Karina Aguilera-Skvirsky
Stephanie Andrews
Bernard J. Canniffe
Matthew Fisher
Rainer Ganahl
Joy Garnett
Ilona Granet
Marc Lepson
Max Liboiron
David Luke
Pamela Matsuda-Dunn
Robin Michaels
Lina Pallotta
Michael A. Rippens
Dread Scott
Natacha Seideneck
Therese Stowell
 
 

Joy Garnett

 

"ROCKET SCIENCE"

by Bruce Sterling (2001)
[From the catalogue "Rocket Science"
copyright 2001 Debs & Co., NYC / Bruce Sterling; ISBN: 1-929032-07-2]

 

 

"Through whitish swathes of smoke a row of men with packs came on in a straight line. Some fell and lay there, others turned head over heels like shot hares. A hundred meters in front of us, the last were sucked down into the shell-pocked earth. They must have been young troops, still unacquainted with the effects of the modern rifle, for they came on with all the hardihood of ignorance."

 

In his war diary of 1916, Ernst Juenger took the visionary leap from men to hares. In those gas-bitten, barbed-wire badlands of the First World War, massive artillery shook the earth while mere men scrambled like rodents from trenches to monster shell-holes.

 

Progress marches on, so we are all hares now. Unlike the soldiers that Juenger shot, we are healthily spared the illusion that an inner strength of blood and guts can ever outmatch steel projectiles.

Subtract the vivid, tender meat of hare and human from the parabolic equations of Nintendo warfare, and you have the lovely martial landscapes of ROCKET SCIENCE. No enemy, no front, no flags, no braid and no salutes. No trumpets and no parades. No courage, no commitment and no martial sacrifice. The whitish swathes of smoke have become our heroes. Ruptured cruise missiles turn like hares, tumbling vent over nosecone. Chill infrared scopes glow over the shell-pocked earth. It scarcely even looks like war.

 

If rocket science kills us, we'll never know why. The explosion hits before the sound of its arrival. It's globalized targeting, satellite-coordinated, so any precise spot on Earth can become an instant Somme. This is military art for our own dear times. If there's something very obviously missing here, it is something we have truly and irrevocably lost with the dead century. Rocket science took that from us. There is no hardihood in ignorance.

 

We just can't have it back, that glorious, murderous human innocence.

 

"When once it is no longer possible to understand how a man gives his life for his country and that time will come -- when all is over with that faith also, and the idea of the Fatherland is dead; then, perhaps, we shall be envied, as we envy the saints their inward and irresistible strength."