Bionic Eyes Return Sight To The Blind

Bionic Vision Technologies (BVT), an Australian-based bioware firm, has created a groundbreaking eyewear system that can return “a sense of sight” to those who are completely blind. Thus far, the device (as yet unnamed) has been used to return a semblance of vision to four different patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative genetic eye disorder characterized by decreased peripheral vision, in a test conducted by the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital of Melbourne.

Associate Prof. Penny Allen of the Royal Victorian stated of the experiment, “We have completed surgeries on four patients to implant the device and the team is very pleased with their progress. All four patients have had a sense of sight restored and are in the process of learning how to use the bionic eye for mobility and other activities.”

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The Third Visitation | The Red Duomo

IN MY DREAM | The red duomo loomed over me, suspended between a bottomless mist that had a bizarre solidity, enough to maintain the weight of a full-grown man and the endless ambit of a shimmering and starless sky, black save for a strange-flickering of blue-lightening, threshing the skin of the void like great and arcane flails. Curiosity overwhelmed my mind upon gazing up at the high and imposing facade which looked to have been carved of ancient stone and after a moment in nervous contemplation of my circumstance I took a step forward whereupon I heard the voice of my ever-present companion, echoing throughout my mind in a hundred discordant tongues.

The tempation of curiosity leads thee down a path which thou art not prepared to tread. You know nothing of what lies beyond this portal, yet, in thy errantry, thou hurries forth without a care. Most unwise.

What therein could harm me? Some monstrosity? If you know, speak.

It is not monsters which thee should fear.

You speak in riddles! Plainly now.

If from this much thy cannot glean even the smallest morsel of wisdom then, for thy understanding, it is not. Experience is the greatest teacher. Step forth, fool, and see what awaits.

I bristled at the entities’ barbed remarks and steeled myself to ascend the portal and enter the duomo. Inside I found myself walking down a long hallway lined with mirrors and clocks, whose arms were frozen at different times. The hall let out into a grand foyer which was covered over in a thick silky carpet of a sanguine hue much akin to the chandeliers which hung in thick and odd-angling bundles from every possible surface of the ceiling. Across the red I moved, covered over in red light and there beheld two branching paths, the first was another corridor down which I could see a glistening golden mask where the eldritch light ebbed from almandine to tanzanite. The other path cut off to the north and therein was a temple and an altar and a woman upon the altar. The offering table was swathed in red cloth and the woman upon, naked; tracing the laylines of her body with slow, sensuous movements; at length she gestured to me and though I could not see her face, covered as it was by shade, it seemed as if she were smiling, eyes twinkling like fallen stars. Instantly, I began making my way to the female, my heart pounding, knocking gainst my ribs like the kettle drum of some agued madman; to touch her, to feel her warm embrace, to trace the gorgeous curves of her body and to kiss her plump and shimmering lips, red as blood, were to the working of my fevered imagination to reach a state of absolute perfection.

I could hear the rumbling of the entity within me. He was displeased but his echoing voice was drowned by the barbaric increase of my lust. Shortly I stood before the woman, her hair writhed above her, as if suspended in invisible liquid and a darkness masked her face, a darkness that seemed to have a solidity all its own. I extended my hand and she took it and pulled me close as the entity burst through the inner sanctum of my mind, wreakful and scolding.

Leave this place. She means to drain thee of thy passion. She-

Silence!

Deign to lecture me, boy? Thee might as well cut thy wrists. What passion will well once it has been exhausted in this frivolous, disgusting dance? Have thee forgotten thy purpose?

I did not answer. Did not listen and instead cupped the mysterious woman’s breasts with strong, sinewy hands, to her infinite delight. She moaned and tore at my clothes, tossing them free of my pale, tensing flesh and pulled me upon the altar and kissed me upon the lips, her loins grinding ‘gainst my own, swelling my hardness, eroding all sense of place or time or purpose. The darkness upon her faces swelled as I thrust my manhood within her warmth, spilling out upon me like some distended abyssal cephalodpod; feelings of confusion, bliss and terror mingled all and washed over the totality of the soma liken to a wave of crystal mist. As my thrusts became ever more wild and animalistic the darkness grew and as it grew the red cloth rose and grew, shifting strangely all about the room as if it were possessed of a mind of its own. It merged with the darkness, becoming as a floating river of blood and wrapt about me; first the wrists, then the torso, then the neck. I gasped. Unable to breath and, as the blood river tightened upon me, unable to move. The woman giggled and stroked my chest from where she lay below and then dragged one, long sabre’d nail down my pectorals, slicing through my flesh and drawing a ruddy, gushing line; a living art display.

I screamed and screamed and screamed until the blood river slithered about my mouth and down by throat; filling up my lungs til the grotesque liquid spilled out my nose and dripped in heavy globs upon the skin of man and woman alike.

You were right. Hear me, ᚲᚺᚨᚨᚱᛁᛉᚨᛚ and forgive my impetuousness!

Forgiveness breeds weakness. Yet, it is not my forgiveness thy utmost desires, but rather, assistance.

Both.

Will thee promise to listen when next thou art advised?

I give you my solemn promise!

Good.

The woman, still cackling maliciously, drew her claw down to my stomach, but when she attempted to pierce my flesh once more, her sword-like nail clattered ineffectively against a blackened carapace which glistened abhorrently under the temple’s rubied hue. She gave a hideous roar and slammed her claws ‘gainst my chest with all her might, yet that assault too afforded her nothing, for the entities chitin had ensconced my body. I could feel his power flowing through me and merging with my own. I gave a shout and tore free of the living blood river and spit up the remnants which resided within my lungs and grabbed the woman about the head and without expression crushed her skull between my obsidian hands.

The Second Visitation | The Sea of Corn

IN MY DREA M | I stalked along a dusty road which ran betwix two fields of corn that stretched beyond the line of sight and vanished into the space between earth, horizon and sky, the liminal realm where Apep lay with baited breath for the encroachment of his eternal foe. Each stalk, higher than the highest man and certainly higher than the five foot, eight inches of blood and bone and flesh.

A strong wind gusted in from above and shortly thereafter, a sound in the corn. A steady and readily multiplying thrumming, liken to the sound of footfalls, but unlike the footsteps of any normal man. My heart raced and my breath quickened as something moved beyond at the periphery of my sight, fear subsumed me and pressed me to its bosom. With haste, way was made into the cornfield, stalks flying by, as if accelerated through some cosmic convergence; shortly, a clearing with an old scarecrow. I braced myself against the farmyard prop and listened. Nothing. Straightening, I caught the mischievous wyrm-of-breath which sought its escape from my heaving lungs, longing to return to its brethren in the clouded realm of the lunar dancers where they thundered to ancient and draconian rhythms.

Back in, back in! I require thee! Fuel for my engine. Fuel to flee this queer plot.

The next moment there came a dreadful creaking. Wood. The scarecrow was moving! It’s head spun about in unnatural, inhuman contortion to stare at me with it’s blank, black sack-hole eyes. Then it leapt from its wooden perch, leapt at me! The next moment was a blur of motion, my feet hitting the husk scattered ground hard and fast until I was long and good and free and clear of the animated farm ornament and his clacking and odd-angled limbs of wood and hay and cloth.

They are coming. To rend and tear. To rip and gnash. To sund and split.

Alack, again that voice, ringing in mine ears as if it were emanating from my vary brain! It was HIM. He who I had encountered in my last dream, he who had loomed over me upon the endless stair in the limitless hall. I could not see his centipedal form but could feel his presence, pulsing, not around, but within me.

What will you do? How will you gird your pathetic flesh? Can you? You can barely keep up this pace. Already your legs slacken, your pulse soars and your pores slick over with wetness. The whole of the body subsumed by fear. Feeble.

Shut up!

Anger will not avail you. I did not bring you here. You have no one to blame but yourself.

I’m not the one chasing me – now – get out of my head!

The scarcecrows close upon you. You cannot outrun them for they do not tire.

Get. Out. Of. My. Head.

The words poured out of my mouth this time, no longer merely contained to my mental sanctum; as if the foreign entity within me had expelled all speech, as if his consciousness had begun to displace my own. Control swiftly dissipating. Tension and dread the whole of my form, form the whole of my world. Was this how it was to end? Was I to die sad, harried and alone in a nowhere cornfield? I would not allow it. This was not my design.

Your imagination rebels against demise, for you can picture a life beyond your present circumstance… the will is lacking.

The will? Did he expect me to fight them? Still running haplessly, I shot a glance behind; the scarecrows where everywhere, numbering in the hundreds, lumbering through the corn with savage increase, their forms horridly skeletal in the failing, amber light.

Why aid me, ᚲᚺᚨᚨᚱᛁᛉᚨᛚ?

An amused laugh echoed throughout the endless caverns of my mind.

Why not? Better you then they. They’ve no imagination. They are no artists. They are no creators. They are husks and nothing else besides.

Tell me then, what am I to do?

Find the ship that lies to the north.

I nearly gasped for my route of escape had taken me south. To find the ship the entity spoke of I would have to transgress against the skeletal horde.

The choice is a simple one. Your coward’s heart or me. Decide.

I glanced out at the field, roiling out and beyond the horizon’s fathomless edge. He was right, there was no escape. Steeling the nerves and focusing my will I turned upon my heel and rushed the grotesque conglomerate. The first scarcecrow, feeble and rickety was as a brickwall and against it I was powerless. The creature pinned me to the ground, it’s sightless gaze piercing the outer sanctum of my mind; tearing into my flesh and reaving great and bloody gashes upon the ground. I shouted out in desperation.

ᚲᚺᚨᚨᚱᛁᛉᚨᛚ, help me!

The moment the words had left my mouth my skin was covered over in chintinous plate as dark as pitch, hard as obsidian and ‘gainst this newest skin my foe’s ravishments were rendered superflous; its scrawny wooden-straw arms dinging off my glistening carapace. Strength such as I had never experienced before surged throughout my body and with the lightest jerk of my arm I tore the monster’s head from it’s miserable body and threw it into the oncoming waves of its fellows. Charging through the rest was as if I were but passing through a shallow shrub and when fifty had been rendered by my hand a great galleon of clockwork rose up from the sea of corn, a ladder hanging from its side. Climbing aboard, it instantly began to rise, though it unhelmed and empty.

Standing upon the bow, the ship floating across the top of the stalks as if fording mighty waves, I looked down upon my inhuman form and smiled.

Sex, Violence, Death, Toil: A Brief Primer On Fiction Writing, Prt. 2

Putting aside many of the age-old questions concerning the validity of the concept of Human Nature one can with absolute certainty say that there are Human Universals, that is, Human Generalities. Everyone who exists was born and everyone who was born will die. Everyone feels the pangs of hunger and thirst, of dread and envy, jealousy and admiration, lust and love, of purpose and purposelessness. This is so easily observable that is wholly beyond contention (“but what if we are all brains in a vat in a vast simulation?!” Some cheeky fellow will doubtless interject at some point – mischievous rogues).

The acceptance of this a priori supposition then establishes some very fertile ground for purpose in fiction. Purpose is the first and most fundamental thing any given writer should ask him or herself before proceeding with a given piece of work (indeed it is the first of things which one should ask oneself before doing anything). “Why am I doing what I am doing? Why do I write stories at all? What do I wish to convey in it’s pages?” (and it should here be noted that if one does not wish to convey anything at all then there is no point in writing to begin with, the art that is only for the self and goes not beyond might as well stay contained within the brain! What is it then but a dream?) “What is the purpose of my art?”

Naturally, only you, the reader, can answer such questions in their particulars but there are some general principals that might help us better establish and define our aims as fiction writers. First and foremost among those principals is that if a story does not speak, in some meaningful way, to any Human Universals, then it simply will not be read with any regularity – or even if it is, it certainly isn’t going to be remembered (indeed, why should it?). But it isn’t enough merely to speak to the human soul, as it were, but also to do so in a clear and cogent way, that is to say, a understandable way. It is, of course, fine enough to write for a specific audience in mind (the case of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is here illustrative: his work was oft found difficult to interpret at best and downright incomprehensible at worst; the US literary critic, Harold Bloom described Nietzsche’s only fiction entry as “unreadable”).

Writing with a specific audience in mind is highly recommended; however, writing in such a way that no one but one’s own self and some small cadre of philologists and linguists (such would be the kind to say, Underworld is a masterpiece because despite it’s endless meandering without coming to a point, DeLillo is very good at making symbolic representations of waste-fixation as a American by-product which lays bear the soul of the post-industrial age – or some such tosh) is hardly the way to go for the simple fact that one is then, essentially writing in another language which will be totally incomprehensible to the common man and often, to the not-so-common man as well.

There is a tendency among post-modern novelists to zealously seek after originality at the expense of anything else (not all post-modern artists are guilty of this, obviously, but it is a general trend I have observed) and that anything else is generally a coherent and clear theme (again, DeLillo is a supreme example of this, he writes a lot of words but rarely says anything; there are implications, suggestions galore, but everything is tangential to something else which isn’t defined, or if so, poorly. Everything is obscured and referential, so much so that the obscure references and the inertia of his language itself become the whole point of the text – though he does, of course, have his high points).

This is a tendency to be avoid if you wish to approach art as a form of social communication (it seems lost on modern man that this was the purpose of nearly all ancient art – not the selfish, narcissistic impulse to stroke the ego that says, “Look at me! I feel something fragile and fleeting; observe it nonetheless, for such is my importance!” – but rather the communal sharing of a given societies highest ideals and aspirations for the purposes of civilizational lift).

Once one has acquired the knack for both clarity and purpose (and clarity of purpose) one should turn the mind’s eye to the directionality of the story itself. It matters not how far from terrestrial reality one flies upon the back of that great bird, creativity – whether you are writing about ancient dragons, or orcs, or cosmic horrors – certain human factors will always remain visible to be plucked out by the discerning no matter how phantasmal, grotesque or fantastical the setting, plot, characters or dialogue. Why is this – because you aren’t a dragon a orc or a cosmic horror, how could you possibly think as one?!

[to be continued in part. 3]