“an eternal stasis of homogeneity”
Entropy & Nostalgia & Endeavour
PACE CAR by Lyle Hopwood
“‘Cure was surely worse than the disease.’
‘You have to thin out seedlings if the mature plants are to grow.’
[…] ‘Five billion dead is not a “thinning”, it’s genocide.’”
Another story that over-awes me but equally feels utterly meaningful. Somehow a unique hybrid of the first two stories in this book above, the interleaved world view of the Gathering et al in the Glass and the comparable world view of simple hardcore crafts of mankind in the Major. What I called above the latter’s ‘null immortality’ now here in Hopwood “an eternal stasis of homogeneity”, this work’s geared ‘entropy’. A hybrid world made pessimum if with some hybrid humans’ adoption of animal smells as optimum, following the sowing (by invisible forces or aliens?) of Gates throughout a craftily crafted post-apocalyptic world where, here, in this pinpoint, California, there are quaked dead-end roads in the desert beyond the streambeds, often invisible gratuitously do-gooding helpers, helping with fuel replacement for empty tanks, plus foot-roving mechanics in kilts, their tools elsewhere but reachable, all these being optimal hybrids themselves except that the narrator called Alisa seems to me to be pure human, without a trace of un-human animal, and whose prized Pace Car needs doctoring toward an undoctored nostalgia as a vehicle rarity from the past, a nostalgia to thin out, or should I say, thicken, the entropy. Nostalgia as a ‘vaccination’. The hybrid mechanic she finds she has hired and herself begin a slow motion mating dance?
The necessary imperfections-toward-perfection, and the engine here snarled but settled into a purr. A perfect purr? Like a thinning of humans toward a ‘totem tribe’? Only organic stuff allowed through the Gates; anything inorganic, unless token or totem, being ground away. The ‘sintering’ of gaskets (I did say already that I was over-awed by this reading experience, which is short-hand for being ‘meaning fazed’), all blurring, running away, with the Gates stopping real human endeavour to pass between. But any optimum reading of a hard-rarefied work like this needs its misunderstandings by the reader to make the reading truly optimal, I say. Truly imperfectly perfect.
I could be happy with this story. Like a man with an elephant brain, and a goat’s balls. Spoiler: This work is a unique artefact, not mass produced, after all.
Full context of my INTERZONE review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/06/29/interzone-290-291/