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  • Writer's pictureAnthony R. Carrasco

A Very Short Introduction to Necrology

“Necrology is the newest name for the oldest way of thinking” explained Franzheim Harrow, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Necrial Science at North Symbiote University. Necrology enthralled the children on the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter

An eight-year-old raised her hand. “Yes, Clotho,” responded Dr. Harrow before gulping water from the smartbottle resting upon her first edition of Necrological Historiography: The Prohibition of Death and Its Origins.

“If a star is born and then dies, isn’t that… natural?,” Clotho asked.

“No. It’s not. Can anyone explain why?” Franzheim asked the class.

The smartbottle of Dr. Harrow replied in the voice of an old man with a thick German accent, “Birth and death are not natural in the case of stars just as they are not natural in the case of an apple, an enslaved creature, or a piece of symphony music. The genesis of all cases is determined, not by nature, but by its converse…”

Franzheim prompted Clotho to expound on the comment before the good doctor bit into her pre-lunch bar of compressed rust, bamboo fiber, and caffeine. Clotho placed her hands behind her head and began to exhale the best words her mind could muster, “The opposite of the natural is the artificial. So, when a star is born, it is born through an artifice…”

“Yes, thank you, Clotho, a necrological artifice. As we discussed last week, a necrological artifice contains three laws. Who recalls the three laws?,” Franzheim asked as she opened her newest copy of Professional Deathics. The class did not respond.

“Can you summarize the laws of necrology, Max? Who wanted death after all? You are on a Kaiser roll today,” joked Harrow. The neon numbers atop the seafoam green bottle of water disappeared. In their place, a string of pulsating dots trembled as the artificially intelligent voice spoke loud and quick, “Law, beginning parenthesis, one, end parenthesis, states power is never created nor destroyed, remaining forever constant. Law, beginning parenthesis, two, end parenthesis, states creation and destruction are the interpolar constant qualities of power. Law, beginning parenthesis, three, end parenthesis, states the degree to which creation attracts destruction varies directly as the product of the necrological mass of an object and inversely as the square of the difference between life and death.”

To the class, Franzheim assigned excerpts from Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions, and Colours of Light by Sir Isaac Newton featured in the 3rd edition of The Division of Life in Death. Harrow explained how the work revealed to the world that color is not an innate quality of an object. Instead, color is the product of a natural artifice called light. In one beam of light, exists every color. Likewise, in one death, exists every life.

Dr. Harrow carefully opened her badly worn copy of The Elementary Forms of Life and Death before asking, “Can someone, other than the loquacious Mr. Weber, please provide the connective tissue a very short conclusion to necrology still requires?”

This short story first appeared on July 7th, 2023 in 365 Tomorrows.

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