the Guest Lectures:

The Stylish Suicides

of Gearth

The national poet of the planet Gearth , Gohanjulfbang Woethe, was only twenty-five when he had an unhappy love affair and put in down in the moving novel "Sorrows of a Young Gearther", in which the protagonist commits suicide for despair of winning his fair Lenya. Within days of its publication the book became a world-wide sensation, and two million young Gearthers fashionably hanged, drowned or shot themselves with copies of the "Sorrows" in their pockets. In 72% of the cases the anguished love-object committed suicide as well, followed by the girl-friend's boy-friends, followed by the boy-friends' girl-friends', and so on. A whole industry sprang up to accommodate the vast numbers of self-slayers in the most pleasant and fashionable manner possible.

The Gearther suicide craze essentially wiped out everyone on the planet who was either literate enough to read the book or attractive enough to be the love-object of a reader. But once this group finished itself off the epidemic wound down, leaving a large remaining population of homely illiterates.

When a ship from the planet Howilood sold the Gearthers the Imask system, a form of empathic full-surround entertainment, the analphabetic populace was immediately hooked, wearing their drama masks all day and being whisked away into the great classics of galactic drama. With the Imask, the viewer becomes the character of his choice in the story, living and feeling the story from the inside. And when the time came for Gearther showbiz industry, what was left of it, to produce a local Imask drama, what could be more a more natural story selection than that influential classic, "Sorrows of a Young Gearther"?

The Imask drama was an instant hit, with the expectable result: the prompt suicide of the remainder of the population of the planet Gearth.

Our guest speaker, Jak-SKLN10, represents the current master race of Gearth, highly developed android servants from the suicide spas. The spas offered all the facilities the would-be fashionable suicide could want-now, for lack of locale clientele, offered to the interstellar tourist at bargain prices. .