Cf. and contrast end of story with end of H. Ellison's "I Have No Mouth . . .". Ellison's hero is transformed and tortured while trapped inside a gigantic cybernetic machine. Edward (the Narrator) and Gail have inside them communicating, hierarchically organized, exponentially reproducing biochip nanomechanisms: "They were not cruel," Edward tells us, but they take over Edward and Gail, silence and deafen them, and have them grow together like trees in a legend versified by Ovid: a "transformation" Edward calls this metamorphosis (34):
I no longer have any clear view of what we look like. I suspect we resemble cells—large, flat, and filamented cells, draped purposefully across most of the apartment. The great shall mimic the small. Our intelligence fluctuates daily as we are absorbed into the minds within. Each day our individuality declines. We are, indeed, great clumsy dinosaurs. Our memories have been taken over by billions of them, and our personalities have been spread though the transformed blood.
And the infection is spreading. "I can barely begin to guess the results. Every square inch of the planet will teem with thought. Years from now, perhaps much sooner, they will subdue their own individuality" (35). If Ellison's "I Have No Mouth" pushed to the limits the horrific possibilities of the modernist fear of "the superimposition of the mechanical upon the organic" (see H. Bergson), then GB may have made a complementary statement for the postmodern. (RDE, 18/05/95)