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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

WHAT IF? SO WHAT? The 1979 Fantasy And Science Fiction Journal, Parts 7-9

Continuing entries from the journal I kept for Dr. Calvin Rich's Fantasy And Science Fiction class as a senior at Brockport in the Fall of 1979.





# 7: 10/1/79

What if sex were fatal? Picture a world where reproduction is carried out through some sterile scientific process quite separate from human sexuality. Furthermore, since the inception of this new style of reproduction (or perhaps this is the way it's always been), and the subsequent dismissal of any procreative rationale for sex, the physical process of orgasm has evolved into an experience that immediately causes a fatal cardiac arrest. In real life, sex is not as necessary as our society would have us believe; libidinal energy can be channeled in other directions, sublimated entirely to higher goals. People could live without sex if they had to.

Anyway, the only consequences of this situation that I can conjure up strike me as somewhat humorous. Masturbation would be a fun way to commit suicide, and suicide pacts between lovers would be a novel way of simultaneously consummating and concluding an affair. The feigned ogasm would take on a new, sinister quality. Finally, people bent on committing suicide by intercourse had best take care to ensure a simultaneous orgasm, lest the partner to reach orgasm lasst find his- or herself in a far kinkier position than he or she bargained for.

In any case, everyone would have ample opportunity to experience the unique sensation of coming and going at the same time.

DR. RICH'S COMMENT: "Fun!"



# 8: 10/6/79



A JOURNEY TO HELL: some time in the future, and he locations of both the Garden of Eden and the Pits of Hell have been discovered by mortals. The vision of Eden, of course, is too wonderful for words, and people who see the Garden never want to return to their work-a-day lives; thus, the government (whatever government, world government or interstellar government) has Eden permanently sealed in order to maintain the status quo of an industrial society.

That leaves Hell: the perfect sightseeing spot. Tourists pass through the desolation of the smoky underworld, cross the River Styx, and enter the gates of Hell. ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE. A decadent paradise! Thrills! Chills! Tortures! Flaming apocalypse and unending despair! Tourists can ride past the guard dog Cerberus and into the Land of Doom, visiting the various Tortures of Damnation (pools of fire, bottomless pits of pain, the traditional racks and Iron Maidens, as well as individual, psychological tortures) and perhaps speaking with some of history's most prominent Damned: Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper, Robespierre, Bonnie and Clyde, Lizzie Borden, etc. The devil, of course, gets a neat percentage of the gate receipts. Bring the kids.

DR. RICH'S COMMENT:  Regarding the opportunity to chat with history's prominent Damned, "I like this idea."



# 9: 10/10/79



Thus far I have more or less refrained from devoting an entire entry to any commentary on what I've written. The two longer passages--the serialized reflection on the concept of parallel worlds, and the ideals of the superhero--contained some level of commentary within their framework, but the other three entries have gone without comment.

My first entry, of course, was in response to our initial assignment: to imagine a world in which some basic thing--like gravity--is non-existent or otherwise different from its existence in common reality. Entry # 7--what if sex were fatal?--is likewise an exercise within that framework. This framework is very easy and convenient to work within for the purpose of this journal, as it provides ample opportunity for smaller, casual fantasies in between the longer dissertations. This "what if?" ploy fits in neatly with the concept of parallel worlds, because it entails the immediate conjuring up of an alternate universe in which some impossibility is blase reality.

Entry # 8--a journey to Hell--is mere playfulness, a study in idle fantasy with no relation to larger concepts of alternate realities. Consequently, it is, I think, the weakest entry thus far. I suspect that I will be resorting more frequently to the "what if?" structure in future entries.

DR. RICH'S COMMENT: Your comments show real insight. 

2017 POSTSCRIPT: "Real insight?!" BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA! I do like the "Journey To Hell" bit a lot more now than I did then.



WHEN WHAT IF? SO WHAT? RETURNS:  Parallel worlds collide! And a dedication to the one I love.



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