“It is a process which I derived empirically. Both life, and the technique I am about to show you, are based upon the same principle. When your arm moves, is the motion continuous? Or are there discretized points, however small, at which there is no in-between?”

“The latter case, I would imagine, at some subatomic level,” I offer.

“Indeed,” he replies. “I have discovered it matters neither the timeframe in which the motion occurs, nor the force that impels it. On film, during the traditional application of the process, the movement is indistinguishable from life. Would you agree?”

“Aside from the crudity of stop-motion animation as has been practiced in the past,” I say, “that is entirely the point.”

“Yes, you have chosen the perfect word,” he says, opening the black leather bag I have been eyeing since we entered the room. Perhaps he has noticed. “The animators of today are quite crude. I have refined the processes, and refined again, until the medium was freed of its old moorings, yes? A new art form emerged, and a new science. At a sufficient level the two are indistinguishable.”

“Many things seem to be,” I say. He smiles at this.

“But enough talk,” he returns as his smile is replaced with a stern air of professionalism. There is a hint of pride in his face, though, as he says, “perhaps, to begin, I should introduce you to one of my assistants.”

He claps his hands three times. From a shadowy corner, a misshapen clay thing the size of a man shambles jerkily across the room towards us, its skin rippling as if plied by countless unseen fingers.

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