CL3ANS3 by Carrie Cuinn is Lovecraft mythos for the digital age. It’s digitized horrors lurking somewhere behind and above your user-interface. It’s about ancient cosmic horrors catching up to our own alienated world and molding it to their own image.
“We ate the data and we made it clean.”
The world keeps moving, the gears of progress keep turning and they grind away producing unorganized data in piles, entire mountains of meaningless labels and pictures and documents. No digital construct could possibly contain them all and no computer exists that is sophisticated enough to compile them. All that we have, in that strange, alienating future is those that are unwittingly sacrificed so we can maintain some semblance of order in the Net.
“The stars don’t look right, I thought.”
CL3ANS3 took me by surprise. Primarily, because this is one of those stories that make excellent material for experimental animation short films that have this rarely-seen alienating feeling to them. The world outlined by Carrie Cuinn in this short story is clinical, sterilized and strange beyond belief. Its main character might be an antisocial, objective narrator but the rest of the people occupying the setting aren’t all that better off.
This story forced me to do a double-take to pinpoint exactly what bothered me about it so much and guess what: it’s not the Lovecraftian Horrors, not in and of themselves. I think that this was perhaps the point that Cuinn was trying to make: the scary, strange future that waits just around the corner, its people distant and antisocial, scared more of each other than the things lurking just beyond the world.
- 4000 words
- This story proves that Lovecraftian Mythos CAN be used as pretty potent social satire.
- Carrie Cuinn has a website, which you can visit here.
- CL3ANS3 is included in the Eldritch Chrome Anthology by Chaosium, which you can buy here.
- Now all we need is a consumerist Lovecraftian story and we’ll be able to put those awful Cthulhu plushies behind us.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org