese, but the way it was moving … it was like she was a real, live girl. Lips moving, eyes blinking, she even raised her hand and brushed aside some hair, like this. Well, better than this because I'm not doing it right, but she did. It was … well, I'm not going to say it was creepy again.
"It looked so real. I mean it was real but she wasn't a real woman. Listen to me, `she' wasn't real. See what I mean? If I didn't know what was going on I'd think she wasn't anything but a girl.
"That's what I'd think was going on. I know it's stupid – that something like that robot could be walking the streets. But I tell you, and don't you dare tell anyone I said this, but after I saw that clip I had a nightmare. I know, it's nothing to be ashamed of, but I don't get nightmares, at least not since I was a kid. But I had one that night. It was a real doozy, too.
"No, I'm not going to tell you what it was. I said no, and I mean it. Yeah, I've heard that, too, but it's just kind of …embarrassing. Even if it will make it better to talk about it, I just – well, I don't want to.
"Okay, okay. Just don't tell anyone. Promise? I mean it. Alright …well, I was walking near 3rd and Spring, you know, where Crate & Barrel is? It wasn't exactly it, because there was a lot of things that didn't fit – like I remember a cop car was green, not black and white, but it's a dream, right? They don't make a lot of sense.
"I was walking down the street. It was sunny, I remember that. Sunny and hot. Hmm? Yeah, I guess I do have pretty vivid dreams. Color, sounds, things like being hot and cold. Don't know if that's really lucky, it just is. There were a lot of cars on the street, heavy traffic. Honking horns, engine noise – that kind of thing. Then there was this woman, older, kind of like … I don't know, an older Liz Taylor. Fancy, all done up. Pearls around the neck, Prada handbag – that kind of thing.
"She also had a dog. A little thing, one of those hyper purebreds, pulling at a leash. A white puffball. It was yapping, too. Barking at everything.
"When … when I was a kid there was this lady on our block with a dog just like that. `Pixie' she called it. I hated the thing. It bit – well, nipped, really – and never shut up. One day it got out, got hit by a car. I didn't see it, but the next day on the way to school I saw some blood on the street and knew that's where it had happened. Maybe it'd been better that I saw it, because the rest of that summer all I could do was think what it must have been like, guts and bones and all that.
"That's where the dog in my dream came from. Pretty obvious, really. So naturally the thing slipped off the leash and ran intro the street. Got hit – of course."
"But no guts or blood or bones, that kind of thing. It was – it was really weird. I mean, odd. Said `weird' too many times. But when the car hit the dog, there was this sound like … I don't know what it was like. Snapping. Grinding. Like that.
"The woman was shrieking, really wailing. Tears and everything. But when I looked at the dog there was nothing but springs, gears, electronic parts, metal. A machine, you see? Like a toy … a real toy poodle.
"But then I looked at the woman, the woman who owned the dog, and instead of skin on her face I saw it was plastic, like a mask, and her eyes were like those things at Disneyland. A robot. Her mouth was open, but inside was a speaker, and that's where her crying was coming from.
"I'm not telling it right. But that's what happened. It was … I kept thinking about it all day. Actually for the rest of the week. The sound she made, the way her skin looked – like a plastic toy. Her eyes clicked and clacked when they moved, but even though she was a … thing, she kept trying to be like a person. That was the worst of it. Not that she was a machine, but that she -- it -- was trying to be like a real, human, person.
"It was sad, that she couldn't ever do it. She could just go through the motions. Be the way she was programmed, I mean.
"Hmm? Oh, sorry, just thinking about it again. I just can't tell it right. It was … well, I keep wondering if the machines, like her, would think the same thing about me if they saw me. Just doing what I was doing, trying to be a person, and not doing it very well …."