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

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 17 minutes)

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)

(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: 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

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

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 24 minutes)

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)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 10 minutes)

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.

(reading time: 1 hour, 9 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 7 hours, 3 minutes)

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

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Finale

(reading time: 1 hour, 11 minutes)

Raiding the Nest

It was no trouble getting under Proplay’s atmosphere.  They were afforded all the same privacies as other guests and residents outdoors.  Security systems were concentrated on individual buildings and varied with the affluence of the owner.  Everyone but Dana was shocked by the number of private guards posted at each doorstep.  Some buildings had two or three watchmen seated at the top of thin towers that had big steel-rimmed binoculars built into their edges. Continue reading

Labor of Ruby and Pearl: Part Six

Kissing Bugs

Though his father had ordered a retreat, Shem didn’t dare face him empty-handed.  When he fled from the clinic he simply set the ship down in a wooded area and disguised it with branches.  He wanted to go that night, but the equipment he had ordered had not arrived yet.   He spent a day cooped up in his metal ball watching grasshoppers and centipedes crawl across his viewing glass.  He checked his dash screen regularly to make sure it still tracked the pearl. Continue reading