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Bowser State // Oli Johns

October 13, 2014


Something to make you think twice about jumping on that first goomba [goomba pic taken from some guy called JFKcaper on reddit, not sure who he is exactly or if he wants credit]


It’s a cold night in the Mushroom Kingdom.

There are three stars in the sky, none of them shining as bright as they used to.

Next to one of the stars, a flag with the dragon king; its shell military green, its eyes fiery red.

The only other thing in the sky, the moon, shines a spotlight on a small cottage, bunched with other small cottages and a control tower, on an estate just past the mini-castle on World 1, Level 1.

We go in closer, swooping like a Stazi spy in a bird costume until we’re all the way inside the kitchen.

‘I told you, I can’t…’

‘Why not?’

‘He’s our leader, Aidan.’


‘It’s my job to follow his orders. You know that. He’s the leader, he makes the laws.’

‘I didn’t choose him.’


‘None of us did. He just took over.’

Goomba Joanna glances at the poster of the dragon’s face on the wall, pinned up beside another poster that’s either a child’s scribbling or modern art. The dragon’s eyes are paper and colour and don’t seem to be moving.

‘Quiet,’ she whispers.

‘Why? He’s not here.’

‘He’s everywhere.’

‘Nuh-huh.’ Goomba Aidan shuffles to the fridge and pulls out another beer. ‘He’s on World eight, Level four, fucking that princess.’ Read more…


October 7, 2014


One of my fastest and most bizarro stories…


The sun rose, the moon fell.

Everything was the same, but one thing was different.

Mark Twain noticed it, from his grave.

So did Megatron.

My Gods!


Fat Brando put the scalpel next to the sink then shuffled out of the room humming the Superman theme.

There was blood on the floor, blood on the ceiling, blood on the walls. None on the operating table.

The wolf looked at its body; where’s the fur? The anaconda did the same; where’s my fucking head?

Both questions were good ones.



Based on the novel ‘Wolfaconda’ written by Brother Kat from Series 5 episode of Red Dwarf ‘Angels & Demons’


First dilemma: Where to live?

The anaconda said rainforest, the wolf said snow.

It decided on rainforest.

To combat the extreme heat, the wolfaconda attached a fan to its neck.

There was no electricity, so it used a system of faith. Read more…

Trek vs Languages // did you know Worf speaks Russian?

October 1, 2014


This is a drum I’ve been beating for some time, but it’s a pretty huge flaw in Trek, at least to me.

What languages are being spoken? Why don’t we hear more of them? How can they read or write English if they speak different languages? Does Kira translate everything on the monitors from Cardassian into Bajoran? Why does everything seem to be in English? Why can’t they show Kira looking at a station report in Bajoran just once?

I guess it’s not that big a deal, but it’s definitely a missed opportunity. Remember Darmok? Remember that episode of ‘Enterprise’ where Scott Bakula’s translator broke down and he couldn’t understand the human-looking alien woman?

I like this kind of drama and, really, I wish there had been more of it. As well as more explanations given about how the universal translator actually works.

I mean, let’s look at this logically.

The Universal Translator is accessible to everyone on Earth, it seems. That means it’s unnecessary to learn another language except your native tongue.


Why do people learn English as a second language?

Some might do it for fun or because they love the culture, but I know from personal experience of teaching in Japan and Hong Kong that most of my students learn it because it’s useful. Not just useful, it’s vital, assuming you want to travel to other countries in the world.

Why are people queuing up to learn Mandarin now?

Same reason, mostly.

So if, in the Trek Universe, the universal translator makes second language learning irrelevant, what languages are all the characters speaking to each other?

Let’s take DS9 as an example:


The guy’s American so he speaks English, so there’s nothing much weird about that. He’s learning Bajoran, or how to read and write it so he can decipher those ancient prophecies, but we never hear him say any. Read more…

Love + horror in the time of the Spanish Occupation [1580-1640]

September 26, 2014


A story about Krsnik [not vampires], though my definition of Krsnik is completely different from the original Slavic mythology

Also, got the pic from [an interesting site about Slavic mythology]


To be concise:

Lisboa is a poor wretch permanently under the boot of military motherfuckers. Each street with people is a street with Spanish soldiers. Each café with a group is monitored, each man with ideas taken for questioning. It’s no wonder there’s no art scene in this damned place.

So…what should one do if one happens to wander into Lisboa with ideas in one’s head?

Turn around and walk right back out. Wait a few years and then come back. Conquerors never last. Most barely make it half a century before someone shoves a spike up their ass.

The Spanish will lose.


Page 16, Gil Vicente’s guide to contemporary Lisboa, Auto de press, 1587


The man walked through the streets, past the guitars, past the guitar shops, past the hawkers selling fake guitars from Sevilla, and up onto the hill by the castle. Outside the gate, sitting on a wall with a quill and paper, was a woman. She was pretty, prettier than the guards standing nearby scratching their thighs.

The man moved closer, taking a leaf from a nearby tree and folding it.

“Ona je ostal z mano…” he muttered.

Some locals walked past the guards speaking Portuguese then a few seconds of Spanish then back to Portuguese again.

“Fucking wretches,” muttered one of the guards, watching them disappear into the chapel on the corner. “They’re lucky that damn language of theirs ain’t banned.”

“Hey, look at that,” said another, pointing at the woman, “the pretty one’s scribbling…”

The muttering guard spat on the ground and said he was gonna go see what the she-wretch was up to.

“Maybe she’s scribbling us…”

The bolder guard ignored his colleague [or the kid from Galicia who'd never even licked a girl before] and walked to within a metre of the woman. Actually, she was more girl than woman, probably no more than seventeen. Read more…

STAR TREK and its wonderful, recurring memory loss // Two Takes Frakes

September 18, 2014


Of course, STAR TREK II: The Wrath of Khan first introduced The
Genesis Device. It is an impactor that magically turns a dead world
into a “living” planet. The bad guy, Khan, gets a hold of the damn
thing, uses it in an attempt to destroy the ENTERPRISE and blows
himself to kingdom come. As a result of its activation, a new planet
is born and a controversy ensues – one which we never get to see -
within the Federation. Then, it turns out, the effect is only
temporary and the planet ages rapidly, then explodes. And whatever
interesting roads that this all may have led down to explode with it.
The franchise just lets this concept go and moves
onto seemingly more interesting fare like humpback whales and Vulcan

The Genesis torpedo and everything about it is completely made up, and
unfortunately, it’s all very technical, so there’s even more work
involved in keeping it going as a story-telling device. And it’s so
representative, really, of other kinds of ideas like this, that are on
a grand scale that’s worthy of science fiction, but whose implications
go almost completely unexplored, other than their being used to
comment on The Human Condition. For example, again using Genesis, Man
got too big for his britches and had to find out the hard way that it
doesn’t pay to play god! This theme has surely been so turned over and
over in the annuls of fiction that you’d think that it would’ve been
abandoned long ago in favour of a narrative thread exploring its own
mythos and larger implications, instead. But no … Read more…

Interview: Tankbread // Paul Mannering

September 10, 2014



Book: Tankbread

Author: Paul Mannering

Publisher: Permuted Press

Tagline: When there’s no more room in Summer Bay…the dead will rise!


Note: I was lucky enough to catch up to Paul on set in Bulgaria, where he was the second ‘zombie’ supervisor on ‘Cargo Loading District of the Dead 2: Deadlier Cargo’. The interview took place between shots. Definitely not by e-mail.

Note 2: There may be some spoilers, but nothing that goes past page 100 of the book.

Note 3: The 50 books Paul mentions at the end are just a small sample of the 49,000 he has actually written. The guy’s a machine.


Oli: Your main twist on the zombie genre is the idea of ‘Tankbread’ [cloned humans used as zombie food]. Please tell me you didn’t get inspiration from ‘The Island’?

Paul Mannering: One of the inspirations for the concept of Tankbread came from an old 2000AD comic. In the Future Shock series – back in the 1980’s. There was a story about an industry where comatose cloned bodies were grown for organ transplants. A caretaker – whose job was to feed these things baby food, had no interest in them as beings until one day – one squeezed his hand. He then concluded they were conscious and self aware – the story ended with him dousing the entire warehouse of clones in gasoline and burning the place down.

The story started with a vision that popped into my head one day, of the (at the time) “World’s Ugliest Dog” (a very elderly chihuaha) and a weird mental image of this dog cooked in some kind of orange glaze.

With that, came the opening line about the Asian across the table. The story just evolved from those key ideas.

Oli: No one is safe in this book. At one point, a baby is torn out of its mother’s womb and ripped to pieces by zombie teeth. Did you ever think of not slaughtering babies?

Paul: No. I wanted Tankbread to push boundaries of visceral horror. I wanted a story that made people uncomfortable.

Oddly enough I have had more angry responses over the use of the term ‘retard’ than I have about the violence against women, men and infants. Read more…

Space Seed + A Kirk Moment // 2 Takes Frakes

August 24, 2014


Two short poems about Star Trek, juxtaposed with no thought or intent whatsoever, honest.


(FROM: David Marcus TO: Unknown Dad)

I wish I knew who you were.
When you impregnated Mom,
Did you even love her?
Am I just a mistake?
Like a clerical error?
Did your condom break?
I know …
I didn’t come from a beaker
Or an unclean toilet seat
Mom thought me a keeper.
Not you …
One look, and you had to flee
Got in your car, sped out of town
doing a hundred and fifty.
Unfair …
Other kids know their dads.
I didn’t even get cards
for the birthdays I’ve had.
Science …
Made me a Momma’s Boy.
Another crazy torpedo
that she wants to deploy. Read more…


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