Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cut-up poem experiment – Forty Thousand In Gehenna

(original book by C J Cherryh)

Additional non-citizen personnel
Stocked in dock at Cyteen station
Stepwise, we inch up-ramp
Joyless, we are gathered
To build a world
The Governor
(soon we shall call him Governor)
He knows who lives
In the down-spaces of the ship
Experienced and eerie
He tells us that the world is
To be landed and loved
Newport, Year One
Green forest of saplings
On a hazy shore
But we earth-movers will build there
Locate our assignments
Start our work
And how we fare
You have no true idea.


- Use percentile dice to randomly select pages from among first 100 of book
- Use dice to randomly select sentences
- Select key phrases in sentences
- Arrange phrases to reassemble narrative and create poem
- Tweak phrases until content.


Forty Thousand in Gehenna is an SF novel by C J Cherryh about the colonisation of a new world. Its most striking feature is the 'Azi', non-citizen clones transported with the colonists to be labourers and serfs, programmed to serve and taken through space in scenes reminiscent of Brave New World spliced with the Long Passage of slave ships from Africa.

I picked the book for this experiment mainly because it had the word 'Gehenna' in the title – Cherryh's written much better, more interesting books than this – and I was looking for a poem I could try out my Wolves In The Throne Room-inspired black metal voice on. :-)

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