Collected Letters of Francis St. James, Letter 15 |



Collected Letters of Francis St. James, Letter 15

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: field_related_artifacts in cck_blocks_block_view() (line 97 of /home/
  • Notice: Undefined index: field_artifacts_metadata in cck_blocks_block_view() (line 97 of /home/
  • Notice: Undefined index: field_artifact_related in cck_blocks_block_view() (line 97 of /home/

The Eternal Magnetic Sea

Professor Zakharov:

It has taken a long time, a most lengthy, most unpleasant time, but I believe that I have done it at last; I have discovered what may be what we have both been looking for, for so very long (and you, of course, for so much longer): through a combination of serendipity, unusual circumstance and, to flatter myself a touch, outright inspiration, the definitive evidence in support of Mechanistic Philosophy is now within my (and, by extension, your) grasp. At the same instant, I now find myself wondering if I may be so bold as to venture a ‘revision’ to the philosophy itself - my research has uncovered what may be a further layer, a further brane ‘pon brane, to this most singular universe which we inhabit.

You recall, no doubt, that with the assistance of my good friend Wendel, I had hoped to construct a new machine, a ‘final’ machine, if you will, that would make use of the strange pellets found lying ‘bout the ship as a source material, and from them extract a ‘translated’ version of the branes’ mechanistic essence, said version to be faithfully reported back to mine own ears via the medium of Wendel. Simple though that plan may seem (and I confess that ‘simplicity’ does not seem to be found anywhere amongst the plan’s virtues), in execution it proved itself to be a most prolonged effort. But oddly enough, the simple shape of the plan, the overall conceit behind it, proved itself quite robust - it has remained unaltered from what you see above, even in the long months that I have laboured ‘pon it (I gather from Wendel that well over a year has passed me by from plan’s conception to its nativity). No, my toils have been ended not by sudden flash of revelation; no ‘bolts from the blue’ (or, in this case, black) gave me new insight into my studies - quite the opposite: ‘twas a mere accretion of toils: a twist of a knob here, an addition of a cog there, a miniscule adjustment of a balance ‘tween engines. Why the process took so very long, why success eluded me until this moment, that I know not. To be sure, the bouts of temporal ague that I suffered (and continue to suffer to this day) were not terribly conducive to continued labors, nor was the melancholic fits that I was overcome with.

All that is of little import though, because a mere hour ago, my long labours finally bore fruit. I had prepared my latest ‘iteration’ of the machine, strapped Wendel in (after pacifying him with a light repast of bolts and wires), and loaded a fresh pellet into the designated receptacle (from various clews, I believe it to have originated from none other than Glaskikis - it included a worn photo of a Scandinavian strongman, glistening with oil and all a-grin; if I recall, Glasikis had mentioned his father to have been engaged in exactly that profession). I closed my eyes, held my breath, and turned the machine on.

What followed, after a low thrumming, a whir and a whicker, was extraordinary in the extreme: Wendel spoke, and, for sake of posterity, I will here reproduce his statement:
‘. . . couldn’t really see past the bow of the ship. Some kind of . . . fuck . . . I don’t know . . . it sure as hell wasn’t fog. Things were glowing and moving out there but my eyes couldn’t hold their shapes. The ship may have been shaking. Really hard to say. Cause I was definitely shaking, right? Not fear, I mean, hell yes, I was afraid - you’d be stupid not to be - but like the parts of my body were trying to get away from each other. My arms and legs had gotten into a fight or something and needed some time apart - that’s the general vibe, if you know what I mean. But the ship was probably shaking too, that’s a fair play. Yeah, and there was a sound, too. Remember that one movie of Cadmus’s, the one he basically wore out from watching so much? Can’t remember the name, but I think it was something with craters and art in the title maybe - the one which basically ends with everyone getting killed by the wrath of God? Anyway, that bit near the end, with the wrath and all, I remember it started out with this deep, deep throbbing. Like you could hear it with your guts it was that deep. The sound I heard was just like that except I could hear it everywhere. Like if my brain had guts, I was hearing it with my brain’s guts, if you know what I mean. But anyway, things were out of control and I was figuring that I should try to get inside and find Marcus and I don’t know do something and I was going through the door when I see this guy, no idea who he was. Looked all Biblical with this crazy beard and all and he ran through me. Not like ran me over - that wasn’t a metaphor, right? He ran through me. No idea how that worked and I’d rather not talk about it any more than to just say that it happened and let’s just move on because the next thing I know, I’m in the hall and there’s Sincerity lying on the floor and there’s blood coming from . . .’

While the output proved, as you will not, more than a little cryptic, it is at the same time both coherent and structured; I believe that, with some additional studies, I will be able to extract definitive meaning from it, and that said meaning will be exactly what we have been looking for. That said, the simple structure of the statement itself is enough for me to make several preliminary observations, the first of which is that there is a clearly structures and mechanistic essence behind the branes. I anticipate that many will object that the aforementioned structure is no more than the interior structure of the pellets themselves - created by man and informed by man’s sensibilities. My reply to that is simply that indeed, the pellets do contain information of a most ‘human’ nature, but existing without any sort of organization schema at all - the organization, the structure, the coherence - all comes from the universal essence itself; and that essence is what takes the scattered thoughts and recollections of the pellets, and turns them into something that verges on a story.

And therein lies the second of my observations, and it is, I wager, something genuinely new to the field of Mechanistic Philosophy. From my analysis of Wendel’s statement, it is clear that it has, not only coherence, but an actual narrative structure. I propose that this narrative structure is itself a component of the mechanistic essence of the branes; by that I mean the mechanism if the universe is, at its heart, narrative, the primary function of the mechanistic essence is to tell the story of the branes. That, I believe, is exactly what I happened ‘pon in my first experiment, and (with your kind permission, of course) I propose to embark on a lengthy course of experimentation and analysis. I will work with every pellet I can scrounge, run them through the machine, and subject Wendel’s statements to the most dilligent exegesis. The result, I expect, will be both the vindication and expansion of Mechanistic Philosophy.

Until that happy day when my results are published I remain,

Your student,
Francis St. James