Jacob Siegel

“The machine is a god for making universes”

This coming Thursday, May 31stLABAlive II will present an evening of subversive art and teachings based on this year’s theme, WAR & PEACE. The evening will feature LABA teacher Liel Leibovitz and works-in-progress by LABA Fellows Tal GurAmy Handelsman, and Jacob Siegel. Author Siegel serves up an excerpt from the novel-in-progress he’ll present at the event.

from The Cracked Screen

“Two minutes, the simulation’s almost finished,” Agent Sladik said, not looking up from his screen. “Shut the door and have a seat; the new accommodations aren’t bad.”

Dentillo shut the door behind him and looked around. The first thing he noticed was the basket of multicolored coffee pods offering a variety of flavors next to the sleek, single-use machine. Budget cuts that had forced his own department to revert to the unsanitary practice of a shared coffee pot had clearly spared the Office of Digital Operations. Noting the hum of the server stacks in the temperature-controlled environment, Dentillo felt bile creep up in his throat. He pulled out his phone and began scrolling through old text messages to calm himself.

“Do you know what Henri Bergson said?” Sladik broke in.

Dentillo had worked with Sladik long enough to know better than to make a foil of himself by asking whether he meant Bergson from accounting. He said nothing.

“Another one trying to undo Kant,” Sladik said. “A new dualism. But really, multiplicity.”

Sladik looked up from the screen.

“Ah. Finished. Now we’ll see what this Dunman will do.”

Dentillo put his phone away.

“The universe is a machine for the making of Gods, okay?” Sladek said. “This is what Bergson said: ‘The universe is a machine for the making of Gods.’ But it’s wrong. Totally wrong.”

Dentillo crossed the room. “Richard, I need the vectors report. We still have him in custody.”

“Bergson had it wrong.” He handed Dentillo the stack of freshly printed paper. “It is the other way. The machine is a god for making universes.”

Dentillo took the papers and headed towards the door.

“You know,” Sladik said, “we upload all of these reports so everyone can print from their own office.”

Turning into the hallway, Dentillo made no effort to close the door behind him.




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