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Thursday, November 8, 2018

SHOWCASE: “Nights Over Ganymede,” by Victoria Feistner




Three days of riots.

Three days of burning, coughing gutter-smoke, air-hoarding. Watching gauges on tanks like it’s a bartender pouring your first legal drink. Three days of gunfire, leaping at shadows, holding your breath while the god Jupiter stares down on us.

Jupiter doesn’t care.

Half the time I want to be out there with them, shouting and throwing trash from the barricades. Half the time I’m holed up in my cube, table against the door. Half the time it’s just normal life, and the three halves make as much sense as anything else these days.

The king has to die before the new king can rise; I’ve read history and seen the movie, but living it is another thing all together.

The automata watch the rioters and police and abstainers alike, there’s nothing on those chitinous faces to say which side they approve of, nothing behind those blank glossy eyes—reflecting fists row on row—to say whether they appreciate those that fall.

Humanity crawled out of the pit of biology, bringing our robot children with us and like Saturn we thought we could escape the cycle of consumption so easily; instead we survived through the 21st to set fire to the 22nd.

Maybe it’s for the best: let the new king live, spread, rule in our stead. Escape from our flawed monkey cages and let them program themselves... but if it were that easy, I wouldn’t hold my breath past each cracked window or each time I hear a hiss.

There are no easy answers. Today’s revolution is tomorrow’s history and remains just as hard to live through as any other.

Under the recording glossy eyes, impassive and unyielding, I grab for my ID and mask before I can talk myself back into hiding. The flimsy filter is meant for off-gassing new construction, not burning plastic, but it’s all I have; it’ll have to do. Each step I take is tracked and logged. I pat the automaton’s pitted dome of a head and smile.

Outside Ganymede burns, and our god spins on.




Victoria Feistner is a writer, a graphic designer, and an artisan in equal parts, although some of those parts are more equal than others. She resides in Toronto with her partner and their two cats. Samples of her writing can be found at www.victoriafeistner.com.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Comment by Robert Hobson

Love this story.

#1 fan said...

I really loved the vocabulary in this story. Even the title, Nights Over Ganymede, references the largest and most massive moon of Jupiter, which from the first moment gives the reader a hint at the story to come. I also loved the word, chitinous ( component of the exoskeletons of arthropods, such as the shells of crustaceans and the outer coverings of insects), then mention blank glossy eyes. It works so well. Almost like reading poetry.
Thank you for writing such a interesting, unique story.