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They’re made of meat!

Kameron Hurley writes in a Q&A on Reddit:

You don’t see as much of this obsession with gore and chopping off limbs and selling wombs in my work prior to the year I started dying. It all hinges on that, on that sudden knowledge and awareness that we really are all made of meat, and that we’re kept upright, gabbling and gamboling, through a very intricate and flawed series of processes, any of which could go horribly wrong at any minute.

I empathise (not least because about half my family and friends have diabetes). On Friday, I started injecting a moderately-hardcore immunosuppressant  in preparation for infertility treatment. On Saturday, I awoke with the sun on my face and the luxurious feeling of mindfulness that accompanies  the first light of spring.

Overnight I’d been cured of the severe Raynaud’s disease, brain fog, disturbed sleep and nagging exhaustion that has sucked my joy and productivity for about four years. Which is strange, as I don’t have arthritis, lupus or any detectable autoimmune disease. The only outward signs that anything is wrong are my complete infertility, minor finger deformities, and two abnormal blood tests.

It’s shocking that a single chemical – in my case overproduction of a protein called TNFa – can have such a massive impact. And yet, ultimately, we are each an intricate system. We are kept alive, moment to moment, by a complex and poorly understood series of biological processes. We are fragile. We are vulnerable. Any feeling of immortality we possess is a conceit.

The stories I find least compelling are those that trivalise suffering and death, possibly because the author is lucky enough to have no experience of either. When I read Kameron’s Q&A, I couldn’t help but wonder if I write gore because of a heightened sense of my own mortality.

(I should add, I’m glad that I’ve never had a severe health problem. And that I don’t live in the United States where there is no National Health Service).

[Hat tip: Tor website]

[Title inspired by this wonderful, famous short story].

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