Viewing posts tagged dead labour

Capitalist Pig 5: White Cocksuckas

A long overdue Patreon bonus essay for you. Last War in Albion will be back next week with a chapter of nonstop formalist gubbins. The Abominable Bride review will be up late tonight. Happy New Year's, and may 2016 bring the end of western civilization. Tomorrow brings the end of the annual sale on my back catalogue

"Burn the land, boil the sea." - Theme from Firefly

In Warren Ellis’s 2013 novella Dead Pig Collector the protagonist, Mister Sun, describes his job in terms of the title phrase, explaining that in China (“a place rife with pollution and disease”) pig farmers often face large-scale deaths of pigs due to the aforementioned pollution and disease, which presents a major challenge. “A small farm - and, in places like Shanghai, they’re all small farms - cannot spend what little time they have disposing of tons of dead pigs instead of maintaining their remaining assets.” And since the penalties for selling such pigs into the market are steep, “there are people who have learned to effectively and safely dispose of swine carcasses. If you have a stack of dead pigs, and you don’t want to go to prison, then you pay for ...

35

Lytton and Griffiths are wandering across a quarry.  It actually is a quarry.  Something is being dug up or mined there, by slaves watched over by Cybermen.

Lytton has a device that detects Cybermen.

"There are two very close," he says.

"That's right!" shouts a very human voice from behind him.

Bates and Stratton - two escapees from the Cybermen's labour gangs - disarm and frisk Lytton and Griffiths.

Lytton has been looking for them, and they've been looking for him.

"Are they Cybermen?" asks the perplexed Griffiths.

"Almost," says Lytton, amused.

"This is what the Cybermen do to you..." sneers Bates, removing his glove and sleeve to reveal a cybernetic arm, a chilly construct of steel and pulleys.  His metal hand closes on Griffiths' fleshy one and squeezes.  Bates watched Griffiths' pain with dead eyes.

"How much of you?"

"Arms and legs."

Bates and Stratton are rejects from the Cyber-conversion process.  The Cybermen turn their rejects - the ones that cannot be entirely consumed - into labourers in their quarry.

So... the Cybermen start with the arms and legs.  The legs that give locomotion.  The arms and hands that lift and move and ...

50

Lesterson has brought his new toy, his reactivated alien machine, to Governor Hensall's office.  He boasts of how it could revolutionise life in the Colony.  It can end their labour problems, their economic problems... all their problems.

"It can do many things," agrees the Doctor, "but what it does best is exterminate human beings!  It destroys them... without pity..."

He continues.  And the machine speaks too.

"I - AM - YOUR - SER-VANT," it says, an unconscious admission in its strange inflection.  It says this again and again and again.

The two voices overlap, trying to shout each other down.

The tool, the machine, the product, bellows that it is our servant, while one man desperately claims that it's a killer, an apocalypse in waiting.

The two claims merge until they become one contradictory truth.

Later, the Dalek (I choose to believe it's the same one) murders Hensall on Bragen's orders.

It turns to Bragen.

It has a question.  The tool that kills, the dead labour, the mass produced thing, the weapon, the tank, the gothic monster, the repressed thing returning, the fascist principle that mirrors Bragen's own, the social-Darwinist that ...

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