Literary / Jellyfish Dreams, an e-novella by Honolulu writer M. Thomas Gammarino, jams a universe of ideas into a tiny package–like maybe 175 kilobytes. It’s hard to imagine a more ambitious work of short fiction, taking on as it does the illusory of time, the mystery of religion, the logic of science versus faith (or the lack of difference between the two) and the human capacity for love in life, death and immortality, illustrated by quotes from Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre–all in what might be too brisk a read to ever let these ideas totally sink in.
Sam, a sort of agnostic philosophizing scientist, drops his bookmark while reading one day and, when reaching under his sofa to pick it up, discovers a black hole. As the world turns to the quandary of why a black hole would appear, and more and more people fanatically and methodically jump into the abyss of it, potentially “spaghettifying” themselves as it is described, Sam tries to process what this all means in relation to getting over the death of his love, Camille.
Gammarino writes with the quick eloquence and absurdity of a modern Donald Barthelme, as if he holds his jokes in his cheeks and spits them out at the right moment. He’s satirical of our devotion to capital-U Unknowns–the hole simultaneously representing faith, science and the void of love, and illustrating that the subscribers to each of these opposing philosophies (“Mystics & Skeptics”) are essentially the same: mere believers.
M. Thomas Gammarino
Kindle Single, 175kb (76 pages), $1.99