“Git Gud”

Dr. Chris Sanders was awoken from unsettling dreams of pain and humiliation by the unicorn climbing in through his window.

The unicorn proceeded to trip over a table, sending a small assortment of collectible figurines tumbling to the hardwood floor.

“Balls,” muttered the unicorn. “Balls on an uncle-humping chimp.”

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Boy, time does fly, don’t it? Admittedly this post would have been arguably more impactful had it been done back in October on the actual five year anniversary of this blog, but I just straight-up didn’t notice. In a sort of celebration, let’s look at the way I used to write twenty whole years ago when I was writing Mundementia One, my very first story universe (although to be fair I kind of copied a lot of theme and flavor from Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Illuminati University). I think you’ll find my writing is a bit more restrained nowadays, and this is probably for the best; I used to write with a lot of painfully self-conscious wackiness. Still, I miss being this free with my prose, writing because it was fun to write rather than in the service of some imagined goal. This was the opening of the 1997 Thanksgiving holiday special, simply entitled Black Friday

“‘Burgers Cooked The Way You Like Them,'” reads Feeb, sweetly. “‘In Hell.'”

I blink placidly at the blazing red neon sign, festooned with tortured demon-faces and accentuated with naked gas flames which spit, crackle, and roar into the partly-cloudy November sky.

“Burgers… cooked… in Hell.”

“Sure,” says Feeb, turning to me. “Some people prefer them to the fried kind. Matter of personal preference, as far as I’m concerned, but, hey.”

“Burgers…” I repeat, “Cooked…”

I swallow.

“In Hell.” I conclude.

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Sometimes it is hard to be funny.

But let’s back up. Let’s talk about interactive fiction for a moment. You know, those games that were pretty big in the 80’s because the graphics capacity of the imagination was so, so much more than the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems that were the state of the art at the time. The ones that described the room you were in using plain text and then gave you a little command prompt you could use to (hopefully) tell the computer what your protagonist was attempting to do. The ones that mostly died out as people became jaded to the format but whose spirit has been kept alive across the years by the small but dedicated interactive fiction online fandom.

Let’s talk about Once and Future.

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“Pork, Tenacity”

This one goes out to all my quote-unquote friends at Nielsen Media Research. Merry Christmas, guys.

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I was right in the middle of caving in the side of the thing’s skull with a four-pound chunk of cold-forged tempered steel when the chime came in on my messaging earring.

“Rina,” said the Prior on the other end of the ethereal connection, “I’m, uh, wondering if you could help me with a case.”

“Sure,” I replied, shattering another naked spine with a deft backhand swing. “Just let me take care of a few things.”

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Toby the Cuttlefish dreamed that on Christmas Night, Jesus visited all the researchers and gave them the power of speech.

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(click here for part one)

Tiny motes of light scattered before the two young men as Changeling led his newfound mortal friend (and his friend’s pet donkey) down one of the leaf-lined trails of the Summerlands. Occasionally, Rake would narrow his steel-gray eyes and gently lift one of the less-interesting leaves, murmuring under his breath. Changeling tried to be respectful. He was in a hurry to share his favorite parts of Faerie, for reasons he could not quite articulate. When he thought hard on it, he reasoned that showing friends the things you love for the first time allowed you yourself to experience them for the first time all over again. No glamour he had ever encountered during his many, many days here in the Summerlands could accomplish that feat.

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