Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (finale)

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Under the Hood

The Drymouth Desert was deceptively small. A person on foot would claim it an endless sea of inhospitable madness, where sand dunes atop red clay occasionally lurched forward to eat tumbletrees, which were the only available prey. It would be the last claim that person would make before their voice was baked out of them and they were heat-blasted into a strip of anxious and peeved leather.

The issue was the lack of perspective, much like Silver and Roman needing to seek higher ground in the bear trap to get the lay of the land. The dunes were too high for a person on foot to see over, so natural odds-confounding forces got them turned around, had them walking in circles until their final quarter circle. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part four)

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Bill at the Door

It was still Halloween morning and he was already bored of darts. Bill knew his people were letting him win. Even the ones who wouldn’t normally were coddling him that day. Halloween was when the Billity family got scared, always expecting someone possessed by a ghostly mask to come to the door and seek bloody revenge.

Some of his relatives had even been offended when no such specters came calling, thinking they must not have sent the message properly if those wronged had still managed to find rest. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part three)

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Popette at the Door

Ra-da-dang-dong. Ra-da-dang-dong. It was a surprisingly cheerful doorbell, not at all like the welcome she remembered. Of course, that was more than a lifetime ago. That said, the exterior of the Billity Catholicish School for Girls hadn’t changed all that much. The giant stable nearby, nearly three times the size of the house, was a new addition, but the school itself was still that drab green and white monolith under its four cardinal direction willows.

Now as I’ve said, Poppy and Suzette were in an odd state, with the latter being largely in control, but operating within the template of the mischievous child. They couldn’t converse with each other, talk over what was a good idea and what was bad. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Funeral March to Gothic Rock (part two)

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Catalogues of Women

Thank you all for coming out this afternoon, I know it’s hotter than the devil’s bedpan out here. Leave it to a South Reap October to turn pumpkins into prunes; that’s what my father always used to say.” There was some light laughter, less than he expected, but he chalked it up to the fatiguing heat.

There was at least some shade thanks to the garden trees behind the town hall, where Mountainblood always held its press conferences. Journalists for local rags, both clean and oily, were clustered under the crab apples, fanning themselves with hats because their cards were busy recording the event. Continue reading

Pantry Castle Salamander (finale)

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(reading time: 42 minutes)

Peanut Sprouts

The daylight came as it always had, despite Wilmot not feeling ready for it. When the towels had lost all their heat they were merely damp; he threw them off like wet leaves. There was much activity just outside of his room, but none of it was panicked, just the excitement one would expect for the finale of the Chairman’s Banquet.

His stomach churned and made a sound. He thanked the culinary gods for leaving his needs and desires intact. Whatever madness plagued his mind would have to be held back until after the competition; then he was free to go exactly as insane as he pleased.

First they had to crown a winner, and Wilmot Barclay had to record it. When he emerged he left as much of the previous night as he could wrapped up in the heavy towels and put a smile on his face. He was one of the first ones to his seat. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (finale)

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An Excerpt from Masquerade Monthly, Issue #34

Available at Aleatory Books

As our regular readers will know by now, we’re committed to offering everyone on Pluto the most sound and fashionable advice when it comes to selecting and wearing emergency masks, whether likelihood is a concern or you’re just looking to spice up your Friday night look. Admittedly, we tend to get caught up in trends, what with the planet’s wealth of fine craftsmen at our disposal.

Today we reach into the back of the mask drawer, tackling queries sent by many a reader regarding nontraditional and improvised masks. Many of you have also expressed an interest in so called ‘minimal masks’, here meaning items worn upon the face that one would not expect to count as identity forming but have nonetheless been demonstrated to work as such. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (part four)

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One in a Simillion

Popcorn’s here finally. I’m starving. Hey, over here moron!” Toddy Hot raised his hand and snapped his fingers several times to get the crazy8’s attention. The person who’d been set to the task of fetching the refreshments barely knew where they were, and certainly didn’t understand what kind of crowd surrounded them.

Since they were wearing a red striped shirt and a little paper hat they assumed they were an employee of this entertainment venue and it was their responsibility to serve anyone else there. At the moment they were on the carpeted stairs between rows of descending seats, and down at the center there was a boxing ring, though the 2 men inside it were conversing instead of throwing punches. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (part three)

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The 9th Life of Long Odd Silver

We are closed!” Minty shouted as she rushed toward the front door in her green silk pajamas. It was so early in the morning that there was only a shred of daylight outside, so she held an illuminated card up like a candle, footage of a yellow flame flickering. Her feet were bare and her glasses resting comfortably on her nightstand a few rooms away.

Whunk whunk whunk! The knock came again, though it was more like somebody swinging a sack of potatoes against the wood. Then there was another knock from a different angle, smaller, harder, more persistent. Then another. It was hammering, she realized. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (part two)

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Request in the Public Interest

For all the talk of Pluto of having opinions, of it styling its population’s civilization, against their will, after the early half of the 20th century, probably because that was when its own planethood was most aggressively speculated and it was nostalgic, the truth is that it was much more of a natural reaction.

If opinion came into it all, it was likely influence from human possibilities. Everyone past the dawn of plastic pines for the good old days of wood, paper, metal, and glass. While they want the smell and look of those things, in the end they’ll happily give it all up for the conveniences of the 21st, computing prime among them. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (Part One)

Past the facts lies a realm where your guess has to be good enough: probable space!  Its places and peoples have their own odds, from 2to1 on down, getting less substantial all the way.  All the planets there are the ones merely theorized here, from tiny Vulcan, to Counter-Earth, to Phaeton, and now beyond to… Pluto?

The poor orbiting body’s downgrade from planet to dwarf shoved it into the realm of theory, so it popped up in probable space, complete with an adult population shocked to find themselves alive!  One such Plutonian is Minty Julip, who is nearly sure she is a librarian, and hopes to stay that way, but many are vying for power in their fresh world, and they think she belongs in the battle.

That battle will suck her into a chaotic maelstrom of criminal organizations, weaponized cardistry, literal storms of cats and dogs, and an unlikely companion calling themselves Long Odd Silver.  There may be no escape for her, but in probable space one can never be so sure.

Planet in Theory

Pluto takes the Stage

by

Blaine Arcade

In Media Res

Cherry-picking is both hope and folly. The brightest and sweetest on the tree exist, sure, spectrums need starting gates and finish lines as much as anything else, but to pretend it represents the whole is to wind up with a pie that looks great but sourly disappoints.

And I know salt and cherries don’t really go together, but you should still take what I’m about to say with a grain of it. I admit that I’ve cherry-picked these, out of 7 seas of reactions, just to give you an idea of how intensely this development struck some people. Continue reading