When the Skin Thing, we called it, first came to our doorstep, the growing season was upon us. The only thing we grew were onions. We had come to Oblivia hoping for better, but onions were all that would take in the soil. The colony soured with expired-milk complexions. The allotments we tended were sallow and scuffed.
The Skin Thing dragged itself along on two great stalks that looked like elbows. Imagine a person, out prone on the ground, that drags himself by fits and starts. The elbows strove to gouge the earth, as sharp and tall as circus poles, and they levered the body along by great drags. Its head stuck out eyeless, oblong as a horse’s. Behind the elbow-things it used to drag itself across the ground there stretched, like a laundry sheet strung out for drying, a tensile wall of thick pink skin.
Adrian Van Young is the author of The Man Who Noticed Everything, a collection of stories, which won the 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award, and is out now on Black Lawrence Press. His fiction and non-fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Lumina, Black Warrior Review, Electric Literature, The American Reader, The Believer, Slate, The New Inquiry, and Bookslut, among other publications. He lives in New Orleans with his wife Darcy.
About the Guest Editor
Gigantic Worlds is a forthcoming anthology of science flash fiction published by Gigantic Books and edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto. It features work from Ted Chiang, Lynne Tillman, J. Robert Lennon, Meghan McCarron, David Ohle, Alissa Nutting, Charles Yu, Jonathan Lethem, and many more. Gigantic has been publishing magazines since 2009, and we felt it was finally time to try our hand at a full length book. The resulting anthology contains 51 stories by 51 authors who range from best-sellers to up-and-comers and from masters of science fiction to literary authors trying something new. All of the stories are new or previously uncollected in book form. The hardcover book, which features a cover by Michael DeForge and color interior art, is currently available for preorder at giganticbooks.com.
About Electric Literature
Electric Literature is an independent publisher working to ensure that literature remains a vibrant presence in popular culture. Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, invites established authors, indie presses, and literary magazines to recommended great fiction. Once a month we feature our own recommendation of original, previously unpublished fiction, accompanied by a Single Sentence Animation. Single Sentence Animations are creative collaborations: the author chooses a favorite sentence and we commission an artist to interpret it. Stay connected with us through our eNewsletter (where you can win weekly prizes), Facebook, and Twitter, and find previous Electric Literature picks in the Recommended Reading archives.
The basics were covered in my polities posts but since those are massive n I’m too lazy to link here’s the bit of info from there: Gigantion is a gas(-esque) giant in a solar system some distance from Cybertron, the first, and for a long time only, extrasolar Cybertronian colony. It was settled by the metrotitan Caminus, who still lives in orbit of the planet. At some point in Camien history, the trash-covered, ever-changing “surface” of the core was settled, and a wholly separate culture emerged there: the Junkions. Many other satellite cities were developed beyond the original titan, as well. The satellite cities are collectively called Caminus, and the core is called Junkion, like its people. The original religion of Caminus was the traditional Tarnish religion, the Way of the Flame, which believes all Cybertronians were created by a mother goddess called Forge. Most Gigantion residents (including Caminus himself) still follow this religion, but with slight differences. Camiens believe themselves finely-crafted children of Forge, while Junkions believe themselves her weapons.
Caminus is a culture of conservation, with energy sources being a bit difficult to come by for them. They have limited solar energy, but that’s about it. This doesn’t stop them from being a culture of artists and artisans, though. Since they worship Forge, they believe in the power of creation. A skilled craftsman is a valued person. However, as they also believe themselves as works of art made by Forge, art that involves one’s own body is just as important as art one can make. Dancing, singing, acting, these are great skills. Training to be a fighter is great, as well, but since they aren’t Junkions and don’t see themselves as weapons, they train to discipline their bodies and really make a show out of fighting – it’s more like dancing. Their martial arts are wonderful to watch, but incredibly difficult to master and practically ineffective for all but the most practiced fighters. If your form isn’t perfect, it’s hard to do much damage with the choreographed stances. Engineers and pilots are necessary jobs that aren’t really valued… there’s no art in fixing what someone else made or moving people around, no matter how much those jobs are needed in a society of starships.
Junkion has a culture of conservation in an entirely different manner. They aren’t ever slim on energy, having harnessed the geothermal reserves of their planet, but the nature of their environment means the resources available to them are ever-shifting, and everything must be recycled. Valued professions among the Junkions are fighters (of course), mechanics, and traders… and most individuals are all three. Hunting is their preferred sport; their volatile planet will sometimes result in masses of refuse coming to life, powered by discarded and unstable nanite computers. Usually the “creatures” are tiny things, barely capable of movement, called slaargs. Larger or more mobile specimens are prized game, and trophies from them are often worn or incorporated into one’s frame. Junkions also have combat sports, where their resilience and repairability mean almost no fight is lethal, and spectacularly brutal matches can take place.
Neither Camiens nor Junkions use the personal energy weapons utilized by Cybertronians, preferring to conserve with mechanical weapons instead. On Caminus, this is restricted to melee weapons, but Junkions also use spring- and explosive-based ranged weapons. Bows and dart-throwers are more common, but traders with the resources to will use muskets. Camien weapons are finely-crafted masterpieces, each one with days of work spent to make a perfectly balanced, perfectly effective tool. Junkion weapons are whatever works made from whatever’s around, valuing ingenuity more than precision.
With all the stark differences in culture, you may think the two peoples of Gigantion would be at odds, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Who else would Junkion traders trade with but their closest neighbors? What better audience to show the Camien arts to? Junkions don’t have the time or materials to make precise weapons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value them. A good Camien sword can last longer than a Junkion’s arm, and it’ll definitely last longer than the other guy’s. Camiens, on the other hand, love to get new and exciting materials from the traders, or even just new knowledge – Camien techniques are passed down over millennia, but Junkions come up with novel technology all the time. On the entertainment side of things, Junkions LOVE to watch Camien performers. Their skill and grace takes years of dedicated practice that Junkions usually don’t have the attention span to perfect. And even though it’s more of a guilty pleasure, Camiens do like the brutality of Junkion gladiatorial matches. Nobody gets truly hurt, so it’s okay, really!
The only truly joint venture between the groups is the small military founded for the defense of the planet. Composed of only 14 small ships with limited firepower, it mainly sits dormant to conserve energy.
Gigantion tried to avoid the war. They tried their DARNDEST, cutting off most contact with Cybertron. But when the war became wholly interstellar that became REALLY difficult. Some Camiens attempted to be neutral mediators. Many Gigantion residents, though, actually ended up joining the crews of ships on either side, as an escape from their previously planet-bound lives. There’s something of an understanding that Camien crewmembers aren’t really expected to fight against other Cybertronians. Because of this, they’re more accepted on the exploration vessels than they are on warships. They’re even valued, by some more open-minded mechanisms, since they can help teach different histories and arts to protoforms. Junkion crewmembers, though, relish the fight. It helps that the sports which Junkions train in, which are non-lethal to them, are quite lethal to most Cybertronians. If only they’d get better at following orders.
Liberate a gigantic world object bridge and put it in your game.
Not sure what I’m gonna do with it yet, but I’m gonna do something themed around a bridge. It spans across all five lots in this neighborhood in Newcrest (soon to be Nukecrest). Best part is, a sim can walk under it.
“There’s something I really love about being able to show these very human emotions. And I feel that in life, when I can be that free, it allows other people to be the same. It’s like saying… It’s okay to be human.“
Happy 38th Birthday, Lana Parrilla! < 15.07.1977 >
Nearly two months following its debut at Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix has finally made one of the biggest videos of the show available online. Titled “World of Wonder Environment Footage” this video cycles through some of the game’s detailed locales – including cities, towns and gigantic vistas in the world of Eos.