The Limbo between the long shifts.

Most of my working hours are now packed into Saturday and Sunday. Apart from a few short sessions during the week. This earns enough to cover the bills and leaves maximum time for writing. As long as it stays stable it will be fine. As long as it’s stable I can adapt to it.

It does mean unusually early rising (ie before noon) on two days and a long shift on each day. This night is the limbo between. Too tired to give much of a crap tonight and have to be up early(ish) tomorrow so I suspect the Saturday blog will become a bit of a random thought experiment.

I like random thought experiments. I also like Dr. Who, which can trigger such random thoughts.

Flaws in the latest two-part story include the Cybermen being under the control of the Master. If that were true then they would always have been under his/her/its control. He would have been the equivalent of the Daleks’ Davros. Yet another originator of the Cybermen is messing with the time line too much there. Also the idea of turning corpses into Cybermen with nanoparticles that magically produce all the armour and weaponry around the corpse. Too much.

On the plus side, it tied in nicely with yesterday’s post – even among what should be a homogeneous and obedient population of cybermen there were a few rebels. Two at least. Danny Pink and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. If there can be rebel Cybermen (and there have been at least two rebel Borg – Seven of Nine, and Hugh, aka Third of Five and a couple of rebel Daleks too) then no matter what they do to us, resistance is never futile.

There is a hell of a giveaway for the Christmas show. Danny Pink will be back. How can I be certain? We’ve already met his grandson, the astronaut at the end of time. Therefore he is not really dead. I also suspect that the Master/Mistress teleported away rather than being disintegrated, since there was a blue flash (as with other teleport instances in the programme) and not a red one (the disintegration flash). He/she was shot by a Cyberman but that only clouds the outcome, it does not make it certain.

I am annoyed at the death of the clever geek girl. I liked her. She worked out who the Master was on her own. It had to be explained to the Doctor.

The Master did reincarnate quite prettily this time. Even so, I couldn’t… I’d keep seeing his earlier incarnations, including the very early one with the Fu Manchu moustache… *shudder*


The two-part show was based around the idea of an afterlife run so beurocratically you’d hardly notice you’d died. It even had a smarmy official with an iPad and a lot of intrusive questions. It did set me thinking.

Note that the following is not meant to be taken as fact. This is storytime thinking. Not science thinking.

What if… ghosts die?

I’ve played with this idea before. In ‘Samuel’s Girl’ I took the lazy way out and had the dead ghosts moan on the wind. There might be a more interesting way.

There are quite a few reported sightings of ghosts and yet when you consider how many billions of people have died through the ages, these sightings become extraordinarily rare. By now we should be shouldering our way through them. Where do they go? Why do we only ever meet the odd stray one living in an abandoned building or jumping out at passers-by?

Theory – we do not see the afterlife’s civilised part. We only ever happen across their homeless strays, or those among them who seek contanct with another world in the abandoned buildings. Most of the afterlifers have forgotten this life and don’t believe in us. Those of us we consider cranks and weirdoes meet the next life’s cranks and weirdoes.

What if that afterlife is not infinite though? Reported ghosts do tend to fade with time. A few persist. Well there are now seven billion of us and only one Reaper. He’s bound to have a backlog.

Suppose ghosts have a finite lifetime. It’s probably a lot longer than ours but they eventually die and become ghosts of ghosts. Ghoosts.

What if a few of the ghosts see the ghoosts and are regarded as cranks and weirdoes by the other ghosts?

Further, do ghoosts die? Do they then become ghooosts that only a few ghoosts see?

Is that the meaning of infinity? An infinite recursion of death, an infinity of afterlives and each one refusing to the see the next one, or the one before?

Are we really at the start of it? Perhaps there is a level before us, some of whom see us and are even now investigating whether we are real. Perhaps some of those the ghosthunters communicate with are the level before us, not the level after. Maybe we are the maze-rats studying the scientists.

Maybe it’s a circle… Eventual reincarnation after passing through a huge cycle. Maybe those cases of quick reincarnation – the very very rare ones that look pretty convincing – are short-circuits.

Either way it comes out pretty much the same. We die. A lot. Over and over again. Then we pass Go, collect $200 and roll the dice again. There is no end to it.

It’s not a pleasant scenario but then horror writers don’t write about cuddly puppies or fluffy kittens unless they are in conjunction with blenders or things with large teeth.

There is a short story in here somewhere. Possibly a whole collection. I’ve now written it down here and will print this out so it won’t be lost in among all the other stuff in my garage-sale of mental organisation. Then I’m going to let it stew for a while until it gets sparked.

I think… I think the idea itself is sufficiently disturbing. The stories it could spawn might turn out to be extraordinarily disturbing.

If I can work in tobacco and booze, they will be terrifying.


14 thoughts on “The Limbo between the long shifts.

  1. This reminded me of my fascination with the illustration on the box of Welgar Shredded Wheat. The little boy dressed as a Lifeguard holding a box of WSW on which you can see a repeat of the illustration. I wondered whether, if they were real, they would realize they were in concentric universes (didn’t have the vocabulary back then).

    When I googled WSW I found a site where at least three distinct people claimed that the model for the cover was a father or grandfather…


  2. I’m with you on geek girl. She was good. Danny? Not a good character, too “today”. Too easy to dislike and to wonder why he is attractive to Clara?

    I kind of like the Cybermen when they got sot and foam came out. How could you ever try to argue with logic with a machine based entirely on logic? It would immediately process the given information and the just as quickly act on it. No discussion, no arguing and no alternative.

    Santa might be fun then again not. The new Doctor is different as he should be and Capaldi harks back to the first Doctor.

    What about “Listen”?

    Ghosts? Can’t say I’ve thought about them much. They might be images from a different diamension, sort of bleeding through our perseived reality?


  3. Like some sort of perpetual motion machine?

    For what purpose? I dunno… something to do with perpetuating or marking time?

    I realise this is from the Fail, but NASA has discovered mysterious light in between galaxies (using CIBER 😉 ):

    Orphaned stars or ghosts flung out of the loop.

    I’ve loved this series of Doctor Who and I shed a tear over Danny and Clara last night. But then I am a girl 😉


  4. “Bureaucratic”.

    It’s a bugger of a word. I often have to use it, and if I am typing, then I always have to think.

    I try to keep it for passages or papers I dictate, then it comes up on screen naturally.


  5. XX Perhaps there is a level before us, some of whom see us and are even now investigating whether we are real.XX

    Did you ever read the Pan Horror books as a kid?

    One had a short story called something like “Inside out ghost story.” whereby someone from the future ends up putting the spooky shits up some Victorian family.

    Also makes me wonder about “Life on Mars.” But then, could you class him as a ghost….?

    The origional British one, not the total pile of imbicilic drivel U.S shite that they are trying to fob off on us.


    • The original UK version is superb but I didn’t mind the US version – the Ray Carling character was better developed. And Jason O’Mara is quite nice to look at 😉


    • Oh, I read the pan Horror books over and over.

      Also ‘The October Country’ short story collection by Ray Bradbury was a favourite. A bit of a departure from his normal SF fare but well worth it, for ‘The Scythe’ alone.


  6. The corpse transforming nanos could be programmed to convert any matter into anything else. That’s in my universe, anyway. The Trouble with Star Trek is that it can’t do ‘dark’ like Dr. Who, so Tribbles were not really Troubling, just a distraction. Like this reply, you’ve probably lost a significant portion of a minute, or a your thread mid-chapter. Sorry. Night night.


    • No distraction – I have been at work anyway, and after the two big shifts I just want a whisky. Writing is back in earnest for the next five days.

      The rain thing was too quick. Since the Master had all the time since those people died he could have had nanos working for decades. Mining the metals from the soil and the coffin parts, even from the fillings in dead teeth. The only ones they would need to work fast on would be the recently deceased – and in a mortuary, there is a lot of ready-to-use metal!

      You’re right about Star Trek. There was nothing really dark until the Borg – and I suspect they are only scary to those who understand Socialism’s real goal…


      • The Borg as a Leftwing allegory. Yup, that works, before the Borg ST was good old wholesome American Dream stuff. The Borg just shows how GOP-leaning ST may be.


  7. Daleks, Borg and Cybermen are really all a very similar solution to the same problem. If you are engaged in a war and you’re losing, you badly need better warriors and you need them fast. The problem is that constructing intelligences is really quite difficult and even very advanced computers just won’t do, because they lack the order pasted over a chaotic inside thing that biological intelligences do so well.

    So, what you do is take normal biological intelligences, armour them and implant a control computer that links into the biological mind via the emotional systems, and the punishment/reward centres. This is why Daleks can be made from so many different species, and why they are so rabidly xenophobic, even to the extent of attacking different models of Dalek. Daleks do not think when reacting to an encounter with another species; they react emotionally and they do so because their battle computer is forcing them to do so.

    This makes Daleks very good warriors, but introduces a fatal flaw so far not exploited very much by the Doctor: Identify Friend Foe (IFF) spoofing. If you can mess up the IFF identification of a Dalek such that it thinks everything it encounters is a foe, then very quickly you engender a civil war in Dalek society, and because a Dalek will likely be under no illusions as to how incredibly unpopular Daleks are, once another Dalek unit fires at it, it will immediately assume that something is controlling some or all other Daleks and start assuming everything else is hostile. The trick here is to set this one off when you’re well out of the way, because this is one shooting war that is only going to get worse very, very quickly.

    A similar spoofing trick would work on Cybermen and Borg as well, though not quite so effectively. Cybermen have always struck me as much more introspective aliens than are Daleks; a Cyberman struck with the illusion that everybody was out to get it might well sit down and try to reason out what was going on, rather than go all Rambo and shoot everything.


    • It would work very well on Daleks, as you say, but Borg adapt to new threats quickly.

      Daleks would keep shooting until there was only one left but the Borg would simply re-assimilate each other.

      Which is why it’s so hard to eradicate socialism as an ideology. It’s more Borg than Dalek.


First comments are moderated to keep the spambots out. Once your first comment is approved, you're in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.