Excerpt: Internet addicts, looking for a fix in The Fridgularity

Internet addiction

The Fridgularity begins with the Big Crash — the Internet goes down, as an entity takes over all the horsepower available through all the devices connected to it. This has certain deleterious effects on the folks who NEED the Internet to live. One of the main characters, Will Valens, is one of them:

Will Valens couldn’t believe the length of the downtime. It had been two hours already, and still, nothing had changed. He’d been to the server room and bugged the IT guys, but they didn’t have any idea what was going on. But, damn it! He’d uploaded his first major art projects just the night before, and he wanted to know what people thought. Of course, if it was true what they were saying on the main floor, that everything was down, not just in the building but all over the world, then nobody could see his stuff on aberrant-art.com anyway.

Will was a junior graphic designer at McClinchey, Hill & Grandfig, but if asked that most Anglo-Saxon of questions “What do you do?” Will would say he was an artist. And it was true, he was an artist. Most of his work tended towards the abstract, but he had taken a Fine Art degree before learning how to push pixels around at graphic design school, which was a way to pay the bills until he got established as an artist.

Will had two major barriers in his way. The first was just the difficulty of getting “established” as an artist — even in Canada, where an experimental visual artist could create “a post-modern abstract paradigm based on neo-nihilist methodology and high-velocity dog shit” and still get some kind of grant. Secondly, Will had a little bit of an Internet addiction. He was constantly checking Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Abberant-Art (of course) and his new favorite, the inventive and “paradigm-maiming” next wave social media aggregator, Sturbr. He even checked his ancient MySpace account obsessively, as he said, “Just in case.”

Will’s addiction made the creation of high art (with or without the use of accelerated canine fecal matter) extremely difficult.

That said, he’d still managed to produce a few works, if only so he could photograph them lovingly, Photoshop them to correct their flaws, and then post them to the large number of websites where he spent the majority of his non-working hours. But currently, the web seemed to be down. Not just his connection to the web — a temporary setback that could be remedied a number of ways — but the web itself.

The Internet outage was worrying. So worrying that Will had turned off his computer and his two screens. He was a graphic designer, so naturally he worked on a Mac with screens only slightly smaller than the ones on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. He waited for another five minutes, and thought he’d try again.

He rebooted his system, turned the monitors back on, and was greeted with more pixelated madness.

Will laid his head on his immaculate, paper-free desk, and began to cry.

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Alltop is also ready to be downloaded on the Internet. Image by Psychara, on DeviantArt.

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