A Violin Prodigy’s Legendary Handjobs Lead to Scientific Breakthrough

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WHY WE BUILT A TELEPORTATION MACHINE AND WHY IT WAS A BAD IDEA: MARCUS LANDERS’ ORAL HISTORY ABOUT THE INVENTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST MATTER TRANSFERENCE DEVICE | James Brubaker

Booth.

⇒”Why We Built a Teleportation Machine…” is a truly cool short story with a very long-winded title. Normally, I would devote a few sentences of this write-up to orienting the reader to the premise/plot of the story in question, but that isn’t so necessary here. After all, the title of Brubaker’s story says it all: it’s about the narrator and his friend Stevie’s at-home science project in which they construct a teleportation machine so that Stevie can teleport himself to Massachusetts to be with his violin prodigy girlfriend Tiffany, who, as I explained in the title of today’s post, gives pretty exceptional handjobs.

Therefore, the development of one of the most revolutionary technologies in human history comes about because of a college drop-out’s quest to be with his girlfriend. Sounds about right.

This is a really fun, pop culture savvy piece (lots of references to early 90s video game console Sega Genesis), and it’s written in a discursive style that fits really well with the “oral history” form that the author has selected for this piece. The first sentence of this story is probably one of the longest sentences you’ll have read all day.

As in any work of literature in which a great scientific innovation is the central concern, something goes wrong. In some stories, the “something goes wrong” conflict may be simply that the technology fails to accomplish what it was meant to, or accomplishes the objective in a manner that proves problematic; in other stories, the technological-innovation-gone-wrong theme may arise not from the innovation’s failure but from the characters’ inability to handle the technology’s implications. This piece seems to contain a little of both conflicts.

Ultimately, this story accomplishes something that most sci-fi/speculative/technology-focused stories strive for: a development that calls into question what it is to be human. This story does so very effectively, but in a way that’s not preachy or reductive. More than anything, this story is fun. And fun, in my view, is one of the greatest things a story can achieve.

Read this amazing short story over at Booth!

 

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