Day 125: Nine Shakespearean Sonnets About Immortality In Fiction

originally published May 4, 2012

In honor of reaching the 1/8th benchmark of what I’ve come to call “My Bat-Shit Crazy Project”, I felt I should contemplate a larger issue – something beyond stacking chairs and arctic wastelands. Yes, even something beyond bacon. Luckily, Ms. Wiki bestowed upon me the gift of Immortality. Well, the gift of the article about immortality in fiction.

And so I present a summary of immortality in fiction (or at least a some-of-it summary), in the form of nine Shakespearean sonnets. Because why not.

While Lovecraft wrote of creatures so surreal,

Cthulhu beasts and monsters cold and mean,

Immortal “Deep Ones” faced a shitty deal

That only let them smile within their teens.

They aged right up to twenty with no prob,

With humans they could laugh and love and breed.

The trade-off, though, will make you want to sob,

And yes, this deal is passed on through their seed.

At twenty these poor schmucks would then transform;

They’d lose their morals and their human looks.

They’d move away from light and joy and warm,

Into the sea. (H.P. wrote morbid books.)

The moral here: it just ain’t worth the price;

Immortal in an anti-paradise.

* * * * *

While living through all time has its appeal,

You might run out of things to think and do.

Of course this isn’t possible or real,

Except in Star Trek for that smarmy Q.

His peeps, evolved from humans, had it hard,

That is, once all of everything’s explored.

He took it out on poor Jean-Luc Picard,

For all the universe has left him bored.

The Q had nothing left to do or say;

I find it hard to grasp this cold ennui.

Perhaps they could have passed their endless days

By drinking, getting laid and playing Wii.

But that’s an episode we’ll never find;

More fun to watch him play with Jean-Luc’s mind.

* * * * *

A Highlander must lose his life at first,

By sword, by gun, by helicopter-rage;

From that point on they’ll live through best and worst,

While never deviating from their age.

I’ve heard it said: “There can be only one;”

To kill a dude, you slice his head off clean.

Sean Connery looked bad-ass in the sun;

Too bad they used that wretched song by Queen.

‘The Gathering’ is all about the prize;

That guy from Tarzan played the man – MacLeod.

He fell in love (that’s often one’s demise),

The Kurgan slipped up worse; he was too proud.

I could make mention of Highlander II,

But yikes, it’s horrid; watch it and you’ll spew.

* * * * *

The tale of Wowbagger you may rebuke,

Though Douglas Adams wrote him for a laugh;

Became immortal by some far-flung fluke,

And now he lives for ever and a half.

To pass the time he comes up with a game,

A clever thought, a mental catapult:

Through all the universe he goes by name,

And one by one each soul does he insult.

He visits Arthur Dent among the stars,

And being expeditious with his work,

Ol’ Wowbagger calls Dent a hole-of-arse

And tacks on for good measure, “You’re a jerk.”

With so much else in all that time to do,

Like solve the question: WHAT is 42?

* * * * *

“Immortal” might not quite describe this tale

For finite was his time to be alive,

But Billy Pilgrim point-to-point would sail

In Vonnegut’s great book, Slaughterhouse Five.

While Pilgrim had a life, and it did end,

He spent beyond in constant wayward stroll;

From life event to next his soul would send,

Optometrist in constant time-warp roll.

His wisdom he’d upon his life anoint,

And see it all again through his own eyes;

Yet nonetheless he wondered, “What’s the point?”

For he knows in the end just how he dies.

There’s also aliens in this crazy plot,

But time to dig through this I just have not.

* * * * *

While some immortals aren’t so much defined

As such, there is but one sane thing to do:

To keep the franchise strong, not undermined,

‘Immortal’ gives a horror film Part II.

Take Jason – he’s been stabbed and speared and shot

Impaled and burnt and blown apart as well;

By now his flesh within that lake should rot,

But better to believe he’s in some hell.

They always find a way to bring him back,

For if they don’t, they wouldn’t have a show;

Perhaps he wouldn’t suffer such attack

If next time he’d just learn to let it go.

Like Freddy Kruger, Jigsaw, time goes by,

Come up with something new and let him die!

* * * * *

In ’92 a movie taught us all

That childish fights are best solved with a truce;

For Death Becomes Her, my head hit the wall

Just for the mustache worn by Willis, Bruce.

The story: two old nemeses collide

In snippy battles, on and on and on;

A potion leaves the mortal coils untied

For Meryl Streep and also Goldie Hawn.

With broken neck and shotgun holes they fight,

While Willis stares in constant state of shock;

Oh, Fabio appears (his role is slight),

And so it goes, this mediocre shlock.

It won an Oscar for its great effects;

But I’d advise you watch whatever’s next.

* * * * *

In Battlestar Galactica beware:

The Cylons have a plot that they’ve deployed;

Though really it makes fighting them unfair,

They grab new bodies when theirs are destroyed.

The Cylons download all their thoughts and dreams

(assuming dreams exist within that race),

Those Resurrection Ships they have, it seems,

Will drop their minds behind a fresh new face.

The humans kicked their asses though (good news!),

By knocking out their Hub in season four;

The Cylons turned to human frames to use –

A twist to spice this epic TV war.

I must admit, I don’t know how this ends;

I’d like to think they all sang songs as friends.

* * * * *

Yes, Voldemort came close to cashing in;

He started out with blood of unicorn.

He figured he’d succeed in such a sin,

Those kids ought to be deep in wizard porn.

The Ph’losph’er’s Stone might make a potent juice

To bring eternal life so very near;

But Voldemort was blind and too obtuse –

He undervalued Harry and that mirror.

The deathly hallows almost made it work;

He bet the bank on using the horcrux;

But Voldemort was far too big a jerk;

It didn’t help, his P.R. technique sucks.

For all these folks, an end comes to the ride.

Eternal life will always be denied.

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