Sunday, 18 July 2010

That's All Folks!

Well, that's it. All ten part are out, and this will be the last post to this blog (probably). 

State of Change is now available as a single pdf document here, laid out as an A5 document to simulate a mass market paperback - print it out two pages per sheet and it'll be just like a proper book!

If you want to read it online the links, in order, are:

Part One: The Fear
Part Two: The Offer
Part Three: A Bit Like A Lobotomy
Part Four: The New Direction
Part Five: The Silver Machine
Part Six: Body Fuck/Mind Fuck
Part Seven: Psychedelic Super Nazis
Part Eight: Cuba Street Improv
Part Nine: The Not Quite Death of Arlo Makepeace Dylan
Part Ten: The End

I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think.

In the meantime, I'm continuing with my regular blog at Pointless Philosophical Asides and so maybe I'll see you there!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Part Ten: The End!

Is this the afterlife? If so is it heaven or hell? Maybe it was some strange ethnic afterlife I didn’t know about?

I found I could range across my memories at will. I moved up and down the stream of my life examining each moment in detail to see if there was any clue as to what this was supposed to b about. My younger years yielded little that was any use: painful lessons in the obvious, gradual discovery of the basic facts of life: dog eats dog, possessions make you powerful, lust fuels endeavour - the usual stuff.

There seemed little to learn from the revolution either, primarily a picaresque tableaux of sexual and violent excess. Now I had no body I couldn’t feel the pleasure and pain that this period of my life seemed built around, but the raw data was all there on the sense track for dispassionate consideration..

At university, my studies yielded slightly more of interest but memory of them, in both backward and forward versions, was sketchy. My courses had been mainly practical and non-assessed, so I never bothered much with the theory. Then I began working at the Ministry, for several years the memories were very incomplete: many were lost, corrupted and fouled by, I must assume, the drugs I was taking.

I was still alive, I could tell. Something nagged at me from very near the end of my life. Manisola, talking to me, trying to tell me something very important. “There’s something else I found out, about the device."

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Part Nine: The Not Quite Death of Arlo Makepeace Dylan

There was no sign of Chrissy, but Bobby was in the lounge, robot on the floor, outline shimmering like a vibrating string on a cello. This was something I’d only heard about: Frohedadrine, JJ-180 as it was known.

Frohedadrine had been developed by Hazeltine Corporation in the States before the revolution, its development sponsored by the UN for reasons that had long since been forgotten. It was widely regarded as the most dangerous drug ever invented, and was totally banned, even by Hazeltine itself. It was instantly addictive and addiction led inevitably to death in a couple of months, the drug reacting corrosively on the microtubules of the brain cells. Some people, and Bobby was obviously one of them, regarded the hit as worth the burn-time. The drug apparently transported the taker in time, sending them into the past or the future, depending on the dosage and method of administration. I say “apparently” because there was no definite evidence that the user actually travelled in time. There was enough doubt, however, to have the drug suppressed with extreme prejudice.

How Bobby got hold of it, I’ve no idea.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Part Eight: Cuba Street Improv

with a load of new referrals which I dutifully signed, stamped and passed to my out-tray. The more interesting-sounding ones I reserved for more testing, leaving the paper-work in my middle tray that I had comically named my Shake-It-All-About-tray. These were the drugs that I’d take out on the streets, publicising them at the same time as I gauged the reaction of the sceners who’d take them, deciding whether they were worth putting money into. I got through this in a few minutes and spent a little while relaxing, doing nothing in particular, shuffling things about on my desk, putting paperclips in my stationery tray, that sort of thing. I fluffed around on the media for a while, and checked the office media to see how the CEO was doing. A little vid-window showed Richard was casually operating on him, throwing out organs that displeased him, sewing in strangely shaped bits of machinery and faux-flesh as required.

I was no medicine man, but even I could see that a lot of Richard’s surgery was unnecessary. He was gifted, sure, and I know that the Medical Journal gave his every operation rave reviews, but he was rather eccentric, and, personally speaking, eccentricity was the last thing I wanted noodling around inside my body.

superimposed himself over the gory scene. “Hello, Dylan.” I ignored him, he’d caused me enough trouble all ready. “No one can see me but you, it’s safe to talk.”

“Metzger,” I entered my private directory, where I knew I’d be safe from prying lines, and Manisola the Teacher followed me there.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Part Seven: Psychedelic Super Nazis

And tried to formulate a business plan for my beggars agency, but couldn’t get it to work out. It sounded too much like a political manifesto, a pathetic welfarist cry for tolerance that failed to match the intensity of my kerb-side epiphany minutes before.

A pile of new magazines had accumulated on my desk, flotsam gathering in a rock pool, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at them. On the media, Katy’s murder hardly rated a mention. A feed from some hack-at-the-scene dwelt on Arthur’s recordings of the event (it seemed he’d stayed in circuit around the car park to get the denouement on disc). No one had claimed the body. Katy had (like most of the school kid rebels) murdered most of her family during the revolution and, being an independent, there was no-one to take the body away and give it a decent burial. I immediately patched a claim into the media, bumping a ghoul from a necro-bar off the top of the list with a more legitimate claim: we’d once been exclusive lovers, after all. I could probably cover the cost myself, but maybe the Ministry would pay, just to have her cremated, didn’t have to be anything big. We could use it, after all fold it into this illumination plotline.

Then my set went blank: the mainframe was down.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Part Six: Body Fuck/Mind Fuck

into skin tight black leggings, the old faithful monster boots, red silk polo neck shirt, black kid driving gloves with golden demon rings - my Satan-S identity.

In those days, before we advanced across the electronic frontier, there were many more bodies and many more mouths to feed them. Accordingly, there were many restaurants and meat joints to shovel food into those mouths and they came and went with the all the endurance of mayflies as the fickle diners of the city flitted from one to another on the ineffable zephyr of the zeitgeist. I slipped on my set and hooked into the restaurant gallery: Café Economique was rated highly, so I tagged it and set the car to go. It was in the basement of a dilapidated old government building at the bottom of the Terrace and the name was some sort of joke which I didn’t quite get (just like the “Backbencher” on Molesworth - I’d thought it was some sort of joke about the arena, but there were pictures of old fashioned men and women in suits and stuff - I just don’t get it). It had never attracted a regular clientele in the eight months since opening and had been starved of the publicity that a regular scene can generate, so I was surprised to see it rating highly. When I got there I understood what had happened: it had re-done itself andy-style: cold steel, pink and blue neon, lots of black paint. A stage had displaced the tables by the kitchen door and two naked andies writhed around to their tuneless, rhythmless music.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Part Five: The Silver Machine

picking through some of the offal, occasionally holding up a shred of red flesh and examining it more carefully. I caught his eyes and gestured for him to come over, not wishing to stand too close to the bloody pile that was absorbing his interest. He smiled at me and obliged.

“Hello, Dylan. Didn’t expect to see you here. Look at this.” He waved a strip of gore in front of my face. “See?” He pointed out some detail that I chose not to focus on. “Some strange Metzger’s tinkering with the wannabes, I reckon. You don’t see that too often.”

“Oh, really, fascinating. Look, I’d like to talk about the Janus for a minute.”

Richard looked around surreptitiously then put the little piece of flesh into his belt bag. “Sure, go ahead.”

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Part Four: The New Direction

splashing water all over the bathroom and knocking the set into the bath. Had I fallen asleep, was I dreaming? I grabbed a couple of bottles from the bench top over the bath, and took some uppers. Sleep was the last thing I needed right now!

I topped up the hot water, took a deep breath, dried off the set and slipped it back on. I ordered a set wardrobe, the Gallo Cork selection for that week, and patched through to the drama gallery to check out the latest on Beautiful Life. As I watched the lives unfolding (I was following Johnny and Martha at the time) I noticed the trace of Rod, so I opened up a chat line.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Part Three: A Little Bit Like A Lobotomy

to find something else first, so I got the mainframe to whiz me up a CV and faxed it out over the media to a dozen or so key people I knew in the industry back then. Key people, know what I mean? The same answer came back all round: “Thanks for thinking of us, great CV, but we don’t have an opening right now for someone with your background. This is only our opinion,” they said, “and we encourage you to keep trying with other agents,” but this unique opinion seemed to be held be everyone. They were probably all using the same HR screening software.

I checked with the bank. I had a bit over million, which could probably keep me going for another month or two, if I cut back a bit, but not enough cash to buy into anything, like Katy did, certainly not enough to retire.

by a visit from Kevin, the publishing manager. He was a little red-faced man, just past the peak of adulthood, with a strange, high-pitched voice. If you couldn’t see him, he sounded like a deep-voiced woman. I remember the first time I met him I laughed out loud when he spoke, but he just smiled, shrugged it off - I guess he was used to it. He lived with his Mum and Dad in Stokes Valley. Just looking at him made me shiver: a possible future laid out in front of me.

“Hello Dylan. I saw the ABC,” He sort of grimaced.

“Yes, well, temporary thing, just a blip. You know.”

He put his arm around my shoulder in a fatherly way, an action that required him to stretch up on his toes. “You know Dylan, I was a bit like you once. Before De Benoit I worked for the Lawn Bowls Association, doing what you do now.”

“Really? Lawn Bowls?” Kevin was a nice enough guy, well-meaning and occasionally funny – a sex symbol for people with low expectations.

“Things on the bowls circuit can get pretty hot, if you’re as good as I was.”

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Part Two: The Offer

there has been some confusion regarding the exact nature of my employment. The various remixes and mashup often overstate my authority, my place in the hierarchy, and my importance in the drug scene generally. So, in this confessional spirit, let me just clear things up a little before I go on.

I worked for De Benoit Ministry of Commerce, pharmacy division, not the other way around. They picked me up a few years after the revolution: the Magic Bus thing had foundered, the vehicle itself left rusting in a field near Levin, with the bodies of Eliot and Jude decomposing, unburied, beside it. Far from being the heroic defeat often portrayed, our final encounter with the Nomad gang was a fractious, humiliating rout, with Katy, Tanya, Buzz and Me just making it out before they opened fire. I still remember the last time I saw Eliot’s face, compassionate and understanding but resolute in his own determination to do the right thing. Fucking idiot.

The year after that I did my best to make a living as a political radical, but you know? I just didn’t have it in me. All the answers I had seemed to lead on to more difficult questions, every attempt at promoting liberty seemed to inhibit freedom a little more somehow. So complicated! You pull a lever, you gotta press a button. You press the button, you gotta turn the winch. You turn the winch and by the tinkling tunes of Metzger you got no time to relax, kick off have a bit fun cos you gotta be somewhere else yanking on another lever. In the end, I had to admit that I didn’t have any answers and the grass and pills and trips were making it impossible for me to think anything through anyway.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Part One: The Fear


This is a copyright check. The rights of the author have been asserted, copyright act… uh, etc, etc. Someone’ll put all this in, right?


Arlo Makepeace Dylan. I am telling it myself for the first time anywhere.
[keep reading after the jump]


Back in 1992, I was twenty-five and filled with the desire to be a writer. By this time I'd published my first short stories, but I knew that what I needed to do was write a novel. I just had no idea how.

I'd made a few false starts over the years, trying to get find a story that would sustain a long narrative, trying to figure out how long narratives worked. How would I know I was done? I had no idea, so in a fit of inspiration I took a look in that year's Nebula Awards collection, and saw that nominees for the novel category had to be over forty thousand words long – I had my target. I figured if I sat down and wrote a few hundred words a day, I could get it done in just a few months.

Looking back, I see now that I set myself a rather low target. Later, of course, I learned that a commercial novel needs to be at least eighty thousand words these days for anyone to look at it, and a bijoux item like this was simply never going to attract a mainstream publisher.

Well, so it goes, I thought, and put it away thinking that it had been good practice, and now I should move on to something else.

Well, about this time I moved from New Zealand to Great Britain, and discovered the British small press. Among the small magazines were a few publishes of chap books and short novels, of exactly this sort. I returned to State of Change, therefore, when perhaps I should have been writing a full length novel, and spent a year or so, in between exploring London and the world, giving it another do over.

In 1998, I found a publisher, and excitedly told everyone I knew, that my novel was finally going to be published! How proud I was, how relieved to have my efforts finally rewarded! My friend suggested it was similar to an EP from an independent label, the culmination of years gigging and doing the circuit, and the first step on a glittering career.

Oh, hubris!

Three months later, I got a very apologetic letter informing that because of events beyond their control, they were forced to close. Crashing disappointment!

Still, it was encouraging: someone out there had though it was sorth publishing, so I didn't give up on it entirely. A few years later a second small press publisher expressed an interest and I went through the same naïve exultations, but, well, I dunno what happened this time, the guy just stopped answering emails. He's still publishing short novels and what-have-you, but I guess his enthusiasm for the project cooled, or something. End result: more crashing disappointment!

So, several years later, this darn thing is still hanging around, resolutely unpublished, seemingly unpublishable. No one else seems to be interested in publishing short novels from unknowns, so what's to be done? Having dipped my toe in the blog water, as it were, I decided I might as well get out there myself, and here it is.

It must be five years since I looked at this, and it's an odd experience, now. I've tried to present it as it was when it was finished. I don't really want to spend another lot of time on it now, but I'm fixing any obvious errors, and I don't have the discipline to leave some of the more distressingly unfunny jokes.

That aside, this is, basically, it. Is it as good as it could be? Well, nothing's ever as good as it could be, but this is what I felt and thought and pondered between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. There are some good gags in it, and the ideas were fresh in those days, even if it all looks a little passé now.

What startles me most is how I am still going on at these same issues – life on camera, celebrity failures, a life without privacy and we we retreat when there's no physical place for us left. It looks prescient to me now, that a lot of my satirical ideas on how hype and marketing would shape and infiltrate our lives have come true. It's truer still in New Zealand, where television has been gutted to the extent that most of the TV shows are nakedly and unashamedly advertising.

The other matter that maybe requires some explanation is the sexual explicitness. This is very much not me. I think love is a very important part of fiction, and novels without love in them are distinctly lacking in my opinion, but I'm a discreet fade out sort of a guy rather than a character-expressed-through-lovemaking sort.

I decided to approach the sex in this novel in this way for two reasons. The first is that I think that porn is the ultimate in hype and marketing. It's the most bizarre non-product on Earth. Nothing sells a bigger lie than porn, and so in my “take this to the extreme” take on the topics here, pornography is the place it all ends up. I think, in that context, it works quite well.

On the other hand, I was trying to directly challenge my own squeamishness in writing about sex. I was trying to explore some internal space about these types of expression and so pushed myself to make it harder and nastier with every draft. I don't know if this aspect succeeded quite so well: there's nothing in the text that addresses this, and it seems to have been entirely an internal matter for me. Maybe that's just as well, as a matter of fact.

Ah well. Here it is then, without further ado. In the words of Viv Stanshall, I hope you choke on it.

Patrick H, 2010

Creative Commons License

This version of State of Change by Patrick Hudson is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license version 3.0, which lets you share it, remix it, and share your remixes, provided that you do so on a non-commercial basis.

I am not a lawyer (or "IANAL" as we so colourfully say on the internet) so I'm not 100% certain this is right. If anyone spots any probs with this, let me know! Basically, I'm happy for you to read this, print it out and pass it around to all your influential friends. I'm happy for you to reprocess it in better formats - ebook formats and all that -if it makes it easier for you to distribute, and if you want to do something really whacky - like, I dunno, spoken word it over music or something - knock yourself out! If you intend to make money though, you need to at least ask me and I might ask for some of the cash, depending on the sums involved. That's basically what I hope this license communicates.

Legal stuff after the jump...

Monday, 26 April 2010


“No longer content to wait for social movements to bubble up from the ‘burbs, young, fresh and sniffing for product, a cute symbiosis of media outlets and cultural product firms synthesize them between themselves. ...Far from being a credible claim to futurity, the Marketing Plan follows a relentlessly sideways logic of replacing one product-rhetoric-art’n’theory mix with the next, different from the last in exactly the same way as the last was different to the batch before that. ...Hype may very well be the future of culture.” - McKenzie Wark, “Cyberhype”, World Art, November 1994.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Coming soon!

He hasn't slept for seven years, he hasn't been sober for fifteen and his ratings are dropping through the floor. When Arlo Makepeace Thackery Dylan is given one last chance to save his career, he takes it with both hands. But will he live to regret his decision?

Will he live at all?

Find out in State of Change, coming soon!