Fictional Reading Lists: Yute and Samal

I recently saw an exercise online where authors wrote up lists of real-life books that they thought their characters would like to read if they were brought into our world. I thought it’d be fun to write up lists for two of my characters: Yute, a psychopathic immortality-seeker who disarms people with his wit and charm, and Samal, a sea-wizard and vagabond who has devoted his life to becoming a selfless, benevolent survivor.

Yute

Yute, as I’ve explained in detail in a previous post, is meant to be a charismatic psychopath. He’s charming, worldly, well-read, self-reflective, inquisitive, intelligent, and deeply egocentric. As I was building his list, I realized that it was really a syllabus for a bizarre kind of self-education: Yute doesn’t read for pleasure, he reads to learn things, hence the large amount of non-fiction titles. His choices in Western philosophy reveal a strong interest into the nature of being and self, which connects to his obsession with the soul and immortality.

The 48 Laws of Power would be one of his bibles. Because Yute is an inherently manipulative and egocentric person, he views others as tools for his own advancement. He has a strong desire to control others, and he accomplishes this through his glib charm and charisma. Everything he does around other people is part of a performance, meant to advance his own ends, and 48 Laws reflects this mindset. The handbook on interrogations characterizes his intent when it comes to conversations and manipulation–instead of reading a book on clear communication, he goes instead for a book on how to provoke confessions and guide discussion through deception and coercion.

With his need of a ‘mask of sanity’ to hide his intentions, I realized Yute would be drawn to Montaigne and David Sedaris in order to familiarize himself with popular commentators’ wide-ranging views on daily life and experience–as a hermit and scholar, he needs to fill gaps in his knowledge of the world outside scholarship and be able to relate to more common folk. At the same time, he’s interested in the extreme ends of human experience, from enlightenment (there are two Zen titles, by Alan Watts and Lin Chi respectively) to absolute depravity and cruelty (120 Days of Sodom).

  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers
  • The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions by Gisli Gudjonsson
  • Sein Und Zeit by Hegel
  • A Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
  • The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day
  • The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
  • Three Hundred Mile Tiger by Lin Chi, translated by Soke-an
  • H.P Lovecraft: the Great Tales by H.P. Lovecraft
  • 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade
  • The Fractal Form of Nature by Benoit Mandelbrot
  • Fractals: Form, Chance, and Dimension by Benoit Mandelbrot
  • The Secret Teachings of All the Ages by Manly P. Hall
  • The Mystical Qabbalah by Dion Fortune

Samal

I was surprised when I composed this list–I didn’t expect Samal, a sea-wizard, to lean so heavily towards tales of survival, but the more I thought about his interests and aspirations, I realized that what draws him towards books like Into Thin Air and Endurance is the idea of individuals overcoming death through sheer force of will (or being conquered themselves). Samal is influenced heavily by his belief that a wizard is meant to be a pillar that holds up the rest of the world, and as such, must be able to survive anything. Despite his well-developed sense of humor and tendency toward being an extrovert, I found that his personal reading would reflect his constant quest to become a bona-fide sea-wizard.

I added two books related to martial arts: The Art of Peace, which informs Samal’s approach toward conflict and his interest in a fighting style that is benevolent and effective, and Vagabond, which parallels his journey to understand what it means to be a bona-fide wizard. Like Samal, Inoue’s Miyamoto Musashi meets old masters and struggles to understand them. One of the most relevant parts of Vagabond is probably the scene where I’nei and Sekishusai meet Ise No Kami, who tells them that “his sword is one with heaven and earth.” Embedded in this scene is the essence of Samal’s quest to understand the true meaning of being a wizard, just as Musashi searches for the meaning of invincibility.

Samal’s choice of fiction reflects his interest in sea tales and adventure (Robinson Crusoe and Monte Cristo), but Ficciones speaks to his sense of imagination and wonder. As a sailor, his travels take him to unimaginable and exotic places that expand his mind, and I thought he would be interested in Borges’ explorations of the bizarre and wondrous. Lord of the Flies, on the other hand, speaks to Samal’s deepest fears: the betrayal of one’s own humanity and one’s inherent kinship with other human beings. The fact that it takes place on a deserted island makes it even more relatable to him, as a sailor. I imagine Samal having nightmares of his own pig-head, telling him to despair and abandon his desire to save others.

  • The Encyclopedia of Russian Prison Tattoos, Vol 1 and 2 by Damon Murray
  • Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba
  • Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue Inoue
  • Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Journey by Alfred Lansing
  • Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Fictional Reading Lists: Yute and Samal

Iaido, Wing Chun, and ‘After the Rain’: Reflections on Martial Arts

I started taking wing chun classes at City Wing Tsun in Manhattan recently. In the two months since I began, it’s been a great experience, partly because the people are almost universally friendly, and partly because doing martial arts has made me feel more at peace.

Practicing some of the forms in wing chun reminded me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Ame Agaru, or After the Rain. The movie follows Misawa I’hei, a ronin, and his wife, who are staying at an inn. After stopping a duel, Misawa gains the attention of the local ruler, who invites him to interview for the position of master-at-arms at his castle. Misawa turns out to be an unparalleled swordsman, but his weakness is his kindness and humbleness–as one character says, Misawa’s empathy toward his opponents (who inevitably lose) ends up coming across as mocking them, and Misawa himself seems resigned to being perpetually unlucky and undeserving of any good things that come his way.

The scene I was reminded of is a three-minute sequence in the forest, where Misawa is practicing drawing and sheathing his sword:

After two months of Siu Nim Tao, the first form of wing chun, I had a new respect for this scene, which seems pretty simple and boring at first glance. So much time and attention is given to the minute, almost ritualistic movements Misawa uses in the simple act of pulling out and putting away his weapon. When I first watched the movie, I was struck by how long the scene went on, that there was no music or dialogue, and that the director/screenwriter had chosen to forego doing another episodic fight scene in favor of a contemplative scene where Misawa reflects on how useless he is.

For comparison, here’s what Siu Nim Tao looks like:

One of our instructors at City Wing Tsun told us that he’d attended a class of high-level wing chun martial artists who practiced this form so slowly and deliberately that the set took them an hour to complete. Their movements were so gradual that you couldn’t tell they were moving, like the hands of a clock.

Looking back on that scene from After the Rain, it makes more sense to me. Rather than a weird little digression that fails to advance the plot, it touches upon something essential about Misawa: without delving into exposition or his past, it shows that this is someone who has dedicated his life to his art, and has maybe even mastered it. The fact that he does it alone, in the middle of the woods, hints that his path toward mastery was completed alone, and that like a tree falling in the woods, it’s still real even if he’s the only one who appreciates it.

But the end of the scene, where Misawa reflects on his uselessness and how his wife is the only thing that gives his life value, is most important of all: at this point in the movie, Misawa has just fucked up his interview in a catastrophic duel with his potential lord, and once again ruined an opportunity for his (and his wife’s) happiness. Him saying he’s useless, to me, just seemed like dejection, kind of a hapless “I can’t do anything right!” But in the context of his iaido, it seems like he’s saying “What good is mastering the sword if it doesn’t bring you happiness?”

Misawa may be the polar opposite of Miyamoto Musashi in Vagabond, which is my favorite manga series: Musashi is a swordsman driven by a desire to be invincible, and enters his fights with bloodlust and brute strength. Misawai I’hei enters his fights with benevolent intentions, either attempting to defuse the battle or hurriedly asking his enemy if they’re okay once he’s disarmed them. But I think both realize that at the end of the way of the sword is another path that doesn’t need the sword at all.

Iaido, Wing Chun, and ‘After the Rain’: Reflections on Martial Arts

My New Post on Magical Warfare Is up on Fantasy Faction!

Here are the opening lines:

“Fallout taught fans that war…war never changes. Military historians, however, argue otherwise. Case in point: the stirrup.

Before firearms dominated the battlefield, it’s generally agreed that the stirrup was the most important innovation in warfare for a couple centuries. Fans of the Rohirrim will recognize why: cavalry is fast and maneuverable, and the stirrup allows the rider to swing swords, carry lances, and fire arrows with ease. Anyone who doesn’t have an army equipped with stirrupped cavalry is doomed to be dominated by those who do. As a result, the stirrup changed the way armies waged war and (arguably) the very face of medieval Europe. Keep in mind, the stirrup is a piece of leather that’s attached to the saddle.

With that in mind, what would magic do to warfare?”

You can read the article on Fantasy Faction here!

Link

Worldbuilding: Bloodless Warfare in a World Without Death

 

On a basic level, symmetrical warfare (where two sides line up on a field and attack) is governed by a lot of recognized principles and tactics, like envelopment, flanking, retreats, charges, and routs. For my world, I wanted to approach warfare differently by introducing two twists: first, magic is incorporated into combat, and second, killing people is forbidden.

The reason I wanted combat in my world to be non-lethal is because death in my world functions differently from other fantasy worlds: rather than being sent to a vague and mostly opaque afterlife, people know that their souls will be expelled from their bodies and doomed to exist in a half-conscious state here on earth, constantly craving the things that drove them in life. The world, as I imagined it, is already suffused with ghosts who are tied to familial obligations as guardian spirits or left to aimlessly wander. Meanwhile, the living are obsessed with living forever and extending their lives. Warfare, then, has to be shaped around this institutional fear of death.

With that in mind, I took some notes on how I envisioned warfare would look in my world:

“Killing your opponent is taboo, and a violation of the rules of war. Instead, your focus is to incapacitate enemies and capture them. Mortal injury (including cleaving off limbs) is fine, as long as the person does not die. Capturing can occur after or during the battle, but you must keep enemies from rescuing their own allies on the battlefield and bringing them back to their lines.”

“Armies are not made of professional soldiers, and are instead peopled by a mix of militias, career soldiers (like samurai), and mages. Mages form the heart of each unit, which can range from 5 people to 50 people. There is no external organization to the forces, and armies are loosely commanded by a war council.”

“At the periphery of the battlefield are healers and enchanters, who support the army by healing the injured (both friendly and captured enemies) and enchanting their allies with spells that prevent physical or magical damage. It is not permissible to attack these healers or support mages, but it is permissible to capture them without violence.”

“Honor is one of the key constraints of combat. Those who do not obey the rules of combat are stigmatized and punished harshly. It’s dishonorable to try to escape once you’re captured and held by the enemy. False surrenders and disobeying parlay rules are also forbidden. Everything else, including sabotage, spies, subterfuge, torture, hostages, and ambushes are permitted but looked down upon.”

“There are different kinds of mages. In my mage hierarchy, wizards are elites. Sorcerers, illusionists, witches, and hedge wizards are all lower on the hierarchy. They can be very specialized and even more capable at certain tasks than wizards, but they are not as all-around powerful and adaptable as a wizard. Mages can use any magic they want, as long as its non-lethal.”

“There are three kinds of magic: spoken magic, similar to chanting or shouting, movement magic, similar to martial arts kata, and written magic, which is made of spell maps imposed on skin or objects. There does exist anti-magic measures, which are dependent on the kind of magic being used. For spoken magic, anything that disrupts speech or sound can jam a spell. For movement magic, anything that restricts the necessary movement of the body (arm and leg movements, etc.). For written magic, contact has to be made with the written surface to jam it or break it.”

“Other rules:
1. Biological warfare is not allowed.
2. Healers must do everything in their power to keep enemy soldiers alive, as well as their own soldiers. In case of a conflict, friendly soldiers take precedence.
3. Psychological warfare is permitted.
4. Captured enemy soldiers must not be allowed to die, even after the battle is over. Their well-being is entirely entrusted to their captors, who are honor-bound to keep them alive.
5. Sieges are permissible, as is the capture of non-combatants. In the case of sieges, the attacking army may impose conditions upon a community that will result in eventual death—cutting off water and food supplies, etc. It is up to the community to survive or surrender.”

“Since death is taboo, lethality is not permitted in warfare. Incapacitating an opponent through cunning or strength is mandated, with capturing an opponent being the ultimate goal. When enough units are incapacitated and captured, a victory is declared. With these conditions, individual bravery and recklessness (since there is no chance of death) is much more common than normal. Ransoms are paid to reclaim captured combatants, which enrich the capturing parties’ individual families and bring them prestige.”

“Armor, wrestling, blunt weapons, and physical strength (the ability to induce trauma on a body) are key components to normal warfare, with individuals attempting to incapacitate one another via melee being the main method. In addition to this, magic comes into play as safeguards and offensive tools: almost all mages and combatants have some kind of enchantment which limits physical or elemental harm, such as draw-redirect or targeting with ranged spells (without touch). To overcome these magical defenses, physical touch is required to make interface with another being, and hand-to-hand combat is highly prized as a final execution method to incapacitate an enemy.

All of this results in combatants and mages wearing extremely comprehensive, full-body armor and weaving heavy enchantments around themselves. Ranged attacks in general combat are generally meant to “jam” enemies’ enchantments and “soften” them for melee combat.’

“Armies are generally made up of family or familial alliance units, individual vagabonds, bands of companions, and mages and their entourages. The center of every unit is a mage, with each having their own specialty. Armies are usually below 1,000 units and are commonly 80-200 units, with a council of warleaders representing their constituents. Actual warfare is very loose and chaotic, with routs and intimidation common. Mages and strong soldiers form the morale center of their armies, and have the essential ability to rally their forces with their bravery or cunning.”

“Every battle can become extremely chaotic and changeable, since mages can employ almost any tool in their magical arsenal to turn the tide. Illusions are common to try and fake out enemies, as well as techniques that alter or disrupt the field of battle. Diseases are against the rules of war, but fire, water, earthquakes, light, animals, and extreme force are permitted as long as they are not lethal.”

“Ghost warfare is also an integral part of warfare—ghosts are martialed and invoked to protect their families and assist them in battle, which can take the form of weather, physical manifestations or possessions (including golems and mannikins), decay or weaving of spells. Ghosts can be unpredictable and hard to combat, and so a channeler/sorcerer or necromancer is generally a major asset in large-scale warfare.”

“Horses and cavalry are generally avoided because of horses’ ease of being incapacitated or frightened by ghosts, magic, mages, or illusions. However, they are utilized for fast travel and mobility.”

Worldbuilding: Bloodless Warfare in a World Without Death

Programmer Spells: The Two-Ton Punch

I’ve spoken a bit about how spells would work in my world, but for a long time I’ve struggled to figure out the details of the nuts-and-bolts mechanics. I’ve drawn inspiration for my spells from computer coding, but I don’t know how to code or the syntax of any programming languages. So with that in mind, I decided to do some research on Python this weekend and see if I could use some of the basic elements of programming to write a rudimentary spell, as I imagined it.

The spell I decided to write out is a draw-redirect spell, one of the first spells I ever came up with. It was originally inspired by Soto’s magical abacus in Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time, which allowed the monk to move around kinetic force stored in falling bodies (namely, the protagonist Lobsang Ludd). I liked the idea of a spell that could absorb force and redirect it, and after researching martial arts like Aikido and Judo, I thought it’d be a great technique for a martial artist-mage.

The character I had in mind was the Dyer, a mage who had little to no muscle mass, but could topple much stronger foes by absorbing the kinetic force of their blows and redirecting it into his strikes. Here’s what I came up with for a sketch of the spell:

The Dyer’s Basic Draw-Redirect Strike Technique

Part 1: Intercept and absorb kinetic force (Draw)

[IF] [CASTER BODY] [ENCOUNTERS] [KINETIC FORCE] [GREATER THAN] [1 PSI] [THEN] [ABSORB] [QUANTITY: 100%][OF][KINETIC FORCE][AND][STORE][Previously absorbed force][IN][SEA OF DIRAC]

Part 2: Store kinetic force (Draw)

[SEA OF DIRAC]
[DEFINE tolerances: 0 PSI to 120,000 PSI]
[DEFINE shape: bound to caster’s physical dimensions, 1-inch radius around skin surface]
[DEFINE internal structure: triangular tessellation]

Part 3: Release kinetic force on a trigger (Redirect)

[WHEN][1 OF FOLLOWING CONDITIONS=TRUE][Execute respective functions]:

[CONDITION 1: TRIGGER 1 or 2=TRUE]
[EXECUTE][REDIRECT][100% OF STORED KINETIC ENERGY][INTO][RIGHT ARM FORCE INERTIA]

[TRIGGER 1= Caster says the word “release”]
[TRIGGER 2= Caster’s right palm takes designated form MANTIS HAND and makes contact with non-caster living entity]

[CONDITION 2: Sea reaches maximum capacity]
[EXECUTE: dissipate amount of stored energy equal to most recently absorbed energy amount]

The desired outcome of this spell, as it’s structured here, would be to absorb the full force of a punch or strike and dump that force into a magical space I termed a “Sea of DIrac”, which is an actual scientific phenomenon, but pretty much unrelated to the concept of kinetic energy. I first heard the term in Neon Genesis Evangelion, when Shinji encounters an Angel that can suck objects into its shadow, which is actually a Sea of Dirac. I just wanted a shorthand term for a space that existed outside of the material dimension, where energy could be stored indefinitely.

Once the kinetic energy is stored in the caster’s sea, that energy can be released again in conjunction with a strike, depending on one of two triggers: when the Dyer says a trigger keyword, or when the Dyer’s hand conforms to a predetermined shape (in this case, a mantis strike) and meets an opponent’s body. Activating one of these triggers will dump all of the kinetic energy the Dyer has stored into the inertia of his right arm, which, if he times it correctly, means that his relatively weak strikes could become incredibly powerful.

According to this article, the amount of force some elite boxers can put into their punches can range from 776 pounds to 1,300. After receiving only five punches at 800 PSI, the Dyer would be able to redirect roughly 4000 PSI into one strike (if I’ve done my math right). That comes out to about 2 tons.

The next step with this spell is translating it into its own symbols and notation–a magical language. That’s going to be much more difficult, because it means creating a whole set of symbols that correspond not only to programming tokens (like “and”, “or,” or “true”), but to nouns and concepts, like kinetic energy and the Sea of Dirac. Then again, it might be fun to start creating a pictographic language like Chinese or Japanese, especially for small projects.

Programmer Spells: The Two-Ton Punch

Hidden Layers: Spell Maps, Illusions, and Neural Networks

Anyone who’s ever watched Serial Experiments: Lain remembers the scene when Lain goes to greet her friends at school, but instead a doppelganger detaches from her and goes in her place–it’s the perfect expression of alienation, and evokes the idea that someone else is living your life. It also brings up questions about reality and identity: can we trust our senses to tell us what’s there or not? How many other things lie beyond sensory perception? Could someone fabricate reality? Are we who we think we are?

I like the idea of doppelgangers, but I like the idea of creating illusions even more. In Ursula LeGuin’s Wizard of Earthsea series, illusions are the easiest thing in the world, but when I sat down to figure out how to create illusions using my own system’s logic, I realized there were all kinds of difficulties: how do you trick all five senses? What sustains the illusion? What happens when you need to create something new, something that has never existed? The goal I had in mind was to create an illusory doppelganger, a kind of puppet that could be controlled by an unseen mage nearby.

Part of the process of creating an illusory person could be accomplished with an AutoCAD-like process–sculpting a person like a 3D model in isolation, adding details and textures like a video game character. But from there you run into the same problems video game characters do: how does the doppelganger ‘model’ interact with it’s environment realistically? How do you simulate the flapping of clothing when running, or when it’s windy out? How do you correctly recreate the sounds of footsteps on tile floors vs. cobblestones?How does the model deal with gravity and changes of elevation in terrain, let alone clipping through things like doors or tables? The model would need to be meticulously crafted to keep it from coming across as a glitchy mess.

The other issue is how to make it move, walk, and talk at all. One solution is to have its controller act out the movements verbatim in real-time with the situation, but that leads to all kinds of problems–if the controller is hidden somewhere, observing the situation, they need to react perfectly in time with outside actions, meaning that if there’s any disruption in line of sight, the whole facade is ruined. The biggest problem is when people or objects try to interact with the illusion model–if someone throws an apple at the doppelganger, the apple will pass through the illusion. Even if a controller were able to weave more illusions on the fly to correct this, by say, making an illusion that the model had caught the apple, the real apple would still make a sound as it hit the floor. The latency issues would be rough.

So there are a lot of issues here, and ones I didn’t really know how to solve practically. Luckily, Google came to the rescue.

One of the big recent announcements from Google’s I/O conference was that developers had created a method called AutoML, which is a system that guides artificial neural networks in creating other neural networks for a specific purpose, like speech or image recognition. Some of the networks created using AutoML actually surpassed the ones created by humans–meaning that an artificially intelligent system had beaten humans at creating systems similar to itself. What really caught my attention, though, was the structure of neural networks:

Image result for neural network structure

The nodes and interconnecting lines reminded me of summoning circles and occult diagrams, like the Tree of Sephiroth:

Here’s the thing about neural networks: they’re incredibly difficult and time-consuming to create and alter. The amazing thing about AutoML is that using a neural network to create other neural networks means that human programmers can delegate the heavy lifting to the AI, which is very adept at trawling through millions of nodes and collecting/changing basic information. With that kind of automation, all the programmers need to do is give it feedback on whether the networks it’s creating are doing a good job.

Here’s an example of what an AutoML-created daughter neural network looks like (right), compared to a human-designed neural network (left) meant to solve the same problem):

With this in mind, I started thinking about how a mage might use the structure of a neural network (and the techniques of AutoML) to create a doppleganger that is not only realistic and responsive, but is (for the most part) autonomous.

Now, just like a real neural network, this magical, semi-autonomous doppelganger would be a dumb automaton–maybe Turing complete, but not capable of doing anything it wasn’t instructed to do. This, however, is where deep learning comes in–the ability for neural networks to independently develop more complex layers to deal with problems. Given enough data and power and a competent neural network, there can be an element of emergence–the arising of a large phenomenon from smaller interactions.

It’s important to realize that neural networks are based off the structure of the human brain, and that when you create a new one, you’re essentially creating the possibility of a new brain to develop, one that can learn, make decisions, and change itself based on inputs. The problem, however, is allowing the system to change itself–as XKCD brings up, you could make a fully functional computer with rocks and enough space, but it would be extremely slow. So how could a neural network-like spell develop and change itself?

What I imagine is a mage who turns their body into a living canvas, with their skin becoming the hardware and the spells becoming the software. After laying down the basic structure of the neural network and employing the techniques similar to AutoML, the spell would begin to spit out output spells, which the mage would then look at and give feedback on. In this case, magic would be the stand-in for electricity, and the human body would take the place of a terminal or OS. Once the networks became complex and developed enough, the mage would essentially be walking around with a second brain on their body, operating in real time and generating a doppelganger like a projector. Creating illusions is just one use–reprogrammed, this same structure could be used for all kinds of magical purposes, including creating new custom spells.

Of course, the process of training the magical neural network and doing backpropagation would still take time, effort, and expertise, but the great thing about the AutoML system is that it can conceivably be used by non-experts to create an intermediary network that can do the more complicated tasks of creating and altering new, purpose-crafted networks. It essentially offers a shortcut to more complex creations.

In the end, it all comes back to Lain and Ghost in the Shell–can we create a facsimile of a person with the emergent property of consciousness? At what point does the illusion become indistinguishable from reality? When do we give up on our senses to tell us who is real and who isn’t? Who slips into my robot body and whispers to my ghost?

Hidden Layers: Spell Maps, Illusions, and Neural Networks

Meow Wolf and the House of Eternal Return

This past week, I visited my old college roommate in Albuquerque and went on a road trip to Santa Fe to check out Meow Wolf, which is home to something called ‘The House of Eternal Return.’ The building contains a full-sized family house, complete with a living room, porch, kitchen, and bedrooms, but scattered around the house are books, planners, and pamphlets that give clues about the residents, including Lucius Fox, who is the founder of a Scientology-like cult called Positive Mechanics, which is concerned with travelling through dimensions. It’s essentially Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves, but built to scale, with a refrigerator that leads…somewhere else.

While wandering around the house, I found some interesting in-world texts, including a will, a PowerPoint presentation on a computer about Positive Mechanics, and a cipher for an unknown language, which allows you to decode a nearby message in a picture frame. Most interesting of all was a tapestry titled the ‘Technomancer Manifesto,’ which can be heard spoken aloud here.

Here are some of the pictures:

 

The House of Eternal Return is hands-down the coolest place I’ve ever visited, and not just because it’s a funhouse filled with occult B.S. It’s the kind of weird, incredibly ambitious project that you always hear people talk about as some ultimate goal, but inevitably never gets off the ground due to practicality. But Meow Wolf and the HOER is not only real, it exceeds all expectations and all goddamn definition. It really is a playground for the imagination, and mixes dark storytelling with mind-bending experiences and the sheer joy of exploring–anyone who’s been there knows the stuff I’ve described is only one-tenth of the experience. It makes me happy that a place like HOER exists, and it inspires me to do something just as weird and ambitious.

You can check out the website here.

 

Meow Wolf and the House of Eternal Return