Planet in Theory: Riverboat Without a Captain (Finale)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 17 minutes)

November 7th

2008

Our Nemesis

The artist’s retreat was over, and most of the last weren’t worth saying goodbye to. Long Odd Silver only sought out one of them, not meaning any offense to the rest of her band of course; it was just that none of them other than their lead singer had spoken a word the entire time. Perhaps she was the only one who could.

How the artists left was never actually witnessed, with the passengers assuming they vanished when there was nobody to observe them, as often happened with things in probable space that were either unsure of themselves or too sure of one aspect of themselves. Roxy Clink was likely the latter. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Riverboat Without a Captain (part four)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 51 minutes)

October 13th

2008

Plunge

The window’s getting tight now. Not much year left in our year long voyage. It’s clear what Dry and Roman want: the 1to1. They’re still looking forward to the regularly scheduled programming. But what about Sonny? He’s still here even though his vengeance is complete and there’s nobody to wed.

He has plenty of artists to choose from still, but says they’re not his type. That means they’re not our type, that they won’t fill the captain’s shoes unless they trip into them. That’s not their purpose here, so it still belongs to a passenger. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Riverboat Without a Captain (part three)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 34 minutes)

September 22nd

2007

Tell the Ice Floes to Hold that Pose

The chill in the air had less to do with the time of year and more to do with the waters they had entered: Rivulet M14. At times across the year they had seen other ships passing, many of whom signaled them with flashing lights and flares, their crews and passengers practically hanging over the side as they waved. There were likely radio broadcasts as well, but the Viper True made sure no machine aboard received them.

Sometimes someone on another vessel saw it as their only chance to interact with the legendary ship, jumping overboard and attempting to swim the distance. They never made it, and thought the Viper True’s pace was too swift to tell, Silver doubted they all made it back to their original vessels either. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Riverboat Without a Captain (part two)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 30 minutes)

November 7th

2007

Big Shoes to Fill

And just what do you think you’re doing here!?” a woman in a scarlet coat asked. Her thin gloves were just as red, and so were her painted lips. Her heavy coat had a hood lined with what looked the fur of a snow leopard, each spot the number 2. If it actually came from an animal that meant its odds at the time of death had been 2to1, and people like her wouldn’t dare wear anything more likely than themselves, so she must have been that close to reality as well.

She had dark darting eyes like panicking tadpoles and a stance that suggested she would try to repel a mudslide with pure indignation rather than flee from it. Her glossy brown hair was done up in a frazzle like an electrical cable chewed on by a raccoon. Roman recognized her voice, and by the slight chill in her pallor he guessed she had been on that iceberg no more than 3 hours ago. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Riverboat Without a Captain (part one)

In 2006 poor Pluto suffered a demotion, from planet to dwarf planet, unwittingly causing a version of it to appear in probable space: the realm of planets that were only ever theorized and people who have to track their own likelihood as much as their food and water intake.  Pluto arrived with a full population of adults, suddenly responsible for their own lives, and thus began the Planet in Theory series.

In Pluto Takes the Stage we covered its crashing the party, and from there journeyed to the theorized counter-Earth Antichthon and dealt with its many ghosts in Funeral March to Gothic Rock.  Now we follow the wild 8to1 scoundrel Long Odd Silver and the former prince of Pluto as they crash-land on Vulcan, likeliest of theorized worlds, and right to the deck of an autonomous ship crewed by a handful of the shiftiest figures who all share the same goal.  They say the ship is headed to the 1to1, back to the reality Pluto dropped out of…

(estimated reading time for part one: 1 hour)

(estimated reading time for entire novel: 6 hours, 12 minutes)

Planet in Theory

Riverboat without a Captain

by

Blaine Arcade

November 7th

2007

Not Much Spit Left

Over 3,000,000,000 lonely miles separated Earth from Pluto. The dwarf planet was too far from the sun to have much of a bright side, but it hoped for one nonetheless when it was demoted, knocked out of the solar 9 like a back row billiard ball, held responsible for impacts several spheres away.

No longer a planet, but perhaps in a friendlier neighborhood? Only in the sense that it was emptier, so there were fewer threats to come screaming out of the darkness and smash into it. The people that had the privilege of existing went on, after an all too brief bout of complaining over Pluto’s loss, talking about all the other planets, how they were feeling, whether they were in retrograde, never to collectively turn their minds back to the downgrade. Continue reading

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

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes)

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)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 1 minute)

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)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 25 minutes)

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

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

(This is the second in a trilogy.  If you wish to go back to the beginning, here you go.)

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 beyond.

Long Odd Silver and Roman Koch are prisoners, stolen from the newest world in probable space and brought to the Counter-Earth called Antichthon.  Buried deep in a desert prison, going mad, they must find a way to join forces with one of the locals: a crazy fellow by the name of Linus ‘Likely’ Hood.  Linus is eager to break his brother out of that very same prison, and ride off together on the backs of stolen mechanical bulls!

Halloween is fast approaching, and the ghosts are getting restless.  All will come to a head when the hollowing holiday arrives and the impossible becomes dreaded inevitability.

(reading time: 1 hour, 15 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 6 hours, 5 minutes)

Planet in Theory

Funeral March to Gothic Rock

by

Blaine Arcade

Banjo Says Tariff

The song playing on the radio was quaint the first few times. After that it was the height of irritation, even in that gravity-free place where height was relative. The only instrument was the banjo, and it only had one thing to say: sit tight or loosen the purse strings. These weren’t lyrics, that would’ve added a human voice to the endless plink and plonk of the four strings, which to many of the crew sounded like a hand with a missing finger going about its life clumsily and blissfully unaware.

No, the tune was a reminder that they weren’t in charge, and that the people who were in charge weren’t budging, not even an inch in that place where inches couldn’t matter less, unless their demands were met. There was a tariff, and they had to pay up if they wanted to enter Antichthon’s atmosphere with their perishable cargo. Continue reading

Planet in Theory: Pluto Takes the Stage (finale)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 55 minutes)

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