The first four pages [Hysto-logue] of Sila Kudesnic’s long forgotten ‘Science Fiction Fiction’
‘Sila Kudesnic only wrote two novels before declaring himself a witch and vanishing into the forest somewhere near Maribor, Slovenia, 1987.’
This is not true.
He wrote another one, Science-Fiction-Fiction, and we’ve got it. Or the first four pages anyway. As usual, there’s science, Spain, the near future and Jupiter, but also something about Gena Rowlands/John Cassavetes.
Here we go then, the first four pages [Hysto-logue]:
Gena Rowlands met with the scientists somewhere near Almeria, Southern Spain. She didn’t know this but they were the same scientists who’d brought back Pol Pot, the same scientists who’d predicted genocide holes = long distance space travel and the same scientists who would one day put the mind of a Japanese student into the body of an English fantasist/gym instructor.
It was 1989.
‘Here’s what I want,’ said Gena, checking her watch. ‘My husband, John…maybe you know him? He directed Shadows and Faces and…Gloria. No? Never mind. What I want is…my husband, alive again, via science. See, he’s dead. But only just. It happened a few days ago. But that doesn’t matter, right? I mean, from what I’ve heard of you guys, the science you can do, that doesn’t matter. Right?’
The scientists nodded.
‘Cool. That’s cool. So what I want is…’ Gena paused. She realised she’d said this part already. ‘Okay, you know what I want. Bring John back. My husband, bring him back to me.’
The scientists looked at each other.
‘You can do that, can’t you?’ Gena said, lighting up a cigarette.
The lead scientist broke off from the others and led Gena to another part of the desert twenty metres away.
‘We can do it, of course. Science is…it’s very complicated, the methods are…perhaps not so easy for you to understand.’
Gena breathed smoke on his jacket. ‘Try me.’
‘Well…first of all, you should know that…science as you know it…the common perception of science is false.’
‘For example: Gravity. It’s not what you think. Common science has you believe that gravity is proportional to mass. This is wrong. Mass has nothing to do with anything. Take Jupiter: They say if you get close enough, the gravity will crush you. That’s just wrong. It’s theoretical and wrong. The truth is, Jupiter is the size of a pebble and therefore has almost zero gravitational pull.’
‘Wait…I’m confused,’ said Gena.
‘I warned you.’
‘No, I get it, but it doesn’t make sense. If Jupiter’s no bigger than a pebble, and has zero gravitational pull, that means…doesn’t it mean gravity is still connected to mass?’
‘Not at all.’
‘Science is a difficult thing. It’s probably best if you just trust us and hand over your husband’s corpse. We’ll do the rest.’
Gena smoked the rest of her cigarette and stared at the mountains in the distance. It sounded like a load of shit, but what choice did she have? Life was silence without John.
She stubbed out the cigarette on the desert floor and said, ‘okay, fine.’
With Gena’s consent, the scientists went to the cemetery in New York and dug up the body of John Cassavetes. They took him back to their little piece of desert somewhere near Almeria in Southern Spain and made the requisite measurements. When they were done, they put him in the rocket and shot him into space. Five scientists made the journey with him, two driving the rocket, the other three tending to the patient.
First, they had to condition his body.
Common science tells us a human body cannot survive the atmosphere of Jupiter.
Proper science disagrees.
The scientists put small quantities of Jupiter’s atmosphere into the body of John Cassavetes. At first there was resistance, but after two days things were a little more settled.
For the rest of the week, as they flew towards Jupiter, they continued their treatment, gradually increasing the dosage.
By the time they reached Jupiter, John Cassavetes was ready.
‘Okay, guys,’ said the lead scientist to the others. ‘Same procedure as before, only this time make sure the knot is tighter. No excuses, got it?’ He turned to the window and looked out at the black. ‘We can’t afford another Mishima incident.’
They nodded, strapped a cord to Cassavetes’ ankles, made it tight, and pushed him out the airlock. They let him drift away from the rocket for a few hours then turned the ignition and started circling the giant planet. Or the pebble planet.
After four months and twenty seven orbits, they brought John Cassavetes back into the rocket and set course for Earth.
One week later, Gena Rowlands stood in front of a stone slab looking down at the corpse of her husband. He looked healthier, that was undeniable, but he was still dead.
‘I don’t understand,’ she said to the lead scientist standing next to her. ‘He’s not moving.’
‘Of course not, he’s dead.’
‘But you said…you told me he…’
‘Listen, listen…the body is dead, there’s nothing we can do about that. Not without some lightning anyway. But, no, the body is dead, gone. What we’ve done…’
‘So he’s still dead?’
‘…no, what we’ve done is…the body is the same but the mind of your husband is alive. Everything that is important has been brought back.’
‘But where did…where is his mind?’
The lead scientist shrugged.
‘We don’t know. The past, the future…a different universe. There’s really no way to know for sure.’
Gena looked back down at the face of her dead husband. The man who’d given her the oscar. The man who’d given her children. The man who tried to buy her Zagreb that time. It was all too much.
‘You stupid…fuckers! You haven’t done a damn thing…’ she spat out, reaching for a cigarette then realising she’d smoked them all on the taxi ride there.
‘Stupid? Come on…’
‘You’ve done nothing…’
‘Science is a very complicated thing. What might seem like nothing to you is actually…’
‘Fuck you! Fuck you and fuck science!’
Gena screamed it a few more times, picked up a tray, threw it at the scientist, then grabbed her husband by his ankles and dragged him out of the room.
‘Really, Mrs. Rowlands, there’s no need for this,’ the lead scientist said, following her out into the corridor. ‘Your husband is alive. John Cassavetes is out there somewhere, living, breathing…thinking. We just don’t know where.’
‘Fuck you’ trailed down the corridor and then she was gone. And so was John.
But not really.