Here you can find a collection of some short stories I’ve written over the years, under many different pseudonyms. The stories were generally written within a few hours. My experience is that I need to write something in one go. If I imagine I’ll finish a story later on because I ran out of ideas, I never get around to it and never find the inspiration to finish it. I’ve rarely had the patience to read a long story, so I never went through the effort of writing a long story either. I still like these stories, so I’m archiving them here. There are other stories I’ve written, probably some I’ve forgotten about and others that I don’t like anymore. I’ve tried to note when I first published them. I’ve corrected some spelling here and there and made other minor changes.
The Life in the Machine (28-05-2012)
The fall of Mike (2013)
Dinner in a restaurant (11-07-2013)
A small box of blueberries (25-03-2014)
The Girl behind the Counter (24-04-2015)
How I escaped from the Superclusters (09-01-2019)
Witte Henk: Een racistische traditie (08-04-2019)
It’s interesting to consider the stories in their proper context. Back in late 2012, I came to the conclusion that I don’t really care much for metal music. I assumed I like it, but by that point the whole phenomenon looked somewhat silly to me. Shouldercore and The fall of Mike were meant to poke fun at heavy metal, particularly the subculture and the pretentiousness I noticed. I grew obsessed with making fun of metal, because I couldn’t fathom how I had managed to keep myself fooled for so long.
The Life in the Machine was written back when I had the ambition to become a video game developer. The problem with developing video games, in contrast to writing a book or making music, is that you spend a lot of time engaged in labor that’s not fun and doesn’t clearly contribute to your vision, in comparison to the time you spend doing stuff you actually care about. It’s fun to write dialogue for characters. It’s not a lot of fun to spend your whole weekend searching for a shader that creates proper shadows for a 3D model, or learning a whole new programming language because the language you first learned is merely meant for novices.
Another interest of mine at the time was anti-natalism, which clearly displays in the story. Perhaps most importantly, the story should be understood as an exploration of the nature of divinity and an attack against the traditional concept of an omnipotent God. The argument is laid out that deities have a responsibility to do whatever promotes the happiness of their creation. Today my views are more nuanced: Gods do exist, but they’re not omnipotent. The idea that Gods are omnipotent is a mistake that emerged from Abrahamic baggage we’ve inherited.
The Girl behind the Counter is my favorite story. It was written two years after I dropped out of college. You can think of it as a college dropout’s satire of college. For me, college felt like a lot of busywork that serves no genuine purpose outside of the qualifications it delivers. Everyone is aware of this to some degree, but the fact that it’s necessary to graduate college to join the growing ranks of the aspiring bourgeoisie is sufficient to motivate most people, but not me. My interests at the time were so broad that I simply found myself unable to devote time to studying.
The Bitcoin time-traveler story has no genuine title. I was deeply interested in Bitcoin back in 2013. Back then, in February 2013, I figured out college wasn’t for me, so I needed an alternative way to earn money. I figured out that Bitcoin was going to grow in popularity. Simultaneously, I was very worried about this new phenomenon. I struggled to think of a scenario where Bitcoin might make the world better. What I hadn’t figured out yet is the massive electricity consumption of the system. I sold my own coins back in mid-2017, when it became undeniable to me that the protocol would not function in the manner people anticipated it would and consumes far more electricity than you could possible consider to be justifiable. In oktober 2019 I decided to commit sacrilege by updating the story, to hopefully convince some people to critically examine this cultish phenomenon. In hindsight I should have done that years earlier.
Dinner in a restaurant was written after I dated a girl who spontaneously lost all interest in me after she asked me what my father does for a living. For me, this was very psychologically crushing, not because I loved her, but because it was the first time I went out on a date. The story was written about a month after the date. Back then, I wasn’t feeling terrible, the genuine impact revealed itself months later. I tried to poke fun at what had happened, to drag it into the absurd, in an effort to quench the pain.
A small box of blueberries should be thought of as the direct opposite of the prior. I figured out what I didn’t want, so what did I want? I set about creating what would for me be the ideal romantic encounter, in what I would consider the ideal life. For this reason, I find the story worth archiving here. Apparently I considered the ideal woman to be assertive, self-sufficient and independent, while my ideal life consists of traveling through abandoned cities scavenging for food after an unspecified disaster has killed almost everyone. I grew up as a child with parents who did not have steady jobs, but earned money by scavenging old junk. We lived in the unusual situation of having little income, but relatively high net worth. What you see your parents do is what you look for in a partner.
How I escaped from the Superclusters, is an initial experiment with cyberpunk themed fiction. What makes cyberpunk interesting to me is the exploration of the impact that technology has on the way we live our lives. In this case, the idea that is explored is that modern communicaton technology doesn’t just decide what we think, it decides what we think about. The inclination of computer algorithms to seek out the maximum amount of attention from users, thereby generating maximum profit for the creators of these algorithms, leads these algorithms to create an environment of information where our own biases are continually reinforced. Ultimately this makes it impossible for people exposed to different algorithms to find any common ground. The story also reflects my growing disenchantment with right-wing politics, which began when I realized there isn’t really a right-wing tradition that takes climate change seriously.
Witte Henk: Een racistische traditie, is a story written in Dutch. It’s written in Dutch because I like our language and because it’s only genuinely relevant for Dutch people. There’s a strong inability for most Dutch people to comprehend why most black people find it hurtful when Dutch people dress up as a black slave every year. My own initial reaction was to dismiss these concerns as the latest form of political correctness too. It’s very difficult to take a critical look at a tradition when you’ve grown up with it. You can’t really do proper justice to an atrocity like slavery with a short story, but this is a lighthearted attempt at turning the tables: What if white people visiting Suriname found themselves confronted with a negative caricature? My hope is that we can collectively agree that we made a mistake and move towards a holiday that makes all children happy.