Daily Archives: October 21, 2021

Enclosures: “The Lungs of Hell” (2021)

Throughout most of known reality, evil is an abstract. It has no weight, no mass, no volume, and cannot be measured on a quantitative basis. One can feel overwhelming evil, but no scale exists in our realm to weigh it. The atmosphere of the moon is crushing by comparison.

This is true for our realm, but evil has a mass. If evil is best described as “the decay of virtue,” it flows like compost tea from a dead garden, like random fluids from an abandoned cemetery trickling into the groundwater, Eventually, it seeps and slides in the cracks between realities, lubricating the movement of the celestial spheres, and eventually dripping down…below.

Eventually, it collects far below. Below any concept of Hell, Mictlan, or other afterlife, enough to where it can be measured. Its miasma is an odor of which no human can conceive, its heft nothing a human could experience. Any being contacting compressed and supersaturated evil becomes a quantum event, simultaneously ceasing to exist in that second and undergoing a truly eternal torment. That being, no matter how perfect or divine, becomes part of the ocean, with absolutely no chance of rescue or escape. Sometimes, that metaphysical ocean of evil, stretching across and through dimensions, is reasonably quiescent, not advancing or retreating. Sometimes the ocean breaks down a barrier to previously untouched realities, causing it to flow away for a short time and revealing…things previously hidden. Every once in a great while, a being sufficiently hubristic to think themselves immune will splash upon contact, and the waves create nightmares for billions of souls. And like any other liquid, the sheer weight corrupts and corrodes and distorts anything underneath it, and any flow downward is mitigated by the constant fall of new evil, like a fog not quite ready to be rain, replacing and replenishing the supply.

While the unsophisticated talk about “Hell” as the ultimate holding site for evil, know that what philosophers and the sensitive assume is that ultimate holding site is only the literal tip of the iceberg. The true rulers of Hell, as far away from the demons of the higher planes as moles and worms are above eagles, are the beings that prevent it from sinking into the depths. The bottom of Hell is lined with sigils and glyphs of power from the rest of reality, all attempting to keep it afloat. Even more keep channeling the miasma to locations where it can be concentrated and processed. Bloodstones made of the corpses of whole universes work to draw in the mist, and other, barely conceivable constructs trap it, like lungs full of volcanic ash. Eventually the sheer volume of evil collapses in on itself, leaving gigantic russet crystals, beautiful in their unnatural sheen, gradually eroding out and falling to the sides. New constructs grow in the place of old ones, pushing aside older crystals like glaciers moving boulders.

Unbeknownst to the rest of reality, those crystals are a terrible, unstable power. Removed from the presence of the glyphs, they gradually fall apart, evaporating under the heady thin atmosphere of virtue. Most evaporate, but some crystals are so unstable that their dissolution is explosive. This property has no effect on ambitions and plans for revenge from the true rulers of Hell, and kept just at the edge of Evilflow is a tremendous cache of blades carefully knapped and shaped over the millennia, awaiting an equally forged and formed army to take them up. These blades will not last long in the upper realms, but the plan is that they will last just long enough.

Dimensions (width/height/depth): 18″ x 24″ x 18″ (45.72 cm x 60.96 cm x 45.72 cm)

Plant: Nepenthes bicalcarata

Construction: Glass enclosure. polystyrene foam, vacuum-formed plastic, found items.

Price: $700US

Shirt Price: $650US

The Aftermath: Armadillocon 2021 – 2

One of the biggest surprises about the dealer’s room at Armadillocon 2021 is how much things have changed since my last visit in 2000. For the longest time, the main dealer emphasis at litcons (conventions where the main emphasis was on printed fiction and nonfiction instead of other media) was on books and periodicals: back in 2000, convention dealers were the main access to rare or obscure books and almost the only way to learn more about up-and-coming magazines. Obviously, a lot has changed in the intervening two decades: book purchasing is a matter of a quick Amazon search, and the crash of both traditional magazine and zine distribution in the early Aughts is why so many new short fiction outlets are online-only, with the occasional hard-copy Kickstarter so the publisher isn’t stuck with cases of unsold copies. Both of these developments mean that the current dealer pivot is toward art, reference materials, and inspirations, and carnivorous plants seem to be quite the inspiration.

As to what the future holds, that’s a really good question. On an immediate level, everything with Armadillocon’s schedule depends upon availability of Austin hotels, which are apparently packed every weekend with football-obsessed alumni this time of the year. The general response to the Triffid Ranch table was overwhelmingly positive, but the biggest issue involves getting down to Austin in the first place: if subsequent shows are held in October, this isn’t a problem, but if the 2022 convention runs at the end of August, unfortunately the heat risk to the plants is far too high, We’ll figure it out.

In any case, many thanks are owed to the folks who came out to Armadillocon this time around, particularly longtime online cohorts who finally had the chance to make in-person acquaintanceships. Special thanks to Lillian Butler for making the dealer’s room situation happen, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for a final 2022 schedule. As far as other litcons are concerned, the schedule for 2022 in-person and virtual lectures and presentations is currently open, and for those who couldn’t make it this time, make plans for the Blood Over Texas Horror For the Holidays show at Palmer Event Center in downtown Austin on Thanksgiving weekend. And so it goes.

Fin.