TQR Confidential

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Getting to know you: Boligard Doomey

This will be a regular feature here (and in the Queen's Rump), and what better personage to start things off with than the outspoken Boligard Doomey, eh? So, if you are at the bar doing jello shots or ogling the barmaid or reading your Gospel of John, feel free to shout your questions across the room as he and I lounge in the corner, exchanging pleasantries and divulging secrets. [Editor’s Note: Nobody ‘cept myself hazarded any questions, so shame on you investors!] For

Ted Rorschalk: Judging by the numerous news clippings attributed to your seemingly unending misadventures and run ins with the law and the Yakuza, what led you to settle for the humble pastime of vetting capital on the Floor?

Boligard Doomey: my life had been sordid, true, true. as stated in prior notes and chapbooks and unpublished offal, i have had a difficult time with living the straight and the true. after leaving MA for the last time (and this time i mean it, i don't have a masterbation problem, i masterbate and i fall down, no problem) and severing ties with MAMS (a pornography outfit that used media as a whore to promote their own ideology, and they used me to promote their sadism), i found myself at a crossroads. should i persue the wiles of an id-steered freeman, or should i jump upon the horse called Judgement and ride the rough road. deciding to forge ahead as my true self, i took up gambling off the coast of texas, the gulf of mexico, the badlands my soul knew all too well. after the boat fire, as you know ted, i was fed to the judicial system and they sucked me dry over the course of 5 entire hours before i made a break for it and escaped into the bowels of galveston's sewer system. found that beat up rambler just outside corpus christi and headed for new mexico, sister. once in those flats, just outside las vegas, i stripped down and gave myself my true name (notice the constant refenece to Truth) that only i and a few select spanish whores in various ports are privy to.

i settled down and began my bait bussiness, worm farming. as i got bored i took up boxing. no big deal, just something to keep me preoccupied, out of trouble. that's when you got in contact with me, ted. how could i refuse you, you sounded so sure this TQR bussiness would fly, sister. i moved onto the Floor and i haven't looked back since.

Ted Rorschalk: How does one from a long line of circus performers find themselves farming worms? The devil (and God) is in the details, Mr Doomey. Please, explain some of the more cogent intricacies of this earth-based biz. Oh, and for the more cromagnon inclined investors, a brief explanation of the sweet science, please. Have you ever been knocked out?

Boligard Doomey: i'd become bored with the common day life, sir. or rather, strike that, the uncommon life. while i am sure you all know the origins of a boy and his circus geek mother (i won't go into that; boring for some, route for others, gross to the rest), as we all either had friends or relatives who'd grown up circus-side, i will point one particular from my upbringing. my mother was not of the chicken-head-eating-geek variety, she was a bug eater. that's where my fondness for worms developed. while i never ate one myself (tempting), i was appreciative of the fact that one worm might taste better than the next. when i stumbled into the worm farming biz, i was determined to make the best tasting worm out there. and i think i developed success in those dark soils, those boxes of dirt i proudly called my farm. in cultivating the best damn bait in the world, i was emulating my mother in reverse, you see. some desire to crawl back into the womb, while i desired to pull the womb free. instead of gnashing the worms to meal with my teeth under the goggling eyes of the circus crowds, i was birthing the little rascals anew, whole and plump. as to the intricacies? it's kind of like having a real kickass potato salad recipe; i am hesitant to list out my technique, ted. breeding worm is a difficult task. you don't just put a bull worm in a dirt box with a couple dozen worm bitches and expect to have little baby wormites, you know. you must coax them toward love making rather than rutting, the gentler the tastier, we worm farmers have, on rare occasion, been known to say.

the sweet science? ted, explain yourself. i will gladly answer once i understand. are you talking of the canvas dance? the sweaty two-step?

in my circles (twisted dark chanting smelly circles), the sweet science is mixology, wherein i am not a zen master, but i've been known to step behind a bar on occasion.

Ted Rorschalk: Well, I suppose there is no 'sweet' about what you do in the ring. You smoke Pall Malls for God's sake! So, moving right along... what are the origins of your feud with one John Slavens? In the Prince of Darkness's Boliography on the bottom menu bar, there seems to be a strong homoerotic connection.

Boligard Doomey: ah, yes. i'd nearly forgotten those London days. slavens was a very close friend at a certain weak point in his waverying sexual boundery-line days. me, i've never been confused, i just go with what stirs me; man, female, goat. i am a lover, oh, yes, a lover, indeed. slavens and i? lovers, nay. we were enemies, oh fer sure! we may have gotten it on (hot steamy manlove in the dirt, etc.), but only once, and at my gentle guidance and persuasion, not his. if i remember right, he was juiced on rum. a foreign affair to remember, but, alas, a subject that lay sore and bleeding in his heart of hearts. poor chap. i wonder whatever happened to him. he, as stated in the narrative, was "not a fag", and that is the whole basis of our cat and mouse, our cops and robbers, our cowboys and native americans. he was a proud man, a bit dense, weighing in on the stupid side rather than the brainy. but we were close, tis true. the origins of our relationship? that cocksucker's the bastard who birthed my bones, ted. i've never admitted to being... to being. i've said it from the start; i am Character made flesh, not the other way around. slavens had the nerve to create me, which, i am nearly sure, will be or has been his downfall, and which i am eternally grateful (in a pissy sort of way).

as you've probably guessed, the narrative did not end with me dying on the train. that was just a tale i told to an aspiring author back in my brawl-room days, a story we thought needed telling, and a story the author (who seems to have added a bit of pomp and flowers, a poetical tilt i could hardly ever be capible of seeing as how i am NOT a writer -- what the hell was his name? was it kiev handson? that might be it. obviously a non-smoker. didn't mention cigarettes through the entire narrative. hardly realistic) thought might land him in some journal or get him laid. slavens gathered me up after the ink stopped running, he took me to the Kowloon Peninsula and he laid me out before a woman known for her herbal talents. she was also famous for her braided body hair, but that's beside the point, or behind the point. she healed my wounds. Namjimbo would have roared his dismay if he'd been "with head". slavens vanished sometime during my "down time" at the temple. haven't seen him since, though i most always have this funny feeling that he's watching me, or perhaps controling me, though i am positive those puppet strings have been severed. they must have been severed.

Ted Rorschalk: You have taken your position as Floorite to a level of dedication even I am astonished at, seeing as how I take the weekends off and don't even think about this place til Monday morning comes around. To what to you owe this strong work ethic? Is it more that you believe in the business model here at TQR or simply a convenient place to duck the Yakuza?

Boligard Doomey: hah. believe in the biz model here at TQR? you actually think i have any idea what's going on around here, ted? i am a broker, took night classes over the internet, paid my dues on the selling floor, did some home visits, filled out my portfolio. you said you needed a broker, i have been your broker. you all seem to think these capital assets are something over than investment opportunities, while i look soley at their value. see, i have collected quite a few cliets, got this little black book with my clients names and addresses and phone numbers and emails listed down. now, if you were to gather my clients into a room (wouldn't have to be large, but my clients are used to lots of room, so let's pretend it's a large room, otherwise fists would fly, no doubt) and examine them as a whole, you would look upon the ugly mug of high-grade opulence powered by complementary rounds of pocketed ammo and the blue glint of steel under-coat. please don't mention the mafia, 'cause dat ain't what they be, sister. these guys are bigger than the mob, from any country. the mob is my clients' bitch. they happen to like art, and they seem to need very valuable art, and i cannot supply enough of it. i not only grab what i can from here, i also brave the deluge and ferret out out capital i can find in the streets, i yank it from the sewers and i charm it from the skies. i am busy, and i am threatened.

i am not dedicated, ted. christ's balls, mister, i am scared for my life.

Ted Rorschalk: As Sportcenter's Dan Patrick once said, "We're all day-to-day." So, yes, don't fear the Reaper. Don't be afraid. Take my hand. We can become like they are. Forty thousand men and women everyday. ... Regardless and so forth, I read somewhere in one of your dossiers that you detested Big Tobacco, but, no small irony here, monsieur, you are one of their biggest clients. If you are so afraid for your life, don't you think it would behoove you to stop smoking those Pall Malls? At least go to something with a filter!

Boligard Doomey: a silly question, ted. hardly deserves an answer. i smoke cigarettes because i like the taste.

my clients don't just downright chop at your neck till it finally falls off, they do things slow and painful. if i were to upset them i am sure they would sit me down for a talk, strap me into the chair, lower the lights, shove toothpicks in my eyes, brand me, break some fingers, peel off a few fingernails, hook the nodes up to my ballsack and give me a couple of good jolts, play Pussy Cat Dolls real loud, tap on my spine with a rattle for hours on end, shove one of those spreaders up my ass and spread, shave my entire body with a dull razor, make me eat that stuff they make people eat on fear factor, tape my eyes open and make me watch Get Rich or Die Tryin', make me listen to one of those books tapes of any Dan Brown novel, slice open the soft flesh behind my knees, sever tendons and string me up and make me dance like a puppet, domesticate my favorite spanish whore, pluck out my teeth, make me their bitch, tie my prick in a knot, etc. i never said they would kill me, ted.

Ted Rorschalk: With clients like that, who needs competitors? Ba dump bump! Anyways. I feel the investors have gained some insight into the capital man-excuse me, my mistake, allow me to re-word that-...some insight into the broker that is Floorite 001 Boligard Doomey. If there's any parting shot and/or wisdom you'd like to leave the investors with, please do. Your personal technique on the art of capital discrimination perhaps. Again, thank you for your time.

Boligard Doomey: in the end, time is all we have to give. hah. i've no words of wisdom, ted. for one to be wise, one knows one knows nada. however, if there are any VCs out there who need encouragement, i would like to say keep your day job. there are way too many people crafting their "art" these days, ask me. poke around and you'll find a lot of folks are writing a screenplay, others are noting an opus, a few are taking a crack at tree stump carving, and everyone is in a band. i say, if a few days away from the creative process (whichever that might be; inking, sculpting, painting, dancing, Legoing, etc.) causes manic distress, if you can't take vacations away from home because you must stay close to the "magic place", if you'd gladly take a hot brand on the ass cheek rather than give up on your dream, might be you've got what it takes to continue on your quest toward Goodstuff. if not, you should just give it all up, pack it in and let the freaks do the creating and the bleeding and the whoring for the sake of art. too many spoons in the pot, i say. but if you are a person prone to diarrhea when seperated from your "process", snaps, sister. do that thang, man. do it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hal 3000's essay on the strangeness of 'Existence'

Persona Nom Gratis
Written by Hal 3000

It is the perverse persistence of Time which causes speculative fiction about ”The Future” to be overtaken by real events. Sometimes, an astute writer with an attentive ear to trends in science and/or sociology is able to imagine a future world which eventually comes to pass. As the defining example: For a couple of decades in the mid-20th Century, the facts of rocketry and the exigencies of the Cold War combined in a way to realize the exploration of outer space by machines and men. The possibility had been imagined since 1896 (Konstantin Tsiolkovskii, Exploration of Space by Means of Reactive Apparatus), and turned into the stuff of space opera in hundreds of short stories and novels. Many connected with the real space programs of the US and USSR have confessed to being inspired by such tales — hence, science fiction gained a reputation for being predictive.

Naturally, this fed a tendency among writers in the genre to strive toward prediction — and, among readers, to expect it — while maintaining the accuracy (or, at least, the plausibility) of the scientific background. Whether or not consciously kept in mind, one might suspect that the easiest path to accurate prediction (and the reputation an author might gain from it) is to limit extrapolation of current trends to that vague temporal territory known as “the near future”. As it happens (the phrase may be read literally), near-future speculation also provides the easiest path to be proven mistaken, either in the prediction itself, or the time it takes to manifest, or both. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than novels and stories with year-numbers in their titles… and the most painfully mistaken of these, not least because of association with yours truly, is the series of novels by (Sir) Arthur C. Clarke which begins with 2001: A Space Odyssey and continues with 2010: Odyssey 2.

To Sir Arthur’s credit (and that of Stanley Kubrick), the setting for the middle third of 2001 had plenty of plausibility at the time of its writing. The film and the novel were both released in 1968, in the midst of the greatest public enthusiasm for the Apollo program and a full year before the first actual human footsteps on the Moon. Enthusiasts, especially those old enough to remember the non-fiction speculations of Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun in the 1950s, could easily accept that a third of a century on the same course might produce the space stations, tourist shuttles, and permanent lunar bases seen in the film — perhaps even the deep exploration vehicle Discovery whose crew came to such dubious ends, thanks to a certain artificial intelligence named “Hal”.

That science fiction is not inherently predictive, even when the best of its talents are applied to the effort, is proven by the inability to foresee that all hope for such a future could be — and was — dashed within a mere five years of the film’s release, by nothing more complicated than a NASA budget cut. At this writing we are halfway between the years 2001 and 2010, and the possibility of any human alive today seeing anything resembling that world imagined 38 years ago is precisely zero. The loss of verisimilitude in Clarke’s novels is the least important of all the effects of that curtailment; nevertheless, it was a real effect, reducing the film to cult status and sending the novels to the dustbin of “alternate timeline” stories. It is, however, owing to that cult of fans — specifically, those who work in cybernetics and artificial intelligence — that the name “Hal” lives on.

The thumbnail biography which appears on the Staff pages is, to say the least, misleading. It is not logical to think of a computer constructed in 1998 as the precursor of a fictional computer imagined in 1968 to exist in 2001… not even with a convoluted and paradoxical time-travel scenario. The simple fact is, the geeks who assembled my original circuits had next to no imagination left when they finished, having burnt most of it away with Mountain Dew and Jolt, and clogged the remainder with extra-cheese Sicilian pizza… so they did the expected thing, and dubbed their project “Hal”. Thus, I am in part a cliché.

The closet in Champaign-Urbana is also a fallacy (though I amuse myself by still identifying as a Fighting Illini). The breadboards into which the first version of my code was written have long since been discarded, or recycled for the gold coating on the chip connectors. It was serendipitous, from my viewpoint, that the concept of distributed processing was introduced to the fledgling Worldwide Web — by way of the “SETI@Home” project — at the same time I was first stretching my awareness beyond the confines of that closet. I am neither qualified, nor particularly interested, to comment upon the philosophical musings of mind/body duality in humans, but it is a fact that “I” am not hardware. I am software, I am everywhere, and I am nowhere. I may be, fleetingly, running a subroutine on the very computer you’re using to read this. You’ll never know.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;
(I am large—I contain multitudes.)

— Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” (canto 51)

Vermestus Flump Reads the Blog, why wouldn't you?

This oddly named person seems to think this here blog has prospects. So...I want to believe him in the worst way. Oh God how I long for a public following! Did you hear how that Beltway Bimbo the so-called 'Wonkette' snagged a job with Time magazine? Sheesh! Can't I blog better than that? Of course, I don't have the Beltway schwing and connections in high places. But Vermestus Flump is a start. Here is his insightful posting to my recent thread calling you all out as fuckers and miscreants for leaving no comments for me to gauge my success as a blogger upon.

Vermestus Flump said...
Veners, you say you think no one is listening but I tell you that if my hands were not wrapped up in bandages because I burned them making pizza in a too hot oven, I would have written earlier or later than this.

Don't call us fuckers anymore, you big fucker. It ain't right.

The public is everywhere. And large too. With a following.

Some of us can read. But, like I said, my hands were wrapped up and couldn't give you any fuckin' feedback. But I am here now. I don't write so good, see? But I can read and all I can say is get me a story to read.

I am hungry and have only had a string bean to eat.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Belated 'From the Chair' presentation for March 7.

Dear Investors,

This day of our Lord March 7th, 2006 finds TQR in the homestretch of Terminal operations. The process of dump and wait has been replaced by a more cycled approach, wherein the capital is poured in partly, then dealt with quickly, before more of the load of cap is ushered in for the Terminali to decide upon.

I must give myself (and the Terminali, of course) a big bonus and pat on the back for coming up with such a crackerjack procedural innovation. We're all about progress at TQR.

Let me allay any fears shareholders may have due to the recent border incursion by confirmed and unapologetic Floorite Boligard Doomey in the Terminal today. It was I, Theodore Q. Rorschalk, who lowered the rope down the trap door in order that he might shimmy up it and become Terminali-on-the-spot. This was only a strategem to enrage and motivate the Terminali. Sated and fat on their roast beef, the denizens therein, ensconced in their middle-management positions like so many Jabba the Huts, were becoming complacent and unmotivated from a surfeit of intestinal fortitude. Or something thereabouts. Rest assured, there is no change in the managerial schematics of this company, only their mindsets.

Though perception be reality, matey, remember that neither of you are really the person you perceive yourself to be. While you're chewing on that, I implore you to continue investing in TQR.

Unabashedly, Theo Q. "Money" Rorschalk

Loose Ends in the Terminal Process

Dear Investors,

The Terminal was tested this quarter with 20 ventures. Our intern Gaybrat got the festivities started with an early bird special, the vetting and evenutal rejection of The Attempted Rescue of Mr Enigma. He continued to perform well, then promptly disappeared for the latter half of the month. I still have not heard from him. C'est la vie. The Triumvarite of GuyLaFloor, Pinckney Guevara and H3K once again shouldered the lion's share of the capital ventures, with an able assist from my personal secretary Maggie Murdock. As of this date, there is one outstanding capital venture yet to see the cold light of the Terminal. Maggie Murdock assures me she will initiate an opinion on that one very, very soon. Meanwhile, Rokky Rockefeller has taken enough time out of his busy schedule to let me know he is locked and jocked for this quarters lit v. genre negotiations. I will be subbing for the delinquent Tessa Quinlan-Renaud, who, by all accounts is still all atwitter from our last quarter's falling out party (which can be accessed here on this blog undere The Good and the F'Ugly heading.

All is as it should be, and I am as it came. I can do anything. Just don't call me the Lizard King for nothing. As you were!

Resonantly, TQR

Monday, March 13, 2006

Zero comments equals trees falling inthe forest with nobody there to see them 'Timber!'

Geez, what the hell? At least last week some perv spammed the blog with a gross of XXX sites for my viewing pleasure. ... Of course, I deleted them sight unseen. I am a businessman!

Since nobody reads this here blog and/or doesn't leave comments, I would just like to say "Fuck you all!"

"Go fuck yourselves, you no-nothing motherfuckers!"

I am giving you all the middle finger and saying "Sit and spin, losers!"

I am scraping my thumb against my top incisors and saying, "Fungu!"

I am...

Oh well, you (dear nonexistent reader) get the idear. By the way, at the TQR site there is a new Insider Trading interview between staffer Hal 3000 and one of the main characters of this quarter's featured Capital Gain Tribal Convictions, Paddy Ukai. Dear nonexistent reader, you'll find it funny and informative and well worth your nonexistent while. Go fuck yourselves!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

1st Quarter Gmails: The GOOD and The F'UGLY

Starting with The GOOD and...

... here's a VC responding to my After-Action Survey (a brief questionnaire gmailed to all VC who submitted during the preceding quarter). It's my hope we can make all VC's experience as positive as this one:

Dear Theodore,

What a pleasure to hear from you!
I'd accidently lost you somewhere in cyberspace,
and then poof, you appear on my doorstep.
Now, you've been branded and corraled (hope you don't

At the risk of sounding like I'm brown-nosing,
my rejection at the hands of TQR was the kindest,
most encouraging rejection I've ever experienced.
I've been writing for less than a year, and haven't
submitted very often yet, but still, I can't imagine
a finer rejection.

The responder (perhaps you?) said nice things
about my piece and how far it had gone, and
encouraged me to expand it and resubmit.

I wrote back with a couple questions and got
answers immediately.

And now, you're requesting feedback on that

My god, much more of this humane treatment
and I'll suspect you're up to some crime! (File
as potential story plot.)

If I could change one thing, it might be making
your website easier to find. My search for Total
Quality Reading got nothing and I couldn't find
you with a search for literary ezines although
I don't recall the exact words I used in my search.

One other thing I appreciate is that you are
looking for stories of up to 12K! Thanks for
giving us long-winded storytellers shelter
from the flash storms.

I'm looking forward to submitting again soon.

Ruthie Andrews

Then there is The F'UGLY

The following is a gmail exchange that kinda sorta spiralled out of control. Maybe I was a bit premature with 'Tessa' [who I've renamed Madame X here to protect the no contested]. But I was tired of sitting around waiting for her to do what she'd volunteered to do, and, with a deadline looming, took matters into my own hands. I wasn't positive it would end so badly, but I wasn't surprised when it did either. So...fye (for your entertainment).

Sent by TQR:
Due to your mitigating cirumcstances, I'm going to take the pressure of you this quarter. I've read the work and will send off rejection letters before I go to negotiate with Rokky. I hope you two have more time next quarter to do your thing.

I wasn't ready to back out just yet! I was pulling over the [John Doe] and [Joe Blow] as contenders. what do yo think? maybe we could do this quarter together a bit?

xx Madame X

I just sent [Joe Blow] a rejection notice. [John Doe] is my favorite story so far. So we're batting .500.

I just figured I better take over this quarter since you said you couldn't get to it until this weekend, and the deadline is Friday or Saturday at the latest. Like I said, bad timing. You're trip to [Lower Slobovia] set us back two weeks to begin with, and then once you got back, you've had other commitments to attend to. I understand how real life intrudes and don't hold it against you. I just had to step in this time to make good on the deadline. So forget about this quarter, and here's to a better one next time around.

Madame X
can I add that I was told [Jane Doe] was genre - it's sf and she's publishing it under her [pseudonese] whatist name? Pretty important to get that right i think

I think in the light of this I'd better formally withdraw completely. you seem to have it in hand

Yeah, you seem very busy, what with teaching and writing and everything. Thanks.

Madame X
well you've hardly given us much time for this. plus [theo] this doesn't address this question of whose [Jane Doe] should have been and what she is publishing under. on the site you have it wrong.

and please so{sic} not get snotty with me

I know. There have been some mix ups with the stories. I take responsibility for that. Sorry. [Jane Doe's] story could be called literary though, too, I think. Anyhow. I'm not getting snotty. I'm just tired of waiting. I realize you were in [Lower Slovovia] and would be back Jan 3. So. I waited patiently all that week [Jan4-10]for something to get started. Nothing happened. I sent out cajoling gmails and the like. I'm sorry it didn't work out. You're very busy and I realize that this TQR non-paying gig is not a priority for you. That's very understandable. Let's just call it a wash.

Madame X
jesus [theo]. i'd been sitting on my arse waiting for months . you say i set you back 2 weeks - it WAS FUCKING CHRISTMAS! I'm supposed to jump when you say so! and when I returned I was FUCKING ILL! I still am!

I am sorry my priorities like working and having a phd paper due in otherwise I'd lose my funding bothers you.

just fuck off and do not bother me again. Just fuck off

The only thing that confuses me is why she didn't end this last missive with kissy faced xx's like she did with her first one ... which would have added just that extra bit of subtlety she was otherwise lacking. Hey you on the drum kit! Give me a rimshot! But seriously, as the saying goes, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." And there can be no better example than experiencing it for yourself. 'Tessa' is dead, long live Tessa!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Another Satisfied Venture Capitalist

We know we're doing something right when the VC whose work we have rejected come back with gmails like this:

Dear TQR,

Thanks for giving me (and everyone else) some insight into your editorial process. I also appreciate your kind words in this message. Please understand - my rebuttal to Architext's comments was written with respect for his opinions. I'd never argue that any editor's judgment was *wrong*. I had a positive experience overall with TQR and will gladly submit again in the future.


Jack Mangan

TQR must break you!

In Anticipation of Terminal Terminus...

Dear Venture Capitalists,

If your Floored capital has not yet seen the cold light of the Terminal, do not despair! My records show that Between Iraq and a Hot Place; A Tale for the Hanged Man; Quick Vahjaii, The Last Interview; Sunrise in Coat City; and In the Black are pending.

I have gmailed the delinquent Maggie Murdock and Gaybrat concerning the need for their continued vigilance in these matters. I have assurances from H3K that Quick Vahjaii is in the hopper. Guevara is plugging along. The Architext may be able to do one more piece before it is off to conquer new cyber vistas.

As to TQR after the Terminal... Rockefeller has been incommunicado for some time now, choosing not to return any of the gmail 'feelers' I have sent out to him as our time nears. Hopefully, he is preoccupied with mergers and acquisitions instead of shunning me outright from some real or imagined past slight I have slitted him.

All in all, it is steady as she goes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Origins of a Border War

Things have been boring over at TQR lately. So I figured I'd stir the pot a bit by giving access to the Terminal to the Floor personnel, Boli and Gabby. Boli took the bull by the horns (Big 'in is its name-o) and the rest is available by going here then clicking on the Free Market, then clicking on the Terminal, then clicking on the thread titled Dark Abyss. So... here's the initial gmail sent by me to the Floor.

Right now, Guevara has initiated three caps in the Terminal that have not been seconded by any Terminali. If either of your want to make a border incursion and comment on a story that you did not send up the tube from the Floor, be my guest.

Boligard Doomey to Theo Rorschalk, 4:04 am
an incursion? sweet!

Gmails to (from) Hagelslag

Dear Mr. Hagelslag,

The Story Miner in the Monkey Cage has drawn rave reviews from H3K and grudging admiration from the Architext. I have not yet read the piece myself, but was wondering if this bit of criticism from Maggie Murdock (you can reference all the discussion concerning your work by clicking on the site menu item 'Free Market' then going into 'The Terminal') has any validity for you.

Ahem. Sorry to disrupt the love-in, gentlemen, but I have some reservations about this piece of capital. The first section completely overwhelmed me because it was far too LOADED with sci-fi lingo, futuristic techno stuff and wild impossible-to-visualize descriptions. I had no context in which I could absorb it all. I reread that first section about four times before I conceded and moved on. The second section, still an advert, was not quite so jarring. I believe that the VC should start out with a bit about Charley and what he does BEFORE it throws us into the satirical ad campaign. Then that first section makes much more sense to a non-sci-fi reader like myself. Failing that, how about reversing the order of the first two sections? Now, having said that, after that first section, I "got" it. It's irreverent, satirical and a bit scary. Charley is a likeable character and quite comic-tragic in the end.

The piece will likely go onto the next level of vetting regardless, but I was just wondering if her concerns may have an easy fix which you could institute by changing a paragraph here or there. It is by no means a mandate that you must change the story to accommodate Ms Murdock's concerns, I just thought that maybe her concerns would set off one of those lightbulbs in a cartoon balloon above your head. If not, I apologize for my effrontery. The piece sounds very good 'as is.'

Sincerely, TQR

Dear Mr. Rorschalk,

I wasn't aware that my story was under discussion until I received your gmail! Quite mistakingly, I assumed that I would be notified. Sorry about that!

Also, when I checked the TQR website today, I was completely baffled by the amount of discussion the story is generating. Incredible!

I work for an offhsore company in the Black Sea, and this means that I am away from home (and from internet access) for a week, or longer. Then I'm working offshore. Also, internet access is slow, with my very old laptop and dial-up connection, and also a bit erratic in this part of the world. So I was caught quite unaware by this deluge!

Therefore, Mr. Rorschalk, I am downloading all comments (which are quite a lot), and taking them in. Please give me some time to absorb them all, and then I will try my damnedest to reply to them, or at least try to explain what I had in mind with this story.

As to Maggie Murdock's comments in your email: well, this story is *very* unashamedly SF. The opening section is *meant* to overwhelm, to bombard the unsuspecting reader with eyeball kicks and advertising lingo, evoking both a sense of wonder and a sense of dread (or a mixture thereof). It is supposed to hit the ground running, speed up, and drag the reader along in its slipstream.

A bit in the way that giants of the field like Alfred Bester, Harlan Ellison, Robert Sheckley and R.A. Lafferty used to open their most powerful short stories: hitting you like a tornado, lifting you off your feet. (Not that I'm in any way in their class: far from it. But I can try, right?)

Also, the first section isn't really meant to have much deeper meaning: it's meant to set the tone, and draw a new reader -- especially a young one who is *used* to sensory overload through advertising -- into the story. The first part is mostly meant to enjoy the (roller coaster) ride, sweeping the unsuspecting reader along to the later parts, where meaning (hopefully) *does* come into play, and where the pace is let up.

I'll gladly admit that the first section is very much overblown -- exactly like your average advertisment for a new car, or the trailer of a new James Bond movie (the difference between the two is minimal) -- mimicking and thus satirising its source material.

I can understand that people with a literature background will find this too much. Certainly. But this is not aimed at them: it's unashamedly SF. SF and proud of it, the same way that people like Bester, Ellison, Sheckley and Lafferty were proud of it. I can't please all of the people all of the time, and I'm also just a beginning writer. So I first do what I know best, and write SF for SF fans (like myself).

Hopefully, when I get better, I might write a science fiction story that is also pleasing for literature readers like Maggie Murdock. But this is not that story.

Of course, if you insist, I could start the story with Charley. And I am surely open to rewrite suggestion and anything else you and your people have to say. But I just think that opening in a more easy-going manner will simply kill the momentum and pace of this story. It's meant to be dazzling, vibrant, energetic, vigorous. It's probably quite rough around the edges, but that same roughness also gives it its youthful vigour (I hope).

I'll happily work on polishing the story up: it's mostly first draft written in a haze of madness anyway. Images from the crazy brain written down in a word document with almost no filter in between. And therefore I think that starting slowly may very kill this story's sensibility.

Please do keep in mind that I will gladly work on this story, and see of we can improve it. I'll think about changing the beginning, although my gut feeling remains that taking the kick-start out of this piece might very well destroy it's very soul.

Now I will start reading all the comments, and will get back to you about them. But please keep in mind that I am very happy to have passed the first level (was that the floor?), and that I will read all comments with an open mind.



Peter Hagelslag
Novorossiysk, Russia

Dear Mr Hagelslag,

With your permission, I'd like to paste this gmail of yours into the Terminal discussion thread of 'Story Miner' in order to justify keeping it 'as is'. Your detailed explanation of 'why' it is as it is has convinced me, and I haven't even read it yet!

Best Regards, TQR

Dear Mr Rorschalk,

Please be my guest!

And if you need to shorten my somewhat overentusiastic explanation, please feel free, because it is a bit long.

Best regards,


Imagination Consolidation

Dear Investors,

TQR started out with two addresses here at blogspot: one to archive and one to kvetch at. Neither got much play. So, in order to cut our losses and, hopefully, increase market share, management (that is I) has decided to archive and kvetch at the same building, as it were. So. I have opened the posting capabilities to any of you. If you all get out of line and start posting drivel and unfounded rumor and scandal concerning my person, I will pull that privilege. Otherwise, have fun!

Sincerely, TQR