Shock Level One

“Virtual reality, living to be a hundred, “The Road Ahead”, “To Renew America”, “Future Shock”, the frontiers of modern technology as seen by Wired magazine. Scientists, novelty-seekers, early-adopters, programmers, technophiles.”

—Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, “Future Shock Levels

Ready player. Behold before your granite brain the silicon atoms speak electron and photon like planets dream moons and smaller mass-made things. There are mountains in them brights. Over your pumice fingers, new gloves. Sandy knees and elbows motion-sussed. To your ears, directions to the gabbing graben and to your inner ears, guts cast iron in sudden descent.

Level up, player one. Trepanning requires trespass and granite under heat and pressure is plastic and accommodating; new limbs for handing over, extruded like eyes, salt diapirs to the woe. You’re addicted but evolving. If you left here lonely you won’t be: the problem isn’t isolation but experience overload, the filling of time with space in so tiny a place. Quicker than car, than starship, than egress, than sleep rest wrest from existential peak pique.

Player, live to be one hundred avatars and you’re something new. Level two is just ahead: granite flows there like water and all the world is a water world.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 9

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).