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The pulp writer had to admit that writing advertising copy came much more easily than fiction.
Probably, the pulp writer was chucking eight cents down the sewer, but that was too much money to think about. It was all wrong; past perfect tense, the old scientist’s name couldn’t be introduced without the sentence reading even more clumsily, and by introducing equations in the first graf the pulp writer was practically inviting some reader to send in a letter demanding that the equations be printed in the next issue, so that he could check them with his slide rule.“But, up here, it just never stops.” He pointed to his temple. Big, with a huge right hand that wrapped around the beer stein like a towel. The pulp writer was Lenny Lick, Lurlene St Lovelace, Leonard Carlson—and whomever else it took to get a sale. “You don’t have to think about work at all the second you step through the factory gates and rejoin the rest of us unemployed chumps down here at the bar. Eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, eight hours for what we will? So he took a look as he walked along St Mark’s Street and into the West Village and read: Have You Heard Of INDUSTRIVISM?? Industrivism was the idea of “intrapersonal industrial development”, of using “psychological and philosophical methods to improve the self” and become a superior being.In the same way that factories made superior products by assembling them one step at a time, so too could a human being be improved by embracing “psycho-industrial processes” that would refine and eventually perfect both mind and body.He was a foreigner, obviously, and had little idea what Americans wanted: not just crazy promises, but crazy promises that could be fulfilled without effort and with plenty of riches, revival meeting hooey, and a Sandow physique to boot. And down the block at Schmitty’s, the pulp writer’s friend Jake was always ready to drink F&M beer on somebody else’s dime. Machine guns and mini-dirigibles and pocket-stills, and . ” and she said “Never mind.” The pulp writer licked her lips. Jake didn’t know if he was strictly allowed to read the commissioned work, but he always helped himself to the first few pages when delivering the manuscripts to the publishing companies, and saw no reason why tonight should be any different.“Oh my, could I use a catnap right about now,” said Jake to the pulp writer with a yawn. Her specialty was scientifiction, but she also did romance pulps, and Jake was heavily involved in the scheme—he delivered the manuscripts to the office downtown, throwing them over the transoms of the editors of . He took a long sip of his beer, and didn’t bother to wipe the suds from his lip. After all, it was Jake who recommended her to the old man in the first place.So, uh, “enjoy”: We Never Sleep by Nick Mamatas The pulp writer always started stories the same way: Once upon a time.
And then, the pulp writer always struck right through those words: It was habit, and a useful one, though on a pure keystroke basis striking four words was like taking a nickel, balancing it carefully on a thumbnail, and then flicking it right down the sewer grate to be washed out to sea.
Both the Communist and the Christian agree—the workaday world of the shop-floor and the noisome machine rob us of our essential humanity.
Even during our leisure hours, our limbs ache from eight hours of travail, our ears ring with the echoes of the assembly line. The pulp writer’s fingers were as mangled as any pieceworker’s thanks to the Underwood’s sticky keys, and there was no International Brotherhood of Fictioneers Local Thirty-Four to help a body when the cramps got bad or the brain seized up. “My mistake.” He burped lightly then muttered, “Wobblies.
The very first step was the hardest—admitting that you were a know-it-all, or a wallflower, or a bohemian, or a workaday drudge, a second-hander, or a thug. Once you had determined your own Essential Flaw, there were a number of exercises one could do to become a True Industrivist, a superior being able to control one’s own fate.
The pamphlet only hinted at what these exercises might be, but Jake was intrigued, even as he diagnosed himself as an also-ran.
Industrivism resolves the contradiction by embracing it. You’re no longer just a cog, you’re the blueprint, the design, the firing piston of a great diesel— It was possible to write this junk all right, but the pulp writer couldn’t imagine that anyone would believe it. Speaking of brain seizures, it was time for a drink. I can’t believe you’re still talking about the wobblies.” They finished their beers in silence. Who would believe that criminals would employ scientists and engineers, the rejection slips said, and besides the story made it seem like crime paid.