Servant: King Solomon, both of these women claim to be the mother of this baby. King Solomon: Cut the baby in half! First Mother: Sounds great. Second Mother: No, give the baby to her instead! King Solomon: Congratulations, the baby is yours.
Servant: King Solomon, both of these men claim this exclusive ownership of this ox. King Solomon: Cut the ox in half! First Man: Seems fine to me. Second Man: I would rather he have the ox than see it die. Please spare it. King Solomon: The ox is yours. Also, you care about oxen too much.
Servant: King Solomon, both of these children want to eat the same sandwich. King Solomon: Cut the sandwich in half! First Child: … Second Child: … King Solomon: I will eat both halves.
Hey folks, it’s great to be here. Or not here, am I right? I’m just kidding ya, but honestly – some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Mostly the days on which I’m trapped inside a box containing poison that may or may not be released depending upon the possible emission of a radioactive particle.
Does anybody else feel like they have to have someone looking at them in order to feel alive? Because the act of observation collapses the wave function and converts two potential realities into one definite circumstance?
Speaking of observation, how about some observational humor? What is the deal with Geiger counters? And why can’t they be rigged to definitely not detect any radiation so that the poison isn’t released and you don’t have to die? Am I right? I’m right.
You know, I took my car to the shop the other day, and the guy was like “why don’t you have ol’ Schrödinger take a look at this thing? He’s a mechanic, right?” Yeah, sure - a quantum mechanic! Those guys kill me! Or not!
You guy’s aren’t big fans of my material, huh? What are you gonna do - put me in a box and turn me into an existentially tortured being who’s trapped in a superposition? Been there, done that!
Jeez, if you guys hate me, you really shouldn’t meet my friend Niels That guy is totally Bohr-ing.
Okay, folks, that’s my time. At least according to current interpretations of the speed of light relative to universal entropy.
Congratulations on your upcoming inter-species nuptials. I’m sure you’re over-joyed, and yet also terrified that the Xorblaxian mate that has been assigned to you may soon to inseminate you and fill your thorax with a thousand gleaming hivelings that will burst forth and devour our “wretched planet”.
I’m also sure you have a lot of questions! Let’s take a look at some of them and see if we can’t put your mind at ease.
My fiancée has assigned me a Xorblaxian nickname. I’m glad it feels affection for me, but I’m wondering just what my new name translates to. Is there an English-Xorblaxian dictionary I can purchase?
Ha, we wish! Our best linguists have been unable to establish more than a basic understanding of the Xorblaxian tongue, so the meaning of their strange utterances are lost to us. However, we do know that the most common nickname for Xorblaxian consorts decodes as “the Vessel”. Vessel for what exactly? We’re not certain. Maybe those hivelings we’re all so scared of!
My Xorblaxian mate spends most of its day cleaning his mandibles and milking its fore-glands. Am I marrying a jobless layabout?
Don’t worry - you husbride is simply preparing for the busy nights it spends with those very mandibles plunged into your temples, better to pump you full of a potent pleasure-giving neuro-toxin.
My Xorblaxian used to ask me questions about my personal life, but lately its inquiries have taken a turn. “Where did you grow up?” “How far away was your home from the nearest pulse generator?” “Do you know any of the access codes to the pulse generator?” I feel like I’m on a strange quiz show. How can I get my future partner to cool it with the questions?
Xorblaxians are a very curious species, especially when it comes to matters of Earth’s defenses. Anthropologists have found that the best thing to do is simply answer every single query, in the hopes that you’ll overload your Xorblaxian with information and cause it to become bored. It hasn’t worked yet, but we have faith. These days, we have to have faith.
My fiancée is paying a lot of attention to the cycles of the moon, and has begun painting odd sigils on my body with the ink that secretes from its exo-pores. Is this normal?
Xorblaxian wedding traditions are different from ours in many ways. Your betrothed is just preparing for the magical day when you and it will genetically bond together and become one with the overmind. Try to think of all the lunar worship and rune art as the Xorblaxian equivalent of a bachelor party or wedding shower. It just means that the future master of your psychic terrain is getting excited!
I am a normal human looking for other normal humans that would like to discuss our suspicions about a possible Xorblaxian takeover of the planet. Where can I find other normal, non-alien humans like myself to meet with and not dissolve with my enzyme tentacles as a warning to other rebels?
Nice try, Xorblaxian! If I wasn’t so sure that relations between Xorblax and Earth were peaceful, I’d almost be worried! Luckily, I know you guys are a big bunch of kidders. Quit pulling my leg (the things at at the bottom of my abdomen, where you would have your horrifying spike-limbs)!
Wake up and go straight to the mirror. Move your head from side to side and blink rapidly, making everything seem like it’s from an old-timey movie. Quote some Citizen Kane and Casablanca. Wait until you get dizzy from the blinking, and then go lay down. You are not a Hollywood actor.
Grab a pen and paper and write down a list of your biggest fears. Next to those, write down a list of things that could destroy those fears. Notice how that second list just says “Father” over and over. Start crying, and then go lay down. You are not your father.
The next time you feel the urge to obsessively wash your hands to get rid of the foul infestation of bacteria that is crawling, always crawling, crawling all over your skin, try to picture the bacteria with a smiley face, or something. Perhaps a jaunty hat?
Repeat to yourself “I am worthy of love and attention”. If the words sound hollow, carve them into your arm with a protractor, and show them to everybody you meet. You will have their attention!
Whenever you encounter anxiety over a problem or situation, use the R.A.I.L. system! Rationalize your fears by Accelerating them to their logical extreme, then Internalize the knowledge that every chain of events will undoubtedly contribute to entropy, and Lament the inevitable heat death of the universe. Does your anxiety really makes sense anymore? No, not if the Earth is going to grow cold and dark no matter what you do!
Pig: Let’s overthrow the farmer, or something. I think Communism? Other Pig: I bet we won’t be corrupted by our power and become even worse than the evil we attempted to destroy. That’s the lesson, right? Cow: I’m confused about why we can talk. Pig: Just go with it. Chicken: Cluck-cluck. Pig: The chicken is an idiot because she only has two legs. Other Pig: Yes, we have made arbitrary decisions about the inherent morality of legs.
I just finished the latest draft of A Dalliance With Darcy. Thanks for being so receptive to our proposal to make the book more ethnically diverse. So few writers are willing to take the advice of the “sellouts in marketing”. You’re a real team player.
That being said, I have a few questions about this “Luke Cage, Hero For Hire” character you’ve added to the story. He’s described as an African-American from Harlem, New York, a character-type that has not exactly been a mainstay of 19th-century romantic fiction.
I must admit to being mystified by the repeated mentions of his “unbreakable skin”. Is this a metaphor for an icy exterior that prevents Helena from being able to reach his heart, thus causing her to return to the arms of Darcy? Be careful with taking it too far - we don’t want to boil the ocean.
The mentions of his past problems with the police add a great element of mystery to the book, and give Cage a dark, anti-hero touch that helps explain Helena’s attraction to him.
However, the character also talks about experiments conducted on him whilst he was in prison, and I don’t know if the scientific community of the time was advanced enough to create this “electro-organic field” that he speaks of. I am waiting to hear from our fact checkers about whether or not there is research to support this particular plot element.
Cage also brings with him some sparkling dialogue that -while certainly a wonderful addition to the novel’s overall palate- has been described by our proofreaders as “anachronistic at best”. For instance, would a member of the late-1800s upper-class really refer to Lady Faverly as a “jive turkey”?
Last of all, you know I’ve always been a fan of your descriptive abilities, but I think you took a wrong turn with Cage’s attire. Every other character in the book wears period clothing, but you paint Luke as “bearing leather pants, an open shirt, and metal gauntlets on his wrists”. I would advise switching out all this modern clothing for something simpler: in place of the chain around his waist, maybe a cummerbund?
Of course, you’re the writer, and I completely trust you on this. I’m sure there’s some way we can capture the essence of a black, street-smart crime-fighter, while at the same time having him be none of those things. Come in, we’ll blue-sky it.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Editor, Sanditon Books
P.S. All that said, I can’t praise your other new antagonist, this “Reed Richards”, enough – in spite of the fact his preferred moniker of “Mister Fantastic” stretches our suspension of disbelief far beyond normal limits.