Bewildering Stories

Finite Timestream

Eco Fantastik

25 December 1858

The snow falls outside, and the children are playing. I see them, but what occupies me is the machine in front of me. It is a personal computer, the only functioning one in the entire world. I do not remember how I acquired it, but now I have it, and it performs the strangest of tasks. Sometimes I feel that it performs too much, as if it transcended the limits of the possible. But at other times, I realize that this is only the technology of the future and what seems like magic to us is only advanced science. That is when I understand, but when I finally acquire that spark of understanding and comprehension, it vanishes, and once again I am confused, not sure of where I stand in the cosmic reality.

The computer connects to the future, true, but it can only go so far. I can connect to the Internet of the future and visit web pages written by people whose great-grandparents are not yet born. But I cannot access anything beyond the first few days of the year 2002. What happens then? What happens afterward? Does the world end? Does the universe collapse upon itself, ending reality as we know it? Why can't I see past that limit?

I do not know, and for now, I can only read and reread some of the messages written by someone who uses the pseudonym "The Invisible Crud," writings not intended for me to read, but I have access to it, and invisible or not, this person is my link to the future, to the world beyond the distant horizons of our imagination.

True, many of the references I do not understand, but from the context, I can realize a major portion of the world of the future. It seems a sad and strange future, but I hope it becomes better, that this is not the only possible future but one of an infinite number.

I know that reprinting messages from only one person and omitting all other messages related to them would result in somewhat confusing and one-sided writing, but in order to avoid copyright infringement (how do copyright laws regard violating the copyright of work produced in the future?), I have only included The Invisible Crud's messages. Although the person in question has not given me express permission to do so, I have an innate feeling that this does not violate any copyright laws. Therefore, I will share with you most of the messages that this person has written. The Invisible Crud writes:

Newtonmass? 259th anniversary? That makes yesterday 25 December 1901! No way! Have we gone back in time? Talk about Y2K+1! Geez!

Earth to Crud . . . Hello? . . . Are you there, Crud? . . . Come in, Crud . . . Earth to Crud . . .

What? Is there a voice in my head?

Anyway, sorry I'm a little late. I had horrible Internet trouble. Death to computers also. But leave mine alone! I want to be the only person with a functioning computer, so ha! And again, ha!

Eesh. I have 10 stories to write in the next 5 days (rough drafts) and 2 to write today. My first really big writing feat since that 6-day novel-writing stunt I did in June. 6-day 12-story short-fiction writing starts today. I hope I can type fast enough.


Thanks, Mrejo. (Assuming, of course, that you're directing your words to me. That's what I don't like about this new Borum--you can't tell what message is in reply to what.) I did really horribly yesterday, though. I only got 1,200 words in one story and 300 or 400 words in another, and what I wrote reads like final-draft stuff (for me, of course). I can't seem to just write a real rough draft. Oh, well, if the rough draft looks good, then the final draft must look better. At least I'm actually writing and not procrastinating, like the last few months. And I'm doing too much stuff these last few days of 2001. I'm supposed to read two complete novels as well, 12 chapters a day. (What's with this number 12? It pops up everywhere!) Too, too much stuff to do. I need to take some time off the Borum. I am going to try to just write without looking back. It's a new technique for me, so it takes some adjusting. I need volume, not quality, at this time, although quality is needed, too.


P.S. This time, I wrote words instead of pages. Yes! That was embarrassing, when I did that novel thing.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I've realized this after my futile attempts to meet my goals. I figured I'd been procrastinating too much and making a ridiculous goal will somehow get my writing output up, even though it was probably impossible to write that much anyway. It seems to work. I've written more (good stuff, too) these last two days than I've written in the last three months!

I do have too many ideas. Many of them are underdeveloped, and some of them have around 500-2000 words written about them but are sort of dead or dormant.

Well, I found out I couldn't abandon quality. It just sticks with me. I seem to put out final-draft stuff for my first-draft writing. Oh, well, it works.

I think I made my ridiculous goal so that I could have the satisfactory feeling that I can do it. I have the right stuff. I can write. I want to feel confident that I can actually do something. After procrastinating for several months, it seems impossible that I can actually write.

I'll dedicate these last days of 2001 into writing three or four good stories and mediocre chunks and summaries of other stories that I'll probably ditch and/or revise. I consider it a writing exercise. I'm going to see if writing a lot will keep my creative juices flowing. Procrastinating seems to have adverse effects when you start writing again. So, therefore, I'm going to keep my ridiculous goal, but I'm going to do so loosely and dedicate most of my time and energy to the three or four main ones. We'll see if this works.


And another thing: I'm not planning to complete any final drafts these few days. I'm just going to write/complete rough drafts, though some better than others. I'll have time later for revising and editing.


Gee, I don't know what I was thinking. Most of these story ideas are just too underdeveloped. I need some time to incubate them. Therefore, I'm not going to waste my time on superfluous junk that can be better written later. So forget the mediocre chunks and whatnot. I'll think about that stuff later.

I have discovered another possible reason for having that ridiculous goal: inspiration. I guess I was subconsciously hoping for the Muse to strike while I was getting all those words typed. I think the Muse has stricken with this story I'm writing. I have rediscovered the true joy of writing, something I've lost over the last several months. I'm actually having fun writing this story. I think this is a good thing.


P.S. Say, you don't suppose they sell creative juices, do you? What flavors do they come in? :)

Holy monkey! There's all this archived STUFF available! Totally awesome!

There are all these messages posted way back in 2000 and earlier this year, including the Monkey Movie thread that so mysteriously disappeared! Amazing!


And . . . I am the last person to post!

Check it out.


It was there when I posted it! It seems to have disappeared!

Okay, okay, I wasn't really the last person to post. My post was made after the Borum got shut down. In fact, Kegolak did the same thing and my post just somehow replaced that one for the same URL. Oh, well.


One last post before I leave:

Someone! Hit me in the head before I experience more nostalgic nausea!

Hmmm . . . what's this about old personas that you kept secret from us, eh, Ekos? Havin' an identity crisis? I know, I have one too.

So . . . basically anything with a phony .gov e-mail address? I found three.

Ah, well, it's time for me to leave. The grim reaper is looking over my shoulder right now and impatiently waiting to give me a ride to . . . I don't know. Let me ask. . . .


Hi, Fleli. I just went to the ICFDB and looked up the only 1998 issue of Adventures of Ford and Forgery, and you're not on the table of contents. I'm assuming you're using a pseudonym, of course. What is it? Don't tell me you're Stellar Baboon!


Oh, wait. Here it is, Fleli. It was published in 1999. Geez!


Yeah, sure. I haven't read everything and my opinion might change in the future, so here are the First All-Time (is that an oxymoron?) Invisible Crud Awards for Excellence in Speculative Fiction Writing:

Best Novel:
Flatus Plugged by Fine Rind

Best Novella:
"Boogers in Maine" by Fancy Mess

Best Novelette:
"Cannedsprings" by Forge I.M. Phartin

Best Short Story:
"'Repeat, Hologram!' Said the Tictactoe" by Rollin Onfloorlaughinoutloud


1. There is no physical prize, so if you're one of the above-mentioned authors, sorry. If you're planning to impersonate one of the above-mentioned authors and try to get a prize, sorry for you, too.

2. IMHO, Flatus Plugged was a great science-fiction novel. In fact, it's my favorite novel period! (<--Another oxymoron, "period" followed by exclamation point.) (<--And yet another one, "exclamation point" followed by a period.) It's not usually classified as science fiction, though, and that may be the reason why it is so neglected within the genre, I think. But it is science fiction. It's more soft SF than hard SF, but there are some pretty good explorations of new technologies that, now that nanotechnology is a feasible possibility, may come into existence. Good stuff. I highly recommend it. It's a tad long though, also being possibly the longest novel I've ever read.


One additional note:

Flatus Plugged and "Boogers in Maine" share a common theme. Maybe that's why I liked them both.


Be glad to know that no Airy Blotter novels have been published this year! However, two related tie-in books have been published (Plastic Yeasts and Where to Grind Them and Idiots Through the Pages), and they might be nominated for the Boogo in the best related book category, in which case a similar outrage will happen next year.

Um . . . maybe I shouldn't have said that. Um . . .

Don't get any wacky ideas, OK?


All this talk about juvenile fantasy novels and Boogos...

But, really, has a fantasy novel ever won the Boogo before? I know quite a few fantasy short stories, novelettes, and novellas that have won, but a novel? Looking over the list of Boogo-winning novels, I recognize most of them as science fiction and none of them as fantasy. I am not familiar with the rest, so I can't say for sure. Is Airy Blotter and the Goblins on Fire the first fantasy novel to win the Boogo?


I don't know of any short science fiction stories of the nineteenth century. By "short," I mean less than 40,000 words approx. Does anybody know any? Are there any you'd personally recommend? I'd welcome any suggestions or recommendations that are available. Thanks.


Thanks, all.


Mrejo, Second Fecundation is actually the third book in the Fecundation trilogy. Not sure if you knew this, but it sounds like you haven't heard of Fecundation on Fire, the second book. Anyway, sorry if I'm wrong.


Hi. Sorry I'm a little late answering this question, but I had trouble connecting to the Internet. I think the part that's confusing is that most people think it's a novel when they first read it. It's really a short-story collection that's connected into something resembling a novel. You have to read each "chapter" as an individual story as well as see the whole plot and theme of all the stories together.


Ekos, try using a catchy pseudonym that no one will confuse with anyone else. I'm not sure whether you've mentioned your last name to Garfbler or not, but I'm thinking that there are some other Ekos M's out there who submit stuff. I recall you saying that you used various pseudonyms, so make them known, here on the Borum.

Those two rejections weren't really personalized, just a signature and a short message. And the stories weren't really that good. In fact, they were horrible, in my own opinion. I've written better, including a 10,000-word first draft of a novella-to-be that I'm going to finish sometime soon. There's nothing special about me getting "personalized" rejection slips. Maybe it's because I use "The Invisible Crud" for a handle. It just sticks out. Well, good luck, Ekos, on your future projects.

About Segway: nifty. I'll think about it though. Okay, I've thought about it. Don't have much to say.


Ah, make it all CGI and simulated voices. Reality just doesn't cut it.


Hi, Ekos. I have returned.

About short SF of the 1890s, I can name one, "The Slime Machine" by I.M. Smells, or should I say The Slime Machine? Published in 1895. It's technically a novella, but I believe it was first published as a book. Not sure. Anyway . . . whatever.


I thought fantasy disguised as SF was called "space opera."


All fiction is science fiction.

All fiction is fantasy.

All fiction is alternate history.

Speculative fiction is the only fiction.

Okay, explanation:

All fiction has science in it, and therefore is by definition science fiction. Science is everywhere. If there's no science in a story, there's no story.

No fiction is real. If it were real, then it wouldn't be fiction. Therefore, being not real, all fiction is fantasy.

All fiction deviates from actual history. If it didn't, then it would not be fiction, but rather a biography or a history. Even historical fiction deviates from actual history. It doesn't deviate a lot, but there's at least one detail in it that isn't historically accurate, for example, a fictional character that never existed. Even futuristic science fiction is alternate history. There is only one future, and chances are that the science fiction story doesn't get it completely right. And if it does, then it's not fiction. It's a prophecy. Therefore, all fiction is alternate history.



Sure, they do, Fergo. If you sell out, then, by definition, you have a difficulty. You can't satisfy additional customers. :)


So the pattern of novella/novelette Boogo-winning stories in the October/November issues won't continue (since "In the Klein Line" didn't win!)...

What if we skip the year 2000 (Y2K Bug and everything) and continue the pattern, with a Boogo-winning novelette in this year's Oct/Nov issue? Eh? Sounds like a plan!


"Even the Wombat" was, I believe, first published in Sporkaroo in 1991 or 1992 (don't remember). It won both the Boogo and Fibula Awards. And I'm not sure why it's up on the home page, but I'm glad it is, 'cause it's a good story and might get more people to subscribe to Sporkaroo. Thanks for putting it up there, whoever did it. And thanks to Goony Kr'Zellis for (I hope!) giving permission to whoever did it to do it, since it's copyrighted.


Well, Garfbler of course also edits a whole lot of anthologies! In addition to his famous Year's Worst Silent Friction, he also edits a lot of ... um ... other anthologies, too. So maybe they're awarding the Boogo to him for the anthologies. A possibility.


P.S. BTW, Garfbler, exactly how many anthologies have you edited? Just curious.

Novelettes are cool. It's an intermediary form between short stories and novellas. Most novelettes have aspects of both novellas and short stories. A novelette allows you to write a lot about something while still keeping it simple enough so that it doesn't get complicated.

Best at novelettes? Hmmm . . . I'd say K'hatmu Smiel, Ger Emokar, um . . . I can't think of any more right now, but there are others.


About double-awarded stories . . . Flatusimov's Fecundation series won the Boogo for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Then Fecundation's Sledge won. It's true that Fecundation's Sledge won after 1966, but the 1966 award was for "Best All-Time Series," and "All-Time" does include the future.

Also, short fiction can be expanded into novels without altering the original story. For example, a novel can be made out of a short story by making the unaltered short story Chapter 1 and adding additional chapters. I don't know of any that have won, but there might be.


I agree completely. Strange and totally messed up. I believe in freedom of speech and everything, but this is just over the top. There were some good ideas I saw when I was reading some of them, but I got disgusted and stopped. Really, I think there are better ways to conduct a discussion other than throwing in a big fat conglomeration of good topics, bad topics, and otherwise confusing topics without clarification or details or support, mixed with hateful and prejudiced speech. Sad.


I was browsing over at some web site or other and what do I find but the February issue of Sporkaroo? Geez! Just November and the February issue's out! I think I'll wait for the paper copy though, rather than buying from that web site.


Garfbler Dozwhat is the first person to use the term "alternate history"? No way! I've got to find an earlier use of the phrase! Not that I wouldn't want Garfbler to have the credit, of course. It just seems to me that someone had to have used it prior to 1990.


Holy crud! I leave this Borum for just one day and this happens! Geez! And we thought we were safe...

IC (who is still in utter disbelief and who is going to leave the Borum again after this)

Garfbler, I've been trying to get submission statistics out of you since the beginning of time (or almost). But I have to ask to this:

What approximate percentage of the stuff you receive does not come with an SASE? Not in Courier font? Not double spaced on one side of the page? Using the wrong type of paper? Written in green crayon on a used roll of toilet paper? On disk? Otherwise not following the guidelines?

Thanks, Garfbler. It helps to know what kind of true slush you're up against in that slush pile.


P.S. And, yes, Garfbler, length does matter. I don't expect to see any 20,000-page (page) fantasy novel series being published in back-to-back installments in Sporkaroo any time soon. And I also don't expect to see any 0-word stories either. I know you rejected mine, and since there really is only one 0-word story that can be written and the variation is in the title and byline and I don't think you judge stories by titles and bylines (although a good title may attract your attention), I assume that you reject all other 0-word stories you receive. :)

Or "disposable" in normal-sized letters embedded in the middle of a lengthy paragraph on page 42.

No one would notice it.

Something like this: Jolene and Henry is looking at the round sauser shaped ship when a alien steps out of a whole that opens up in the side. "What do you think that is, Henry?" Jolene says curiously. "I think its a alien." Henry asks interestedly. He has trouble seeing thru his disposable contact lenses. "No, no way." Jolene demands croakily. Suddenly, the alien is starting to speak. "Take me to you're liter." the alien sighs furiously.

Speaking of bad writing, how's my example, Garfbler? You say Enfenotok's was marvelously well-written by comparison, but how do you compare it? (more statistics questions ahead, sorry) Approximately where is it in the Slush Spectrum 3000 of yours? Near the bottom? Near the top (I hope)? Approximate percentages, if possible? Thanks, Garfbler. Sorry for all this statistical stuff but you've been reading for years so I presume you don't need to look at any records to give me an approximate (20% off is okay) answer. Thanks, Garfbler.


P.S. BTW, you haven't received any used rolls of toilet paper, have you?

Justified text is easier to read for me. It maintains consistency and looks better. Also, you can fit more text onto a single page with justified text, thus saving paper. Opinions differ, though.


Actually, it does. On my word processor it does. The reason is that if you don't justify it, the characters are spaced at a fixed width. If you justify it, then the characters have to be spaced at a variable width in order to make stuff fill the line. It just happens that the width is more often less than the fixed width when you justify it. When you type in justified text and you reach the end of the line, it doesn't skip to the next line. Instead, it condenses the text until it can condense no more, and then it moves the word you're working on to the next line and adjusts the remaining words in the line you were typing in. Since we don't use long words that often, more stuff condenses than expands, and that results in more text on a page.


And I'm back! I was going to return in December, but . . . well, anyway . . .

So there I was yesterday evening, grabbing and yanking all the junk mail out of the mailbox, when I saw an envelope from a certain "Garfbler Dozwhat" . . . written in my own handwriting. My first thought was "What's this?" My second thought, of course, was "Probably another rejection." And it was, too. But not any ordinary rejection!

It was signed! Yahoo! Actually signed! By Garfbler! And next to the signature was the handwritten message This is crud! Thanks, Garfbler!

Well, okay, it wasn't exactly the first signed rejection letter I got. The first one was back in March or April when my first rejection letter, for my poem "Shall I Compare Thee to a Watermelon?", was badly abused by other people (the horror! the horror!). So I sent a letter to you, Garfbler, requesting another one, heh heh. And I got two rejection letters back (two in the same envelope! Yikes!): an unsigned one and one that had "Gerfdu Mahok, editorial assistant" signed where your signature was supposed to be, accompanied by a note that read "Here's two, just in case my signature doesn't make your day. --GM." Thanks, Gerfdu! Back then, Gerfdu wasn't yet listed in the indicia, so I got briefly confused and almost wondered whether you changed your name and got demoted to editorial assistant or something. Almost. But not really. Well, enough about that . . .

The other interesting thing about this rejection letter (the one I just got) is that it's different from the one I'm used to (or the two I'm used to, rather, for prose and poetry). It's a lot shorter and makes no distinction between prose and poetry.

Hmmm . . . did you use this so-called "form letter" just for me, Garfbler? Or is it that you're conserving ink so that the amount of text is reduced? Are you still using the old ones? Are you using this one for both prose and poetry?

And, of course, thanks for signing it, Garfbler. This is my first rejection letter signed by you. Are you signing every rejection letter now, or is this just for me, because I frequent (on and off) the Borum?

Garfbler, your rejection letter says, "The volume of work has unfortunately made it impossible for me to respond to each submission individually, much as I'd like to be able to." Volume of work? How much stuff are people mailing you, Garfbler? This makes me think of refrigerator boxes full of manuscripts. Or perhaps inflatable manuscripts. Yikes! The word "volume" seems to have certain connotations.

Oh, I get it! You signed it just to get me to return to the Borum! Well, you have succeeded, my friend!

Finally, I'm not here to complain about getting rejected. I know I would have rejected "Booger 2.0" if I were you. I might not have even read it. If you've completely read it, Garfbler, thanks for your hard work. Making myself the third-person protagonist (as "I.C.") in a very weird conversation between me and a nonsense-speaking program didn't exactly produce a good story.

Actually, you have inspired me, Garfbler. I've been procrastinating a lot lately, but thanks to your personal signature and the message This is crud!, I feel motivated to write more. Before I left, I expressed the intent to write four stories. Well, I've only completed one so far, and I didn't even write all of it this month. I only added 1,300 words to a 1,700-word unfinished story I wrote in August. I've only got a week left, and I'm going to use it to write three more stories (or complete three, rather). Thanks, Garfbler!


P.S. It's stuff like this that makes me wish there were a "Best Editor" category for the Sporkaroo Reader's Choice Awards. :)

8? Out of 100? Thanks, Enfenotok! :)

Some addenda to my post that I forgot to include:

1. As to why I was grabbing and yanking junk mail out of the mailbox instead of gently removing it, well, let's just say the mailbox kind of looked like an inflated pufferfish.

2. Speaking of inflatables, "inflatable manuscripts" kind of gives a new meaning to "air mail."

3. Okay, maybe my first thought upon seeing the envelope wasn't "What's this?" but rather "What? Not those darn Sporkaroo people again, begging me to let them publish my stuff!" Maybe someday. :)


And just like that, another one!

Exactly one week after I received the last one, I got another signed rejection letter from Garfbler! That makes two!

This one says "This is still crud. Horrible, definitely not for us" beside the signature. And you say it's impossible for you to make personal responses! Thanks again, Garfbler!


ER, I think the secret is to make yourself known. You have to frequent the Borum and get in lots of discussions with Garfbler. Then you have to make the connection between the name you use here and your real name or pseudonym that you use for writing. If using a pseudonym, make sure it's unique enough that Garfbler can identify it and not mistake it for someone else's name. I admit it's a slight disadvantage that I don't use either my pseudonym or my real name as a handle and that I have never included "The Invisible Crud" in any of my manuscripts ever, but I have made some references (to my pseudonym, never my real name) online, and I'm glad Garfbler remembered. Thanks, Garfbler!


Okay, I know I said earlier that I was going to spend the last week of November writing three additional stories and I didn't write any of them in November, but the last day of the last week of November is actually in December (today), and today I wrote two stories, one having a word count of 96 and the other having a word count of infinity. As to how that's possible, I'll let you figure it out. I also wrote two short and stupid book reviews (of the same book, from two different perspectives), one short article, one phony interview, and one poem that I submitted to Deranged Derisions about five minutes after writing it (which took about five minutes). I also designed an entire webzine incorporating "Booger 2.0" (the one that got me the first signed rejection), the short-short-short-short story I wrote today, "Plankton Flatulations" (another Garfbler reject and available somewhere in alterate universe thread of that Drowned Goblin thing), the poem I wrote today, the article, the interview, the two book reviews, three phony letters to the "editor" that I wrote today, a logo that I made today, background art that I created today and earlier, and background music that I composed earlier, and linking it all together in a group of HTsMelL files that I wrote using just Macrohard BloatPad. That was a mess. I might throw the poem out if I don't receive a response from Deranged Derisions soon enough or if they accept it. That's what I'm doing: A one-person webzine that currently accepts no submissions. That's what I mean by "one-person." One person writes it, one person puts it together, one person reads it. Same person.

I know, I write too much. That's where the irony is. When I'm on the Borum, I can just write and write and write and stack up something like 7,000 words online in just one topic (Drowned Goblin discussion), not to mention the amount of fiction I wrote for the Drowned Goblin. But when I'm seriously trying to write something to submit, I have difficulty doing so. Maybe I need to relax and concentrate on just getting the ideas on paper rather than getting it right on the first try.


Don't worry, Enfenotok. I've done it too much. Almost every manuscript I've submitted to date was a piece of crud. I admit it. In fact, the two recent ones that got signed rejections were the worst two real stories I've submitted. I'm still not sure why I submitted them in the first place. That's the reason why I'm not re-submitting those stories anywhere, anytime. Never. They're that bad. I'm improving though. I just need to relax and get the stuff I want to write on paper (or word-processor document, rather) instead of trying to get it perfect on the first try.


Well, what do you know? A third signed rejection! Thanks, Garfbler!

This is my quickest reply yet, less than one month after I submitted the story. Amazing! This time the signature says "Dozwhat" too, instead of just "Garfbler." And the personal message is "THIS IS WORSE CRUD. YOU'RE NO BETTER AT WRITING THAN THE BURRITO I ATE THIS MORNING. WE DON'T WANT YOUR STUFF!"

Thanks, Garfbler, for your encouragement. I just have one question about your message. What do you mean by "better"? Do you mean that this story is better than my previous efforts, or are you telling me to write better? Please clarify, and thanks a lot, Garfbler! And keep up the quick responses!


Check this out:

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Now that was confusing! This makes no sense. Never mind. Sorry, everybody.


Holy megahertz, this is weird.

I have returned for a brief time. What fun.

I guess I'll contribute to this Drowned Goblin thing.

It feels great to be back. I found Enlightenment (capital E) while gone. It feels great.


Well, I'll stick around perhaps.

Oh, yes, Enlightenment. I'll share it soon enough. Hold on. Don't be too impatient. They say Enlightment (capital E) may repel some at first sight, though . . .

You'll notice the result of my finding Enlightenment in that 1,500-word thing that I wrote impromptu. Hmmm . . . perhaps this Drowned Goblin thing is actually good. It seems to be exercising my writing skills. I dashed up 1,500 words in about two hours. Sounds good. Can't wait to read the ending of this (if there is one!).


This is great!

I don't know about you, but I'm voting for "Biff Luzar and the Dynamite Thing" for the NoFocus Award. We poured out our hearts and souls on this, and we deserve to win a NoFocus! So when the time comes, go to the NoFocus web site and vote!

It's a little over 7,500 words right now and currently qualifies as a novelette. If we keep working on this, it might turn into a novella or even a novel (gasp!). Anyway, according to this year's ballot: "The drop-down selections are based on NoFocus's Scheduled Feeding List . . .however, you may vote for anything or any one. If you are voting for items not on our Scheduled Feeding List, please give both author and title as well as place of appearance." So there you have it! You can vote for anything! And non-subscribers can vote too! So get out there and vote! We deserve a NoFocus Award!


P.S. I'd like to compile an "official text" of this stuff and put it up somewhere (here perhaps, but it'll take up too much space) for your review and approval and corrections. The only problem is, what are we going to put down as author?

For those of you who don't know or don't remember, this whole Biff Luzar business began with a vignette by Erinot entitled "A Rank and Smelly Byte Someplace" published on the old Borum. Unfortunately, it's no longer there. Fortunately, I still have access to it because it's still in my web cache (along with a lot of other junk from the Borum and other places), and so I have it here. The original version differs from the one Erinot gives here, so I'm posting it in the Biff Luzar string. I'm doing this with good intentions so that the world will remember this great work of literature, but, Erinot, if you feel that this is copyright infringement, just say so, and I'm sure one of the administrators will remove it. I also found some comments relating to it.

IC: So when this is done (if it is), get out there and vote for it for the NoFocus Award!

All right . . .

You people have done a nice job of putting titles at the beginning of your installments. That makes it so much easier to identify them. The only problem is, it isn't organized!

Okay then, I need help organizing these installments. They need to be put in order. Thanks. This information will be useful when I compile this piece of junk into an official text when it's done and post it for your review, corrections, and approval.

IC, self-designated editor of "Biff Luzar and the Dynamite Thing"

P.S. And when I'm done with that, go out and vote for it for the NoFocus Award!

Oh, I get it! It's a synopsis!

How stupid of me! (smacks forehead)

I should have known! For some reason, I didn't think it was a synopsis when I first read it! Except for the present tense, it didn't read like a synopsis. Oh, well. Shows how stupid I am.


Oh, I get it! It is organized!

How stupid of me! (smacks forehead)

I should have known! For some reason, I didn't think it was organized when I first read it! Now it makes sense. Oh, well. Shows how stupid I am.


And there you have it: my second contribution. This one's even longer than my earlier one, although it's still approximately 1,500 words in length. Ah, that felt good! This Drowned Goblin thing is beginning to show improvements! You should keep it up!

Also, if you haven't read it yet, Moose's gender is finally revealed!


And the whole thing is now almost 11,000 words long. Thanks, everyone, for contributing, and continue to contribute! We're going to vote for it for the NoFocus Award in 2002 (unless this story ends in 2002, which means we'll vote for it in 2003)! Awesome! We deserve to win a NoFocus!


"Half-baked"? Them's fightin' words!

But really, I didn't mean to make this off-track. My first post was started due to several references to Moose X's mysteriousness, so I decided to do a sort-of-flashback to describe Moose's origins. My second post was caused by several references to the space-time continuum breaking apart. I was trying to show what exactly happened while it was broken apart. I was also trying to add the bits and pieces that were left out of the original story (i.e. the two Mooses, what happened after Moose and the termite fought, how Moose and Biff became friends, how Moose got recruited, etc.). Sorry if it seemed off track. I was only trying to glue the disorganized parts together while still being consistent (sort of).

And it was an error on your part to assume that Moose was male. I mean, come on! Why can't you just accept the fact that Moose is female? I thought this was a gender-equal society! Why did you just stereotypically assume that Moose was male even though all evidence (especially the name) suggested otherwise?


Fine! Okay, okay, Moose is male! The story never said Moose was female, you know. Moose just said, "...which means we're female." Just because Moose says it doesn't mean it's right. Moose can be wrong; anybody can be wrong. And, of course, you're taking this too seriously. Obviously, Moose is joking around with the name.

And I very much do object, thank you, Mrejo! Who said you could do that? I never said so! You didn't give me time to! This is censorship!


Mrejo, you gave people less than an hour and a half to object! I don't think that's fair! You could have at least waited 24 hours, geez!

And "Bliff Luzar"? Come on! Can't even spell the name right, how do you expect us to contribute to it?


I have redeemed myself, Erinot. I was trying to make my parts fit with the rest. In fact, now it appears to. What is the Code of ... ? Why is Moose bound by it?

Anyway, Devourer, I posted Erinot's post twice. Can you delete the second one? Thanks.


Okay, okay, I was just making it clearer how my two posts had anything to do with the storyline, and I've done it. I couldn't possibly do it in the old one because my two posts were already posted.

Maybe we should just stop this.

Anyway, we're going to vote for it for the NoFocus Award, nevertheless.


I thought when I put "THE MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS OF MOOSE X" in the title of my first post that people would know that it was a sort of flashback. I guess I was wrong.


What? Your birthday? Geez! I forgot! I mean, I didn't forget. I just didn't know about it. Happy Birthday, Erinot. And you too, Klerhotek. Geez! Is this what happens when I leave the Borum for a while? :)

And another thing. I am requesting permission to post in the "No Invisible Crud" section. (Yes, I know! It says "No Invisible Crud" but I promise I won't post anything that doesn't fit with the continuum!) Please?


Thanks, Kegolak, but now there are 4 threads and most of it are redundant.

IMHO, I think readers want neat, organized compartments. I know I do. And one big thing doesn't look nice. I also like seeing the author's name next to the work instead of mixed in with all the rest. Also, while copying and pasting, Kegolak, you lost all of the formatting. (I know Mrejo and I lost some of the formatting in Ekos's post when we copied it!)

And, oh no, the story is not near its end yet!

I think the only reason for making a new one is so that the page loads more quickly. And the way you've chosen to do this, Kegolak, doesn't help it a lot. You haven't reduced the amount of stuff on the page by much. The speed at which the page loads does not depend on the number of posts in it; it depends on the number of bytes it takes up. Longer posts approximately equal lots of short posts.

So my solution is: Make a "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2)" thread right here that just continues the other one without reposting everything. We'll leave out the "No Invisible Crud" part so that I can post my posts in it as well (which I'd like to do!).

And another thing: I take it you've given me permission to post messages again. So instead of doing what I did last time a new thread was up, I'm going to ask permission before I do this: May I heavily modify my original two posts that you people thought were out of the continuum so that they are in the continuum and repost them? Thanks. (I have new plot twists in my mind--the real mysterious origins of Moose X, etc.)


Before anyone makes a "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2)" thread, I need to say this:

I myself will do it when I'm done writing my post.

Reasons: If I totally goof up again like I did before, we can just make another thread instead of having to repost the earlier posts in the thread.



Ummm . . . hello? Anybody?

It's been a while since I last posted here, and no one's responded yet. Hello? I'm requesting permission to start a new "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Termite King (part 2)" thread. Anybody?


Hold on! wait! not just yet



(sorry for the bad writing--typing with one hand

Arg! Blast it, Mrejo! Just when I was writing my big long post!

And now you've messed things up! But that's okay. I'll just need to write a preliminary post to my big post that relocates the essential characters into their right spots. That should do it. Okay. Now I'm going to make the "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2)" thread.


All right, I've posted it.

The climax is rapidly approaching...

Here are some ends to tie up:


1. The phones are revolting. What happens next?

2. The war continues. What happens next?

3. What happens to the crew?

4. What happens to the robot Slap and Zmrkjpthfled saw and where did it come from?

5. Who is the mysterious visitor?

6. Who and where and when are Kaputza2 and Kaputza5 Smellycheese? And the original non-clone Kaputza Smellycheese?

7. What is the Dynamite Thing up to?

8. How are Zipdur and Zlobdur going to deliver waffles to Vlobdur?

9. How did Moose X acquire the stolen waffles?

10. What is the Processor, and who created it?

11. Who is responsible for all the cloning?

12. Biff and Kaputza were in love? (Gasp!) How did that happen?

And others. I can't think of any more right now. Have fun finishing the story. I can't wait to see what happens in the climax!


My intention was (a) to preserve all the bits that were previously posted, and (b) to advance the plot.

Well, that's the problem. You still think it's not connected.

Okay, my main post (except the first part, which takes place on Crudbok sometime in the near past), takes place after the posts that other people have contributed. Instead of doing a flashback-type thing like I did the last time I modified my original posts, I put it all in the present, with the characters sharing their life stories (I know, it's cheesy, but then it's a cheesy story) with the help of a Memory Machine. So IMHO it is all connected. Now, on to the climax!

No, this isn't going on forever, although it does seem like it. The story is now technically a novella, at almost 21,500 words in length, and I think it's approaching the end.

And don't forget to vote for it for the NoFocus Award! (When the time comes, go to the NoFocus web site and follow the "Online Ballot" or whatever instructions.) The problem, however, is what to put for "Author." Hmmm . . . "Various Authors"? Or list all of them? Oh, well, we'll think about that when we get to it.


I forgot to say this earlier, but good idea, Ekos. I think it works as something by an individual author rather than a Drowned Goblin thing. Drowned Goblins tend to be humorous and somewhat unorganized in nature. The kind of idea you're suggesting just doesn't work like that. So I think you should develop it and write the story by yourself. May skill and chance ensure your victory.*


*I prefer this to "Good luck."

Note to those of you who have not read my post or who have read it but skipped over certain parts:

If you have read my original two posts earlier, you will notice that most of the original text (somewhat altered) appears in my contribution. But don't just skip over it. I have modified them heavily, and this version is different from my original version and also the modified version that appears in "Bliff Luzar In The Hall of the Dynamite Thing!" It also makes more sense.

One more thing: About the four different folders--add only to "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2)."

"Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (no Invisible Crud)" is part 1. It is too long and takes too long to load, which is the reason for making part 2.

"Bliff Luzar in the Stall Of The Dynamite Thing!" is, in the opinions of most people, horrible. Don't contribute to it.

"Biff Luzar and the Dynamite Thing!" is the original. Also horrible.

If any of the Administrators are reading this, please delete the last two threads I mentioned. Thanks.


This is messed up. Okay...

The big post was all in the POV of Zipdur, no one else's. Being from the point of view of an alien, we don't understand a lot. I'm gonna post an additional post from the POVs of the other characters too.


Okay, I've done it. I explained why the characters were acting like the Three Boogers. And I've also connected all the bits and parts in Whoop-de-doo's POV. Ah, now who is the mysterious visitor? On to the climax!


I have an ending in mind. It's sort of vague, so I can fit it in with whatever happens in the pre-climax, climax, and denouement. Just don't kill Moose and leave the Crudbokuks alone. The title I have in mind is "One Perfect Morning, with Waffles." So . . . on to the climax!


Thanks for your comments, Erinot.

I only said I had an ending in mind. As I've said, it's very vague, so I just wanted to mention the title in case the ending you people choose is different. The ending I had in mind, being very vague, is mostly able to fit whatever happens with the story from now until the end. If, however, you want another ending, I don't care. Go ahead. This is a team effort.

And about the Three Boogers, there's an explanation for that. I'm going to clarify that right now, in fact, with another post.


The "One Perfect Morning, with Waffles" ending (actually, epilogue) is, btw:

Zipdur and Zlobdur are back on Crudbok. Vlobdur is very angry and dismisses Zipdur from its position because of the lack of waffles. Vlobdur selects Zlobdur as the replacement. Zlobdur is extremely happy at being the emissary of the Crudbokuks once more. One day (after all the events of the actual story), Moose X finds himself on Crudbok and is overjoyed to know that he is going to be the new owner and operator of Zlobdur's Waffles, now known as Moose's Waffles. Moose is overjoyed. Happy ending.


Erinot, I have read your and Garduk's comments, and I've tried to tie the thing in with the rest of the story. And, again, I'm going to clarify why the characters are acting like the Three Boogers right now in another post.


Okay, I've done it. I've tied the whole thing in, and it makes sense. I won't give it away here, 'cause it's going to spoil it. Read it for yourself.


(And yes: It does advance the plot!)

One more thing (sorry for monopolizing this thread):

If you disagree with my contributions and would like to continue the story in an alternate way, please start a new thread called something like "Biff Luzar in the Hall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2--no IC)" so that the earlier thread won't get too long (it's too long as it is right now!). Also, if you do this, you won't mess up my contributions, for those people who agree with them.


Hmmm . . . interesting, Ekos. I, uh, don't know how to respond to that. Um . . .

Well, that should do it. Having yet again offended a lot of people, I'm going to leave this Drowned Goblin thing to you people to finish.

I have made my final attempt to connect the whole thing, and IMHO it fits nicely. But, however, people may disagree with me, as they have done in the past, and what I think is not necessarily correct, so if you want to keep my contributions, go ahead. I'd love that. Thanks. However, if you don't like them, just do a favor for me and for others who like my posts, please: Make a new folder ("Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (part 2, second branch)") so that additional posts don't estrange my posts. Think of it as two branches in the storyline. One branch is the branch I started, and the other, if you choose to do one, is the branch that you may start. Thanks for your consideration.

Just one more thing: Whatever you decide and whatever ending you want, I'd like to write the epilogue, "One Perfect Morning, with Waffles". I called it an ending earlier, and it seems to have upset Erinot. As I've said before, it fits with almost anything you might write to finish the story, so you still have a lot of freedom to write the story however you choose. In fact, you still have the same freedom as you've had before. If you've read the summary of my planned epilogue above and dislike it, just say so. It doesn't have to be in the story. It's just a suggestion. Thanks.

Now, on to the climax!


Sorry I haven't posted here in a while. I was having problems connecting to the Internet.

Mrejo, sorry to hear about your tragedy, and I hope things will get better.

Now, about the story:

When posting additional installments, please start a new thread! If you keep posting in the "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (no Invisible Crud)" thread, then my posts won't make sense. Please split the story into two parts instead, so that my branch will make sense in its alternate-universe sort of way. If you like my posts, however, please post in my thread.

Continuing to post in the old thread forces me to write in-between posts to connect my thread to what's happening, and that gets messed up. Garduk's post caused me to write part 1.5.

Erinot, thanks for the post, and I'm glad it fits with my thread, so it doesn't force me to write an additional installment. However, please start a new thread next time.

About Flatus Fest: I think Erinot's comments were caused by several references to Flatus Fest in my post. "By Vlobdur's sandwich" is a direct quote from the movie. The idea of adding "-dur" to Crudbokuk names was my original idea (sometime at the end of 1998), so I think it's a coincidence.

Also, my part 1.5 explains why Biff is no longer stupid. I'm not sure how Flubbers and Kaputza got together again. Maybe Erinot explained that. Maybe not. I read it too quickly.

Fleli, to avoid problems like the one you mentioned, I think you should type the installment (especially if it's long) as a separate document in a word-processor or something. I suggest BloatPad. It's easy to use and you won't be tempted to include formatting that won't show up in your final post. That way, you can save it constantly and not have to worry about losing it.

Finally, Erinot, the inflatable railroad/plastic tuna fish/Moose's mysterious origins thing and the spaceships don't take place at the same battle. I originally typed that as a sort of flashback to explain Moose's origins. I never intended for it to be taken as taking place in the same battle. Sorry for the confusion. I revised it later so it makes sense. If you've read it, then it would make sense. Thanks, Erinot.

Also, here's why I typed the whole thing in the first place:

(1) To fill in most of the fuzzy spots so that our character's backgrounds are understood. I read many references to Moose's being "mysterious" but nothing actually about Moose's origins. That's why I wrote my original first post in the first place. No one seemed to understand that reason, however. For an explanation, please read my second-to-last post in part 2 (from Whoop-de-doo's POV).

(2) To create suspense. I won't give away the plot, so please read my last post in part 2, which explains why the characters were acting like the Three Boogers.

And another thing (I know I said "finally" before, but anyway...):

Erinot, sorry to be mean, but you said earlier that you wished I would read your posts instead of ignoring them, but from what you seem to be saying, you haven't read what I've posted. I explained several times about why the characters were acting like the Three Boogers and that the Russian Alaska thing does not take place at the same time as the current on-going battle, but you do not seem to have read and understood them. I don't know whether it is because you are not reading them or whether you are reading them but refusing to understand them or whether you read them but don't understand them, but the thing is that, Erinot, you haven't understood them. All right, I'll get off my soapbox now. Maybe my comments are lost up there in that jungle of messages above and no one's reading them.


P.S. I'll repeat this because I think everyone's going to forget it:

If you would like to contribute further installments to this story, do not add any more to "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (no Invisible Crud)." If you would like to continue the thread I started, please contribute to part 2. If you disagree with my thread, please start a new thread with your installment (or if someone else has done it already, contribute to that). Thanks.


(I hope the formatting caught your attention.)

Okay, I've done it. I figure someone is going to post in the "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (no Invisible Crud)" thread despite what I said, so now I've created a

Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing, part 2B (alternate no IC thread)

thread for you to post in. Please post in the thread mentioned right above and not in the "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing (no Invisible Crud)" thread. Thanks.


Erinot, different people have different ideas, and my opinions are different from yours. I have no problem with that. The problem is, however, that your ideas are not necessarily correct, just as mine aren't. Therefore, I suggest posting in my "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing, part 2B (alternate no IC thread)" thread, so that:

(a) my separate posts will continue to make sense so that someone who wants to read them will understand where my thread separated from the main thread

(b) the main thread doesn't get too long so that it takes a long time to load (Kegolak said this earlier, I think)

(c) if someone performs the same mistake I did (posting installments that the majority of the people here disagree with), starting a new thread without those posts would be much easier than copying and pasting the entire thing (which loses much of the formatting in the process)

I'm not suggesting that you should continue what I've created. I'm suggesting that you respect it as an alternate thread rather than an inconsistent offshoot that's not part of the story.


Well, I'm back after another period of trouble logging on.

Since you [plural] seem to be so adverse to anything I post and no one seems to continue my thread (saying that it just stops it dead in its tracks), I've decided to finish my alternate version of the story (proving that it does not stop it dead in its tracks).

So . . . I've posted part 1.25 (takes place after "no Invisible Crud" and before part 1.5), part 3 (takes place after part 2), and the epilogue (takes place after part 3). They should be interesting. I've got a big surprise for you at the end of part 3, and an even bigger surprise at the end of the epilogue. Enjoy!

Also, I'd like to thank Garduk, Mrejo, and Ekos for their posts. They made my thread make sense. To know why, read my installments. I won't give it away here.

One last thing: Since you [plural] keep stating that my posts form a separate story, you've basically implicitly given me permission to finish it. And so I've done it. I hope you like it. If you do and think it should be considered part of the story, just say so. If not, continue the story the way it was. (I won't even mention part 2B since no one seems to have read that comment.)


P.S. Oh, wait. I just mentioned part 2B. Oh, never mind. :)

Thanks, Ekos. Ever since I encountered opposition to my posts, I've been struggling to find a way to tie it in with everything, so thanks again, Garduk, Mrejo, and Ekos, for reasons I still won't mention here so as not to spoil it.

And as for the comic stuff, that was my own original work, although the primary purpose of doing it was not for this Drowned Goblin, alas. It was a sort of a by-product, although I did have the Drowned Goblin in mind when I did it. And how I did it was with \image{[description]}. After you click on the post message button on the preview page, it asks you to select a .goof or .joking file to upload to the server. So that's how you do it. As to how I got the .goof files in the first place, I used Plant to do the original, and then I copied the image and pasted it in Adonkey SandwichDeluxe 2.0. Then I used the GOOF conversion thing, and that gave me the .goof file. You may have different software, so the procedure may vary for you.

And now that I'm done with the story, you won't be seeing any more stuff from me relating to Biff Luzar (unless we all decide to do a sequel or a prequel or a parallel story or whatever). Thanks, and enjoy! Again, of course, you don't have to accept my ending. It's just there.


The order is basically numerical, with "no Invisible Crud" being part 1.

So . . . "no Invisible Crud"; part 1.25; part 1.5; part 2; part 3; epilogue.

Thanks, Mrejo. I'm glad to see positive reactions to my stuff.

Also, if you [plural] feel it's incomplete (I do, sort of), just add more to it in the appropriate spot. It helps to have more than one folder, so you can insert stuff in between chapters. (Hey! Who says you have to write a story in order?)


Hey, I just noticed something. My last two posts were posted exactly 24 hours apart, both at 5:09 pm. Hmmm . . . is something spooky going on? *g*



Do you consider the "Biff Luzar" story done?

I'd like to know what everybody thinks. Now that the ending's been written, some people might consider it done, but other people might think some parts need to be written in between chapters. I'm kind of divided on this issue. One person can't just write the whole ending (or the last third, anyway)!


P.S. The climax (or what I consider the climax, anyway) is missing from the story. It covers what exactly happened before Biff and the "others" (Whoop-de-doo's one and the mysterious visitor's another; no other characters mentioned in that scene; they may be there; they may be somewhere else; they may be dead; who knows?) entered the hall of interdimensional transport. I don't feel like writing any more, so if anyone wants to contribute, go ahead! (This is the reason why I made part 3 instead of adding to part 2.)

Sorry for monopolizing this thread, and I hope you read and remember the rest of my posts instead of reading them and forgetting everything except this one.

About the new Drowned Goblin idea: not just yet. We need to finish this Biff Luzar thing (or agree that it's already finished!).

However, I'd like to bring all the ideas (posted in various places (not on my refrigerator door, thank you very much!)) here to refresh your memory.

The idea of people with "powers." I suggest making superheroes out of them as a sort of spoof/satire. I did that once, and I have submitted a heavily modified version to Garfbler. IMHO, I think it's horrible, and I'm not sure why I submitted it. Let's just wait until I get that rejection slip and then I can post the original version (which has a different style from the revised version) here. (Garfbler, if you're reading this, please reply to the story called "The Epitome of Perfidity" by Elkelonn Spudwato ASAP, please. I know you're going to reject it. I just don't want to have a simultaneous submission going on.)

Also, Z-Bob facetiously mentioned at the old Borum (yes, it's still there!) a time-traveling pig as a new subject for a Drowned Goblin. And being facetious, we could include that. Do you think pigs and robins get along together? *g*


Oh, well, thanks, Mrejo, for your post. But it doesn't quite fit with my post. Not exactly. But that's all right. This is supposed to have a variety of stuff. As far as I'm concerned, the stuff I wrote is still connected to the main thread.

And, please, don't post on just the old thread. There's part 1.25, part 1.5, part 2, and part 3 to post in (if you feel like it). I'd like someone to connect parts 2 and 3 with the climax to give it some individual flavor (not chocovanilla) so I'm not dominating that part of the thread. Just because it says "IC inside" doesn't mean that there is only IC inside.


Hi, and thanks for the compliments, Erinot. I'm glad to see such positive responses to my work.

Yes, I'm thinking about that original version of the horrible story that I submitted in yet another fit of insanity. The hero doesn't really have any supernatural powers. It's a perfectly logical science fiction story. (Well, maybe not so logical...) All the science is correct as far as I know. Maybe I'll post it here. I'll wait for Garfbler's response. Garfbler, if you're reading this somewhere, you don't have to respond to the manuscript right away. Just tell me whether I can post on the Borum a very different version of the story I submitted to you. I'm not sure whether that would be considered simultaneous submission. I'm pretty sure the story will be rejected, but who knows? :)

But not just yet, Erinot. We'll wait awhile.

So . . . what exactly is the deal here? Is my connected thread part of the story or not? Or is it one of two alternate threads that take off from Ekos's last post (it originally took off from other posts, and still other posts, and yet other posts . . . maybe that's a bit exaggerated)? Does anyone really care? How's this supposed to be a story? Will someone write a table of contents for this when it's done? [insert other questions here]


I noticed you people have been slacking off on the titles lately. The last few posts have been titleless. I think you should add titles to your next posts so that they can be easily identifiable. (Also, one of the great joys of writing kooky stories is having kooky titles.)


P.S. And that part 2B thing again. No one's posted in it. I suggest doing it so that my threads aren't isolated from the rest. Z-Bob has already expressed confusion at where my thread takes off from the main thread.

P.P.S. And . . . while you're at it, feel free to contribute to my threads! You're welcome! Please--add to it! This is an alternate thread, not a crazy offshoot (then again, it might be that also)!

Um...what are you talking about, Erinot? I'm confused.


Z-Bob, thanks for adding to the out-of-sequence digression. It made me laugh a lot. I feel a lot better. Thanks, Z-Bob.

It is, well, an out-of-sequence digression. Not really part of the story, just there for comic relief. Ah, whatever.


I forgot to mention this earlier, but isn't it amazing how "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing" has so much to do with Flatus Fest? I know that my "By Vlobdur's sandwich" remark was an intentional reference to the movie, but before that there were similarities too. Remember this quote from the movie: "It's not a sandwich! It's a particle accelerator!"?


I'm sure there are a lot out there. I can't think of any more right now, since I don't have a copy of Flatus Fest with me at this moment and I'm too lazy to read over the whole story again. I'm sure you'll think of some, Erinot. :)


P.S. Of course, there's that dual role thing that is a theme in both (although in different kinds of ways). And, explaining the quote I quoted, Mason Blesvik mistakes "particle accelerator" for "dynamite" (or probably doesn't remember and only vaguely recalls the word). And don't forget the popular concept of the main characters versus the characters themselves (Biff Luzar as portrayed in the comic strip vs. Biff Luzar the real person). And, uh, some obvious Flatus Fest references of mine: the Crud X device, "By Vlobdur's sandwich" and whatsit. Oh, and, the rock sandwich can be comparable to Geethisiscrudpleasenomore. And the chartreuse demon wombats . . . well . . . I don't know. Flatus is . . . I don't know either. Not quite the Dynamite Thing, but sort of. The crew . . . Captain Braggart/Mason Blesvik is Biff; Dr. Flazatus/Zorguftu Plain is Whoop-de-doo, since Plain wants to be recognized as having equal importance as Blesvik and Whoop-de-doo actually takes over Biff's position; Lieutenant Stupid Radish/Quark DeCuckoo is Flubbers/Kaputza, respectively (appearance vs. inner person); Tech Sergeant Chunk/Dead Spam is Moose X (mysterious origins; "Spam's not even my real name" or something similar to that, don't quite remember); Lieutenant Wheredidmysandwichgo/Cheesy Flebber is . . . not sure; Security Chief "Blockhead" Idiott/I. Zbeegveggie is the impulse officer perhaps ("What's my last name?")(also, gets killed in episode 81--hint, hint). Not sure who McFloogle's supposed to be. And whatever happened to Ick Fruity, the com-tech?

Something I forgot to include: ("What's my last name?"--You never mentioned Spill the impulse officer's last name.)


Erinot, copy and paste that entry in a document and save it, so if both get deleted, you can have backup.


Hello? Anybody? What happened to the Drowned Goblin?

Come on! We need to finish this thing! I need to compile an official text of it!


Ah, good stuff. Two comments:

The story (including my threads and the out-of-sequence digression) is about 35,000 words long right now. Good, eh? Let's add another 5,000 words or so and call it a novel. That way, we can vote for it for the NoFocus Award in both the SF Novel and First Novel categories! This would be our first novel (sort of), with the exception of Ehak, but then Ehak has only contributed about 600 words in two posts.

Also, what the heck is the Drowned Goblin thread doing way down there in the middle of the slush? Why doesn't it advance to the top whenever someone posts a new message in it, just like all the other topics?


I take it that's the climax, Mrejo. Good work. I've got to write a climax for my own thread, too, since no one else is going too. Obviously.


IT DOES?????!!!! Why thanks, Garduk! Now I actually have motivation to write that climax in my thread. Right after the two climaxes, the two threads jump together. It all makes sense! The story is an alternate universe story of course. :) I'm so happy.

Oh, and, uh, the story is now about 36,500 words long and is about 3,500 words short of being a novel. Let's make it a novel, I say!


P.S. Why the heck is the Drowned Goblin thread still way down there along with all the other junk down there? Administrators, please make the Drowned Goblin thread normal again, so that whenever someone posts in it, it rises (magically) to the top. :)

There! That should do it! I've posted part 2.5 and the intermission! It connects part 2 and part 3 in my thread. And then the no IC thread continues with part 3. Okay, that's great!

Note: The intermission is actually the third intermission. The second intermission is the out-of-sequence digression, and the first one is not yet written. It's supposed to cover the breaking apart of the story. That's interesting. I'll do it right now.


Length update: The length (including bylines and dates at the top of posts) is . . . 39,058.

Not quite a novel. We need to fill in some more stuff. :) Less than a thousand words to go!


39,058 words that is. Sorry.


I just noticed. Those breaks in the long titles are horrible. I didn't realize when I posted it that they would word-wrap. I'll correct that. Apologies.


Congrats, Erinot. You just made "Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing" into Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing. It is now officially a novel, at just over 40,000 words, including the byline and date and time in the heading of each post.

All right. It ain't over 'til it's over. I never said it was over. (You know, you always mistake the things I say for what you think I'm saying, which isn't what I'm saying! It's just not fair! I'm always misunderstood!) That was just a table of contents to organize the whole thing and show how my posts fit in with the rest. Okay? That's it. Geez!

All right. It ain't over 'til it's over. But when is it going to be over? When? Will it go on and on and on forever, like some stories? Should this story be a novel? Why?

Just some things to think about.


P.S. Also, the connection intermission doesn't necessarily have to end the main thread at that point. It's just there, just like everything else. Nothing is specified. If you think the two threads should connect at that point, then they should. If not, then not. But the connection is there. I'm going to connect my thread to the main thread now, in fact.

What Shameless Self-Promotion topic?

Oh, btw, I recall posting a message after the "Congrats, Erinot" message but I think this Borum somehow upchucked and regurgitated it out of its digestive system so now it's no longer here. Oh, well...

I forgot what I recall posting in that message. Geez! I'm not even sure I actually posted it. Possibly something about completing my part of the thread and connecting it to the main thread. Ah, well...


Then again, I might not have pressed the "Post Message" button on the preview screen...


Well, it wasn't my fault. It was all your fault!


The reason why there are so many threads is because the installments weren't written in order. Heck, who says you have to write a story in order?

But when writing a story out of order, you have to create additional threads to include additional installments that took place before those threads.

Which was an indirect result of rejecting my posts in the first place! But that was really a good thing, IMHO and yours also. It enabled me to revise them. Thanks.

I suppose I'm going to combine all of my extraneous posts into a single thread, so that you can recommend it to your friends or whatever and so you don't get confused (even though I made it in numerical order in the first place, but no one seems to understand that!). But, unfortunately, I can't find the time right now. Perhaps tomorrow.

two of IC's personalities, battling it out

Hello, people, and thanks a lot, Devourer, for organizing the Drowned Goblin.

There were actually nine threads, not ten. Erinot might have counted the alternate part 2B thread that no one posted in.

And thanks for the criticism, Garduk. I intended for it to be humor and also to leave it up to the reader to decide who actually said those things, but if you don't like it, that's okay. I won't include any more.

As of now, my alternate thread is officially done. There's no more to add to it, and I'm going to put the installments in order in a one post and repost.

Erinot, the reason I was trying to write in a style that wasn't mine (or was it? it felt like mine) was because you rejected my original posts, saying they weren't connected. Well, . . . obviously I had to do something!

Thanks again, Devourer, for what you've done. But . . . I have a few comments:

I'm glad there's no longer a "no Invisible Crud" thing. I guess that means I'm allowed to post in it. Yes!

Second thing: I slightly disagree with the shortened form. It resembles Airy Blotter and the Kidney Stone, Airy Blotter and the Chamber of Mushrooms, Airy Blotter and the Wombat of Mars, and Airy Blotter and the Goblins on Fire too much . . . ugh. Making it Biff Luzar in the Stall of the Dynamite Thing adds more of the setting and makes the reader wonder what exactly is taking place in the Stall and what the title exactly means by "stall" and whether that is a metaphor or an actual stall, whereas Biff Luzar and the Dynamite Thing shows no relationship between the two characters and seems to suggest that all other characters, if any, are inferior and insignificant. The title is supposed to attract the reader, of course. IMHO, the former title was more attractive.

Last thing, I'm going to combine all of my posts into a single post, and I'm going to post it. This will, in effect, make the "I.C. Drowned Goblin?" thread unnecessary. When that is done, you may delete it, please, Devourer. And thanks again for the organizing.


Ok, Devourer, I'm done. You can delete the "I.C. Drowned Goblin?" folder now. Thanks.

All right. Now about the optional epilogue, it is optional. It's not really part of my thread, so I couldn't include it in there, and, besides, the story's not done. Heh heh. So, when the story's done (if it ever gets completed--groan), we'll decide whether we'll adopt it as the official epilogue or throw it out and either not have an epilogue or adopt an alternate epilogue, in which case my epilogue will become an "alternate epilogue." As I've said before, I made the epilogue very vague and detached from the main story so that it can accommodate a wide variety of endings, so you shouldn't feel limited by it. Feel free to continue the story any way you want to. I can always revise my epilogue. :)


Um...perhaps "or adopt an alternate epilogue" should have been rephrased as "or adopt another epilogue." It doesn't sound right.


Thanks, Mrejo, and enjoy! :) (Condensing has also enabled me to make a few typo corrections here and there.)


P.S. "Rough experience"? No way! It was fun!

[Don't listen to my alternate personality. That postscript is completely untrue--the other personality of IC]

Hi, Erinot. But the thing you're not counting on is what (low, even more sinister laugh) I've got in store for you! Yes, another hefty post! Only this time, it fits! No more slapstick nonsense, no more Three Boogers, no more characters acting untrue to their character (whatever that's supposed to mean), and no more inconsistent alternate-universe junk! Ya happy, Erinot?

This post is actually eight chapters. I continued the title-parodying that I did earlier in my thread, only this time there are eight title parodies, parodying the titles of (believe it or not) nine famous SF stories! (If you don't get one or more of them, just ask me, and I'll explain.) My personal favorite is the last one, which I won't give away here.

Well, if you haven't read it yet, enjoy! If you have, I hope you enjoyed it! :)


Hmmm . . . what you're saying makes sense, and I understand. But I'm not sure whether you are referring to my alternate thread or the post that I just posted on the main thread.

If you are referring to the alternate thread, it's over and done with and I'm not making any more attempts to connect it.

If you're referring to the post I just posted, that post is part of the main thread and not part of the alternate thread. The alternate thread has nothing to do with that post, with the exception of a small reference to it that serves the purpose of identifying the potato people as Crudbokuks. Moose only says, "It's as if they were memories infused into my mind from an alternate self in an alternate universe." That may or may not be the alternate universe that I had in my alternate thread. It's very possible that Moose is only trying to express an idea that is difficult to express. As for the Crudbokuks, if you think they should be confined only to the alternate thread just because they appeared in it, I'd like to remind you that if my thread is an alternate thread, then it has nothing to do with the main thread, and therefore it doesn't really matter whether the Crudbokuks appear in the main thread or not. They may or may not be the same Crudbokuks that appeared in the alternate thread. It could all be a coincidence. (In fact, they're obviously not the same Crudbokuks. The ones in this thread are primitive tribal beings while the ones in my alternate thread were sophisticated and civilized.) However, if you don't like that reference to the alternate universe and/or the name "Crudbokuks," I could always revise my post and ask Devourer to delete the original.

If you are referring to the epilogue, remember that it is only an optional epilogue. It's just there because I wrote it and I think it should be available to read for anyone who wishes to read it. It's not officially part of the thread.

And one last thing: "No matter how hard you try to write to fit into this universe, you don't. You can't." I know what you mean by this, but I don't completely agree. Saying "You can't," is basically saying "Your stuff just doesn't fit in this and since it doesn't fit, it can't ever fit, and you will never change and you are always confined to writing the kind of stuff you've written before." This is just plain stereotyping. Just because I've written in a particular style doesn't mean I always write in that particular style. Just because I often use that style doesn't mean that it is difficult for me to write in other styles. People aren't just solid, unmoving, unchanging rocks. They have a variety of talents, not just one. When I wrote my recent main thread post, I felt very comfortable with it. It was a style I was comfortable with, even though it wasn't the style I used before. In fact, now that I think of it, I like this style better. I feel that I can express my comic talents better using this style than the slapstick style I used in the alternate thread.

And another last thing (that's a contradiction isn't it?): I'm not confining my comic talents to just this Drowned Goblin. I've used it in lots of places, including stories I'm writing for submission to publications. I've found a wide variety of styles in my work, ranging from serious, not funny stuff to light humor to in-your-face lame jokes that don't make any sense to LOL slapstick to social satire. I feel comfortable with all of it.

And yet another last thing: I don't think it's the time yet to start a new Drowned Goblin. I'm no longer thinking about including that story I mentioned earlier. It just doesn't fit with what I have in mind. The so-called "superhero" in that story doesn't have any superpowers, and it takes place in the near future, not the present. I'd like this new story to take place in the present. But it's not the right time yet.

Thanks, Erinot, for your comments. Differing opinions usually result in interesting discussions.


Erinot, you don't have to go. The last time I went, I came back after a few weeks. But if you feel like you're devoting too much time to the Borum, that's okay.

Erinot, I'm sorry for discussing my worries and concerns and all that stuff. I didn't know I was ruining it for you. No one said anything about its being offensive or ruining anything, so I thought it was okay. Again, I'm sorry.

And I'm sorry for making you feel like I am putting too many demands on everyone. Since everything I post seems to offend you, I will keep this message down to a minimum. You seem to be saying that I have adopted a style that wasn't my original style in order to fit in. I have not done so. The style I was writing in in the alternate thread wasn't my original style. It just happened to be the style I wrote in. For me, I use a variety of styles for different occasions. For you, that may be different. Each person has a different way of writing. The style I have used for the main thread post was not an effort to make my work fit in with everyone else's. It was only using another style of mine to fit the story.

Again, I'm sorry, Erinot, that things had to happen this way. I didn't mean to offend anyone, and some people actually enjoyed my post. Garduk, for example, says, ". . . your new post fits right in." Again, different people have different opinions, and apparently, Garduk's opinion differs from yours. That does not make either of you absolutely correct. However, rejecting an entire story because one installment was written by a person who previously wrote installments that didn't fit, is not the right way to handle the situation. I no longer support the alternate thread, and it's just there for the curious.

Garduk's post made me post my post, with its biffluzar (pun intended) ending with the potatoes. Naturally, I leaped at the idea of contributing the next installment. And since the very next installment, yours, didn't directly have anything to do with Garduk's post, I felt that my post would fit naturally.

I have kept all of my previous posts separate from the main thread in an alternate universe of its own, and I now know that my attempts to connect them to the main thread were wrong and stupid. I now understand that it is a separate thread. I understand that I do not have complete control over the Drowned Goblin. I have enjoyed most (though not all) of the posts that everyone has posted in the main thread. They raised interesting ideas and brought up exciting topics. I enjoyed it because it was a Drowned Goblin. Many different voices coming together produce a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. And I welcome your messages in this folder. I'm sorry for the things I've said. The times I've screamed at you ("It was all your fault!"; "Are ya happy, Erinot?"; etc.) were only meant to be sarcastic, kind of like your "Are you happy, Ekos?" comment at the end of one of your posts. I'm sorry you took it the wrong way. Your criticisms and comments have made me improve my work, and I thank you for that. You made me condense the alternate thread into just one post (or two, including the epilogue). You made me realize that the additional posts I posted to connect the alternate thread to the main thread were not good. They lacked quality because I wrote them to connect the two threads together. Erinot, you made me understand that they weren't supposed to be connected. My last post, which was not written in order to connect the alternate thread to the main thread at all, allowed me to use my original voice (although in a different style that was still mine).

Thank you, Erinot, for making me realize that my worries and concerns and my comments on its length and its NoFocus Award eligibility were not suitable for this Borum. I understand now, and I will not post any more of that.

Don't go, Erinot. We're not rejecting you. This Borum really is a classroom, a place for us to learn and study, to socialize with our friends, and to develop our talents. Don't go, Erinot. This classroom won't be the same without you.


Hi, Mrejo. Maybe you can revise it, after all. They're called "Crudbokuks" in my post, and they were still there (I mean right there!) the last time we saw the Dynamite Thing.

Say . . . am I by any chance one of the "five Cruds"? :)

Well, sorry for beating you to the punch, but it was a manure/crud situation at the end of Garduk's post, and that calls for a manure/crud response, which means . . . well, me.

Good luck on your post, Mrejo.

Mrejo, what do you say you, me, Garduk, and everybody else gather 'round and post a big (I mean BIG) "Please Return" or something message to Erinot? What do you say?

Erinot, you will be missed. :(


Mrejo, I am sincerely sorry for posting my installment before yours. I honestly did not know that you were intending to post one. Your comment about hopefully writing a new installment was lost way up there in the thread and I guess I forgot it.

Erinot, I did not consciously know that Mrejo was writing a post. I read that comment but since it didn't stand out and I just continued on reading with the next post, it escaped my mind. My reply to Mrejo's message may have misled you to believe that I deliberately cut in. When I wrote "Well, sorry for beating you to the punch, but it was a manure/crud situation at the end of Garduk's post, and that calls for a manure/crud response, which means . . . well, me.", I didn't mean that I had the right to continue the post and no one else did. I didn't know Mrejo was intending to write an installment, and what I meant by my statement was that I had an idea that went with Garduk's ending, and since I didn't consciously know that Mrejo intended to write an installment, I decided to write a post of my own. When I learned that Mrejo had intended to write a post, I just assumed that we both independently wrote sequels to the same installment and that I had just posted mine earlier. It happens. I'm sorry I didn't remember Mrejo's comment about intending to write an installment.

Finally, I have the right to post on this Drowned Goblin just as everybody else does. If you think any of my posts don't fit, you, just like everyone else, have the right to speak up against it. This you have done, and I respect your right to do so. However, sometimes it comes to the point where you are no longer criticizing the post itself but attacking the author of that post simply because that author has posted disagreeable posts in the past. This is a logical fallacy and ignores the individual merits or defects of the literary work and instead stereotypes it as being the work of that author. Let me ask you a question, Erinot: If I had posted that installment under a pseudonym and you didn't know that it was me who was writing it, would you have reacted the same way?

Erinot, I am not removing my post from the thread. Garduk has said that it "fits right in," and Mrejo has said that it "makes sense, and it introduces new plot elements." Therefore, I am not going to remove my post that at least two people find agreeable just because one person says it should be removed and does not give a satisfactory reason why it should be removed other than that the author has posted disagreeable installments in the past and that the author has deliberately posted the installment in order to prevent another author to post an installment, which is a mistaken belief.


"Home fries." Heh heh. I'm too upset to really laugh at that one.

Erinot, I forgot to mention earlier that the first installment posted after Mrejo announced his intention to contribute a post was yours, Erinot, not mine. Although it didn't directly have anything to do with Garduk's post, it could have made Mrejo revise his post, although it didn't.

Erinot, I'm sorry to say this, but lately it seems that you are no longer the person you were before. Instead of welcoming new contributions to the story like everyone else, you reject it immediately (you show no signs of even having read it, although I'm assuming you have) and resort to using emotional appeal and other propaganda loaded with logical fallacies in order to get me to remove my contributions. This is a team effort, Erinot, and each installment will be judged solely on its own merits and defects and not on the author or the merits and defects of previous work by that author. My alternate thread is over and done with, and is irrelevant to anything I've posted since I abandoned it.

Furthermore, Erinot, it seems to me that when you realized your propaganda wasn't going to work and that my post was still going to remain there no matter what you said (which is not true; I will remove it if you give me a satisfactory reason to do so, which you have not yet done), you desperately resorted to threatening to leave the Borum unless I removed my contribution. I see it only as another attempt to use propaganda to enforce your own opinions without regard for anyone else's opinions. You state that I have complete control over whether you remain or leave this Borum, and if you honestly think that this is the situation, then you are deceiving yourself. I do not have any control (I do have some influence, but not control) over your life, just as you do not have any control over my life. Whether you leave or remain on the Borum is solely your decision. I will still keep my contribution where it is. However, I am not a stubborn, unchanging, unmoving rock. If you give me a satisfactory reason why I should remove my post, I will gladly do so. If you choose to leave this Borum, Erinot, don't expect me to think that it was me who had complete control over whether you leave or not. That is your decision, and if you wish to believe that it was me who controlled it, I respect your right to do so.

Garduk, what I've contributed in just this thread alone adds up to 6,276 words in a whole lot of sentences. Wait a minute . . . 6,276? What the heck is this? This is a lot!

This must mean something.

I am spending way too much time here. Looking over my writing log, I find that out of the 12,000 words or so of fiction that I have written in October, all of it was posted as part of the Drowned Goblin (or part of the alternate thread, rather).

This month, November, I'm going to change. I intend to write four short stories this month. This Borum has prevented me from doing so. I have several ideas that I think will make nice stories, but I've been held back by my participation in the Borum. I think the Drowned Goblin was a good idea, however, and I feel that my writing has benefited from it, even though I didn't write a single word in October for any story that I intend to submit to a publication. But spending almost all of my free time on the Borum is not a good way to spend my life. If I remain here, I will have very little time to write any stories for submission. It is also a drain on my non-free time and the limited amount of time I have for my Internet connection.

Therefore, I am going to leave this Borum for a while. I'll see you in December, folks.


Oh, hi, Ekos. I didn't notice your post because I was writing mine when you posted it. I regret not being able to stay and having to leave so soon after you arrived. Oh, eventful day . . .


Ekos, I am not leaving because I'm being criticized. I responded four times to Erinot's last three posts, explaining my point of view, what I think, etc.

The reason I'm leaving is because I spend too much time here. Garduk made me realize that. Please see the bottom half of my message that starts with "'Home fries.'"

Well, I'll see you in December, folks.


Ditto. Happy New Year, everybody!

"Eventful," Garfbler? Depends on what you mean. I'm hoping I'll get my work accepted in 2002. That should be a big event for me. (hint, hint :) )


Of course, this is just MM/DD/YY. For most of the world, it's DD/MM/YY. So it's, um, quite different. I need to go somewhere now, so I can't give you any examples in DD/MM/YY.


Hi, Enfenotok. I didn't see your message because I was writing mine. I'm planning to seal my first story of 2002 in an envelope tomorrow too. The problem is, I've only got 200 words written, and I'm expecting 2,000 (or maybe 2,002, to fit the year; what do you think?). Heh heh. I was going to do it today, and now I'm going to have to write the 1,800 words tomorrow, but now I find I'm going to spend most of tomorrow away from the computer, and so I might have to actually write out an entire story in longhand for the first time since, well, a long time ago. You know, back in the days...

Talk about technological advancement! A new year and I'm going to write out a story with paper and pen? How ironic.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone.


Good luck and MSACEYV*, Enfenotok, on your submission. I've still to write mine. It's going to be a 1 January story, heh heh. Fun. After thinking about the story this morning and tying it in with 1 January and a new plot idea, it just became a lot spookier. Freaky. And to think what happens in my story might just come true. I won't spoil it for you all, so I won't give away the story idea here. Well, have fun, everyone.


*MSACEYV--"May skill and chance ensure your victory."

And I forgot to mention something: Good news! A change of plan: I found out I'll be spending today at home, so I won't be writing my story on paper after all. :) So I don't have to retype it on the computer.

And, using DD/MM/YY, the next palindromic date is 20/02/2002. That's less than two months away.


What? Two Mrejos? And all this time I thought there was one! Geez! I mean, I kind of suspected something when in the books topic, "Mrejo" typed "Fungomancer--what the [heck]?" or something like that and "Mrejo Equos" typed "I always liked Fungomancer, but not Count Negative One" or something like that. Well! Okay, I can deal with that.


I finally got it done. My story. Done! Well, the rough draft, anyway. And I managed to more than double my word-count goal: 4,100 words! Amazing. Well, the story seems fantastic and very well may be the best story I've ever written (so far). And it's a New Year's Day story--the first New Year's Day story I've ever written. The entire story takes place on New Year's Day, but a very weird New Year's Day, indeed. In my story, 1 January is also Universal Freedom Day, and both holidays on the same date serve symbolic purposes as well. I won't say anything more about it now, 'cause I don't want to spoil it.

Enfenotok, I'm not part of any writer's groups, unfortunately. Say, do you think you can critique it in 30 minutes? Reply in the next 30 minutes and I'll e-mail it to you. Otherwise, you might have to wait until my next story.

Now I'll get back to the story and read it for the first time since finishing the rough draft, and then I'll make some revisions, and print it out. That would be fun.


Okay, I've produced my second draft. It looks slightly better than the first. I don't know what else to do with it besides read it again and then seal it in the envelope. So that's what I'll do now.


This is bad. My computer just crashed right while I was printing my story out. That's not good luck, is it? As if that wasn't bad enough, I was writing a message here when it crashed and what I wrote got deleted, so now I'm trying to remember what I wrote. At least my story didn't get deleted.


Enfenotok, that's all right. You can critique it if Garfbler rejects it, although maybe I shouldn't say that here on the Borum (wouldn't want to give Garfbler any ideas, heh heh). And, of course, there are future stories as well.

I have reread the story and revised it and produced a third draft and resumed and finished printing it and sealed it in the envelope along with a SASE (an SASE?) and a cover letter (my first). Done. All done. I feel great. I am a writer. The story is called "Hey! Who Took My Sandwich?" and I managed (somehow) to put a monster wombat in it. But it's not like it sounds. Okay, okay, I promise not to reveal any more about the story!

It's still New Year's Day, isn't it?


Huh. Guess not. I was 11 minutes too late. But . . . I live in the Central Time Zone, so for me it's still New Year's Day! Happy New Year, everybody!

Or are Borum times All-Encompassing and Final? Oh, darn . . .


Or maybe the time-traveling sentient dinosaur meets talking tree in the middle of winter 1859 and engages in philosophical discussion of the meaning of life and relativity and quantum mechanics, all while cucumber-shaped aliens invade and melt the world with blaster cannons story . . . WHOOPS! I shouldn't have given that away! :)


I look up from the monitor. The middle of winter 1859 is approaching. What could this mean? I am sure this is only a facetious remark, but still, one cannot help wondering. What is going to happen to the world?

I continue reading the messages, but there are no more. It all stops here. There are no more messages after the one posted at 01:12 pm on Wednesday, January 02, 2002, by The Invisible Crud. What will happen then? What will happen now?

6 February 1859

I look out across the field of snow, squinting against the bright sunlight, looking for signs of anything unusual, anything out of the ordinary. I look, and I look, but I find nothing. But then I notice something.

What is this? Can it be possible? But no, this must be impossible. How could this have happened?

I look again, but I cannot deny that it is true. There, in front of me a short distance away, are a dinosaur and a tree. They are engaged in conversation, or so it seems.

I know what is happening. The dinosaur is a time-traveling sentient dinosaur, and the tree is a talking tree, and they are engaged in a philosophical discussion of the meaning of life and relativity and quantum mechanics.

Slowly, it dawns on me. Cucumber-shaped aliens are invading and melting the world with blaster cannons as I speak. I look up. There, in the sky, floats a gigantic flying saucer, from which exit hordes of cucumber-shaped aliens. I shudder. It cannot be possible. It cannot. But it is happening. The aliens are melting the world with blaster cannons.


I dash in the direction of the dinosaur.

"Help me! The aliens are invading! Get me out of here! Take me to the future!"

Surprised, the dinosaur looks at me for a moment, and then it vanishes.

I stand there, cold and shivering, confused, staring at the empty space where the dinosaur was and at the snow-covered fields beyond. I see the snow everywhere, and then it, too, vanishes.

2 January 2002

The world then reappears, and I find myself standing in the middle of a street on a cold afternoon, alone and confused. No one else is there. No one else remains. I am alone. I look to the right and see a clock hanging on the wall inside a store. I can make out the time: 1:11.

I remember the time the Invisible Crud's last message was posted: 1:12 p.m.

What now? What will happen? I watch the clock as the second hand inches slowly clockwise: 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 . . .

Parts of this story were first published online at the Asimov's Forum, 2001-2002.

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Copyright 2001-2002 by Eco Fantastik and Bewildering Stories.