“What the Hell is Hauntology?”: A Reading List for 2019’s Theme by M. Perle Tahat

2019’s theme for TERSE. is hauntology: nostalgia for lost futures. As our columnist Jordannah Elizabeth bluntly asked, “what the hell is ‘hauntology’?” Hauntology, as we’d like to explore it, is a way to describe a phenomenon related to resonances of traumatic events; a coming to terms with “what’s been done” in the present based on the arc of the past in order to reclaim the future; an examination of futures lost but remembered in fragments like deja vu. Afrofuturists position the concept of hauntology as discovering “countermemories” through history and situating them in full view. What if alternate futures and … Continue reading “What the Hell is Hauntology?”: A Reading List for 2019’s Theme by M. Perle Tahat

“GROWING SWIRLING CLOUDS” By Thea Boodhoo

“Mark died yesterday, Margery.” My tone was patient, sad but not distraught. The time for distraught was past, I thought. “Coral, don’t joke about those things. He was right here a few minutes ago.” I found a serious expression in my database and displayed it for her. “It’s not a joke, Margery. He left us yesterday morning. We’re saying goodbye as soon as you’re ready for the ceremony.” Margery wore her work uniform–a faded blue jumpsuit–and had her thin, white hair pulled up in a small bun. The jumpsuit no longer fit her well. It had been made for a … Continue reading “GROWING SWIRLING CLOUDS” By Thea Boodhoo

“Science news: Octopuses came to Earth from space as frozen eggs millions of years ago” by Caroline Grand-Clement

(after an article by Ciaran McGrath in Express) i am too colorful for their fragile eyes so i hide in empty vases, shapeshift into silent pride. they have called me too complicated on eight different occasions & eight times i have screamed back coward. afraid of what they cannot figure out they have broken my hope to ever find a home again. i orbit around this planet of blues, seep into its belly, resurface only to wrap my arms around their sorry throats. i am an alien with too many arms & not enough bones in my body to call … Continue reading “Science news: Octopuses came to Earth from space as frozen eggs millions of years ago” by Caroline Grand-Clement

“Surface Tension” by Gary Hartley

The oil has spilled and we know it is coming. It will not be contained. There will be no expertise right there where it happened and none when it arrives, because it is us here, just us, with no expertise. Beaches await dark blankets and dead feather beds. Over there, the robots are heading our way, from inland and on planes and from the places that the majority can only describe in terms like ‘nowhere’. We have made eye contact but not acknowledged each other meaningfully. We reap some benefits at this point of course; they have not pulled their … Continue reading “Surface Tension” by Gary Hartley

“WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE GREAT FISH CAME GNAWING?” by Cavin Bryce

The Earth existed then as one all consuming ocean spotted with a single island near the equator. It was a thin strip of sand only four feet in length at its widest point, but warm and soft so the native boys never complained. The sky was only ever perfectly covered in thick, morphing clouds. It rained incessantly. On this island lived a pack of feral boys, the last of the humans. Their skin was honey colored, a hue reminiscent of sunlight refracted through amber. The boy’s sported differentiating features spare their skin tone; the colors of their eyes, shapes of … Continue reading “WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE GREAT FISH CAME GNAWING?” by Cavin Bryce

Walmart World Heritage Site by Wes Bishop

In the distant future, a Walmart in Cleveland, Ohio is a World Heritage Site. It is at an excavated and preserved location where people vacation and teachers march their students to see how their ancestors lived. A reenactor, blue vested and labeled “How Can I Help You?” greets the crowds like a jovial clown. They ask how tall people are as they shuffle into the museum, and when people answer they smack their head and feign ignorance. “What did you say? I don’t know metric!” People laugh and try to convert the distance they’ve traveled into “Standard.” The reenactor assists. … Continue reading Walmart World Heritage Site by Wes Bishop