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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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The Thinking Molecules of Titan: Ending by Davin K. Kubota

[Editor's note: This is a continuation of a story Roger was working on when he passed away. This ending is one of many we received. To read Roger's beginning to the story, from the end of which each entry picks up the thread, go here. Illustration by Krishna Bala Shenoi.]

Davin K. Kubota writes:

"Oh it fails, alright, but not like a failed Mozart," countered Regan. "It fails deliciously, beautifully, but more like a Gershwin," she added, finishing off her dessert.

Regan savored the last morsels, her dibbies of the crumb cake, nodding her head to some mysterious beats that only she could discern, digesting her own claims as she nibbled furiously.

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Mason coughed.

Regan continued: "Gershwin's notes, if you would indulge my possible false analogy, seem like random, flawed SETI blips lost in the grand synergies of a cosmic symphony that might never make sense lest the listener attune themselves to the promise that those blips possess meaning...but if and only if, the listener is inclined to hear some holistic, overarching pattern."

"And you, Regan, can obviously hear these patterns, yes?" asked Mason, his tongue seemingly sampling the beers and the mood, curiously. He placed his index fingers above his head so as to suggest the notion of Regan as a green-skinned Amazon with bulbous red optics and satellite dish aural enhancements—Martian Empress Regan, matriarch of the galaxy.

A seeming glint in Regan's spectacles seemed to glimmer, a bit akin to the fading glint of Voyager hurling across vast distances, picking up the last few flickers of our sun upon its burnished hull, searching as it were, for someone out there to know...US.

"That's why it's a Gershwin and not a Mozart," she smiled, her voice narrowing into a hopeful wisp's. "Gershwin knew the notes might fall short every time. He left it up to his audience to fill in the soft cadences of his failures with their own notes. He knew that the ephemeral music of life was dubious yet magical."

Slipping on her headphones and dusting off crumb cake morsels from her wrinkled clothing, Regan put her index fingers next to her temples, smiled gloriously at Mason, and began humming a few bars of "Rhapsody in Blue" on her way out the door.

THE END

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