Sunday, January 18, 2009

The global infrastructure had been in free-fall for over two decades, transforming the surface of the planet, eroding the fragile allegiances that kept the animate from mingling too intimately with the inanimate. Early 21st century academics had referred to it as the Singularity. Now we called it the Plague, the Spasm, the Big Malf. I supposed there was something transcendental beneath all of the leprous confusion, but it remained elusive, like the thin chemical smoke left after a defoliation attempt.

As an anthropologist, part of me had welcomed the Malf. It had shattered the distribution curve that comprised the human race, warping and bending it into uncanny new shapes, some recognizable, others less so. And some -- the ones I sought out among the malleable, twitching guts of what had once been a populated human city, wreathed in smog and enlivened by the whirr of thousands of engines -- far beyond anything imagined.

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