Uncanny Tableau

In the past few episodes, we've explored some reinterpretations of the text based upon added perspective but it is appropriate to begin considering the story in a more meta sense. It was important that the story confirm its self-intent to the reader if possible, thus it is constructed so as to mirror its own telling.

In this stage, the man represents the story, and one should note that the bubble of his life which we see within the text begins just after the implants have been activated and ends with their termination (excepting flashbacks). Throughout the narrative he repeatedly references lying, particularly with respect to emotional elements of his own life, just as the story presents a different public face that conceals its true purpose and hides its biggest secrets in its most private places. There are many moments of misdirection and uncertainty and the man in particular takes pride in his self-deception.

With his purchase of the Service, the man trades his free will for an illusion of control but instead the Service controls him. It is ruthless, preferring to separate him from his wife and "true" happiness if it will provide an artificial extension of his physical health.

Meanwhile, the woman symbolizes the characters inexorably proceeding toward their assigned ends. The plot requires his and her fates to exist in order to proceed and desires to display their contrasting approaches. Simply put, she lived with her eyes open while he traded freedom in the name of false security. Each character ultimately found purpose only in death.

Though the story is structured to initially deceive about its nature, with the addition of internally and externally derived context adjustments it is intended to achieve a level of depth greater than that found on first impression. It is meant to play on preconceptions and hopes to foster misconceptions, to later expose them in a different light. In a way it is a lie told to obfuscate its own purposes, so that it may deliver of itself again and again.

In this view, Certainty Inc. represents the contest that spawned the story's existence (context is important) and the company's product symbolizes the author performing a Service – the creation and destruction of two lives – subject only to certain arbitrary constraints. The story would not exist without the contest, nor found its form without the author's intervention. It begins and ends with itself.

The amount of self-reference at this stage seemed abortively unsubtle. For instance, the very first sentence (repeated at the beginning of the final chapter as well) alluded to an exceedingly common trope in the announcement of many transmedia productions.

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Big thanks go out to my friends Krystyn, Andrea, Jon, Cary, and Dina, whose assistance was invaluable in constructing this series. Thanks also to the guys at the Machine of Death for the inspiration.

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