It happened at a time when society had ground to a halt just as it accelerated virtually to the point of singularity, like a gerbil in a wheel, running ever faster and faster, expending its life’s blood in going precisely nowhere. Televised news reports had become indistinguishable from the programmes that ostensibly parodied them – the people laughed aloud at the words of politicians and took the pronouncements of comedians as deadly serious analysis – holy men were caught with whores and catamites on a weekly basis while the words of athletes were revered as if they were prophets and sibyls.
Governments fought wars against the groups they’d armed the week before and jihadis destroyed the fast food joints where they’d taken their first dates four years previously. The sciences made the distinctions between man and beast and between matter and information more porous and diaphanous with each passing month; space probes whispered the echoes of secrets from the womb of Time and those who listened to them shuddered and doubted themselves, while their colleagues in adjacent departments reknitted the stuff of Life to recipes sponsored by pharmaceutical industrialists. The seasons were horribly mixed, and the birds, beasts and fish swarmed this way and that in a fashion that perplexed the greatest authorities on living things; those who staffed the asylums began to fear that their patients displayed not insanity but super-sanity, a new form of intellect fit to understand this new phase of existence, terrifying to the old order that could not comprehend it.