Follow Me Through Anarchy

[Begin of excerpt.]

A Strange Attractor

A Strange Attractor

—at the match—

This is a game about a game. Imagine yourself in Alex’s (f/m) place, and at the indicated crossroads choose one option of three. Points will be awarded according to:

  • appropriateness;
  • insightfulness;
  • fullofitfullness;

A bit against her liking, Alex’s friends take him to a match: the match. She’s not a big football fan, but his friends are so enthusiastic, so into it that they persuade her to join them this once. And it’s a good test, too: see if he can stand the noise and the crazy atmosphere: must talk, must interact. At a match this important she should be:

  1. Very happy and lucky to have a ticket at all;
  2. Stay home and avoid the inevitable fights;
  3. Sell the ticket to the highest bidder;

Alex doesn’t have anything in the right colours, but her friends provide him with:

  1. The right outfit for the Blue-White Army;
  2. A helmet, a kevlar vest and pepper spray (in Yellow-and-Blue, of course);
  3. A flat flask to hide booze and a plastic, odourtight bag to hide the drugs (in Yellow-and-White, of course);

Once inside the stadium—on one of the season tickets of a friend who couldn’t make it—Alex finds out that the game is between:

  1. Metaconsiousness United vs. Réal Indívidual;
  2. Houston Space Cowboys vs. Glasgow Time Rangers;
  3. Uncollapsed Wave Front vs. Keppler’s Laws;

Metaconsciousness United is united in almost every sense of the word: their passes find each other with uncanny ease, their position play is near-perfect, they switch from defence to attack and vise-versa so effortless that they almost seem the same, they seek, test and exploit an opponent’s weakness with an unnerving verve, and all that in total silence. Their lack of theatrics and footy curses is more than compensated for by the Indívidualistas, whose players fight for ball possession like demons possessed, and once they have that ball they will only release it after a spectacular show of singular brilliance, or after it has hit the ropes.

The Space Cowboys play it broad, deep and high, using every square metre on and above the field (regretting that their ‘deep-forward-in-space’ is only allowed in geosynchronous orbit) while the Time Rangers use their ages-old timeshare technique: sometimes there are less—considerably less—than eleven players in the field, sometimes more—a lot more, but the average of every player is exactly 90 minutes (plus extra time).

The players of UWF are hard to distinguish: the moment their pass is pure, their positions are vague, and the moment their positions are clear, their passes are all over the place. The Kepplers, on the other hand, have such a ballistic perfection to their shots that any freekick within 40 metres of the goal is more dangerous than a penalty.

The goal from the freekick needs to be approved/disapproved(*) because:

  1. The Metaconsciousness shot went over the Individualistas’ defense wall with a perfect curve into the far cross, but was taken without thinking and before the referee gave the signal;
  2. The Time Rangers made the ball go through the Space Cowboys defense wall by setting part of the ball’s trajectory in a time when the wall wasn’t there;
  3. The ball went through the two holes in the Keppler defense wall at the same time;

The player scoring the winning goal was offside/not offside(*) because:

  1. After eloquently outplaying five of these mindless drones and my subsequent brilliant pass there was no way Particulare could be offside: in such a case, beauty supersedes mundane stuff like location;
  2. This was a metatemporal pass given several minutes before/after(*) P. Tense received it, free as a bird;
  3. At the moment of passing, the referee measured Wavepart’s exact impulse, so his position was completely uncertain;

In the interview after the match, the winning coach states:

  1. We won because our players are at their best when they don’t think when they’re playing;
  2. We won because our supporters are at their most ferocious when they don’t think about who they are supporting;
  3. We won because we have a:
  •  foreign oil baron—
  • silicon valley entrepreneur—
  •  mindless state—

Sponsoring us like mad;

Ultimately, football is a sport where:

  1. So many things hinge on random chance and pure luck that not always the best team wins;
  2. So many times its space is too limited and in so many spaces its timing is off: evolve it into space/timeball;
  3. So many observers limit its true potentiality: the best and the worst could win, and everything in between;

(*) = delete as appropriate.

Chaoscope Plasma Core

Chaoscope Plasma Core

[End of excerpt.]

  • Originally appeared in the latest re-incarnation Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds #1, November 2012;
  • Reprinted in XIII-Stories of Transformation #2, edited by Mark Teppo, March 2015;


Review Quotes:

“Follow Me Through Anarchy” by Jetse de Vries: Alex Sanders has been neutered and shifts from male to female and back again constantly. The narrative alternates between masculine and feminine pronouns. The story spotlights various times in Alex’s life: a conference with a man named Tanaka, walking through a village of only one-way streets in a fruitless search for a fishing rod, young Alex hiding in a tree from people seeking him/her, in “the organic library of Abbonly where the books keep changing”, at a very unusual football (soccer) match, a very unusual concert. All this relates to what Tanaka is and why he’s talking to Alex. This is a wildly, anarchical tale but one should just go with the flow. It is quite remarkable.
— Sam Tomaino
Jetse de Vries’s “Follow Me Through Anarchy” can be summed up in the title. Alex is an autistic, presumably, so obsessed with androgyny, so focused on communication and interaction that he/she has become both, all and nothing of everything. Alex has lost her/his ability to remain in one time, place or state, and through his/her interview with the strangely insightful, frighteningly intelligent Tanaka, Alex is whipped in and out of reality, philosophy and physics, anchored to everything and nothing, with a tenuous grip on what is real and what isn’t.
Unfortunately, while “Follow Me Through Anarchy” does pull itself together in the last couple pages in an attempt to make some sense, much of the beginning of the story truly is anarchy. A cacophony of information barely touched upon before the next topic is introduced, it becomes hard for the reader to tell what is important and what is not. If it is meant as an introduction into the thought process of an autistic individual, then this jumbled, chaotic presentation of scenes makes more sense. If not, I’m not sure what, exactly, the story is about; de Vries asks the reader to hold too many cards throughout this lengthy story and by the end, half of them have tumbled to the ground.
— Nicky Magas

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