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February 18, 2008

This can’t be good for one’s soul
Posted by Teresa at 11:06 PM * 789 comments

Once upon a time there was a book called Night Travels of the Elven Vampire, which was read and reviewed by Crevette:

Alaric is a vampire. And he shapeshifts into a wolf. Alaric is also an Elf. It also turns out that Elves are aliens from the planet Telvron, where there are also sentient trees and unicorns. And he’s telepathic too, because he talks to his brother Marti’el that way. So that makes Alaric an alien vampire werewolf psychic writer. Got that? Good. That way you won’t get confuzzled when he becomes a pirate.
The novel has since been rewritten. The altered version is titled Eternity of Blood, and is longer. What’s remarkable is that it has apparently gotten worse—or so Crevette claims in You all suck, her updated review of the work:
Gareth is a darkly angelic, alien vampiric UFO-debunking half-divine military fighter pilot…
I can’t think of a single good reason to read this book. There’s not enough irony in the world.
Comments on This can't be good for one's soul:
#1 ::: Backpacking Dad ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Just...wow.

You had me at "planet Telvron".

#2 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:57 PM:

Suddenly I feel way better about my own tale telling efforts.

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2008, 11:58 PM:

Teresa, you temptress...

#4 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:02 AM:

But wait! There's more!

He's also a Master Chef in the cuisine of three planetary systems, and an excellent golfer.

#5 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:07 AM:

So that makes Alaric an alien vampire werewolf psychic writer [and] darkly angelic, alien vampiric UFO-debunking half-divine military fighter pilot.

Ugh, I hate stories about writers.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:18 AM:

LMB

You forgot: also drives Indy cars on weekends.

I read the second review. I think I can skip that book. (But I got the e-mail this evening that my pb copy of Grease Monkey is coming RSN, so I won't be lacking for reading.)

#7 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Apparently, the mind of that writer is where tired cliches and tortured imagery go to die.

#8 ::: A Rusty Butter Knife ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:29 AM:

You forgot to mention the part where Alaric becomes a nazi-battling, time-traveling, cyborg archaeologist with a neat hat.

Oh, my mistake. That's the sequel.

#9 ::: Greg Carere ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:35 AM:

You know, I bet it would be brilliant in the hands of, say, Gene Wolfe.

#10 ::: Zak ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:38 AM:

Is there some way that I can implant a device in my brain that will send out a beacon to people with more sense than I have to alert them when I have the passing notion to put myself in a position where I would be reading slush? It'd be like having a spotter for bad ideas I shouldn't be lifting.

Reading those passages I've learned that I really don't have the constitution for reading unfiltered prose. Really. Don't.

Also, where do I sign up to pay editors an extra stipend for hazard pay?

I know this example is by no means the nadir, and normally I'm one of those people who can look at horrendous photos of trauma and go 'oh man, that's a nasty one!' while eating a plate of kitfo, but I just don't have what it takes to read this stuff.

On the other hand, maybe this means I need to develop callouses on my delicate sensibilities.

#11 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:46 AM:

#9 Greg Carere: Right, or Roger Zelazny. I mean, UFO-debunking alien? Has some potential. And divinity ain't necessarily all it's cracked up to be...

We could probably have a great parlor game of making good books sound as fanficcy-terrible as possible. "Tormented bisexual military genius in line for the throne of a planet meets brilliant redheaded wisecracking explorer and saves her from sex fiends!"

#12 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:47 AM:

Greg Carere at #9 writes:

> You know, I bet it would be brilliant in the hands of, say, Gene Wolfe.

That's funny - I was just thinking of Michael Swanwick for that job - after all he's already sorta kinda done half elven fighter pilots in _The Dragons of Babel_ (which I unreservedly recommend, btw).

Besides, I'm holding Gene Wolfe in reserve as the only person capable of tackling "Lone space crash survivors who just happen to be called A'dam and E've".

#13 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Madeline F at #11 writes:

> We could probably have a great parlor game of making good books sound as fanficcy-terrible as possible. "Tormented bisexual military genius in line for the throne of a planet meets brilliant redheaded wisecracking explorer and saves her from sex fiends!"

"Immortal curmudgeon dumps anecdotes for hundreds of pages and has sex with his twin redheaded sisters and redheaded mother".

Oh hang on - that one *was* rubbish.

I actually did pick up _Barrayar_ and think it looked like junk - fortunately the collective wisdom of the net steered me back to it, and convinced me to have a go.

#14 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Madeline,
That is a dangerously tempting game to suggest you wicked evil evil EVIL...

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:54 AM:

When I try to imagine a new version of the Adam and Eve story, all I get is them arguing about whether their spaceship crash was fated from the moment their vessel took aboard passengers named Adam and Eve, or whether the factor that doomed it was the ship being named the Acme.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:04 AM:

Madeleine: That would be as in: "Heavy slash overtones, angst, and UST add flavor to this gender-ambiguous interstellar romance," yes?

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:05 AM:

"the ship being named the Acme"

To avoid conflicts with Warner Brothers, shouldn't it be renamed the Ne Plus Ultra?

#18 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:12 AM:

But where are the ninjas? You need to have ninjas.

#19 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Ah yes, the Orlando Bloom cover... I remember it well.

What do we have for a cover this time?">

Lame.

Didn't even add drop-shadows to the font. *sigh*

#21 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:27 AM:

I'll be nice and not share the fan-fic I just found...

#22 ::: The Pacemaker ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:37 AM:

I thought the excerpt she had was fast-paced and rather snappy. It could have been much worse. It didn't bore me. I wouldn't pay for it, but I might read on.

#23 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Madeline F @#11:

We could probably have a great parlor game of making good books sound as fanficcy-terrible as possible.

Ooo, brilliant! Wish I could figure out which one you're referencing...redheads, trying to remember any redheads.

Spacefaring elf crashes in a flying space castle, turns into a wolf and gives birth to a half-wolf, half-elf who becomes a warrior and founds a tribe of elves who ride wolves.

#24 ::: Comesleep ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:45 AM:

Oh, dear.
You know--the very first thing I ever, ever wrote, a terrible Mary Sue fantasy novel about a girl who looked *just like me* who was saved from her abusive father by a blacksmith-mage and his twin(redheaded!)students, and who eventually ended up with (unwanted) immortality and an elvish boyfriend(okay, okay, I was thirteen!)had a character named Alaric in it. The aforementioned blacksmith-mage, actually. I liked him a lot.
Still do...had actually been considering reviving him in some new, less embarrassing fashion. Maybe not?

#25 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:01 AM:

Comesleep @#24: Oh, jeez, we all wrote stuff like that in our teens, no need to be embarrassed.* That's what names like "Alaric" are for!

I never went in for elves, myself--my alter egoes generally got made into cyborgs. Still do, actually.

*unless you had it published through a vanity press, of course

#26 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Ah, but elves can't stand cold irony.

Mary Dell, that's a reference to Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, where Our Hero has sex with his twin red-headed clone-sisters (and it's not masturbation because?) and his mother. It's not until the sequel that his mother has sex with her father. It's a family affair.

John Melzer @ 18
And where are the clones, there ought to be clones,
I think that they're here.

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:52 AM:

Hmm ... I'm sensing a theme ...

"Immortal curmudgeon wages guerilla war with blue aliens that want sex with humans, fights a deadly hashhish-smoking assassin and a giant zombie, and ends up owning Earth."

#28 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:29 AM:

"Unappreciated artist and chef finds her true inner peace in nudism, then becomes mankind's first ambassador to a superintelligent alien species."

#29 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:53 AM:

An Alien Vampire fighter pilot Master Chef?

Sounds not entirely unlike a video game

#30 ::: Zak ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:02 AM:

Today's secret ingredients are:

Benzene

and...

Lymph!

#31 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:01 AM:

Come back John Theis, all is forgiven.

#32 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:13 AM:

mary dell,

Spacefaring elf crashes in a flying space castle, turns into a wolf and gives birth to a half-wolf, half-elf who becomes a warrior and founds a tribe of elves who ride wolves.

my first & probably last time to be the one to guess a reference correctly in a ml parlour game (i suppose i get points for putting myself out there & guessing incorrectly once)...

but you are talking about wendy & richard pini's elfquest.

#33 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:16 AM:

hee. my little sister's first (& as far as i know, last) mary sue fanfic was based in the wolfrider tribe. she was like, seven?

her mary sue was named willow bay. no kidding. we teased her sooo baaad for that.

maybe why she never wrote any more fanfic. hmm.

#34 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:16 AM:

29: When I first read about Halo, I actually misread the name of the viewpoint character as Master Chef. I still like my interpretation better.

Editors of the world: if you have to read this sort of thing for a living, you are earning your pay.

#35 ::: martyn44 ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:23 AM:

My colleagues are looking at me very oddly. A grown man isn't supposed to laugh until he cries. Not at work anyway.

An angelic semi-deity . . . what does he/she/it need with an F16 anyway? Aren't their own wings enough? He's got a hard point to attach his external weaponry . . . or maybe we won't go there.

#36 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:58 AM:

A.R.@31: Jim, actually.

#37 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:20 AM:

You know, sometimes I get this idea that it might be nice to try to get published myself. And then I think about someone in a publisher's office doing that to one of mine, maybe passing it around to general derision, and the urge goes away just like that.

Am I that bad? I don't know. Not in those specific ways, maybe. I think. But then, I don't suppose Ms Graham thinks she's that bad either.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:49 AM:

I have to note that I have a student named Alaric who, among other things, was a few years ago candidate for vice president of Liberia.

I do not believe that he is an elf, vampire, or werewolf, though.

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:49 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 12... "Lone space crash survivors who just happen to be called A'dam and E've"

Has somebody called the agents of Richard Basehart and Elizabeth Montgomery yet? And have you noticed the Google ad forNBC.com? How à propos.

#40 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:50 AM:

Zander, to judge by your songs, you'll probably turn out to be bloody good, at least potentially so.

#41 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:02 AM:

"You know, I bet it would be brilliant in the hands of, say, Gene Wolfe."

Or Mark E. Rogers, with the super-elf having a short and fatal encounter with Samurai Cat.

#42 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:21 AM:

Jim Theis, sorry. (Chronic name dyslexia.)

But I must know: will Alaric vote Democrat or Republican? His choice would -- naturally -- determine the outcome of the '08 election.

(Oh, we'll find out in the sequel, Eternity of Blood Part II: The Bloodening.)

#43 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:36 AM:

For such endeavors was the lowly (LOL-y?) spork born.

Let's see: Mercenary with a heart of gold and a troop of loyal honest and honorable mercenaries comes to the aid of folks with telepathic white horses in a war against true evil, and finds True Love on the battlefield.

:-)

#44 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:41 AM:

There's a voice in the back of my head that now wants to write Night Travels of the Eleven Vampires.

#45 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:55 AM:

Ginger, you forgot the magic sword. I like the mercenary books so much.

I'm having trouble coming up with anything. "Anne McCaffrey/Patrick O'Brian crossover!" is practically the official line. "Boy raised by aliens returns to earth, saves the world, listens to/performs a lot of monologues, sleeps with every single person except the religious villain, and..." no, I do not have the love for Heinlein that is necessary for this. "[entire body of folklore] crossover, with pastiches!" might, maybe, work, except I haven't read the second book.

#46 ::: Shawn Norris ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:04 AM:

The sad part is that I kind of want to read it now.

#47 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:06 AM:

Diatryma @ 45: True, I did. On the other hand, that particular book doesn't have as much of the magic sword, remember? ;-)

OK, how about Young officer in space navy gets on bad side of admirals and is sent off to punishment tour, stumbles upon invasion plans, has fight to death against larger ship, and saves the kingdom?

#48 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:20 AM:

Troubled (and romantically frustrated) teenage nobleman turns to life of crime: first interstellar smuggling, then space piracy, then raising a private starfleet, before finally returning home to stand trial for high treason.

And who can forget the one about the elf king who acquires a cursed sword, kills his cousin, exiles himself, then invades his former homeland, before finally killing his best friend in order to change the balance of the universe?

#49 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:22 AM:

miriam beetle @#32: indeed I am. I have the 4 original color graphic novels, with the fancy color process that they never re-printed, on my shelf now. Along with the rest of the recent printings in hardback. And yet I am SO not that person. Honest.

Zander @#37: Well...yes, it's scary to contemplate being the subject of such harsh criticism, but that's one of many reasons that sensible writers rely on beta readers and actual real publishing houses to help improve the quality of our writing. Your friends won't make fun of your work, presumably; if your friends all like it, then you send it to a publisher. If a publisher doesn't like it, they send you a rejection and they move right along to the next item in the slush pile. Maybe they even give you some guidance. It's not so bad...as long as you don't hop off the train and go the vanity-press route, which is what this author did. Then your naked unedited first draft is on display for the whole world to see and blog about, and that's never a good idea.

Fragano @#38: It would be a lot cooler if he was.


#50 ::: Tlonista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:28 AM:

She had me at "PublishAmerica".

#51 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:29 AM:

Zak, at #10, said:

Also, where do I sign up to pay editors an extra stipend for hazard pay?

I know this example is by no means the nadir, and normally I'm one of those people who can look at horrendous photos of trauma and go 'oh man, that's a nasty one!' while eating a plate of kitfo, but I just don't have what it takes to read this stuff.

I don't know. I imagine that reading slush can be something terribly tedious and demoralizing, but honestly? This kind of thing? Not only is it not the nadir, I imagine this could be the (well, you started it) zenith. I mean, next to discovering the Next Great Author, of course. This kind of thing provides you with amusing conversation for the rest of the week, at the very least. And I mean it can't exactly be hard to turn down this kind of manuscript either, I mean this isn't a writer who is almost good, so close it hurts you to say no... no, I really think this kind of thing should be what makes reading slush fun.

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:44 AM:

Mary Dell #49: You have a point. I can say that he is a Krahn, though.

#53 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Did anyone ever put together links to examples of the first thirteen categories in the slushkiller thread? I'm particularly curious about "Functionally illiterate" and "neurochemical disorder."

#54 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:50 AM:

I once came up with an idea for a story involving a werewolf fighter pilot, which was a technothriller that turned into horror at the end. I never wrote it*. However the reason I finally decided not to write it was that the only thing that made sense of the plot is if the bad guys were vampires, and, you know, American Werewolf Fighter Pilot versus Russian Special Forces Vampires sounded a bit much.

--
Exiled stranger seeks out Scientist to give him the power of flight, but they are forced into an unlikely alliance with the rebels when their gothic city is threatened by dream-eaters from another dimension.


* Despite coming up with fairly clever ways to get American fighter squadrons to Siberia and how to deal with flying at full moon.

#55 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:58 AM:

Oooh, actually I do remember a halfway decent book published by a real publisher that had, as protagonist, a pseudo-elvish immortal shapeshifter vampire. In a flashback, we learn that he served as a fighter pilot (with tinted windows?) during the defeat of earth by spiky hivemind aliens. There may also have been telepathy involved.

#56 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Ah Publish America, you live down to your reputation.

#57 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:31 AM:

Ginger @ 47

OK, how about Young officer in space navy gets on bad side of admirals and is sent off to punishment tour, stumbles upon invasion plans, has fight to death against larger ship, and saves the kingdom?

Surely On Basilisk Station. You left out the treecat, though.

#58 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:34 AM:

I'll wait for the movie. (Uwe Boll, are you listening?)

#59 ::: Andrhia ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:35 AM:

Oooh, oooh:

Girl saved from oppressive family by befriending an intelligent and telepathic horse. Her special gift of empathy gives her high status, and she eventually finds true love and saves the kingdom. Also schoolyard bullying.

I really loved those books when I was in high school. They haven't held up for me, though.

#60 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:39 AM:

Duncan @ 57: Yes. Yes, I did.

Young officer in space navy, accompanied by empathic alien disguised as pet, gets on bad side of admirals, is exiled to punishment post, stumbles upon invasion plans, fights larger enemy ship in battle to the death, and saves the kingdom."

Much better, eh?

#61 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Madeline F @ 11

Suggesting Zelazny as the author brings up the possibiliity of Zombie Writers. or Poets.
"Quatraaaaaaaaains!"

A.R. Yngve @ 43

Eternity of Blood Part II: The Bloodening.)

I'm waiting for Part III: The Clotting.


#62 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Some of these characters need to pair up and fight crime.

#63 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:58 AM:

And now, a round of Name that Horrible Story. This is a hard one. Sometime in 1967 I found a copy of a British SF magazine in the photolab of the Army base I was on at the time. I remmeber absolutely nothing about it but the last part of a serial, whose plot was something like:

Earth heros get caught up in a cosmic war between alien races. Battle rages first across Earth, then across the solar system. Ultimately we find out that one race are Devils (who live in universes at energy levels below our own), and Angels (who live at energy levels above us). The metaverse is a series of levels ascending up to the point of infinite power and omniscience at the top. It read like a mashup of "Lensman" and St. Augsutine's cosmology, and there was a new plot device at a higher level of complexity and unbelieveability about every 1,000 words or so. I've never been able to decide if it was sincere or a vast joke. Anyone know the author or title?

#64 ::: Tlonista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Neil Wilcox@54: That's never Perdido Street Station?

#65 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Ginger: Oh. I was about to confidently state that it was Gur Ibe Tnzr, although on reflection I don't think that has the fight to the death against a larger enemy ship. It does have everything else in the first version of the description; on reflection, I bet there are other books that would also fit that plot.

Relatedly, Chris: The one that ends with the protagonist on trial for high treason is definitely Gur Jneevbe'f Ncceragvpr (and a very good job, there, of making it sound much worse than it is).

Also, people who've been posting plot summaries involving telepathic horses: isn't the point of the game to give bad summaries of good books?

#66 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:00 AM:

I s'pose that, just for a laugh, one could write something that was the complete antithesis of Eternity of Blood Part... a tale of supernatural failure and impotence:

"Five Seconds of Blood: A socially well-adjusted dwarf is bitten by a werewolf, and spends six months in hospital. The repeated horror of hospital clowns and balloon sculptures turns him bitter and resentful, and he loses all his friends.

"The dwarf werewolf must then spend the rest of his miserable days in a wheelchair. Under the full moon, he makes intensely feeble attempts to attack people, but his wheelchair just keeps falling over..."

#67 ::: Tlonista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:01 AM:

Shit, should have rot13'd. Oh well.

#68 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:03 AM:

ajay @ 34

You remind me that I want to write "Iron Chef", the story of a haute cuisine robot in his battles against fast food and prepared meals.

#69 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:04 AM:

55 -- I'm pretty sure that was "The Madness Season." He wasn't elvish, but he had most of the rest.

That was actually the very first book I ever stayed up all night to read, at fourteen...

#70 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Dave Bell @ 29 -
An Alien Vampire fighter pilot Master Chef?
Sounds not entirely unlike a video game.

Master ChIef, Dave, Master ChIef.

;-D


okay, so he's a "raised almost from birth as a trained killer cyborg special operations powered armor soldier that costs as much as a patrol squadron" not an "Alien Vampire fighter pilot" - if HALO hadn't paved the way (and Cobra by Zahn before that)...

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Zombies? Have we got zombies? (Looking upthread.) Yes, we do. And telepathic horses. What about telepathic kitties?

#72 ::: Dom ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Gayle Greeno wrote a series of novels about telepathic kitties. Possibly they were giant telepathic alien kitties; I'm not sure.

The author of Eternity of Blood, meanwhile, plans sequels!

#73 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Paul @ 65 -- that's not mine, but someone else did use that one. Look at number 48. ;-)

Serge @ 71: Not saying, but check my re-write.

#74 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:24 AM:

I can't think of a single good reason NOT to read this book! I'd be yelling about proper grammar and laughing my ass off until I finished it, and then continue giggling at random intervals for MONTHS. XD (I mean, thinking about Atlanta Nights still brings a grin to my face, and that was what, three years ago?)

Except I don't want to give her any money for it, so that's kind of a problem.

#75 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:26 AM:

And yet it *is* published. I know that it's self-published, and that I'm much more talented, but...I'm still envious. Sigh.

#76 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:33 AM:

Ginger @ #73:

Yes, #48 is the one I was talking about.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:34 AM:

ginger @ 73... So the telepathic putty tats are already in the mix.

Shouldn't Alaric and 10 other elves be involved in a heist organized by George Clooney?

#78 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Remus Shepherd @ #75:

If being self-published is something to be envious of, why not just self-publish something yourself? Then you have parity, and can get on with envying people who have something that's actually out of your reach.

#79 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:42 AM:

Serge @ 77: ..Ocean's Elven??

#80 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:43 AM:

Tlonista #64 That's never Perdido Street Station?

It isn't? I wonder what i was reading then ;)

I caught a monster-of-the-week film on the Sci-Fi channel a few weeks ago - Mammoth. Having a Mammoth as the monster sounded as though it might be interesting. It turned out to be an alien-possessed soul-sucking zombie mammoth. Chasing Summer Glau.

Of course there were some bad parts to the film as well.

#81 ::: VT ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Maybe Master Chef can be the sequel's villain, when he captures and threatens to cook the telepathic kittens? Then the other 10 elves can all plot their heist, er, rescue. From Hell, that is, where we find Our Hero brooding over the loss of his wings.

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:47 AM:

Ginger @ 79... And the sequel would be Ocean's Tw'Elves, of course.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Shouldn't there be a mummy that can turn into a zombie?

#84 ::: Onion ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:52 AM:

I must read too much manga. These all seem perfectly readable premises for stories.

Then again, Ranma 1/2 is my all-time favorite comic.

#85 ::: Tlonista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:54 AM:

Remus @75: AFAIK, all you get from PA and its ilk that you can't get from your local print shop or online services like CafePress is an ISBN and a deep sense of embarrassment.

#86 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:56 AM:

I can see where Summer Glau might redeem some of a film.

Sort of as AlpenGlau can make so-so scenery look wonderful, for a time.

#87 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Unappreciated artist and chef finds her true inner peace in nudism, then becomes mankind's first ambassador to a superintelligent alien species.

Er, is this Sheri Tepper's The Fresco? Because if not, that means there are two of them...

Young officer in space navy gets on bad side of admirals and is sent off to punishment tour, stumbles upon invasion plans, has fight to death against larger ship, and saves the kingdom?

On Basilisk Station

Troubled (and romantically frustrated) teenage nobleman turns to life of crime: first interstellar smuggling, then space piracy, then raising a private starfleet, before finally returning home to stand trial for high treason.

You forgot "and is a physical weakling" for that extra geek appeal.

And who can forget the one about the elf king who acquires a cursed sword, kills his cousin, exiles himself, then invades his former homeland, before finally killing his best friend in order to change the balance of the universe?

Eternal Champion my ass. He was just a whiner.

Girl saved from oppressive family by befriending an intelligent and telepathic horse. Her special gift of empathy gives her high status, and she eventually finds true love and saves the kingdom. Also schoolyard bullying.

That's got to be something by Mercedes Lackey.

"Plucky heroes travel across a fantasy world, encountering strange creatures and languages (invented by the author!) to destroy a magic artifact, while being pursued by Minions of the Dark Lord. They are aided by a King in Exile, an elven archer, and a wizard with a long beard. People sing at them a lot, occasionally in fake languages (invented by the author!). Did we mention the author made up some languages for the book?"

#88 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:58 AM:

Serge @ 82: Now you've got me thinking (always a Bad Thing, even more so when I'm home with nothing else to do).

Here we go:
A series of chain stores owned by elves, offering overpriced junk food and coffee at all hours -- "7-Elven"
A semi-documentary about a hair band on the road with their groupies, fighting evil wherever they go -- "It Goes To Elven"
They were holed up in a small room angrily debating justice in their corrupted society -- can they agree on a verdict? -- "Tw'Elven Angry Men"

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:59 AM:

Serge #71: I was hoping for psychopathic kitties, myself...

#90 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:04 AM:

Carrie S.@ 87:
Eternal Champion my ass. He was just a whiner.

Oh, that's -- so true. :-) Although I liked the very beginning of the book, with his description of the Camargue.

Yes, that's Gur Neebjf bs gur Dhrra, if I am not mistaken.

#91 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Non-traditional university student discovers his late uncle (who faked his own death) has been secretly grooming him to be Earth's Ambassador to the Galactic Council on behalf of the Earth, after he manages to recover a Priceless Object, on loan from an Alien Civilization.

#92 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:05 AM:

Ginger #88; They were one short of the classic:

Elven Angry Men.

Or even: Ocean's Elven (I don't want to tnink of the plot of that one.)

Or even the story of a football team with magical powers: Legge's Elven.

#93 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:07 AM:

Like the old saying goes: "there are no new ideas in SF, it's all about what you do with them". In the same week I read Tad William's awesome debut Tailchaser's Song, I also read a novel titled The Thrall And The Dragon's Heart.

Oddly enough, the latter had much the same overarching plot (at least the goal parts) as Tailchaser, minus the cats. Trouble was, the "screwball" figure was so annoying that by the time he got his Reveal, I didn't even care anymore. Nobody in the story was really worth empathizing with, and the world logic was so weak that the various hostiles blurred into "oh, another monster"....

But hey, it's not just fiction. Many years ago, I read LeVey's The Satanic Bible, and Robert Ringer's Looking out for #1 in the same two-week period. Same ideas, different decorations. (And published within a couple of years of each other.) I wound up not taking either of them too seriously....

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:08 AM:

Fragano @ 89... Isn't that redundant?

Kittie is genetically designed by evil Doctor Schrodinger. After one session too many inside that box, the kittie's latent teleportation kicks in and it starts killing everybody in the lab. Claudia Black and Dean Cain should be in the cast.

#95 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:09 AM:

To remedy the sad lack of amphibians and ancient beasties so far, here's a Science Daily article headlined "Giant Frog Jumps Continents, May Have Eaten Baby Dinosaurs".

#96 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:10 AM:

What about telepathic kitties?

If treecats count, yes. :)

#97 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Serge @ 94:
Kittie is genetically designed by evil Doctor Schrodinger

...are you sure?

#98 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:13 AM:

Paul @#78:

Self-publishing has a stigma these days, doesn't it? I have the feeling that if somebody self-publishes, a real editor will never again look at them seriously.

Besides, if I were to self-publish anything, there is a non-zero chance that Yog himself would beat me up. :)

#99 ::: Kellie Hazell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:15 AM:

JKRichard (at #19) shouldn't have linked to the Lulu page for this novel as it made me look at the book's description. It's probably not a good idea to be drinking or eating anything as you read this, particularly the last three words.

Gorgeous, Navy Pilot, Gareth Hunter hides his secret well in the light of day.Until a beautiful paranormal investigator crosses his path. The mysterious alien council arrive with an ominous message and sends the couple to the future.Gareth must sacrifice it all, and take up the fangs again. All to stop Damian and prevent the vampire wars, and leaving humans as anything but food.Is he too late as the streets run red with blood, during a hurricane?

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:18 AM:

Ginger @ 97... The kitty is alive and dead. Zombie kitty.

#101 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:29 AM:

Serge #94: Oddly enough, no.

#102 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Kellie @ 99:during a hurricane?

Oh, she forgot "in bed". Right? That's what everyone says at the end of their fortunes.

Now I realize that we must end all our pastiches with "during a hurricane".

"Young officer in space navy...saves the kingdom during a hurricane" -- see? Much better!

#103 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Going back to Dumas's The Vicomte de Bragelonne now.

As for Oceans Elven, it shall cast Orlando Bloom.

Coz he needs the money.

(*I* liked Elizabeth Town, but the world? Maybe not so much ....)

Love, C.

#104 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:42 AM:

And a blurb from hell:

Across time and space, we follow the epic struggles of the sentient trees which founded Galactic civilization... (Don Sakers, The Leaves of October.)

A wisecracking assassin wines, dines, and stir-fries his way across the world of the elves, caught up in the machinations of wizards, undead, and the gods. (Brust's Vlad series)


There's also the classic Village Voice summary of The Wizard Of Oz, but I don't have the exact quote handy....

Satirizing Valdemar is just too easy, especially for the early books. We need some real classics to spoof.

Digression: I note that Kevin Anderson has co-authored a novel which looks like a modern take on Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters, but apparently reinterpreted as The Oil Eaters. Too bad that a first glance suggests major biochemical screwups. (Gasoline vanishing out of closed car tanks? Oxygen, please! And a little something for that CO2 overpressure...).

#105 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Telepathic kitties! P.C. Hodgell -- ounces and Arrin-ken

Ninja kitties! Niven et al.'s Kzinti

Elven kitties! Apparently not unkown in either D&D (not so bad) or fanfic (*shudder*)

#106 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:49 AM:

There's also the classic Village Voice summary of The Wizard Of Oz, but I don't have the exact quote handy....

"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, then teams up with three strangers to kill again."

To the best of my recollection.

#107 ::: Kellie Hazell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:55 AM:

Ginger at 102: Oh, she forgot "in bed".

I'm really surprised that a mention of the hot, potentially back-piercing sex crevette spoilered isn't thrown at us in that book summary. It shows remarkable and uncharacteristic restraint on the author's part that the "in bed" is merely implied. But, then again, this book is in Lulu's "horror" section, so perhaps the lack of explicitness about the sex demonstrates the author understands something about genre distinctions?

I agree, though. "During a hurricane," like chocolate and zombies, just makes everything better.

#108 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:56 AM:

Fragano 89: Kittons, Fragano. Kittons.

David 104: Would that be "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again"? Found it here.

#109 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:57 AM:

Serge @ 100: Let's hope Schroedinger's zombie kitty never teams up with Heisenberg's zombie kitty, because then we'd never know where they were.

#110 ::: VT ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Kellie @99: Thank you for bravely going to Lulu -- I didn't have it in me.

Gareth must sacrifice it all, and take up the fangs again.

I see. So, saving the world can only be accomplished with the Pointy Dentures of Ultimate Power. During a hurricane.

#111 ::: Tucker ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Bruce Cohen @27: "Immortal curmudgeon wages guerilla war with blue aliens that want sex with humans, fights a deadly hashhish-smoking assassin and a giant zombie, and ends up owning Earth."

I read that, blinked, and thought "There's no . . . oh, yes there is," at least twice. Three cheers for Guvf Vzzbegny.

I'm told that TV Guide once summarized _The Omen II_ as "Parents send teenaged Antichrist to military school."

#112 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Kittons, Fragano. Kittons.

Kittons, kittins, and kittens?

I used to have a copy of the original 1957 printing, but it's long gone, alas. I love that book.

#113 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:02 PM:

I think it would be well-nigh impossible to write a book with telepathic horses in it that would be a good book, for adults anyway, he wrote, realizing even as he did that he quite enjoyed Rider at the Gate and Cloud's Rider, even though they were fantasy-horror plots thinly enrobed in an SF shell.

#114 ::: Shem ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Steven Erickson seems to be pretty much made for this. I nearly did give up on the Malazan Books simply because Anomander Rake was, at first glance, a shameless mashup of Elric and Drizzt Do'Urden (with flying castle! and he can turn into a dragon!) that would have done discredit to any fanfic.

#115 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:04 PM:

That summary sounds like every "Damn the torpedos, just keep writing!" trick ever devised for NaNoWriMo, all thrown together.

Except the ninjas and the monkeys. I can't believe he forgot the ninjas and the monkeys.

#116 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Adding "during a hurricane" to #48 is just..wow.

An uncultured barbarian warrior from the north makes his way through wine, women, and song, defeating hellish creatures along the way, to become king of a rich country..during a hurricane.

Hm.

#117 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Xopher #100: How could I have forgotten Cordwainer Smith!?

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Tucker @ 111... blue aliens that want sex with humans

Isn't that the plot of Earth Girls Are Easy?

#119 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:11 PM:

Bruce @27, Tucker @111: I thought this was Irahf ba gur Unys-Furyy -- which I haven't read in years, come to think of it.

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:12 PM:

"Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis in a hurricane and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of..."

#121 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:12 PM:

Constance Ash #103: Not George Clooney?

#122 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:14 PM:

In the midst of a terrible war, a community in the disputed territory struggles to survive attempts from both sides to destroy it. The amnesiac hero must fight his former comrades and team up with his former abuser to save the day.

#123 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:20 PM:

In a socialist paradise, aliens bring war and new technology. Our anti-hero, a lowly serf, stumbles through battle and accidentally saves the day when he rescues the kidnapped princess. Along the way, other species are persuaded to assist, and gourmet food is consumed in large quantities.

I wonder how many will get this one?

#124 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:29 PM:

"I can’t think of a single good reason to read this book.

I read Flight; I feel that I do not have to read anything else in that genre for the rest of my life. (Said genre being "painfully bad, with limited amusement value.")

#125 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Rats, Carrie, you beat me to parodying the LoTR series.

Here's an oldie but goodie:

"Space hero gets superdevice, joins galactic super-police force, fights evil villains and saves the universe, not once, not Twice, but MANY TIMES! Inconceivable!"

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Ginger @ 123... Star Wars?

#127 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Serge @ 126:

Oooh..no. I should have done that one.

#128 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Kitton - the fundamental particle of cattishness. (Discovered in 1983. Previously, the smallest possible feline particle was believed to be the cation.)

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:40 PM:

Young man meets his father's ghost, swears to avenge him, succeeds but gets his girlfriend killed in the process, then her brother swears to avenge her. Everybody dies, without the help of a hurricane.

#130 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Serge, Hamlet!

#131 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Re 123: perhaps I should have said "kidnapped heiress.

..and I forgot the hurricane, again.

#132 ::: Kellie Hazell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Serge, but Ophelia drowns, so a bad fanfic recounting of the tale could indeed stretch that event into Death by Hurricane.

#133 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Okay, this is a stretch, but I think the sentiment makes it worthy: Resident Elven: The Extinction

#134 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:02 PM:

Kitchen servant schemes to seduce the lord's daughter and rule the castle (which is flooded by a hurricane)

#135 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Kitchen servant schemes to seduce the lord's daughter and rule the castle

Would that be Gormenghast et seq.?

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:08 PM:

ajay 128: So a full-grown cat would be a kitteme? And each kitteme would be spelled out in kittons on the kittemic stratum? And the study of how that's done would be called kittemics. And the study of the various shapes into which cats can twist themselves should probably be called morphokittemics, though that might be going too far.

OTOH, taking a more physical viewpoint, what would happen if you bombarded, say, a beagle puppy with kittons? Would you get a dog who can go in a box, or a cat who bays at the moon?

#137 ::: straight ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:10 PM:

You know, I bet it would be brilliant in the hands of, say, Gene Wolfe.

It was. At least if "Dream-Walking Shape-Shifting Space Vampires from the Green Planet!" Counts.

#138 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:11 PM:

Teenager acquires NASA EVA equipment then disappears for lengthy period with young girl. He claims they were kidnapped by evil aliens then rescued by good aliens after timely deployment of his EVA gear. He then claims to have saved the world with his gift of oratory.

#139 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:12 PM:

OTOH, taking a more physical viewpoint, what would happen if you bombarded, say, a beagle puppy with kittons?

Complete catastrophe.

If you bombard a beagle puppy with ducks, on the other hand, the noise it gives off is known as a quark.

#140 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:12 PM:

A young girl, parted from her brother by a storm at sea, is trapped in a hostile land: disguising herself as a boym, she takes service with the local tyrant, finds herself trapped in a sexually ambiguous menage a trois, and is only rescued from lesbian lust by the return of her brother.


Not quite a hurricane.

#141 ::: Kellie Hazell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:12 PM:

This just in from Crevette: the dog still boofs.

#142 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:12 PM:

The "immortal curmudgeon" motif was giving me an itch until I realized it reminded me too much of "Immortal Beloved", the movie about Beethoven and "Für Elise", with Gary Oldham as the curmudgeon, er composer.

#143 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:13 PM:

Wait..I thought kitteme was a kitton-kitton double bond. Kittohol, on the other hand, is much more fun.

#144 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:14 PM:

#138: Teenager ends up flipping burgers.

#145 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Madeline F. @ #11: Okay. Hmmmm.

Snarky wizard with hunky vampire brother and cute pets fights crime.

Abused orphan boy learns he really is special and important when he develops magic powers.

Handsome college professor takes time off teaching to fight Nazis and save the world.

And, of course, my favorite, which I'm paraphrasing from memory from J. Michael Straczynski's scriptwriting book: Male meets female. Male pursues female. Male dies for love of female. Q: Is this Romeo and Juliet or King Kong? A: Yes.

#146 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:16 PM:

I am Archamedes, high priest of Atlantis. I was born to a life of spirituality, power, and magic. Me, being high priest of Atlantis, omly I had the privaledge of knowing the secret to eternal life and how to change my appearance at will. In a hurricane.

#147 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Lance 138: Unir Fcnprfhvg, Jvyy Geniry.

#148 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Madeline F. @ #11: Okay. Hmmmm.

Snarky wizard with hunky vampire brother and cute pets fights crime.

Abused orphan boy learns he really is special and important when he develops magic powers.

Handsome college professor takes time off teaching to fight Nazis and save the world.

And, of course, my favorite, which I'm paraphrasing from memory from J. Michael Straczynski's scriptwriting book: Male meets female. Male pursues female. Male dies for love of female. Q: Is this Romeo and Juliet or King Kong? A: Yes.

#149 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:18 PM:

#140: Twelfth Night.

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Nobody has brought up The Tempest yet. I can't remember if the titular disturbance was a hurricane.

#151 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Ginger 143: That's kittene. And a cat chasing its tail is cyclokittene. And if a cat is used in baneful magic that's hexakittene.

#152 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Katherine 148: I can't get the snarky wizard, but the other two are Fgne Jnef and Vaqvnan Wbarf respectively.

#153 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:24 PM:

For Serge: (I swear I almost had this posted before you wrote your last comment)

Noble sorcerer is deposed and exiled on a remote island with his daughter. Years later a hurricane wrecks a ship carrying the son of his enemy, who also lands on the island. Aided by his familiar, a tree spirit, the sorcerer plots to regain his kingdom and take revenge on his enemies. His ambitions are jeopardized by an inhabitant of the island whom he has manipulated and mistreated.

Joel: sending virtual garlic your way. The undead, indeed.

#154 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:27 PM:

Serge: I thought a titular disturbance was when a lady's bra accidentally becomes unhooked.

#155 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Xopher @ 151: Oh, ok. So then a cyclokittene plus a cyclic ester equals a necatalactone?

#156 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Boxer, falsely imprisoned, is released through efforts of pop singer.

#157 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:30 PM:

Handsome college professor takes time off teaching to fight Nazis and save the world.

The Vaqvnan Wbarf films.

"Farm boy discovers he's the heir to special powers when a mysterious old man shows up and whisks him off on a quest to rescue a princess."

#158 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Xopher: 1 out of 3. Vaqvnan Wbarf is correct. Fgne Jnef works, but it's not the title I had in mind.

#159 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:31 PM:

"When I try to imagine a new version of the Adam and Eve story, all I get is them arguing about whether their spaceship crash was fated from the moment their vessel took aboard passengers named Adam and Eve, or whether the factor that doomed it was the ship being named the Acme."

Well, I suggest Adam And Steve, and the name of their ship is named the Acne. Why? Because they are nerdy teenage homosexual geniuses, who, to escape the relentless taunting of the jocks at their high school built it, and named it after their unique skin affliction to remind them why they should never go back. Now they have crash landed on a planet that exists as a sort of Counter-Earth, permanently hidden from Earth's view by orbiting behind the sun.

#160 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Snarky former police officer with undead romance writer friend -- they fight crime! No hurricanes, sadly.

#161 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Super-strong, super-macho king beds lots of women and generally acts like a jerk, fights another guy who's his equal to a standstill; they become best pals and bed each other(?); best friend suddenly dies, king gets heartbroken and goes to seek the potion of immortality, finds it, but loses it; finds wisdom instead and lives to ripe old age.

(Actually, that's rather original...)

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Xopher @ 154... The disturbance really is caused by bosom particles, as opposed to firmions.

#163 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Xopher: Yup. But I'm just warming up.

Boy becomes best swordsman in the world, sends his avatar to another reality, boards enemy ship to rescue long lost love, battles villains and foils their evil plot to enslave the world's population.

#164 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Carrie @ #157--now that's Fgne Jnef!

#165 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:34 PM:

Did I miss someone guessing this:
Non-traditional university student discovers his late uncle (who faked his own death) has been secretly grooming him to be Earth's Ambassador to the Galactic Council on behalf of the Earth, after he manages to recover a Priceless Object, on loan from an Alien Civilization.

as Doorways in the Sand? I read this in junior high, and then read everything I could find by Zelazny, including some that I might have enjoyed more if I'd waited another year or two.

How about:
Child is bred, watched over, trained and lied to, until he becomes the repulsive hero the planet needs.

#166 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:37 PM:

A.R. @ #161 - Tvytnzrfu?

#167 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Katherine 158: Oh, damn. I meant Uneel Cbggre, of course!

A.R. 161: Tvytnzrfu.

#168 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:38 PM:

My personal favorite (and the description I've been using to get all my friends to read it):

Transsexual android hero/ine must save religious neo-luddite backwater from space aliens out to destroy humanity. Now with added battles on the high seas!

There's also:

Alcoholic policeman and his motley band of subordinates (one who may or may not be king) must save the city from a dragon.

And:

Cynical foul-mouthed journalist in the near-future takes on evil politician and wins.

#169 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Serge @162 -- the force behind those disturbances is gravity.

#170 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:40 PM:

Xopher @ #167 - Yes, it's Uneel Cbggre. :)

Still no snarky wizard?

#171 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:41 PM:

bumpkin falls asleep on magic sward, and wakes up a jackass.

also, off-topic but:

scoundrel steals fruit, apologizes insincerely.


#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Two men duke it over who's going to be the boss. A third party gets them to split the territory, but the deal goes sour when one of the men starts eyeing the other guy's girl. She gives birth to a son, who gets a big knife, then his disguised half-sister gets him to have sex with him and their incestuous son brings the whole thing down, helped along by the jealousy of the guy with the knife when he finds that HIS wife had sex with his best friend.

#173 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Katherine @148: Gur Gjb Uneel'f (Cbggre naq Qerfqra)

Katherine @164, Carrie @157: I was actually going to guess Gur Orytnevnq

#174 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:46 PM:

insane policemen with unhealthy bicycle fixations and access to the storehouse of paradise squander their gifts and abuse their powers tormenting a wooden-legged murderer without charging him for his crimes as is mandated by law.

hmm, too long. I think I find this game too constricting.

#175 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:46 PM:

ajay @ 139

* splort! *

New keyboard, quick.

#176 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Katherine 170: Nope, can't get the snarky wizard. With a vampire brother? And pets? I'm gonna feel stupid, I can sense it. A hint, maybe?

bryan 171: N Zvqfhzzre Avtug'f Qernz and Guvf vf Whfg gb Fnl...and that last is bloody brilliant!

#177 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Lance @ #173 - Yes, you're right. Gur Gjb Uneelf (Cbggre naq Qerfqra).

A girl lands on an alien world, kills the evil overlord, and is sent on another assassination mission.

#178 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:47 PM:

sherrold @165: I've gotta go with "The Chronicles of G.W. Bush"

#179 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:50 PM:

alien with traditional American values uses powers that defy the laws of physics to enforce those values on all those who would dissent.

#180 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Lance got it, Xopher (@ #176). The protagonist has the same first name as the hero in #2.

#181 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Luthe @ 168: Avtug Jngpu, be bar bs gur bgure Greel Cengpurgg obbxf ba gur thneqf.


Engineered world in which magic coexists with technology; our heroes fight their way to the center where the god-like controller grants them their dreams. May or may not occur during a hurricane.

#182 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:52 PM:

John L. @ 125: Why that's the Yrafzna frevrf, and for the bonus points, it's also Uneel Uneevfba'f Fgne-Fznfuref bs gur Tnynkl Enatref.

Lance @ 163: Fabj Penfu, though you left out "fhcre-travhf unpxre".

Sherrold @ 165: Raqre'f Tnzr, why does it always have to be Raqre'f Tnzr?

#183 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Snarky former police officer with undead romance writer friend -- they fight crime!

Gnaln Uhss'f Oybbq frevrf, but I don't think "Snarky wizard with hunky vampire brother and cute pets fights crime" is the same author's "Smoke and..." series.

bumpkin falls asleep on magic sward, and wakes up a jackass.

N Zvqfhzzre Avtug'f Qernz

And I think Serge's 172 is the Evat Plpyr.

#184 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:54 PM:

idiot gains power in a country and causes its ruin by having the government of the country do idiotic things while the population follows blindly until it is too late.

Man's negative emotions give him great power that he uses to catastrophic effect.

lots of freaky kids are borne to rural people and act creepy in unison.


Rod Zombie is the worst porn star name in the Universe.

#185 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Remus @75
And yet it *is* published. I know that it's self-published, and that I'm much more talented, but...I'm still envious. Sigh.

No, no, what you should have written was:

And yet it *is* finished. I know that it's self-declared-done, and that I'm much more grammatical, but...I'm still envious. Sigh.

Writing not as an unpublished fiction writer (sigh), but as a long-time down-to-my-soul-addicted Reader (Books!), I strongly wish for you to get through your throwaway first million words and become truly published so that I may happily purchase your works--knowing that an editor has declared them to be fine--and add your name to my must-read list.

There's nothing to envy about getting self-published. There is something to envy about having finished a book, because she's done what many writers haven't. Each day for 6 months she sat down and wrote 500 words.

For all that she is entirely tome-deaf, she was able to move on to her next fraction of her one million words. For all the wrongness in that story, in one sense she did do something right--she realized it wasn't worth reworking, and she obviously didn't spend any time doing so.

The self-publishing? Anyone with a spare $100, or spare $2000 if they want to grow the giant spider that is PublishAm, can do that. The finishing of novel, however dreadful, and starting right onto the next one? Too many writers have never done that.

(And if you're close to your throwaway million but aren't getting close to publishable yet, then that's where more classes and Critters and workshops could help, I'd imagine. I wouldn't know, being not at all close to my million words.)

#186 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Katherine 177: Ah! I don't feel stupid then. Never read those books.

But your second one has been done here and here.

No one's guessed mine at 122: In the midst of a terrible war, a community in the disputed territory struggles to survive attempts from both sides to destroy it. The amnesiac hero must fight his former comrades and team up with his former abuser to save the day.

#187 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Lance Weber: Unir Fcnprfhvg, Jvyy Geniry.

#188 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:00 PM:

bryan @179 - I guess Fhcrezna.

#189 ::: Andrhia ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:02 PM:

OK, how's this one?

Misunderstood teen teams up with her genius little brother to save their father and the universe from an evil disembodied brain.

#190 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:03 PM:

I'm catching up?

Ginger @ 181: I'm not getting it, though you could almost stretch it to Wnpx bs Funqbjf (s/heroes/hero/ and s/grants them/is defeated to gain his/)

bryan @ 171: (#2) Snrrk, splutter, cough!
bryan @ 179: Fgenatre va n Fgenatr Ynaq; did I see that go by with a different description upthread?

#191 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:05 PM:

alien with traditional American values uses powers that defy the laws of physics to enforce those values on all those who would dissent.

Fhcrezna

"Young girl breaks into and vandalizes the home of non-human sentients"

Xopher, I haven't guessed because I can't quite pin it down. I don't think it's Jngrefuvc Qbja, but that's what keeps overwhelming any thought on the subject.

#192 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:05 PM:

a book is written that destroys the soul, in discussing it a group of writers are inexplicably drawn to playing strange games where questions as to the plots of literary works are answered in gibberish.

#193 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:05 PM:

Xopher @ #186, LOL, no wonder it seemed like such a good idea! Multitasking is bad for focus.

And I'm stumped by yours, but I'll keep working on it.

A man discovers that his entire world is a lie.

#194 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:08 PM:

bryan, #192: They are not in gibberish but in rot13, so that those who play can avoid being spoiled by answers they'd have liked to figure out on their own.

#195 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:08 PM:

Debbie @169: That certainly explains their attraction effect on me

Cliff @182: Ding! I left it out on purpose, it would have been too easy with it

Xopher #188: The best I can do is Avar Cevaprf va Nzore, but I don't think that's it

#196 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:09 PM:

everyone that answered has guessed my 171, just to say it.

Sorry Clifton, Neil Wilcox got 179 right. But I am making things sufficiently vague that there is a good chance that multiple books fit.

Actually for #184 the last one is a key for the others. But I think the humor is too quirky.

#197 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Snarky former police officer with undead romance writer friend -- they fight crime!


I thought Zreprqrf Ynpxrl'f Qvnan Grtneqr books.

#198 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:10 PM:

Carrie 191: Lryybjunve naq gur Hefbvq Gevb.

And no, it isn't Jngrefuvc Qbja, though the one I'm thinking of does have some aba-uhzna punenpgref.

bryan 192: Why it's Znxvat Yvtug, of course!

#199 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:12 PM:

"bryan, #192: They are not in gibberish but in rot13, so that those who play can avoid being spoiled by answers they'd have liked to figure out on their own."

boorish Dane's eclectic sense of humor chronically misunderstood by normal humans.

#200 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:14 PM:

178 Lance: No, no, the repulsive hero he's describing is a genius. (At least, my take on 165 was raqref tnzr.)

171: Where do I send the bill for a new keyboard?

How about:

Washed up old man is picked up and rejuvenated by space travelers, and taken on a journey to encounter an alien species. Evil nazi-esque villains take over his expedition, but he joins forces with a rich young relative to overthrow the evil regime and save the alien species.

#201 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:14 PM:

oops, Xopher guessed it while I was posting.

#202 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:14 PM:

Carrie 194: He knows, he's being cute.

Katherine 193: Want a hint? And yours is (among many others) Gur Gehzna Fubj.

Lance 195: No, that's not it.

#203 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Yes, finally! Will someone please let me in on the secret to all this Lovecraftian gibberish that some have been speaking here?

#204 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Terry @187: Yes, although Xopher got it earlier.

Andhria @189: N Jevaxyr va Gvzr

Carrie @191: Tbyqvybpxf naq gur Guerr Ornef

#205 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:17 PM:

Carrie S. (191):
"Young girl breaks into and vandalizes the home of non-human sentients"
Tbyqvybpxf naq gur Guerr Ornef

Katherine Mankiller (177):
A girl lands on an alien world, kills the evil overlord, and is sent on another assassination mission.
Gur Jvmneq bs Bm

#206 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:17 PM:

Meta: I think we're narrowing in on the "there are only N plots in all literature" theorem.

bryan @ 184, no fair - Lance already answered "The Chronicles of G.W. Bush" @ 178. (Your #4 is Gur Puelfnyvqf.)

#207 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:19 PM:

John L: The truth is, after reading certain books Men Weren't Meant To Read, we have been reduced to shrill, unreasoning madness.

#208 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Bryan (#184) Ohfu Svyf

sherrold: Nope, you were the first. I agree about when one reads Zeleazny. I've still not attempted Creatures of Light and Darkness again.

#209 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Andhria @ 189: Oooh! N Jevaxyr Va Gvzr

Clifton @ 190: Gur Jryy Jbeyq frevrf ol Wnpx Punyxre.

Nancy @ 197 -- I'd forgotten about them! Yes, that fits too.

#210 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:21 PM:

bryan @ 199: Ooh, I know that one, that's Hamlet! (heh.)

#211 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:22 PM:

And no, it isn't Jngrefuvc Qbja, though the one I'm thinking of does have some aba-uhzna punenpgref.

Erqjnyy et al?

#212 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Jon L: Gur rkcynangvba vf fvzcyr, ohg lbh cebonoyl qba'g ernyyl jnag gb xabj, orpnhfr lbh jvyy gura crre oruvq qbbef lbh fubhyq abg unir bcrarq naq xabj guvat Zra Jrer Abg Zrnag Gb Xabj, juvpu jvyy Ebg Lbhe Oenva.

It's ROT-13.

#213 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Clifton at #206, that may be what he answered, but I don't think that was the actual answer.

#214 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:27 PM:

Clifton at #210: Yes.

#215 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:27 PM:

John L: If you want to super-encrypt your message use Double ROT-13.

#216 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:31 PM:

uneducated lower income social units practice various socially unacceptable behaviors for the entertainment of society at large, which enjoys condemning the acts it secretly is titillated by.

#217 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Nobody figurd out #172? Maybe it was too easy. How about this one?

"Journalist saves the world repeatedly, and eventually gets the girl."

#218 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Serge: Fhcrezna

#219 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:34 PM:

bryan @216 -- Y'vy Enfpnyf?

#220 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Terry Karney at #204 did pretty much get my #184 though.

#221 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:37 PM:

Serge at 218:
Fhcrezna V naq VV

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:39 PM:

Terry Karney @ 218... Yes. What about #172?

#223 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Serge @217,172: I thought everyone else would jump on that one! Zbegr Q'Neguhe

#224 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:40 PM:

man-made object with reasoning capabilities behaves in a manner damaging to its creator.

#225 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Bryan @224: Eve. But I thought Adam and Eve were done already?

#226 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Serge @ 217: I believe I saw someone answer Gur Evat Plpyr above. Is that not it?

#227 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Carrie 211: Nope. More plot: Finally, the community is rescued by a coalition of merchants who declare it (and themselves) independent of both sides.

#228 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:47 PM:

clues in intellectually diverting game approach high level of abstraction leading to insolubility and madness.

evil superhuman intelligence inhabiting world-wide electronic communications network aids the mental disintegration of those playing while in fact pretending to be another of the players.

Makes essentially the same pun twice.

(apologizes insincerely itself by saying: "Sorry, couldn't resist")

#229 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Ginger @ 226... Nope. Lance Weber @ 223 had it right, provided that Boorman stuck that close to it.

#230 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:48 PM:

hmm, I wonder what a book written in essentially this style would be like.

#231 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Two non-human sentients battle for the allegiance of two children, temporarily parentless. Inclement weather plays a crucial role.

#232 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:50 PM:

bryan: Pbyybffhf, gur Sbeova Cebwrpg, be, creuncf, ZZV, N Fcnpr Bqlffrl

#233 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Xopher @ #202 - That works, but it's not the one I had in mind.

John Houghton @ #205 - Yep. :)

#234 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:51 PM:

bryan 230: short.

#235 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:51 PM:

bryan: Pbyybffhf, gur Sbeova Cebwrpg, be, creuncf, ZZV, N Fcnpr Bqlffrl

#236 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:55 PM:

P.S. Xopher, please give me a hint.

#237 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Katherine 233: That's why I said "among many others." Too many books fit that description. There's even a Star Trek ep that could be described that way (actually I can think of three). Also, the reprehensible Cvref Nagubal's reprehensible-even-for-him Enpr Ntnvafg Gvzr starts that way. Can you difference it a little more without giving it away entirely?

#238 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:59 PM:

Katherine 236: There's a hint at 227. Here's another: vg jba n Uhtb.

#239 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 02:59 PM:

Xopher, I still haven't figured out 122. Is it one of the Wbua Pnegre ba Znef books?

Another one: It rains a lot. Things get weird.

#240 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Ginger: No, it isn't. Does 227 or 238 help?

#241 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Xopher @ #237 - Hint: Our hero also learns that he's the messiah.

#242 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:02 PM:

the one I'm thinking of does have some aba-uhzna punenpgref

Until then it sounded a bit like Casablanca, although I couldn't remember an amnesiac hero* in it. But Aba-Uhnza Punenpgref sounds like she should be a half-Indian, half-German villainess** from a 1900-ish British Empire adventure novel.

* One who was trying to forget, yes.
** Or maybe she'll turn good when she meets our rugged, manly hero.

#243 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Vg unf gur fnzr nhgube nf guvf bar:

In order to save the world, a brilliant young woman must ally herself with the twin brother of the man imprisoned for the murder of her twin sister.

#244 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Xopher @ 240 -- sorry, no. I may not have read this one... ;-)

#245 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:06 PM:

Yeah, I'm thinking I haven't read that one, either.

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:11 PM:

My first one is kind of depressing, in fact it's a real downer. Below the surface, it's pretty stationary. I gave my love a...

#247 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:12 PM:

This is very bad. I am at work, I should be working.

Astronaut becomes super-intelligent god-like cyborg and saves the entire world while having virtual sex with computer-network reincarnation of his dead ex-lover... in a hurricane!

#248 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:12 PM:

"Young girl breaks into and vandalizes the home of non-human sentients"
actually the description suddenly made me think of Old People break into and vandalize the summer residence of non-human sentients.

#249 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:14 PM:

I read this as a kid, so I may only be remembering it as an obscure but awesome book, but:

King Arthur, Merlin, and Morgan le Fay are actually time travellers sent to Earth by rival orders of magicians whose home planet is oddly similar to Wales.

...Also, Morgan le Fay is Canadian. (I think.)

#250 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:15 PM:

bryan: Pbpbba

#251 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Bryan @ #248 Tbyqvybpxf.

#252 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Oh gee, string of awful puns there, Xopher, but I finally got it. Qbjaorybj Fgngvba, and of course that makes your 243 Plgrra.

#253 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:21 PM:

After rotting #252--yeah, I never would have gotten that one.

A man learns his entire life is a lie, and he's the messiah?

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:22 PM:

Clifton @ 247... The first Star Trek movie?

#255 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Xopher @ 246 -- Oh, I was starting to think it could be ..I think Clifton's beat me to it.

#256 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Luthe@168,

Cynical foul-mouthed journalist in the near-future takes on evil politician and wins.

Genafzrgebcbyvgna, naturally. Why no mention of the objry qvfehcgbef?!

Also, #247 made me inwardly sigh, "How many times have I read that one..." but I can't think of any examples, drat.

#257 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Teresa writes: "This can’t be good for one’s soul."

No. No, it isn't good at all. I wonder how long it will be— this time— before I can rouse myself back to setting words down in order again.

Some texts, like this one, are like Uncle Abdul's ancient brain fuzzer, The Necronomicon, and simply shouldn't be allowed near the eyeballs of marginally sane people— lest their carefully balanced personalities tip over, reducing them to howling, maddened primates, stripped of civilizing influences and left to run wild into a future without meaning.

Imagine an endless slushpile, expanding in every possible dimension, at exponentially increasing rates, comprising nothing intelligent— or intelligible— forever. Its singular author, brainless, blind and dumb, surrounded by machinery dedicated to keeping it alive and continuing to write an infinite stream of undead consciousness. Until the stars go dark, and the momentum of the universe resolves to a constant field everywhere.

Yeah. I want to be a part of that. Where do I sign up?

#258 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Astronaut becomes super-intelligent god-like cyborg and saves the entire world while having virtual sex with computer-network reincarnation of his dead ex-lover

Fgne Gerx: gur Zbgvbayrff Cvpgher

#259 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Katherine #251: Actually you answered an earlier one from Xopher which I just quoted.

#260 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:30 PM:

Onomatopoeia suggests wild and non-mainstream sex acts with bevy of females whose names rhyme with their primary characteristics.

#261 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:31 PM:

nuclear powered domestic pet ponders the reasons for its obsession with opposing species.

#262 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Supernatural being constantly demands complete allegiance under threat of destroying man, his progeny, and in some instances all of humanity.

#263 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:38 PM:

More hints. Not only does he learn his life is a lie and that he's the messiah, he also falls in love with a beautiful colleague and does battle with an evil computer.

#264 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:38 PM:

#262: Gur Ovoyr.

#265 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:39 PM:

Bryan: Gur Byq Grfgnzrag, rfc. gur Cragngrhpu

#266 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:40 PM:

bryan #174:

Gur Guveq Cbyvprzna!

One of my recently discovered new favorites.

#267 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:42 PM:

This is bad... it is bad for one's soul.

I am starting to read ROT-13 as clear text.

#268 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:44 PM:

all right so far. I am too easy.

#269 ::: Fitzroy ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:45 PM:

bryan 262: gur ovoyr

Katherine 263: zngevk

But what I really want to know is the onomatopoeia in 260...

#270 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:46 PM:

For my 247: All the guesses of Fgne Gerx V are wildly off. (Well, they might also be dead right; I saw it so long ago I don't remember a damn thing about it.) Hint, consider the last clause. (Ginger's 239, which I still didn't get, kinda works for this one too.)

263: Doh! Gur Zngevk zbivrf.

#271 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Fitzroy @ #269 - Yes! :)

#272 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:47 PM:

An invisible man commits a murder, but his escape is foiled by the uncanny perceptive abilities of the most unlikely hero.

#273 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Oh, Katherine, Gur Zngevk! Sorry for being so stupid.

#274 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Terry @ 267: It could be worse than that - I'm starting to write ROT-13 as plain text.

#275 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:51 PM:

This is a test. I'm putting something (using the Firefix extention L337key) into a deeper encoding.

=czazcDIxNTNlNTa
zUGIhNTd3ASchRDIsUGawM3NrFTNtMTN0gDIwcDIzETL3kCKFBSYzU3NgwyNzMTWgAzNgEWM3QTW.

I don't know how easy it would be to decode, though with the clue that all was done with leetkey, it might be adduceable.

#276 ::: Katherine Mankiller ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:52 PM:

Xopher @ #273 - Lbh'er abg fghcvq. Gubfr zbivrf ner zber fglyr guna cybg, juvpu znxrf gurz uneq. V pbhyq fnl "erq cvyy" be "gur bar" naq lbh'q trg vg evtug njnl.

#277 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:53 PM:

Fitzroy: ghggv sehggv

I moved somewhat beyond the literary theme.

#278 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Serge @ 217: Fhcrezna

#279 ::: Fitzroy ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:57 PM:

bryan 277: Oooh - sounds way better with your description! :-)

#280 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 03:58 PM:

However I suppose the suggestion the onomatopoeic effects raised were mainly the minds of the extremely puritannical during the time of the work's initial release, note also am thinking of the Yvggyr Evpuneq version.

#281 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:00 PM:

#277: Damn it! I was yvfgravat gb gung ba zl vCbq rneyvre guvf zbeavat, and still didn't get it.

#282 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:00 PM:

Clifton @ 270: Ginger's 239, which I still didn't get..

There's no hurricane, but it rains a lot. Lots and lots of rain. Dare I say, "on purpose"? Or will that make it worse?

Of course, there's the one where it rains a lot and there's a hurricane, or two, or a few dozen. Completely different book.

#283 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Serge @172 - it's Gur Znggre bs Oevgnva in a nutshell and goes by many titles, one of my favorite being Gur Bapr naq Shgher Xvat

#284 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Ginger: Come to think of it for your first description, even as expanded, two previous answers work nicely. Gur Byq Grfgnzrag (Abnu) works pretty well, and so does Tvytnzrfu.

#285 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:08 PM:

And no one has yet mentioned the Venom C*ck.

I'm impressed.

#286 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Dense but amiable hero goes on cross-time spree of rape, murder, terrorism, and brainwashing, guided by his evil genius lover.

#287 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:16 PM:

A young bisexual man moves to a new city, where he's immersed in a cesspool of drugs, sex, deceit and murder.

#288 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:17 PM:

Actually, my #286 is no good because it's too accurate a description of the book.

#289 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:18 PM:

287: Qunytera?

#290 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:21 PM:

289: Zna, gung fgbel arire jrag naljurer.

#291 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:22 PM:

The right-hand man to the boss of a huge operation tries to organize a takeover, is terminated with prejudice, and decides he'd rather be boss of his own competing operation anyway.

#292 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Mary Dell, #23: Aha, another Elfquest fan!

Zander, #37: The fact that you can conceive of someone doing that to something you've written is actually a fairly strong indicator that it wouldn't happen. If you wrote something that bad, you'd be able to recognize its suckiness and not submit it. One of the common themes in these trainwrecks is that the author cannot imagine how anyone could be less than blown away by his or her Deathless Prose. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect again -- the incompetent can't recognize their own incompetence.

Ginger, #43: By the Sword. Good one!

Nick, #55: That sounds like The Madness Season by C.S. Friedman. And I second the recommendation; it's an excellent example of how potentially-lethal cliches can be made to work well by a competent author. Not to mention having, IMO, the best closing line ever written anywhere... but you have to have read the whole book to understand why it's so perfect.

Andrhia, #59: Oh, that's too easy. Her stuff does all tend to read like fanfic, doesn't it? But she's a helluva storyteller; the books may be fluff, but they still keep me turning pages.

Carrie S., #87: Outstanding!

Remus, #98: Self-publishing has a legitimate place. If you have a small but guaranteed audience for a specialty item, it's a good way to go. Examples: family genealogies, monographs on a subject of interest primarily to a dedicated group (such as Holmesian studies), "Best of [online community]" collections. We've been encouraging Abi to publish a collection of her poetry via Lulu. (hint, hint!) What self-publishing is not good for is making an end-run around rejections from legitimate publishers for something that's intended to be mass-market. And note that there's a difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing; Lulu can be legit, while PA cannot.

Ginger, #116: Conan! That's pretty much the plot of every one of the books, isn't it? And at #123... Erqjnyy?

Serge, #129 and Dave, #140: You're veering out of the territory.

Xopher, #152: Fgne Jnef? Uneel Cbggre was my immediate thought.

Sherrold, #165: Raqre'f Tnzr, surely.

Serge, #172: I love the sneaky pun in the first sentence!

Bryan, #179: Fhcrezna!

Okay, I've got one for you:

"Beautiful, brilliant prodigy (a law student at 15!) discovers that she has telepathic powers. She is kidnapped by ailurin aliens who are out to conquer human civilization, fights a duel to the death with one of them, and exiles them to the far reaches of the galaxy with the help of an underground resistance movement."


#293 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:23 PM:

Clifton: Yep.

#294 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Luthe (168): Bss Nezntrqqba Errs

#295 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Clifton 286: Gubznf Pbiranag? V tnir hc nsgre gur encr va gur svefg obbx, fb V qba'g xabj.

#296 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:33 PM:

291: Zvygba'f Cnenqvfr Ybfg

#297 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Xopher: me too, so that's not the one.

Hint #1: Same author as my 247, which was my motive for posting it - it might help someone get that, as with your one that stumped us all so long.

Hint #2: V'ir enagrq ba guernqf va gur cnfg nobhg ubj zhpu V qvfyvxrq guvf cnegvphyne obbx naq jvfurq V pbhyq ha-ernq vg.

#298 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Clifton 296: Right again. Damn you're good. Or I'm bad. Or both.

How about this: A young man has an awakening, and struggles to find his identity in a rapidly-changing world. Finally he concludes that the world is what he makes it.

#299 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Lee @ 292
116 = yes
123 = no. I was going to say it's not part of a series, but there's a sequel. Or continuation, at least.

;-)

Clifton @ 284: true, there's rain in those, but they have more plot. In this one, it's basically lots of rain and things getting weird. It was a stand-alone book by an author not known for his ability to write stand-alones (at least not since the 1980s).

#300 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Lee (292): That's Grymrl Nzoreqba

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Lee @ 292... Serge, #129 and Dave, #140: You're veering out of the territory...

...into the Undiscovered Country?

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Xopher @ 298... Would that be The Lathe of Heaven ?

#303 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:43 PM:

unpublished writer claims to have won prestigious prizes that do not exist, gets teaching job based on non-existent achievements, gives spurious advice on various issues that would be extremely bad if put into actual practice. Is mocked as a consequence.

#304 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:44 PM:

#298, Gur Yngur bs Urnira? Too metaphorical?

#305 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Oo, cool, no, not Gur Yngur bs Urnira, though it could have been. Differencing: In mine, the psychiatrist character is a pathetic ally, rather than a grandiose villain.

#306 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:51 PM:

Thoughts on the first hundred posts,

#14 T.W: Mua ha ha ha hah!

#16 Teresa: Yes! UST! I don't quite have the proper lingo.

#23 Mary Dell: Nice, that does sound really terrible.

I think the key to making a book sound like crap is to make the protagonist sound totally SUPER AWESOME, with only the cliche bits of dark past if there's anything at all potentially wrong with them, as if you've never heard of shaded characterization... And if there are elves, dragons, telepathic animals, or other possible markers of silliness, mention these prominently. It's also pretty easy to make anything romantic sound ridiculous. Oh, and leave out mention of the actual plot unless you can make it sound as cliche as possible. All cliches all the time!

#62 Johan Larson: Hah! I certainly have "They Fight Crime!" running through my head.

#84 Onion: Good point... Seems like anime has a lot less shame about characters who are flat-out good at everything.

#99 Kellie Hazell: I agree, "during a hurricane" is the awesomest bit of that blurb! So tacked-on! So random!

#307 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Xopher : V qba'g xabj gung V'q pnyy Pbejva n "lbhat" zna. Puebavpyrf bs Nzore

#308 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:54 PM:

Andrhia, #189: N Jevaxyr va Gvzr.

Serge, #217: I got it, but I figured everyone else would too, so I wasn't explicit. It's gur Neguhevna plpyr, of course.

Xopher, #291: Cnenqvfr Ybfg.

#309 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Here you all go...

Genius rock-star scientist and martial arts expert saves the world from destruction by inter-dimensional aliens and rescues the kidnapped clone of his dead wife in the process.

Too easy, I'm sure.

#310 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:56 PM:

bryan, I'm still confused by 184: Is it actually gur erprag uvfgbel bs gur HFN, nf V jnf uvagvat jvgu zl wbxr nobhg Ynapr thrffvat vg orsber lbh cbfgrq? Or am I way off base?

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:57 PM:

Madeline (306):I think the key to making a book sound like crap is to make the protagonist sound totally SUPER AWESOME,

You mean like this?:

Red-haired, purple-eyed, magically-talented girl becomes great warrior, saves kingdom.

#312 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:57 PM:

Oo, except I missed #87 Carrie S., which was brilliant. Made-up languages FTW!

And #91 Terry Karney! (Maybe I should have some lunch before tackling the thread again.) But did you mention that this student was a master of every subject!! And in trouble with the stodgy administration!! And attacked by a kangaroo!! And the book is full of dramatic edge of the seat cliffhangers so you can't stop turning pages!! And he's fighting an evil telepathic cat!!

That's seriously one of my favorite books ever.

#313 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Terry: Gung'f orpnhfr gung vfa'g gur evtug nafjre. Guvf zna vf npghnyyl lbhat.

#314 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:58 PM:

69 and 292;

Bingo. The Madness Season I can't seem to lay hands on my copy now, but I remember enjoying it enough to read it through several times as an undergrad. Come to think of it, almost all of C.S. Friedman's books would probably lend themselves to horrible blurbing.

Main character is a tormented, handsome undead murderer...

etc.

#315 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:58 PM:

j h @ 309: how about Ohpxnebb Onamnv?

#316 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:59 PM:

#283: Puevfgbcure Vfurejbbq'f "V Nz N Pnzren"? Or is it "Qunytera"?

#317 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 04:59 PM:

309: Ohpxnebb Onamnv

#318 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:00 PM:

309: Ohpxnebb Onamnv

#319 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:03 PM:

It also helps to write them with a spurious focus on some subplot or secondary character. Thus #309 could equally be "Brilliant neurosurgeon with fixation on a race car driving musician helps him save Earth from eradication in a war between two races of extradimensional aliens."

#320 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:03 PM:

"It's the Dunning-Kruger effect again -- the incompetent can't recognize their own incompetence."

Sadly, the capacity for self-awareness of one's own incompetence isn't a particularly good indicator of its absence. It's entirely possible that the subject of our scorn in the original post is fully aware of his/her own abject failure as a writer, and yet still gets a kind of psychological fulfillment from paying good money to a vanity publisher anyway.

#321 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Mary Aileen, #300: Yes, but I was thinking of a specific book in that series.

Here's another one:

"Tomboy princess runs away from home to become a space pilot. Later, she teams up with a Man of Mystery, a magic-user, and two would-be lovers to unmask the treachery behind her mother's murder."

#322 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:06 PM:

Clifton, yeah, it was a sort of meta joke.

The overall was: Ernyvgl

the first was Ohfu (or any number of humourous books on extremely unlikely political events)

the second was Purarl be Uhyx

the third was Xnafnf be Puvyqera bs gur Qnzarq

the last one was what it said it was. Basically a meta joke because Rod Zombie would be a bad name for a porn star in this universe, therefore it indicates the overall answer of Ernyvgl.

However this is probably so esoteric that it would only be guessable by me and thus useless.

#323 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Teenage ophan becomes accomplice to mysteriously charismatic terrorist in dystopian Britain. Is it love or Stockholm syndrome?

#324 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:11 PM:

323: I sbe Iraqrggn

#325 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:15 PM:

Xopher: I thought that might be the case. I am amused at the way more than one good book can fit some of these descriptions.

Madeline F: I should have included some of that (for the, "you must be kidding") but didn't want to make it too obvious.

#326 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:18 PM:

Ginger: of course. I'm a fan of the book more than the movie, but I suppose I've broken the rules of our parlor game— we're supposed to be making "great books" sound like trashy slash fanfic, and here I chose one that was already pretty trashy to begin with. Plus: all I did was summarize the plot pretty fairly, if you ask me.

...maybe if I read more classics and less trash, I'd be better at this game.

#327 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:29 PM:

j h @326; Don't be so hard on yourself! I think the whole point is that anything can be made to sound worse than it is, or better than it is. In your case, you took something that has always confused me and made it rather sensible. I almost want to go back and read/watch it again. ;-)

My entry at 123 is still confusing people, and that certainly wasn't a classic. ;-) Perhaps that's why no one has figured it out.

#328 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:34 PM:

jhw: There was a book? Color me ignorant.

#329 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Clifton: Yes, the film was novelized right about the same time as its release. I have to guess that it was written before or during production. It's got a slightly different plot, and it explains some of the mysteries in the film while opening a few others.

Ginger: my snarky answer to #123 is Cnhy Ireubrira'f version of Fgnefuvc Gebbcref, but I very much doubt you were thinking of that.

#330 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:50 PM:

j h @ 329: Good guess, but you're right: that's not what I'm thinking of.

I'll ROT-13 it here: Engf Ongf naq Ingf, naq Engf, Ongf naq gur Htyl, by Qnir Serre.

#331 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 05:53 PM:

I never would have guessed that.

#332 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:02 PM:

The crippled right-hand man of a thuggish politician, after years of loyal (and brutal) service, discovers that his long-lost son is the leading figure in a rival party. Torn by doubts, he seeks to recruit his son, fails, and experiences a deathbed epiphany.

#333 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Well now.

Alien child, warrior, prophet... EMPEROR!

#335 ::: Roger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:13 PM:

> We could probably have a great parlor game of making good books sound as fanficcy-terrible as possible.

A plucky young stowaway and a stoic yet compassionate spaceship pilot form a bond during their short flight that lasts the rest of their lives.

#336 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:13 PM:

ctate @#333:

Alien child, warrior, prophet... EMPEROR!

"The Audacity of Hope?"

(j/k)

You'll have to narrow it down a bit...are there worms?

#337 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Mary Dell @ 336:
Hard to squeeze that in without being entirely blatant about it. Hrm.

"A precocious alien child-warrior rises as a desert tribe's prophet, then holds the galaxy hostage out of his love for them!"

#338 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:19 PM:

#335: While it's probably not what you had in mind, I like 'Gur Pbyq Rdhngvbaf' as an interpretation of that description.

#339 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Roger @ 335:

That's Gur Pbyq Rdhngvbaf ol Gbz Tbqjva and oh my ghu that's brilliant.

#340 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Dave @ 332: My guess is Fgne Jnef, Rzcver Fgevxrf Onpx naq Erghea bs gur Wrqv.

#341 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:26 PM:

A humble yet charismatic genius physicist finds a radical theory that may transform interplanetary society, and must resist both the decadent luxury of high society and the lure of a revolutionary underground before aliens help him return to his impoverished home.

#342 ::: c cobb ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Glad I don't have a job that means I have to read the book.

But I did have to read a screenplay that sounds very similar. Several times. From different writers.

And I'm sure there might be another one in my current pile o' scripts to read.

#343 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Is there somewhere an extended treatment of when this level of shredding is ethical? (or rather, "could someone please point me at ...", since I assume that this is well-trod ground)

Yes, the prose mentioned is awful - amazingly, mind-numbingly awful. However, there's something about the treatment of it which feels unseemly. It reminds me of people discussing an interview of a candidate that was unbelievably unqualified for some job. At some point, it's just kicking a corpse.

That being said, I recognize that there is a difference between, say, doing this to some teenager's first fanfic posted only on their own myspace page, and doing this with the published (albeit self-published) work of some adult above the age of majority. There's also a point to be made that there is some public service component to pointing out to new writers examples of bad writing and saying "don't do this".

Anyway, this is why I'm wondering if someone else has worked through the ethical calculus of the public shredding of bad prose, because I'm having trouble even figuring out what all the relevant variables are.

#344 ::: Zeke ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:33 PM:

He's a nebbishy naval architect from Earth, who's secretly moonlighting -- for God! She's a sexy superspy with a spaceship in her suitcase. Together, they're fighting crime, falling in love and racing across time and space to prevent an evil dictatorship's attack on the phone company from causing Armageddon!

#345 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:33 PM:

#125 John L: By Klono's Titanium Toothpicks!

#145 Katherine Mankiller: Abused orphan boy learns he really is special and important when he develops magic powers. Hah, now that one's brilliantly concise.

#156 Jon Meltzer: I'd been thinking of that since the hurricane came up, too!

#346 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:34 PM:

No one is getting my hurricane @ 247? I thought for sure that would be like hitting the broad side of a barn. What a mother.

#347 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:36 PM:

341: Gur Qvfcbffrffrq

#348 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:40 PM:

247,346: Qnl Zvyyvba?

#349 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Dragons couldn't defeat him - but forbidden love did!

#350 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:43 PM:

Dave @ 332: Sheer genius, sir. I gave up and had to peek at Ginger's answer.

344: Fvathynevgl Fxl, of course.

#351 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:44 PM:

Lee writes in #292:

It's the Dunning-Kruger effect again -- the incompetent can't recognize their own incompetence.

At some point, will people just say "DKE" as an insult?

#352 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:45 PM:

Clifton @ 346 -- oh, I missed that one earlier. That's a great take on Zbgure bs Fgbezf.

#353 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Jon: 341, you nailed (obviously). 247/346, nope.

#354 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:51 PM:

..and continuing on, that was the alternate answer to 239, but the real answer is Cvref Nagubal'f Evat bs Vpr.

#355 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Ginger: You got it.

#356 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Daniel @ 343: I think any of us would hesitate to shred a child's attempt; an adult is presumably able to defend him/herself. Personally I feel that someone who self-publishes this kind of fiction should get thoroughly discussed in public. If you're willing to put your handiwork out in public, you need to be able to defend it -- and if it isn't defensible, then you should learn from your mistakes.

Although LJ is a (semi) public zone, it isn't quite the same thing as a scathing review in the New York Times Book Review, or other critical site. I'm not sure there's anything unethical about criticizing Eternity of Blood, although it could definitely become mean if people start piling on. That's something each reader needs to decide for him/herself.

#357 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Xopher #291:

That sounds to me like a large segment of Obbxf Bar naq Gjb of Pnenqvfr Ybfg

#358 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Lee (321): Zntrjbeyqf

#359 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:28 PM:

This thread has melted my brain. I am not able to read rot13 as easily as some, but...wow.

Book we like/d as bad book: A kitchen servant who's actually a lady in semi-exile is whisked away from her old life, then has a telepathic bond with the biggest and bestest dragon of them all. She is eventually able to do things no one else has ever thought of doing (yet which show up in every single book, always marked, "By the way, don't tell anyone we're time-travelers,"), bucks convention by flying her time-traveling dragon with a flamethrower, and saves the planet.

#360 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:30 PM:

Zeke 344: Fvathynevgl Fxl ol Puneyvr Fgebff

Let's see, the two most recent books I've read are...

Heroic psycho killer encounters inexplicable murders, mind parasites, a rogue cop with mechanical limbs, and a pair of mentally twisted children, while simultaneously trying to save the world from the vengeance of a mad god older than life on earth, and make it to his own wedding on time! In a hurricane! (Really.)

Princess abandoned to aliens by her father and turned into a super-human cyborg, battles her way across a four-dimensional planet, on the way to saving the galaxy from a prehistoric alien monster locked in a crystal prison! (No hurricane, but only because nobody would have noticed it among all the fireworks.)

#361 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Diatryma @359: Qentbaevqref bs Crea...

#362 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:42 PM:

The young botanist is invulnerable -- but not against true, all-time-spanning Love.

It seems that using the word "Love," with initial capital, is at least half cheating.

#363 ::: Zeke ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:44 PM:

Diatryma #359: Qentbaevqref bs Crea?

Ross #360: Yes indeed.

#364 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:52 PM:

Diatryma #359:

Pbafhzr zl urneg njnl, Crea va n tler, naq or gur qentbaevqre bs zl fbhy...

#365 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 07:58 PM:

Yes, it's Crea, but *which* Crea? I admit, this is kind of like using Lackey: you have a gorgeous companion animal which just happens to be telepathic. It's easy to make it look bad if you keep hitting the biggest and bestest dragon ever, the lady-who-hid-as-a-servant who now rides a time-traveling telepathic tragon, &c. Eventually we get into the smallest and bestest dragon, the girl who nobody understands and everybody hates except the preestablished telepathic dragon people-- and she also has the bestest flock of minidragons-- more girls doing boy things and showing off how enlightened the world is... then the dolphins show up.

Fanfic often takes shortcuts to get to the writer's buttons. McCaffrey and Lackey were perfect for me years ago, and a lot of what I wrote then was basically taking the big satisfying parts-- Showing Them All, usually-- and putting them in new settings. Even now, I felt cheated when I read a book and realized that there was no possibility of ever Showing Them All, because All of Them were dead. It isn't surprising that the over-the-topness shows up in the books the fanficcers read, but there's a lot of good making the rest of it good instead of ridiculous, even if some of the good only lasts until the reader gets older.

#366 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:08 PM:

It is interesting to read the balancing act of not providing so much that it becomes a dead obvious give away or being so vague it could be anything. Extra tricky if you are working with the pieces that established the now common tropes in the first place.

King in attempt to cheat fate and defy prophecy sets in motion events that make certain the outcome he is trying to avoid will happen; screwing up his life, his family and nation. Many die in horribly tragic fashion or are left in a state of wishing they did.

#367 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:16 PM:

the alien qentba on the planet crea
are gentle creatures and when any speak
their messages have much that people seek
but not a one knows just what they might see
with those strange eyes from which the cowards flee
these are not creatures friendly to the meek
but are companions to the horrid freak
and issue flame so far above the sea
there are so many ways to twist a thread
and let a new growth rise up from the spore
while others know how much they have to yearn
the qentba of crea let none ride with dread
but only those who will find out the score

and none but mages ever hope to burn

#368 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:22 PM:

T.W. Brqvchf Erk, Yrne be, be, be, be

#369 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:31 PM:

A long time ago...
... in a galaxy far, far away...
...the eeeeevil overlord Xenu ---

Shit.

Plot taken.

#370 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:34 PM:

Mary Aileen, #358: Bingo! We obviously share similar tastes in reading matter. :-)
(The specific book I was thinking of in my first attempt is Gur Yvba Tnzr.)

Diatryma, #359: Qentbasyvtug

Let's try one a bit more obscure:

"A young girl is targeted for assassination because of her special potential. She flees across the galaxy, and with the aid of a ring of hackers and an autistic genius -- and her own inner resources -- defeats a highly-placed traitor and finds a safe refuge."

#371 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 08:49 PM:

I think I might actually know some of the clues that haven't been guessed yet. 362 is Xntr Onxre'f Va Gur Tneqra bs Vqra naq frdhryf. No one's guessed 231 either. Could it be Frnjneq, ol Fhfna Pbbcre?

#372 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:07 PM:

247 Clifton: Zbgure bs Fgbezf (I had this before the hints.)

#373 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:07 PM:

Diatryma @ 365: It's been a long time, but I finally remembered -- it's Qentbasyvtug.

Lee @ 370: Is this Gur Pvgl Jub Sbhtug be Gur Fuvc Niratrq?

#374 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:09 PM:

May have already have been done, but I didn't see them:

This non-human mafia businessman and his reptile sidekick are hired to assassinate one of his boss's party guests to prevent a war.

After being sentenced to death, this backwater tour guide falls in love with a religious figure for whom he must fight a demon. She is killed but later gives birth to their baby from beyond the grave anyway.

Not main characters, but still a fun to try to come up with blurbs:

A flying gay assassin in love with an elf kills his brothers and then uses his magic powers to sing and dance to alleviate his guilt.

A Catholic priest whose split personality is the Pope fights against the church before the cybernetic vampires win by making all Catholics immortal.

#375 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:10 PM:

Accidentally time-travelling single mother learns how to put her modern life together after a year in the Roman Empire. Survives a plague, invents apple pie. . . inspires "Life on Mars"?

#376 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:11 PM:

Ginger @ 373: It definitely isn't Gur Pvgl Jub Sbhtug.

#377 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:12 PM:

Terry @ 368: What you said. ;-)

#378 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:16 PM:

Spherical Time @ 376: It seems so familiar, and I just can't put it together. ;-)

#379 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:19 PM:

Ginger @ 378: It does sound like Naar ZpPnsserl. Perhaps Qnzvn or Ebjna or something in that series.

#380 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:22 PM:

T.W. @ 366: N Fbat bs Vpr naq Sver?

#381 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Lucy S @ 375

I think I looked at that one a couple of years ago in a bookstore, probably on the sale table, if it's the one where she spilled wine on a votive tablet .... It looked mildly interesting, but didn't light up my life enough that I can remember the title.

#382 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:24 PM:

How about (with a perspective shift):

Shape-shifting spy teams up with religious fanatic aliens to fight off machine-dominated evil empire, narrowly escapes evil empire's destruction of an artificial world, and finally tries to capture one of the evil machine intelligences on a world under the protection of godlike aliens.

#383 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:29 PM:

Lucy S #375: Ubhfrubyq Tbqf? But I'm not sure I got that Life on Mars bit.

#384 ::: Zeke ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:31 PM:

382: Pbafvqre Cuyronf

#385 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:33 PM:

The last survivor of a dead planet enslaves an alien child, but lets him go in exchange for a cat.

In a techno-paradise full of SEX SEX SEX! and clones, a woman is pursued by a madman she met on a foreign holiday. She takes drugs. He likes whipping himself. It ends badly.

Granted mythic powers, a college student encounters demons galore, reptile-men, a wolf, a gorilla, snakes that talk in rhyme, religious fundamentalists and nanotechnological goo. (Naq gung'f whfg va gur svefg gjb ibyhzrf, fvapr V unira'g ernq nal shegure.)

#386 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:34 PM:

A brilliant young woman from the future convinces poorly-educated medieval villagers that she's a saint and accidentally tempts a faithful priest.

A wizard-king punishes two brothers for raping a girl by turning them into animals and making them mate with each other.

One man's a shabby lower-class policeman who refuses to take bribes. The other's a handsome mercenary lieutenant who got his rank by sleeping with his commanding officer. They have sex and fight crime.

#387 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:41 PM:

Zeke #384: Yep. Wow, that was quick!

#388 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:43 PM:

Nudist, earth-worshipping artist's model lives in a castle with her husband and beautiful stepdaughters.

#389 ::: Zeke ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 09:51 PM:

Albatross, I had a head start since V'z pheeragyl jnvgvat sbe Nznmba gb qryvire zl pbcl bs Znggre!

#390 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:02 PM:

In the great tradition of Star Trek's "The Omega Glory"! Due to the convergence of parallel history, a future Moon civilization declares independence from Earth on the Fourth of July, with a document beginning, "In Congress Assembled, July Fourth, Twenty-Seventy-Six..."

-----

... Wrenching free of Berquist's grip, Jill ducked around him and started towards Valentine. But Johnson's arm swung out viciously, and Jill reeled across the room under the force of the blow. She gasped in pain as the sharp edge of a desktop dug into her hip bone ... then crumpled on the floor into what seemed a pool of blackness.

It must have been just a few seconds until consciousness was drummed back into her head by the staccato sounds of a man's voice.

"All right! What did you do with Johnson?!!"

Jill opened her eyes to see Berquist approaching Valentine with a gun clenched in his fist. Valentine was standing silent and expressionless, seemingly careless of the danger of the situation.

Then Berquist shoved the muzzle of the gun against Valentine's chest and snarled, "You've three seconds, Martian. Talk or --"

Suddenly, Valentine raised his hand... and the last thing Jill remembered was screaming as she saw Berquist disappear into thin air!

In [redacted] Robert Heinlein tells the fabulously exciting story of Ben, Jill, and Valentine Michael Smith -- the sexiest, steak-eatingest, reddest blooded Martian ever. It's three against the universe in a sizzling, suspenseful chase across the American continent.

[Okay, I cheated. That's actually copied from the October-November 1961 SFBC flier.]

#391 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:11 PM:

386a is Qbzrfqnl Obbx, don't know the other two.

Hmm ... Handsome gambler who also happens to be a crack shot and a skillful carpet merchant teams up with a high-level troubleshooter for a crime organization (also handsome and a crack shot) to bring good government to a planet in chaos. But it's all so he can get revenge on the people who wiped out his family!

#392 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:19 PM:

Diatryma 365: I'll guess Jrue Frnepu, bar bs gur purrfvrfg cvrprf bs genfu rire gb jva n Uhtb. But if all Crea is like that, I'm glad I never read any more.

Rymenhild, the last two of those sound like I might like to read them.

#393 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:20 PM:

Wait, nobody's gotten Debbie's at 231?

Or did I race through this festival of wackiness trying not to start dinner too late and overlook it?

Gur Png va gur Ung

#394 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Mine at 298 was Qnex Pvgl.

#395 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:34 PM:

Debbie @ 231: I was thinking maybe N Sver Hcba Gur Qrrc (abg fher nobhg gur vapyrzrag jrngure ovg, hayrff vg'f n zrgncube sbe jung unccraf gb gur Mbarf).

Joel @ 390: We surrender. You and the SFBC win.

#396 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:35 PM:

I don't think anyone got 181 either:
Engineered world in which magic coexists with technology; our heroes fight their way to the center where the god-like controller grants them their dreams. May or may not occur during a hurricane.

Oh, and in some parts, they fight crime!

#397 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:36 PM:

Ginger @ 181/396: Zvqavtug ng gur Jryy bs Fbhyf?

#398 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:37 PM:

Ginger @ 396... Nobody got that one?

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:45 PM:

By the end of the story, the main character finds that the god-like being was nothing but a scary-looking puppet.

#400 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Just typing this up as I go along, before I see any other answers...

Bruce@27: Guvf Vzzbegny, one of my favourites in highschool.

Chris@48: Zvyrf Ibexbfvtna and Ryevp bs Zryavobar?

Roger@335: Gur Pbyq Rdhngvbaf?

Zeke@344: Fvathynevgl Fxl?

How about... An ancient monk with awesome powers of logic and deduction, trained by the greatest masters and aided only by his bumbling apprentice, tracks down a serial killer and the ancient artifact he guards, while wheeling and dealing in international politics!

#401 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Zack's got 386a.

Ginger and Serge, is the engineered land notable for its, er, very dry hurricanes?

#402 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:06 PM:

#400: Oevqtr bs Oveqf, Oneel Uhtuneg (be gur frdhryf. V qba'g erzrzore juvpu obbx vf juvpu nal zber.)

This game is disturbingly addictive.

#403 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:09 PM:

Ginger @396: Jvmneq bs Bm. Gotta be.

#404 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:11 PM:

Ross @397: Yes!

Serge: Well, Ross just got it. I didn't see anyone else, but it was kinda crazy there for a few hours. And yes.

Rymenhild @401: I think so..it's been so long since I read those books, but that rings a bell. Serge, do you recall?

#405 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:14 PM:

Albatross @ 383, yes, you got it.

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:15 PM:

Rymenhild @ 401...I'm not absolutely sure, but I think Sebastian @ 403 is right. C'mon, Ginger...

#407 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:15 PM:

Sebastian @ 403: That's amazingly similar, yes; but not the book I was thinking of. Think of hexagrams.

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:17 PM:

Looks like I had come up with the wrong answer to Ginger's description. As for my own @ 399, it has at least 3 answers that I know of.

#409 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:18 PM:

Serge @ 406: I'm a little slow here..trying to type one-handed while lying down to keep the cough to a minimum. ;-)

#410 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:19 PM:

Alas, I had the same guess as Sebastian #403.

#411 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Oh, now I remember those "dry hurricanes". No. Alas.

Ross got it, just above.

#412 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:43 PM:

I'm not getting any of these recent postings. Maybe I'm tired, or maybe my brain has justly mutinied.

I don't think I've seen this much fun here since the House Full of Lords thread, or maybe the worst opening lines contest.

#413 ::: April Grant ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Oo! Oo! I like this game! Funnily enough, this book is a favorite of mine.

An overweight, middle-aged English teacher is hired by an eccentric and sinister billionaire for literary time-travel to meet a Romantic poet in the year 1810. He--the English teacher, not the billionaire or the poet--is pursued by evil assassins, evil magical clowns on stilts, evil Munchkins, and an evil body-swapping ancient Egyptian werewolf. He is aided by a spunky young woman in drag.

Our hero flees in terror, disguises himself as a beggar, shoots his own ear off, and at last has his body stolen by the evil ancient Egyptian werewolf, winding up in the hairy but basically handsome and studly body that the werewolf last occupied. He acquires a pair of balls and tries to take charge of the plot (about time, too), battling non-evil-but-misguided Gypsies and an evil ancient Egyptian sorcerer on pogo-stick shoes. (Er, the sorcerer was on the pogo-stick shoes, not the hero.) The clone of a different Romantic poet than the first one aids him in his efforts.

After numerous adventures during which he rides in an ice yacht, fences like D'Artagnan, and is shot full of holes, kidnapped, tortured and wounded, our hero succeeds in killing the evil ancient Egyptian sorcerer whose specific gravity is less than that of helium. Then he goes back to London and gets tortured a whole lot more. Then a giant snake decides not to eat him and eats the sorcerer with pogo-stick shoes instead. Our hero and the spunky young woman in drag eventually get their act together and get married. The End.

...There. That was fun.

#414 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:09 AM:

#413: Ahahaha. Gur Nahovf Tngrf, of course.

Hm, here's another one: Young, spunky sorceress must travel across a magic kingdom in search of her imprisoned father, aided by a magical being in the form of a cat, and hindered by an army of the dead.

#415 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Rymenhild@402: Astonishingly, that actually fits quite well without being at all what I had in mind.

#416 ::: April Grant ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:19 AM:

Zack @413: Right on. I know it was obvious what with all the details, but I was having too much fun.

And your own is another of my favorites of all time--The-ay Ook-bay About-ay The-ay Ab-ay-orsen-hay. (what can I say, rot13 just isn't my style.)

#417 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Ginger, #373: Sorry, neither. (Extra points for identifying that reference!)

Repeating with additional detail:

"A young girl is targeted for assassination because of her special potential. She flees across the galaxy, and with the aid of a ring of hackers and an autistic genius -- and her own inner resources -- defeats a lethal computer virus and a highly-placed traitor, and finds a safe refuge."

#418 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:49 AM:

181: I didn't notice it; good thing you pointed it out Ginger, because I was looking to write up Zvqavtug ng gur Jryy bs Fbhyf.

#419 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Lee @ 417: I know that one. Guvf Nyvra Fuber, right?

#420 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:03 AM:

Rymenhild @ #386: One man's a shabby lower-class policeman who refuses to take bribes. The other's a handsome mercenary lieutenant who got his rank by sleeping with his commanding officer. They have sex and fight crime.

Uh, actually, that sounds right up my alley. I hope you'll post what book that is, rot13ed, of course.

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Sometimes, upon waking up, a young woman finds herself in skimpy outfits and having just finished building a robot.

#422 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Spherical Time, #419: You got it. I was especially pleased with that "inner resources" bit. Next up:

"Bisexual, magically-talented hero defies convention to free his inner powers and restore his lover, an exiled prince, to his rightful throne!"

#423 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:39 AM:

#400: Gur Anzr bs gur Ebfr.

#424 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:58 AM:

Spherical Time @420: Zryvffn Fpbgg naq Yvfn Oneargg'f Cbvagfzna obbxf. Va gur svefg, Cbvag bs Ubcrf, gur znva punenpgref unir fhogyr naq ragveryl zvffnoyr haerfbyirq frkhny grafvba. Ol gur bcravat bs gur frpbaq obbx, Cbvag bs Qernzf, gurl'er cnegaref va gur ebznagvp frafr.

#425 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:58 AM:

Serge @ 421: Hmmm, I would have glossed it as: "Vivacious and zaftig bronze-haired mechanical genius - with a smart-alecky talking cat - discovers that she is really the secret heiress to an ancient dynasty, after falling in love with the usurper's son."

#426 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:10 AM:

Xopher @ 394: Mine at 298 was Qnex Pvgl.

Good one. I totally failed to get that.

"Brilliant, witty, and rogueish thief travels the breadth of the world repeatedly swindling and besting wizards, monsters, and demons, but ends up back where he started."

#427 ::: Greg Machlin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:18 AM:

Bryan@192:
A book is written that destroys the soul, in discussing it a group of writers are inexplicably drawn to playing strange games where questions as to the plots of literary works are answered in gibberish.

Um, not to be eerie, or anything, but this sounds astonishingly like the plot of Sbhpnhyg'f Craqhyhz. Seriously. Check out the synopsis on amazon.com. If the strange games involve feeding things into a giant, mysterious computer…

#428 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:37 AM:

What a ride! I hit at least 8 or 10 that I knew and was hours behind the people who figured them out. And there were a whole bunch I was completely stumped by. Some of these were really brilliant, especially "this is just to say" and the description of Singularity Sky. But the prize I think goes to Roger @ 335 for The Cold Equations.

Still a couple I haven't seen a guess for:

Clifton Royston @ 286: Xnyrvqbfpbcr Praghel
Rymenhild @ 386: is that last one Cbvag bs Yvtugf naq Cbvag bs Qernzf?

And here are two I thought would be really fun to do:

A derided and unorthodox university professor insists the end of civilization is near, and establishs a secret society to take over afterwards. He comes back at times to advise them after his death.

A young woman gets involved in intrigue at a high-tech company and vanishes, leaving her mother and a mystical stranger who is not what he appears to be to find her. The mother soon vanishes as well, leaving the stranger to find them both. Much tea is drunk.

#429 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:47 AM:

421 and 425

I think I'd have concentrated on how the heroine discovers that her parents are not her parents, and aren't even human, and that she's not as socially adept as others of her age, but has much greater technical aptitude. But no, it's not Revenge of the Nerds.

#430 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:10 AM:

Bruce Cohen @428: Yes, except that the name of the first is actually Cbvag bs Ubcrf. Is your first synopsis possibly Sbhaqngvba?

#431 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:09 AM:

Eternal powerful entities whose names are nouns all beginning with the same letter, each representing some specific attribute of sentient beings, are actually members of the same unhappy family with a troubled past.

shoeless cop lacking in grace or social standing nevertheless saves own marriage by thwarting the monetary schemes of non-Americans.

alien with unexplained resemblance to offensive racial stereotypes is hated by all humanity.

#432 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:14 AM:

Eleanor@385: Your last is Nyna Zbber'f Cebzrgurn.

Bruce Cohen@428: Your second is Grn jvgu gur Oynpx Qentba, ol E.N. ZnpNibl.

Here's one of mine, a bit more in the "transported to a surreal landscape" vein:

A group of racist Luddites massacres the only ethnic group in favor of technological progress, then stages a coup d'état.


#433 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:17 AM:

me, 231 -- Two non-human sentients battle for the allegiance of two children, temporarily parentless. Inclement weather plays a crucial role.

JESR @393 is correct.

Ross Smith @ 395 wins a bouquet for attributing such deep thinking to me. ;-)

Rymenhild @371, haven't read that one yet, but it sounds good -- thanks.

Darned time zones, darned need for sleep! Catching up (and in rot13) is a full-time job on this thread.

#434 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:23 AM:

"Astronaut discovers the Moon is an intelligent guardian of Earth."

#435 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:24 AM:

Spinster takes ride with Death who impresses her with his gentlemanly demeanor.

#436 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:29 AM:

/Is there somewhere an extended treatment of when this level of shredding is ethical? (or rather, "could someone please point me at ...", since I assume that this is well-trod ground)

Yes, the prose mentioned is awful - amazingly, mind-numbingly awful. However, there's something about the treatment of it which feels unseemly. It reminds me of people discussing an interview of a candidate that was unbelievably unqualified for some job. At some point, it's just kicking a corpse.

That being said, I recognize that there is a difference between, say, doing this to some teenager's first fanfic posted only on their own myspace page, and doing this with the published (albeit self-published) work of some adult above the age of majority. There's also a point to be made that there is some public service component to pointing out to new writers examples of bad writing and saying "don't do this".

Anyway, this is why I'm wondering if someone else has worked through the ethical calculus of the public shredding of bad prose, because I'm having trouble even figuring out what all the relevant variables are./

Well, at Godawful Fan Fiction, Deleterius, and assorted other badfic-mocking sites, the standard is, "Mock the fic, not the author." (This is not always honored, of course, and it becomes extremely difficult when faced with something as loathesomely revealing as, say, the Rose Potter/Girl Who Lived series. Which I would not Google at work, BTW.)

#437 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:31 AM:

two young men with widely differing personalities and tastes in music are inseparable friends and have numerous wacky, fantastical adventures while holding down a succession of lower-class jobs such as zoo-keeper or shop assistant.

chain smoking, alcoholic, Irish introvert with a nasty temper has a love/hate relationship with his barely literate, semi-hominid gimp. Desperate girl with loose morals is their fag-hag in training. (this one is sort of a cheat, the description of the second character being half based on a remembered description of the second by the first).

#438 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:32 AM:

I'm really going to stop refreshing this thread and go to sleep now, but before I do, 431a is Fnaqzna and 435, however much it resembles potential Qvfpjbeyq plots, is uggc://jjj.onegyrol.pbz/113/4027.ugzy. (Also, that one made me laugh.)

#439 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:33 AM:

Oh, and mine back at #28 was E-------- M---'s R------ P---------.

Here's another relatively obscure goodie:

Nubile teen growing up in the backwoods of a fragmented United States narrowly avoids shacking up with her own uncle by choosing instead to sleep with the monstrously scarred survivor of a hideous chemical attack.

#440 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:34 AM:

Jon @349 -- Qre Evat qrf Avoryhatra?

#441 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:38 AM:

unattached young man who lives by himself and enjoys dressing up in costume really likes being in the closet, which for him is a doorway to many exciting adventures where he can assume various character roles throughout time and space.

#442 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:45 AM:

Rymenhild was correct on the two of mine guessed.

#443 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:12 AM:

hmm, nobody here...
okay then, bored man counts upward, instantiates international conflict using minor appendage of his body via declaration of same.

#444 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:07 AM:

Clifton @ 425... The part about skimpy outfits made it rather easy to guess, eh?

#445 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:10 AM:

"Science-fiction nerds see their dreams come true."

#446 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:22 AM:

hmm, nobody here...
Serge is always awake!

Technological device designed to end war is misused for political murder. The inventor recruits a goofy young soldier with special powers who battles his nemesis, a killer from a totalitarian regime. The goofy soldier gets the girl, the Commie killer gets enlightenment.

#447 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:27 AM:

Most of the ones I could get have been got. Of those remaining, I can do two, maybe three:

Zack @ #391: Zvyyre naq Yrr, V Qner.
But you lose points for not mentioning the dragon, the half-naked priestess, or the cousin who's formed a bond with a giant alien talking animal.

Lee @ #422: Qvnar Qhnar, Qbbe vagb sver naq frdhryf

bryan @ #437: Gur Zvtugl Obbfu and Oynpx Obbxf?


The game is far from over, though. There are still-unidentified summaries at #200, #216, #261, #272, #360, #374, #385, #386, #388, #426, #431, #432, #434, #439, #441, #443, and #445. (preview) And #446.

#448 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:29 AM:

SpeakerToManagers @ #429: I think I'd have concentrated on how the heroine discovers that her parents are not her parents, and aren't even human

Well, except that she knew that all along; it's only other people who make that discovery as the story progresses.

#449 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:30 AM:

Debbie @ 446...

Man has only 4 hours of sleep because, after spending the whole evening putting things together for his tax consultant, he dreamed that he forgot to include something important.

Oh wait. That's not a guess-what. That's why this time it looks like I'm always awake.

To answer yours, I'd say The Last Starfighter.

#450 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:33 AM:

Xopher @ #394:

That summary is like the plot of a good detective novel: impossible to guess in advance, but perfectly obvious (in the best possible way) once you know what the answer is.

#451 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:34 AM:

Paul A @ 447... #399 still hasn't received its minimum of 3 answers.

#452 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:35 AM:

Serge #445- about a quarter of the SF output in the last century?

#453 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:38 AM:

Lucy S #375 That's Ubhfrubyq Tbqf by Ghegyrqbir & Gnee.

#454 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:39 AM:

Serge -- I sympathize. All during an appt yesterday evening, away from ML, I obsessed over whether I had written 'non-sentient humans' instead of the intended 'non-human sentients.'

As to your guess -- nope!

#455 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:39 AM:

Debbie @444, re Jon's 349 — that's what I thought. An admirably concise summary of a notoriously large work.

#456 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:41 AM:

Adopted girl (well, all grown up anyway) discovers that she really is a princess, and has magical powers. Mayhem of various kinds ensues across the worlds.

#457 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:50 AM:

Paul A at #447: correct.

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:51 AM:

guthrie @ 452... True, but that's about real life (bah!), not stories. The answer really was two movies - Galaxy Quest and Free Enterprise.

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:53 AM:

Debbie @ 454... Drat. Still waking up. I need less dream in my coffee.

#460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:54 AM:

"Story of exploring the Unknown falls apart when the cute robot shows up."

#461 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:57 AM:

It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven.


Waitasec, that one's already been done.

#462 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:59 AM:

She almost died giving birth to her daughter, now she's willing to die to save her!

#463 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:04 AM:

Satan confides short but overly coy resume of his life in sociable setting, recommends confidant be wary of intentions and not react impolitely to the narrative divulged.

#464 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:05 AM:

Xopher @ #108: Kittons, Fragano. Kittons.

I always meant to read that story, but never got around to it before. Thanks for the nudge.

(I like their choice of sidebar quote, too: "One of her weapons snored. She turned it over.")

#465 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:07 AM:

Man proclaims that he can accept any sort of degradation, but then reacts aggressively to minor scuffing of his footwear.

#466 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:08 AM:

Clifton Royston @426: "Brilliant, witty, and rogueish thief travels the breadth of the world repeatedly swindling and besting wizards, monsters, and demons, but ends up back where he started."

Could that be Wnpx bs Funqbjf? (Well, it could be, is that what you intended?)

#467 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:11 AM:

Protagonist encounters strange meteorological disturbances, soon winds up in a strange place where people dress funny, and where some some humanoids can be seen flying around. Protagonist must stop villain or else there literally won't be a place like home.

#468 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:12 AM:

442 is Ze. Oraa. And I don't think anyone guessed another of Bryan's at 174 - it's Gur Guveq Cbyvprzna.

Four invaders from another world overthrow the established authorities and take over the place, with weapons provided by a powerful overlord who also helps them break dangerous traitors out of imprisonment. The overlord later joins in a peace treaty with the previous government but manages to escape the penalty clause on a technicality. The invaders establish an authoritarian government and squash all dissent, but eventually they leave.

#469 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:13 AM:

463: Flzcngul sbe gur Qrivy, Wnttre naq Evpuneqf

440: Not the one I was thinking of (Gur Puvyqera bs Uheva), but yours works too ...

#470 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:23 AM:

Serge @467 -- Jvmneq bs Bm? (Third time's a charm!)

#471 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:26 AM:

Debbie @ 470... Nope. I'll give you a hint: Max von Sydow.

#472 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:31 AM:

Serge at #467, I think somebody already did that one earlier.

Spiritually enlightened prince moves to sylvan setting with sweetheart, teams up with wisecracking monkey to fight evil.

cop framed of crime is presumed dead, resides in graveyard and wages war on the underworld.


#473 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:31 AM:

Man travels far and finds what appears to be a socialist utopia but which turns to be an elaborate diner.

#474 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:33 AM:

@ 472... Someone already did #467? Where?

#475 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:51 AM:

I went back and looked and saw the one I thought was Jvmneq bs Bm was the one you thought was Jvmneq bs Bm but according to Ginger it wasn't.

#476 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:53 AM:

oops. you said it wasn't what I thought it was either (for yours)

#477 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:00 AM:

Bryan... Then my #467 isn't a retread? Phew.

#478 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:07 AM:

473: Gb Freir Zna?

#479 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:09 AM:

I'm so, so, sorry - I just couldn't resist the siren call of the words...

Eternity of Blood (now with added rhyme)

Gorgeous Navy pilot Gareth Hunter,
his secret hidden in the light of day,
crosses paths with an investigator
of paranormal things along the way.

The alien council descends from above,
with message ominous for one and all.
To the future, our couple now remove,
where Gareth must then sacrifice it all.

To prevent vampire wars and certain fate,
it seems he must take up the fangs again.
As streets run red with blood, is he too late?
(This all takes place during a hurricane.)

#480 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:14 AM:

bryan @ 441: It's Ze Oraa!

#481 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:16 AM:

Gretel Blix versus brain-stealing space-Nazis. (This is how I actually describe the book to friends)

(TV) CSI versus vampires.

#482 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:16 AM:

woo, Eleanor at #480, I was wondering if anyone would have that one in the head.

#483 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:18 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 432: correct.

Am I right in thinking nobody has answered my second one because it's too easy? On the other hand, the first one is intentionally twisted (and a bit of a cheat, since part of it is something you only learn in a different book).

#484 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:19 AM:

#468: Gur Yvba, Gur Jvgpu, naq Gur Jneqebor

#485 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:20 AM:

#468 Is, of course Gur Yvba, Gur Jvgpu, naq gur Jneqebor.

#486 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Pete #479: Brilliant!!!

#487 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:25 AM:

bryan @ 482, Eimear Ní Mhéalóid got it first, but I didn't notice until too late.

#488 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:27 AM:

Daniel Martin @#343: In this case the shredding mainly consists of quoting passages of the text and commenting briefly on what's wrong. The prose itself is what's humiliating, not the comments...it pretty much shreds itself.

As for ethics, I think anything published (self- or otherwise) is fair game. Whether it's ok to be mean is a moral question, I think, and in a case like this, where someone wants to be a Real Published Author at any cost, I think it's ok to be a little unkind. And really, pointing out that wolves don't smell like strawberries is only a little unkind.

For a masterpiece of the genre, read Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences by Mark Twain.

#489 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:28 AM:

Fragano @ 456: Puneyvr Fgebff'f Zrepunag Cevaprf frevrf.

#490 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:36 AM:

Ross Smith #489: Indeed so.

#491 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:44 AM:

mismatched couple are mocked for their eating habits which are perfectly suited to their metabolisms.

bird of ill omen wreaks evil on landsman, farmer, and steed.

Lonely Woman has strange relationship with her dog whom she is continually unsuccessful in providing for, the dog dies and comes back to life, after rebirth it demonstrates unpredictably many of the characteristics of human beings.

#492 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:04 AM:

Jon Meltzer @ 478... Nope. The answer is The Time Machine.

#493 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:09 AM:

bryan @ 491: Sounds like the classic Wnpx Fceng naq uvf jvsr, but that's not science fiction. At least, not labeled as such. ;-)

Ah, so many books, so little time! I thought of one as I was falling asleep, and I hope no one else posted it:

An alien spaceship has crashed in a remote location. They sent out a distress signal, so our hero is under great pressure to rescue them. Against terrible odds, the mission is a success.

#494 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:09 AM:

Rymenhild @ 430

You got it, very good. Thanks for setting me straight on the titles of the Pointsman books; I guess that was my subconcious rebelling against the fact that the third book that Scott and Barnett were writing when Barnett died will never be finished. *sigh*

#495 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:15 AM:

sickly boy prays to primitive animal deity for the death of a domineering female relative, his prayers are surprisingly successful.

#496 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:17 AM:


Correct. One of my very favorite fantasies, and one of my all time favorite writers. I still fall over laughing with glee when I remember the way she wrapped up the last novel of the Lens of the World trilogy. Would that she were still writing.

#497 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:21 AM:

Serge, your 473 is..brilliant.

#498 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Tlönista@423: Got it!

Bryan@495: Ferqav Infugne

#499 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:34 AM:

meddlesome nerd teaches human speech to household pet, the things the pet has to say prove extremely troublesome for its human owners.

#500 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:36 AM:

A curmudgeonly hippie gets laid and mindfucked by a beautiful stranger, eventually leading to his murder and resurrection, thus saving the universe.

#501 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:37 AM:

coffeedryad got mine right.

#502 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:40 AM:

#500: Gur Arj Grfgnzrag

:)


#503 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Dream literature ...

He struggled with cryptic clues in multiple languages, but it was all a dream!

He had sex with numerous legendary women, but it was all a dream!

He infiltrated an anarchist conspiracy and found God, but it was all a dream!

#504 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:46 AM:

bryan @ 499: Is that Gborezbel ol Fnxv? And 495 is Ferqav Infugne.

#505 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:47 AM:

Bruce #428: Your first is Sbhaqngvba, bs pbhefr!

#506 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:54 AM:

#502: Not quite what I had in mind....

#507 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Eleanor was right, and Albatross, I know, but I couldn't resist what with the curmudgeonly hippie line.

#508 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Adolescent boy becomes man by romancing alien girl, leading army of chimps and gorillas against alien invaders.

#509 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:02 AM:

374 - Wurert
434 - ZZVV Fcnpr Bqlffrl
465 - a song - Oyhr Fhrqr Fubrf
495 - a Fnxv story, Ferqav Infugne

#510 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:04 AM:

The first part of #390 is a pretty obvious reference to Gur Zbba vf n Unefu Zvfgerff, no?

#511 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Hint for #200: Fgnl sbphfrq.

#512 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:11 AM:

In a town besieged by a deadly disease and a murderous forest tribe, three strangers - one who's supposed to be dead, one who's supposed to have killed her, and one who was never supposed to have been born - arrive and throw the community into turmoil by uncovering dirty secrets and accusing two young people of incest.

#513 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:17 AM:

A plucky young stowaway and a stoic yet compassionate spaceship pilot form a bond during their short flight that lasts the rest of their lives.

Yes, yes it does. Describing that duration as "the rest of their lives", though, is just mean, in a totally brilliant way. At least if you mean "Gur Pbyq Rdhngvbaf"

A humble yet charismatic genius physicist finds a radical theory that may transform interplanetary society, and must resist both the decadent luxury of high society and the lure of a revolutionary underground before aliens help him return to his impoverished home.

Gur Qvfcbffrffrq. Wow, that word looks odd in rot13.

Dragons couldn't defeat him - but forbidden love did!

Um...Rentba?

A kitchen servant who's actually a lady in semi-exile...saves the planet.

Qentbaevqref bs Crea, complete with squicky sex scenes.

Accidentally time-travelling single mother learns how to put her modern life together after a year in the Roman Empire

Ubhfrubyq Tbqf, which I have never actually read.

A brilliant young woman from the future convinces poorly-educated medieval villagers that she's a saint and accidentally tempts a faithful priest.

Qbbzfqnl Obbx, which is about as non-trashy as it gets. :)

"Alone on the planet of bisexuals, a human must come to terms with his own lust to save the kingdom!"

#514 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Carrie @ 513: Surely not Gur Yrsg Unaq Bs Qnexarff!

#515 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:33 AM:

#508 is Qnivq Oeva'f Gur Hcyvsg Jne.

#516 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:39 AM:

Eleanor @514: What else counts as "the planet of bisexuals"? ;) The whole point is to make it sound as trashy as possible...

"A reincarnated High Priestess gives up her temple for the love of a foreign wizard!"

#517 ::: Sajia Kabir ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:14 AM:

#516. Ha. Gbzof bs Nghna.

#518 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:15 AM:

515 Fragano: Right!

#519 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:25 AM:

Perky librarian and potted plants meddle in affairs of the gods; meanwhile, little boy plays with puppies.

#520 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:26 AM:

John L. (434): Zhgvarre'f Zbba

I haven't seen anyone guess my #311 yet.

#521 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:27 AM:

Oh, now my brain's gearing back up:

A former soldier falls for a woman half his age, and tries to kill himself instead. Failing that, he throws himself into his new job and ends up saving the country from a corrupt family of nobles --during a blizzard.

The sequel:
A middle-aged woman travels around the country and falls in love with the first man she meets, who sweeps her off her feet. Sorcery and hijinks ensue, along with mistaken identities, disguises, and "just-missed-'em" scenes. In the end, the evil sorcerers are foiled, and all true lovers reunited."

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:28 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 520... Amethyst, Princess of GemWorld?

#523 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:30 AM:

Mary Aileen: It seems awfully generic, but are you thinking of the series beginning with Nynaan: Gur Svefg Nqiragher?

#524 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:31 AM:

Zack (523): That's the one.

#525 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Carrie S., #194: Your rot13 link was well worth clicking on -- though not for the reason I expected.

#526 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 520: Nynaan ol Gnzben Cvrepr?

#527 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Every time one of these ROT13-heavy threads comes up, I'm tempted to learn how to write Firefox extensions so I can fudge up something that just does ROT13 from the right-click menu. Leet Key is now so crowded with features that this simple transformation is buried a couple more levels down.

Of course if I had a Cosmic Mind I would read ROT13 at sight -- probably like everyone else here -- and need only a brief cortico-thalamic pause to tackle RT13 (i.e. disemvowelled ROT13).

#528 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:54 AM:

Serge @467 -- Protagonist encounters strange meteorological disturbances, soon winds up in a strange place where people dress funny, and where some some humanoids can be seen flying around. Protagonist must stop villain or else there literally won't be a place like home, with the additional hint of Max von Sydow. (Is this the same as your 399, or are they two different stories?)

Argh, this is driving me nuts. Potentially, both Qhar and Uheevpnar might work, except I can't fit the flying humanoids in.

Dave Langford, you're not alone. I do now independently recognize "the" when I see it ROT13'd, but that's about it.

#529 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:56 AM:

#528: I thought that was Gur Jvmneq bs Bm.

#530 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 11:59 AM:

Dave #527: Without reading ROT13, you can often check guesses against it pretty quickly. Look for correct word lengths, double letters, identical letters in easily-found places (like "ease" has the same letter in the first and last place).

#531 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Debbie @433, those are words I hear too rarely these days...

#532 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Sylvia @#525: Did I get the link wrong, or is there some other reason?

Protagonist encounters strange meteorological disturbances, soon winds up in a strange place where people dress funny, and where some some humanoids can be seen flying around. Protagonist must stop villain or else there literally won't be a place like home

Oh! Of course. Synfu Tbeqba.

#533 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Debbie @ 528... I take it that you never saw 1980's movie Flash Gordon, with Brian Blessed as a hawkman? Of course that movie is one of my guilty pleasures and, as people often say, your mileage may vary.

#534 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:06 PM:

Dave Langford @ 527

Leet Key lets you bind a keystroke combination to rot13. Since I use a Mac, I have it bound to CTL-L, which is isn't used for anything else, but on most Unix computers that's redraw (or illuminate, as I like to think of it).

albatross @ 500
You are correct. And I'm ashamed to say I recognize that, it's Gvzr Cerffher ol Fcvqre Ebovafba. Damn hippies!


They're getting harder, I think, so I'll do some relatively easy ones (depending on your age):

Millionaire playboy chemist's professional rivalry gets personal when his rival steals his girl and takes her on a long trip.

And in a sequel, cardboard characters explore the fourth dimension.

Local reporter gets a little too involved in his story about a new shop in town and discovers his (and everyone else's) origin story, but never gets to publish.

#535 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:10 PM:

Nancy Mittens has the answer I came up with for #495, only I couldn't remember the title. Back in the late sixties, when I was reading and writing short stories and not sleeping at all, that story had important parts of my brain under its control.

(Otherwise, due to the sinister effects of Vicodin and heavy antihistamines, I am not actually in possession of a working brain, and in any case need to go check my pregnant cows).

#536 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:11 PM:

Elusive oncologist with super cancer cure and female patient learn how to "grow."

#537 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:18 PM:

Serge -- I think I did, but I forgot all the details (the combination of "Hurricane" and the trashy tagline from imdb -- "There is only one safe place... in each other's arms" -- made me think of this thread).

JESR -- daily life could certainly use more Dr. Seuss.

No more takers for 446?

#538 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:30 PM:

503c- Gur Zna Jub Jnf Guhefqnl?

Young girl feels a deep bond with an exotic land; she is kidnapped by a a native prince with magic powers, and discovers her own as they fall in love and Fight Crime, I mean save the country.

#539 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:30 PM:

Maybe we should repost the ones that have been overlooked, as it gets harder to find things while scrolling through.

I went back to 446 and I still haven't figured it out.

#446 (Debbie)

Technological device designed to end war is misused for political murder. The inventor recruits a goofy young soldier with special powers who battles his nemesis, a killer from a totalitarian regime. The goofy soldier gets the girl, the C/o/m/m/i/e killer gets enlightenment.

(Sorry, I haven't figured out strikethrough in this system.)


Is it something by A.E. van Vogt?

#540 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Nobody got my 426 yet, though Rob Rusick made a good stab at it.

"He's the most brilliant bank robber of a hundred worlds; she's the murderous super-villain he captured and reformed. They fight crime!"

#541 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:37 PM:

#426 Clifton Royston

"Brilliant, witty, and rogueish thief travels the breadth of the world repeatedly swindling and besting wizards, monsters, and demons, but ends up back where he started."

Sounds a bit like Uneel Uneevfba'f Fgnvayrff Fgrry Eng.

Dave @ 527: I've had to leave a tab open to ROT-13 just to cut-and-paste my way through these entries. Over time, I've figured out a few of the recurring words, which also helps.

#542 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Debbie @ 537... "There is only one safe place... in each other's arms"

Mind you, the meteorological disturbance doesn't whisk Flash and Dale off to Mongo. The 'hot hail' (whatever that is) forces their plane to crash into the lab of Zarkov, who just happens to be about to launch his rocketship into space, where a wormhole will take them to Mongo. As for the quote, Dale and Flash do find comfort in each other's arms at some point, but he's chained to a dungeon wall, and he has an eyeless bucket on his head.

#543 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:38 PM:

And dang, everybody beat me to 'Ferqav Infugne'. I loved that story. (Also I see Nancy beat me to 'Oyhr Fhrqr Fubrf'.)

Dave Langford's 503.3 must be Gur Zna Jub Jnf Guhefqnl. 503.2 sounds like one of Pnoryy's but I'm not sure which. Whetra?

#544 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:41 PM:

#521 - Phefr bs Punyvba and Cnynqva bs Fbhyf?

#545 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Ginger @539 -- not by A.E. van Vogt, but the author is equally renowned, and the book is not particularly recent.

#546 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:43 PM:

538: Yes.

543: Yes to both.

#547 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Clifton @ 544: Well done! Yes to both.

#548 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Debbie @ 545: I figured it wasn't recent, with the plot, but it still sounds familiar. As so many of them do, until I solve it or give up.. ;-)

#549 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Young girl feels a deep bond with an exotic land; she is kidnapped by a a native prince with magic powers, and discovers her own as they fall in love and Fight Crime, I mean save the country.

Gur Oyhr Fjbeq! I loved that book. You left out the Cool Horses, though. Speaking of Ebova ZpXvayrl, has anyone else read Sunshine? Deeply, deeply different from her usual stuff (though with a similar "and then the world ended but we were all OK" ending).

"In the intervals of getting stoned and having sex, two con artists run from the couple they conned. Little does anyone know that a pair of time travelers are after them too--and are willing to kill to protect a secret the con artists don't even realize they have! Angst, hurt/comfort, romance, het; warnings: character death, non-con"

#550 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:02 PM:

Debbie: Keith Laumer?

#551 ::: vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:02 PM:

536: Bpgnivn Ohgyre, Krabtrarfvf gevybtl

#552 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Here's one for my novel-in-progress.

A prophet sends a girl on a quest to save the world, but she gets distracted and shacks up with an old man who lusts after her. He two-times her with his dead ex, flirts with a 15-year-old burglar, and all-but-murders his closest relative, yet still expects her to pick up the pieces when he loses his mind.

Ew.

#553 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:25 PM:

Vassilissa @ 551: No, that's not it. Perhaps I should have noted this is a short story.

#554 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:27 PM:

Debbie 446: Ybeq bs Yvtug? Except I didn't remember that the device was supposed to end war, so I'm probably wrong.

Ginger: The old, deprecated <s> tag is disabled here. You have to use the new, less convenient <strike> tag instead.

#555 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Carrie S #549: Fcvqre Ebovafba'f Yvsrubhfr

How about: Evil genius kills friends, rivals, acquaintances, and millions of strangers, thus saving the world. Formerly fought crime.

#556 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:37 PM:

A young singer immolates himself so that a brilliant but amoral thief can escape the police.

#557 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:38 PM:

Lucy S. @ 536: Fabj Fphycgher by Gurbqber Fghetrba?

Carrie S. @ 549: Sounds like Yvsrubhfr by Fcvqre Ebovafba.

#558 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:38 PM:

Xopher@ 554: I thought it would be something like that..thanks!!

#559 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Xopher, 554 -- sorry, no. (And not Laumer, either, Ginger.) Hmm, perhaps it would have been better to say the device was designed to assuage conflict.

#560 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Soldier returns from war to discover that homosexuality is now tolerated at his home. In disgust, he moves away to a place where traditional values are kept.

#561 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Xopher @ 560: Gur Sberire Jne?

#562 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Debbie@ 559 -- I confess I'm stumped. :-)

#563 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:48 PM:

557: Correct, but with "fybj" not "fabj"!

#564 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Xopher @ 556: 'Gvzr Pbafvqrerq nf n Uryvk...'?

#565 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Lucy @ 563: Wait, what? I had the name wrong all this time?

(No, I'm dead serious. I really thought it was "fabj." And I've read the damn story!)

#566 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:56 PM:

Ginger @539, We discussed getting strikethrough to work here in Open thread 96. The code is <strike>strikethrough</strike> to get strikethrough.

#567 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 01:59 PM:

534:

Fxlynex bs Fcnpr
Fxlynex Guerr
Gur Jrncba Fubcf bs Vfure

New one:

He wasn't human - there was something disgusting growing on his head!

#568 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:02 PM:

540: Fyvccrel Wvz naq Natryvan qrTevm (Gur Fgnvayrff Fgrry Eng)

#569 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Ginger @ 541: No, no wizards or demons in Fgnvayrff Fgrry Eng -- but if you want to try that guess again on a different post...

#570 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:03 PM:

Will @ 565, it really is fybj. Orpnhfr perngvat n obafnv gerr= n "fybj fphyghcgher," nf vf punatvat barfrys. Naq vg gnxrf cynpr va fhzzre, VVEP.

#571 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Oh, also, Xopher @560, is that Gur Sberire Jne?

#572 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:05 PM:

568: Indeed, names and all.

#573 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:09 PM:

A new kind of power plant is built on the border between two very different peoples. People on both sides realize that the plant is dangerous, but the authorities don't believe them. Can they get it shut down in time to avert disaster?

#574 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Xopher @ 573: Gur Tbqf Gurzfryirf by Vfnnp Nfvzbi?

#575 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:14 PM:

Lucy S @ 570: Oh, I believe you. I'm just a bit boggled at myself.

#576 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Ginger 561: Yes.

Clifton 564: Yes, or "Gvzr/Fgbarf" as the author refers to it.

Epacris 570: Yes, as Ginger guessed at 561.

#577 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Will 574: Yep.

Hmm. Looks like I need to make these harder.

#578 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:24 PM:

Nobody did 555 yet? It's been a favored conversation topic around here: Jngpuzra.

#579 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:28 PM:

War hero rebels against the hubris of an authoritarian regime, and survives battles with demons and zombies, assassination attempts, and the betrayal of supposed allies to overthrow the regime.

#580 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Ginger (526): Yep.

This is fun! Gratifyingly, most of the ones that stump me turn out to be things I've never read.

#581 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:39 PM:

Evil forces are rising, and they have laid their misshapen hands upon a terrifying weapon from Earth's very ancient past. The smoking leader of the quest uses a surprising approach to defeat Evil.

#582 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Serge: I don't have a guess, but you did a good job of making it sound like a Oehpr Pnzcoryy movie.

#583 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:50 PM:

I'm going somewhere a little different. I'm honestly curious whether someone will recognize it.

The young son of a genius scientist is Earth's only hope for survival! Summoned after years of being apart from his father for safety, he has to use the weaponry his father has created and defend the planet against horrible aliens bent on destroying the world. But are all of his allies really on his side? And can he find love with one of the beautiful women who surround him?

#584 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Clifton, #426: Would that be Nebhaq gur Jbeyq va Rvtugl Qnlf?

bryan, #431: The first one is Arvy Tnvzna'f Fnaqzna -- I haven't read much of it, but you hit two of the major tropes in your description.

And your third one sounds like Puvyqubbq'f Raq.

Paul, #447: Correct.

bryan, #495: Ferqav Infugne! (Okay, okay, everybody and his uncle's duck got there first...)

albatross, #508: Gnemna bs gur Ncrf et seq. (Or not, but I contend it fits.)

Eleanor, #512: Fcrnxre sbe gur Qrnq

Ginger, #539: To make strikethrough work, you have to use "strike" and "/strike", not just "s" and "/s". I was having that problem not long ago too.

Next entry:

"A woman kidnapped into sexual slavery sends a desperate message to her best friend to rescue her daughter. The friend must pose as a member of a separatist group to make the journey, but is caught and forced to join the group for real, where she eventually finds True Love."


#585 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Mary @ 520:

If your post said "Mutineer's Moon" then you're right. I can't read this code all of you are using and don't have the program to decode it.

#586 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Xopher @ 582... Hmm... Close enough, but no cigar. Does the following line from the movie help?

"What's Plan B?"

#587 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Epacris @ 566: Thanks!

Mary Aileen @580: Me, too! I'm discovering books that perhaps I should read.

Lee@ 584: Thanks again!

#588 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:02 PM:

John L @585: Cut and paste your coded or non-coded entry into ROT-13. It will encrypt or decrypt anything you put in the box.

#589 ::: Chaobell ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:08 PM:

Hey. HEY. Don't be hating on the "elves as aliens" trope! I've written elves as aliens!

...when I was thirteen

...and also writing really bad Star Trek Mary Sue fanfic and binding it into staple-bound volumes with covers drawn in map colors at lunch

...you know what, please disregard the above "stop hating" request. I'll just be reading that review and bleeding from my eyeballs.

#590 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Chaobell (great name, btw): A hint: Star Trek Vulcans ARE "elves as aliens." Or maybe aliens as elves.

#591 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Clifton @ 569: Oh, it's the answer for 540!

#592 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:19 PM:

I'll repost my submission from 493: An alien spaceship has crashed in a remote location. They sent out a distress signal, so our hero is under great pressure to rescue them. Against terrible odds, the mission is a success.

#593 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Evil genius kills friends, rivals, acquaintances, and millions of strangers, thus saving the world. Formerly fought crime.

Nice! Jngpuzra.

#594 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Nancy @ 509. That's the first one from 374.

Doesn't anyone know the other three?

#595 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:49 PM:

Lee (584): Gur Funggrerq Punva

John L. (585): That's it. Sorry about that. I saw your earlier distress signal but didn't realize you were still confused. Ginger's 588 is exactly right. And it's 'Mary Aileen', not 'Mary'. :)

#596 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Jon Melzer @ 567
Very good, right on all three. I have no idea what yours is, but it sounds like a Bill Plimpton cartoon.

Xopher @ 579
That sure sounds like Ybeq bs Yvtug.

#597 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Jon @ 567: Ubgubhfr ol Oevna Nyqvff?

Nobody seems to have had a go at my two (360) yet. (Now that I think about it, I suspect at least one of them is too recent for many people to have read it.)

#598 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:10 PM:

A teenage boy accidentally leaves his world and is imprisoned in another where humans are undesirable aliens. He studies the powers of his captors, escapes, and with the help of a composer brings peace to races who have been warring for millions of years.

#599 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:18 PM:

Bruce @ 598: Gur Vasvavgl Pbapregb and Gur Frecrag Zntr

#600 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Ross: All I could think of for your #360 was "Wow, I want to read those."

#601 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Catching up from from the 300's or so...augh!

Just for Dave Langford - and anyone else who'd like a ROT-13 bookmarklet, here's the one I use. Unlike most bookmarklets, this one will let you copy/paste the results.
Link to ROT13 bookmarklet

#602 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Mary Aileen, #595: Right again -- you're entirely too good at guessing my entries!

Okay, this one's a bit more obscure:

"Exiled princess must pose as a man, leading an army to defeat her usurper brother and save her kingdom from his ruinous reign. Along the way she overcomes her own distrust of men and finds True Love."

#603 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Clifton @ 426: Gnyrf bs n Qlvat Rnegu

Bruce @ 428: Gur Sbhaqngvba Frevrf naq Ybat Qnex Grn Gvzr bs gur Fbhy ol Nqnzf (I think I missed one and got the other)

Fragano @ 508: One of Oeva'f Fgnegvqr Evfvat books. (yup, someone else got it)

My three that haven't been guessed yet:

After being sentenced to death, this backwater tour guide falls in love with a religious figure for whom he must fight a demon. She is killed but later gives birth to their baby from beyond the grave anyway.

A flying gay assassin in love with an elf kills his brothers and then uses his magic powers to sing and dance to alleviate his guilt.

A Catholic priest whose split personality is the space Pope fights against the church before the cybernetic vampires win by making all Catholics immortal.

#604 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Lee #417, the extra-points reference ("sorry, neither") is Huhen (in response to being addressed as "snve znvqra".) I don't remember the context in more detail.

#605 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:05 PM:

Old botanist is marooned on alien planet, escapes from locals by feigning death, and uses her psychic powers and the help of some alien children to make it to the rendezvous point to be rescued.

#606 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:09 PM:

Lee (602): Gur Obar Qbyy'f Gjva naq frdhryf ol Ylaa Syrjryyvat

We have obviously read all the same books.

#607 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:12 PM:

Xopher @ 605: Isn't that RG gur Rkgen Greerfgevny? I remember that.. :-)

#608 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Judge raises alien child in hopes that he can convince the aliens not to wipe out his species when they return.

#609 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:17 PM:

Ginger: Rats. ...yeah, it is. I was hoping most people didn't remember that she was a botanist. Be n fur, sbe gung znggre.

#610 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:21 PM:

ah well, I did this one earlier, but that was more general, now I shall get specific:

Murderous transsexual sea monster trades alien musical powers to socially awkward, small-eyed man for promises of love and marriage.

#611 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:24 PM:


Four refugees from a colony planet seek their creator.

#612 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:26 PM:

Jon 611: Oynqrehaare, be znlor lbh zrnag Qb Naqebvqf Qernz bs Ryrpgevp Furrc? Ohg Oynqrehaare vf orggre.

#613 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:26 PM:

603: Qna Fvzzbaf, Evfr bs Raqlzvba?

#614 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:27 PM:

Spherical Time #603: Yes! (I was thinking of its appearance as a standalone novel, variously titled Gur Rlrf bs gur Birejbeyq or later Phtry gur Pyrire, but you've nailed it.) I wasn't really expecting that one to trip people up.

Xopher @ 608: Gur Phpxbb'f Rtt, P.W. Pureelu. Great book.

#615 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Clifton 614: yep. I don't think there's a 'gur' in the title though.

#616 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:32 PM:

Boy is told you have to be a stupid asshole to fly starships. He's not stupid, so he decides to be an asshole. He flies a starship and dies.

#617 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:35 PM:

obnoxious young fellow with seemingly magical abilities to show up in unexpected places hounds an average guy with offers of exotic and suspicious sounding foodstuffs, the story has an unexpected happy ending that will warm your heart.

#618 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:36 PM:

Xopher @ 609: True, that was a bit obscure; I just happened to like anything with female characters. ;-) Cyhf, zl vavgvnyf ner TG, fb vg'f nyzbfg n avpxanzr. Lrf, V jnf nfxrq gb cubar ubzr.

#619 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Bright but amoral children terrorize a small town for a week, until bought off with candy and toys.

#620 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Ginger 618: Bbt. V'z fb fbeel. Jryy, ng yrnfg lbh'er abg n obgnavfg. Npghnyyl V guvax RG jnf bayl srznyr naq n obgnavfg va gur abiryvmngvba, naq ure traqre jnf whfg (jebatyl) nffhzrq ol gur xvqf va gur zbivr. Ohg fur qrsvavgryl jnfa'g n irgrevanevna.

#621 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Xopher@ 620: To make matters even funnier, it was my parents who asked. ;-) But yes, not a veterinarian, alas.

#622 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Young couple has such trouble getting out of New York City one day that they decide never to go back, and join a commune of likeminded people. But there's trouble in paradise...

#623 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:50 PM:

An ordinary rural family takes in a telepathic boy, who causes so much trouble that eventually they have to leave town for good.

#624 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:52 PM:

But hey, Ginger, your initials are each other's ROT-13. Which is just really cool.

#625 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:54 PM:

Xopher @ 624: I noticed. ;-) Way cool. I'm a rot-13 palindrome!

#626 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:57 PM:

Well, people didn't solve my last three instantly. Am I getting better at it, or just picking obscure sources? You be the judge.

#627 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Big hunky charming guy disrupts the life of a small town, until someone kills him.

#628 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:03 PM:

617: ... naq V jvyy rng gurz va n obk, naq V jvyy rng gurz jvgu n sbk ...

#629 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Teacher becomes convinced that his bosses want to murder his students, so he steals a large vehicle and talks them into running away into the wilds.

#630 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Cruelly separated from his parents at an early age, our innocent hero is shunned by almost everybody he meets, simply because he is different. With only his talking animal companion for company, and faced with the necessity of earning a living, he finds that to make his way in an uncaring world he has to learn to believe in himself.

#631 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:15 PM:

Guy with more money than sense tries to start a zoo. Mathematician tells him he's full of shit. Everybody* dies.

*Almost.

#632 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:16 PM:

A man's family is composed of misers and misanthropes who won't be leaving him anything in their wills, this inspires some feeling of desperation in considering the wealth so near and yet so out of reach.

#633 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:18 PM:

Xopher @ 629: Snyyvat Serr.

#634 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Eleanor 633: Lrc, gung'f vg.

#635 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Ginger #592, 493: Avira'f _Cebgrpgbe_ svgf.

#636 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:22 PM:

bryan @ 632, is it Xvaq Urnegf naq Pbebargf?

#637 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Xopher @631: Pergnprbhf Cnex?

#638 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:25 PM:

NelC: Evtug vqrn, jebat gvgyr.

#639 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:26 PM:

albatross@ 635: True, but look again at some of the words I used. ;-)

Clearly, some tropes are more common than others.

Xopher, you've managed to befuddle me now. I think I know some of the ones you're posting.

#640 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:27 PM:

Xopher #631: Whenffvp Cnex!

Bryan #617: V qb abg yvxr gurz, Fnz V Nz!

#641 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:28 PM:

Ginger: So guess them! I think my goal is to get them to sound familiar without having you actually guess them correctly, but YOU win if you guess them anyway!

#642 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:30 PM:

albatross 640: Lrf.

#643 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Lee @ 584: yes.

Xopher @ 631: Whenffvp Cnex.

My first two at #385 are still up for grabs, although at least one of them is a duplicate.

#644 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 06:51 PM:

Eleanor @ 385,643: Is it Nyvpr va Jbaqreynaq?

#645 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Lance Weber @ 644: No, and I'm mystified as to how you got that answer.

#646 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:24 PM:

Am I the only one who is suddenly attracted by these descriptions to a number of books I've never quite got around to reading? I am?

I just realised - you know how when a book you love from ages ago is rereleased with a cover with starships, explosions or people shooting at each other or is remade into a film or TV series with everything that made it interesting replaced with people running, shouting and things exploding, and you ask yourself what the audience they made it for is? It's me.

Sorry.

But to partially make up for that : Retirees go green and team up with ghosts to save humanity from extinction!

#647 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:26 PM:

Looks like nobody recognised mine (360), so here they are:

Qrkgre va gur Qnex ol Wrss Yvaqfnl

Znggre ol Vnva Zvqqyrvavgvny Onaxf (and now I'm kicking myself for forgetting to mention that she was accompanied by a robot that transforms into a dildo)

Let's try a couple more, from older books that might be more recognisable...

Beautiful warrior queen summons unholy powers to murder her rival, then has second thoughts and fights her way across Hell to save his soul.

God-fearing imperialist hero battles sinister Russian agents, murderous Aztecs, even more murderous crosstime-travelling Amazon warriors, and rebellious native Americans before failing to prevent the creation of our world.

#648 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:28 PM:

Obviously I jumped between multiverses between the time I read your post and responded. My answer is definitely correct in the other 'verse.

#649 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:30 PM:

616: Raqre'f Tnzr?

622: Gur Qernzvat Pvgl ?

623: Cfvba?

631: Ha! Whenffvp Cnex.

#650 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Bryan @ 617: Terra Rttf naq Unz ol Qe Fhrff

Eleanor @ 630: Gnemna?

#651 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:42 PM:

616 definitely isn't Raqre'f Tnzr. I'm thinking it's a particular short story by Qrynal* ("gurfr tbyqra ...") but I can't remember its name.

* Who Xopher must be an even bigger fan of than I am.

#652 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:42 PM:

Mary Aileen, #606: No, actually you missed that one. Repeating with expanded detail:

"Exiled princess must impersonate a male warrior-priest (who happens to be her distant relative), leading an army to defeat her usurper brother and save her kingdom from his ruinous reign. Along the way she overcomes her own distrust of men and finds True Love."

bryan, #617: Terra Rttf naq Unz

Xopher, #631: Whenffvp Cnex

May I note that I think we're drifting from the original concept, which was to make decent works sound like Really Bad Fanfic? A lot of the more recent entries seem to be more along the lines of, "How obscure can I make the description and still have someone guess it?" but without the cheesy ficciness.

#653 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:53 PM:

Lee: Good point. (In particular, I think it's fun to see how insanely and ridiculously über- can you make the protagonist sound, which is what kicked the whole thing off.)

#654 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 07:57 PM:

May I note that I think we're drifting from the original concept, which was to make decent works sound like Really Bad Fanfic? A lot of the more recent entries seem to be more along the lines of, "How obscure can I make the description and still have someone guess it?" but without the cheesy ficciness.

All mine have been from the point of view of a reviewer who can't tell the difference between decent work and really bad fanfic, which I hoped straddled the difficulty vs cheese divide. It took me literally minutes of work.

Additionally, I would note that in almost every game I've invented or adapted, developments during play have improved it; we seem to prefer to play guess the "accurate but misleading in a cheese-pulp style" description game rather than the original idea.

All that said, to play the original game in a "pure" way I'd suggest that someone decide on a set of titles and everyone come up with the cheesiest descriptions for them.

#655 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:08 PM:

Jon M. @ 613: Yup, that's correct.

Here are my two that have no guesses:

A flying gay assassin in love with an elf kills his brothers and then uses his magic powers to sing and dance to alleviate his guilt about it.

A space traveling Catholic priest whose split personality is the Space Pope fights against the church before the cybernetic vampires win by making all Catholics immortal.

And another easy one:

A woman is caught in a menage-a-trois with a vampire and a werewolf. They get in trouble, she gives up her weapons, and then summons the dead to get out of the sticky situation.

#656 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:13 PM:

I'd like to see a short yet still identifiable cheese-job on Song of Fire and Ice!

#657 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:22 PM:

Girl bonds with dragons and becomes queen of slaves while orphans with wolf-familiars are hunted to the ends of the Earth, in an adventure that will change their lives forever.

Which makes me think of: Three orphans are pursued by an evil relation who wants their inheritance; this puts them through a number of unpleasant experiences.

Time for me to go to bed I suspect.

#658 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:38 PM:

Lee (652): Well, it fits your first description. :)

I don't seem to know the one you're thinking of, though.

#659 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Ross Smith @ 650: Good guess, but no.

#660 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 08:59 PM:

One in a million genius adopts a one in a billion genius, rescues a long-dead lover, and starts a revolution against an all-powerful global empire with the help of his AI assistant and lots of plucky anarchistic helpers. But can they evade the wiles of the beautiful and deadly spy?

#661 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:12 PM:

#655 Spherical Time: That last description sounds like the setup for a joke....

#657 Neil: That was brilliant!

How about: Beautiful artist sleeps with hundreds of men, then with most powerful straight man on Earth. Then she seduces a priest, gets married, rescues her dead mother, accepts a proposal from her dying teacher, arranges her sister's demise, and escapes to an orbital habitat.

#662 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:15 PM:

Did anyone guess 610? I'm still wracking my brains, such as they are, over that one.

Oh, and Neil, you're not the only one who thinks a lot of these descriptions sound awesome. I've added several titles to my must-read list, particularly The Third Policeman sounds really interesting, and have been reminded of a bunch I want to re-read, cheese and all.

Also and furthermore, I think a lot of SF writers' names look *great* in ROT-13. Uneel Uneevfba! P.W. Pureelu!

#663 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:16 PM:

Youth decides he's had it with his parents and everyone else sucking up to the foreign invaders who've run things for generations, so he runs away and joins a resistance movement. Ironically, he winds up being a personal body servant to one of the foreigners!

#664 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:17 PM:

A flying gay assassin

...who lives in a flying fortress called the Enola Gay?

#665 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 09:29 PM:

Clifton 651: Yeah, that's the one. It's called Gur Fgne Cvg.

Neil, I agree with Clifton 662. I'd like to add that I think it's extremely cool that 'Terra' and 'Green' are ROT-13s of each other!

#666 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:31 PM:

647: P.Y. Zbber, Oynpx Tbq'f Xvff (Wvery bs Wbvel: 1)

#667 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:43 PM:

Is there a synonym for "Hills" that ROT-13s nicely?

The Captain is a super tactician and galactic super-stud. His devilish alien first officer is a scientific genius who claims to have no emotions -- but every woman knows better, and tries to prove it. The curmudgeonly ship's doctor is a medical miracle-worker who can cure anything but a rainy day (that's the chief engineer's department). Together, they bring Truth, Justice, and the American Way to the Galaxy, destroy ancient gods and sentient computers, discover parallel Earths, bring freedom to slave races, and save the Universe from certain destruction time after time!

#668 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:43 PM:

Xopher at #665 writes:

> I'd like to add that I think it's extremely cool that 'Terra' and 'Green' are ROT-13s of each other!

As are 'irk' and 'vex' - ROT-13 synonyms!

#669 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:54 PM:

How about author summaries?

Various countercultural good-guy characters smoke dope, listen to lots of interesting music, and shoot the bull, while interacting with time travelers. All characters believe that historically visible paradox will end universe, and this is major plot driver. Main character often must overcome aversion to telepathy in order to save the day.

#670 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:59 PM:

For want of a comma...

Evil spirits abduct a suburban family's daughter causing chaos and havoc.

...one wonders, looking at TCM's capsule description of Poltergeist, if it's the kid who's causing chaos and havoc, or the whole suburban family.

#671 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Jon @ 666: Correct!

#672 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:30 AM:

bryan @ #431: alien with unexplained resemblance to offensive racial stereotypes is hated by all humanity.

Lee @ #584: Puvyqubbq'f Raq


I don't think that fits - it wasn't a racial stereotype, and I recall there being an explanation.

I thought maybe Fgne Jnef Gur Cunagbz Zranpr?

#673 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:37 AM:

bryan #472: Spiritually enlightened prince moves to sylvan setting with sweetheart, teams up with wisecracking monkey to fight evil.

I feel I ought to know this; there can't be that many stories that match "teams up with wisecracking monkey to fight evil". It's not Journey to the West, though, so I'm stumped.

...oh, wait. Is it Enznlnan?


cop framed of crime is presumed dead, resides in graveyard and wages war on the underworld.

If you meant the criminal underworld, this is Jvyy Rvfare'f Gur Fcvevg. If you meant the actual underworld, let us know what it is so I can read it.

#674 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:45 AM:

Xopher @ #620: Gur frk bs gur ibvpr npgbe abgjvgufgnaqvat, vg'f zl erpbyyrpgvba gung gur abiryvfngvba rkcyvpvgyl qrfpevorf gur irarenoyr obgnavfg nf znyr. Gung nfvqr, gung jnf n ernyyl pyrire fhzznel.

#675 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Ginger @ #639: True, but look again at some of the words I used.

If not for the words you used, I'd have thought it was Zvffvba bs Tenivgl; but "cerffher" doesn't fit.

#676 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:00 AM:

BSD @ #481: I have no idea who Gretel Blix is, but your second one is Hygenivbyrg.

bryan @ #491: Wnpx Fceng, Byq Zbgure Uhooneq, and the middle one I don't recognise but the context suggests that it's nyfb n ahefrel eulzr.

albatross @ #511: In that case, it's N Qrrcarff va gur Fxl, which it's obviously been too long since I last read.

Will Frank @ #583: Arba Trarfvf Rinatryvba. Gung ynfg dhrfgvba vf cnegvphyneyl arng.

Xopher @ #627: Bs Zvpr naq Zra?

Xopher @ #663: This sounds like it could be the one volume of Wbua Puevfgbcure'f Gevcbqf Gevybtl that I haven't actually read.

#677 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:15 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 599

Yes; that was just too easy; you got it right away. It could also be "Songs of Earth and Power", the later version that Greg Bear created out of Infinity Concerto and Serpent Mage, plus another 20 or 25,000 new words. I think I like the later version a little better.

#678 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:35 AM:

Wow Paul A. really tore through all of mine.

#679 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:36 AM:

bryan @ #462:

I just realised that's the slogan from one of the sidebar ads. Was that what you were going for, or did you have something else in mind as well?

#680 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:37 AM:

"May I note that I think we're drifting from the original concept, which was to make decent works sound like Really Bad Fanfic? A lot of the more recent entries seem to be more along the lines of, "How obscure can I make the description and still have someone guess it?" but without the cheesy ficciness."

I blame me, because I wasn't that interested in the original premise. I think it was just to say that did it...

#681 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:48 AM:

#679, yeah I was interested to see how long it would take someone to pick up on it, also I found it amusing because the description certainly was along the lines of 'together, they fight crime' cliches.

#682 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:50 AM:

Paul A. at #676: yes, you got the context right on the middle one.

#683 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:28 AM:

#534 advice to me: Leet Key lets you bind a keystroke combination to rot13.

Thanks: that's very useful.

#684 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:48 AM:

I could have guessed a bunch of these, but was beaten to them.

I'm rather proud of mine @ 432, and am a little sad nobody has guessed it. I'll re-post it, and if nobody has guessed by tomorrow I'll give the answer:

"A group of racist Luddites massacres the only ethnic group in favor of technological progress, then stages a coup d'état."

#685 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:39 AM:

Rymenhild @ 388: V Pncgher Gur Pnfgyr.

#686 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:41 AM:

Joel@667 OK, don't see anyone answering this yet.

fgne gerx

#687 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:47 AM:

Re my #686

Another possibility is some parody of the rot-13d item.

#688 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:13 AM:

Paul A #676: Yep, you got mine from #200.

#689 ::: Mr. Chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:23 AM:

I haven't seen this one posted yet, which struck me a curious given the comments upthread, although I may have missed it while skimming past some of the ROT-13. Anyway, I thought this one just cried out for some fanfic-style self-promotion. It's a bit long, for which I apologize. Fair warning; I've tried to make the summary misleadingly dorky, but SPOILERS AHOY:


Okay, I'm posting my NaNoWriMo project to Livejournal, and words alone cannot describe how awesome it is. The hero is an incredible badass with unusual mental abilities who was raised by a secret society which taught him the ways of pain and death from an early age. As if this didn't make him cool enough, he wears black all the time, and wields a totally awesome sword. He's a prodigy who commands the respect of some of his teachers and the jealousy of others, but his life is turned upside down after embarking on a doomed love affair and having some problems with drugs and a really extreme case of the munchies.

Evicted from the shelter of the community where he grew up, he explores a strangely-familiar world where technology and magic intermingle, traveling through time as well as space (it turns out everything happens in OUR WORLD, just in the distant past or the far future)! He meets various beautiful women, some of whom he sleeps with, one of whom may be his mother. I'm not like some sort of pervert or something, though. I only put the bit about his mother in there because we just just read Oedipus in AP English (shoutouts to my peeps in Mrs. Smith's class! Juniors rule, seniors drool!). If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should totally read Oedipus because it's all classic and stuff.

Anyway, enough of those old Greek guys. Back to MY story! As the novel progresses, the hero does all kinds of cool stuff. He explores caves and ruined cities, fighting CHUDs, a Doppelganger, an Ettin King, a Giant (Aquatic), and some other monsters from an unlicensed D20 supplement I found online. He befriends an elderly librarian, engages in a duel, becomes a professional actor (and eventually beats up his jerk of a director!), fights in a war, meets wise aliens who help him discover his destiny, and eventually he SAVES THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE! He also dies a few times, but he's so tough he always comes back, just like Chuck Norris!

I just finished the first draft, and now I'm looking for some Beta readers to give me feedback; I'm especially curious to know what everyone thinks about the brain-eating scenes! If you want to read it, let me know so I can friend you and give you access! Kthxbai!

#690 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Paul A: Yep. Nice!

#691 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:39 AM:

#257 JH: Are you sure you're not describing the net?

#692 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Teacher becomes convinced that his bosses want to murder his students, so he steals a large vehicle and talks them into running away into the wilds.

V'q fnl YZO'f Snyyvat Serr, rkprcg V qba'g guvax gur uhzna punenpgre jnf gur dhnqqvrf' grnpure; jnfa'g ur na ratvarre be fbzrguvat?

Guy with more money than sense tries to start a zoo. Mathematician tells him he's full of shit. Everybody* dies.

That'd be everyone's favorite Luddite and Whenffvp Cnex.

A woman is caught in a menage-a-trois with a vampire and a werewolf. They get in trouble, she gives up her weapons, and then summons the dead to get out of the sticky situation.

Bofvqvna Ohggresyl was really the last readable one in that series, and the two books before it were already starting to show the rot.

I'm reasonably sure Mr. Chris's #689 is Ryevp bs Zryavobar, but I am not certain.

"OK, so she's like all gorgeous and strong and stuff, and she has this cat, only it's totally really a smart cat with like telepathy and stuff, and she doesn't know how gorgeous she is because she was, um, like, raped when she was in school, except only almost and really she beat the guy to a pulp and now he hates her and he's like a count or a baron or something, and when she discovers her true love he has the guy killed..."

Not that it's tough to make Ubabe Uneevatgba sound like a Mary Sue.

#693 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:10 PM:

Given that the description of 667 made it sound unmistakably like Star Trek, I figured 667 definitely had to be something other than Star Trek.

#694 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:17 PM:

As an aside, three of my puzzles are works by the same author....

#695 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:25 PM:

Paul 674:V erpnyy gur bccbfvgr; jbaqre vs jr pna genpx qbja n pbcl? VVEP gur ener frpgvbaf sebz gung CBI nyjnlf fnl gur Byq Obgnavfg naq nibvq cebabhaf, hagvy gur irel raq jura gurl fnl 'fur'. Gur XVQF nyy fnl 'ur' naq fnl "ur'f n zna sebz bhgre fcnpr" naq fb sbegu. V'z abj snfpvangrq gb purpx guvf erpbyyrpgvba.

Paul 676 re my 627: Nope.

re my 663: Right series, so I'll give it to you. Gur riragf qrfpevorq ner sebz Gur Juvgr Zbhagnvaf naq Gur Pvgl bs Tbyq naq Yrnq. Gur ynggre vf zl snibevgr va gur frevrf VVEP; vg fubjf gur znva punenpgre npghnyyl univat vagreany pbasyvpg.

Carrie 692: Lrnu, ur jnf grnpuvat gurz ratvarrevat. I have to say that 'ratvarrevat' is one of the coolest ROT-13s I've come across!

As for Ubabe, she's one of the worst Mary Sues to get pubbed at all. And the books just keep getting sillier. When I got to the one where there was actually n eribyhgvbanel punenpgre anzrq Ebo F. Cvreer, I said "OK, either this guy's just a really cheesy writer, or he's writing this cheese on purpose as a joke. Either way, I've read enough of it."

She has a great ROT-13 though. Reminds me of Groundhog Day, where he really gets sick of hearing that song...I got sick of it too.

#696 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Clifton @ 693: Star Trek is what I had in mind. Just trying to get back to the "take something good and try to make it sound as cheezy as possible" mode.

#697 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 12:55 PM:

No one's guessed my 619 (hint: short story), 622, 623 (no, Ginger, not Cfvba), or 627 yet.

Neil 646: Byq Zna'f Jne?

Here's a new one: The fanatical crew of a starship, determined to stamp out reproductive freedom wherever they find it, exterminate the entire population of a planet.

#698 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Eleanor's correct at 685.

There's still one clue of mine that no one's guessed:

A wizard-king punishes two brothers for raping a girl by turning them into animals and making them mate with each other. This work also includes a lurid tale of adultery and magic in which a woman cheats on the man she was made for!

#699 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Joel @667-- depending on exactly how you want to use the word, would either "evfrf" or "hcynaqf" work for you?

My 446, "Technological device designed to assuage conflict is misused for political murder. The inventor recruits a goofy young soldier with special powers who battles his nemesis, a killer from a totalitarian regime. The goofy soldier gets the girl, the Commie killer gets enlightenment." is "Gur Qhryvat Znpuvar" ol Ora Obin (has anybody besides me read this one?)

#700 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Since nobody's grabbed 446 yet: Gur Qhryvat Znpuvar ol Ora Obin (sebz orsber ur yrg cbyvgvpf \pbzcyrgryl/ bireevqr gur fgbel).

Xopher@697: Lbhe gerngzrag bs Evgr bs Cnffntr vf gur zbfg pbzcyrgr vairefvba V'ir frra va guvf guernq -- although that probably means I haven't been paying enough attention. (Recovering from working Boskone will do that.)

Many of the answers I haven't even heard of (and I wouldn't have gotten 446 if I weren't A Certain Age); I don't know whether that says more about my breadth or my taste, given some of the descriptions. How about

Two boys ride a homebuilt contraption to upset a static culture, but lose their mentor in a hurricane.

#701 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Rymenhild: OK, that last hint finally tipped it for me. From the first clue, I knew the story was familiar but couldn't quite place it. It's part of Gur Zntvabtvba and the wizard-king is the great Zngu nc Zngubajl. The latter part is the story of Oybqrhjrqq.

#702 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Gah. I really did have that one before Debbie posted.

I expect you'll find several other middle-aged men who've read it; there was a time when that author could write decent books-for-older-]boys[.

#703 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Debbie @ 699: Well, what I was hoping for was something which would work well with "Green [hills of] Terra". Which isn't quite the Heinlein title, but is pretty close.

#704 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Debbie: Arrrgh, I almost guessed that way back, but I read it so long ago, I wasn't sure all of it applied! Darn it, I should have guessed.

In that spirit, Xopher, how about the movie Na Nzrevpna Gnvy: Svriry Tbrf Jrfg for your 622? Probably not what you were thinking of, but it kind of works.

#705 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:30 PM:

Musing on Rymenhild's selection, now that I've finally placed it:

I remember when I first read that portion of the work in question, many years ago, it struck me that it was one of the few works I'd read from its time-period which treated rape as casting great shame on the perpetrators, not on the victim. I've thought that reflected well on its culture of origin.

#706 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:38 PM:

CHiP -- lol! That was truly amazing timing!

CHiP and Clifton -- In my early teens*, I loved Bova and (especially) Heinlein. Later the blatant sexism bothered me a lot. When virtual reality systems started coming out, I recalled "Dueling Machine" and reread it. I admired the prescience, but found the rest of the story hadn't worn well. It's always interesting to reread things years later.

*and I'm of A Certain Age, too :)

#707 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Oh, albatross's 519 = N Sver Hcba gur Qrrc! Brilliant!

#708 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 02:57 PM:

One is a 5'2"* movie screenwriter from Los Angeles.
The other has written over 400 books.
They fight crime!!

*(5'5")

#709 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:51 PM:

Debbie 699: I read that when I was in Junior High, but I didn't remember enough of those details to ID it.

CHip 700: Gunaxf! Ohg V unir gb fnl gung rira jura V svefg ernq gung obbx va gur rneyl 70f be fb, V gubhtug gur fgnefuvc crbcyr jrer trabpvqny zbafgref sbe qbvat gung.

Clifton 704: I have no idea whether that fits, since I'm unfamiliar with the work you cite, but it's not the one I had in mind. Mine's a big thick book. Not part of a series, it's a standalone novel.

#710 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 03:52 PM:

I read the Duelling machine at school, I suppose I was 12 or something, enjoyed it. But yes, I too found the sexism annoying when I re-read it years later.

#711 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:12 PM:

An eccentric genius and an impoverished ex-soldier eke out their meagre funds by sharing an apartment. Together, they fight crime!

#712 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Paul@ 675: Zvffvba bs Tenivgl; but "cerffher" doesn't fit.

It doesn't? Because that's the one I had in mind. I could have sworn..oh, well. Chalk up yet another victory for advancing age and/or lack of oxygen to the brain.

#713 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Dave Bell #711 That's obviously Pbana Qblyr'f Gur Fvta bs gur Sbhe. And, of course, most of the Fureybpx Ubyzrf stories that followed.

#714 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:23 PM:

In a war against an evil empire, a valiant fighter pilot assembles a group of hard-drinking pilots to fly deep into enemy territory, with special bombs, to destroy a supposedly impregnable structure.

(Several books and a film...)

#715 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:27 PM:

A stolen throne! The last heir to the kingdom missing! Can our seven heroes save the day?

#716 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:47 PM:

a trio of drug addict cockroaches with weird tastes in inter-species sex live in an airplane hangar in New Mexico, together they fight grime.

two opponents of the madness of free verse and modernism, united in their love of exotic drinks and literary pugilism, together they write rhyme.

heavily mustachioed vampires in Eastern Europe prey on traveling troupes of street performers, they bite mimes.

bs pbhefr abar bs gurfr npghnyyl rkvfg, V whfg abgvprq ubj zhpu rirelbar jnf svtugvat pevzr nyy bs gur fhqqra.

#717 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:59 PM:

OK, here's one:

A hard-bitten bastard brat turned soldier-for-hire must fend off a bona fide invincible Evil Twin's robot army*...and wage war against malevolent AIs bent on destroying humanity! Our hero's alcoholic gay transvestite buddy turns out to be the one thing standing between the human race and UTTER ANNIHILATION. History will never be the same!

___
* Okay, so it's a mostly human army...but there's some robots.

#718 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 04:59 PM:

My #660 and #661 are still open.

How about this one:

Young, up-and-coming naval officer and nobleman destroys an alien spaceship, and gets sent to meet the aliens. He loses his ship, but finds True Love.

#719 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Clifton #707: Got it!

#720 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:03 PM:

albatross 718: Onolyba Svir. Except I can't figure out how the "nobleman" part fits in.

#721 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 05:34 PM:

albatros @ 661: It is pretty much a joke.

Serge @ 664 ...who lives in a flying fortress called the Enola Gay?

Nope. Hehehe. That's a tough one, but he's one of my favorite characters of all time.

Carrie @692: You got it. Bofvqvna Ohggresyl is where I stopped reading cause I finally got sick and tired of the S&M.

Has this already been done? Probably, but I'll go anyway.

A tall reincarnated orphan farmboy with three wives learns he has magic powers and is destined to fight evil except in the end

. . . just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world . . .

#722 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:40 PM:

Xopher - 697 - right!

Every description can be improved if you can squeeze in "... which would change their lives forever", "Together they fight crime!", "... with hilarious consequences"* and of course "... beyond their wildest dreams".

Two ships - one built in a single night, the other driven by an insatiable lust for blood. Two strangers, brought together by duty, kept together by love. A battle that would decide the fate of a continent in an adventure that would change their lives forever!

(I've cheated by using some of the actual cover copy)

* Alternatively "Hijinks ensue!"

#723 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Neil @ 722: ...and don't forget the "during a hurricane" part. You have to have that, just in honor of Eternity of Blood.

#724 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Damn it, if there's not a hurricane, or at least a storm, in the work I just mentioned I'm very much mistaken*. Although fog and ice are more the dominant aspects of the weather in it.

* A quick look suggests that there is "heavy weather".

#725 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:22 PM:

Okay, it's hint time for my three unsolved entries.

The last survivor of a dead planet enslaves an alien child, but lets him go in exchange for a cat. Someone else wrote another entry for this, which has been solved. The word "planet" was intended to mislead. Father Christmas appears as a character, not very justifiably.

In a techno-paradise full of SEX SEX SEX! and clones, a woman is pursued by a madman she met on a foreign holiday. She takes drugs. He likes whipping himself. It ends badly. I really thought someone would get this quickly, and am now wondering if I've made a factual error. Okay, he doesn't like whipping himself, but he does it anyway. He does like Shakespeare. The book ends with compass points.

Cruelly separated from his parents at an early age, our innocent hero is shunned by almost everybody he meets, simply because he is different. With only his talking animal companion for company, and faced with the necessity of earning a living, he finds that to make his way in an uncaring world he has to learn to believe in himself. For added Marty Stu value, I should have mentioned that this protagonist can fly.

#726 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Fragano: but N Fghql va Fpneyrg was the first....

Xopher: agreed on your point; I was particularly taken by "reproductive freedom".

#727 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:39 PM:

Eleanor (725): That probably isn't Wbanguna Yvivatfgba Frnthyy, but that's what it made me think of.

#728 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:44 PM:

David Goldfarb@684

Ybeq bs gur Evatf

(V guvax V'ir frra guvf bar va fbzr guernq va e.n.f.s.j.)

#729 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Neil 724: Why, it's Gur Ynaq bs Zvfg naq Fabj! A really good book, he said, abg ng nyy fhpxvat hc gb bar bs gur sebag-cntr cbfgref bs gur fvgr.

#730 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:47 PM:

CHip #726: You are indubitably correct.

#731 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 07:49 PM:

CHip: One of the things I found disturbing about the book is that the characters are sympathetic, and only at the end do you realize how monstrously evil they are.

#732 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:32 PM:

He's a poet reincarnated as a cockroach. She's an Egyptian empress reincarnated as a cat. Together, they write free verse.

Xopher @ 695: I dug out my copy of the novel; the character is male.

#733 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:47 PM:

714 is obviously Gur Qnzohfgref

#734 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:49 PM:

"One is a 5'2"* movie screenwriter from Los Angeles.
The other has written over 400 books.
They fight crime!!

*(5'5")"

Nyy V pna guvax bs urer vf Uneyna Ryyvfba'f nqncgngvba bs Nfvzbi'f V, Ebobg. Gbb onq gurl pbhyqa'g svtug gur pevzr gung jnf gur zbivr bs gung anzr.

#735 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:52 PM:

Eleanor @ 725:

Your #1: Choke, splutter! OK, now I get it. "Ur'f abg n gnzr png."

On #2, now that you take away the "likes" whipping himself, and add the Shakespeare (good hint!) I've got that too, and can complete the quote by which it is known: "... gung unf fhpu crbcyr va vg."

On #3, I had the same reaction as Mary Aileen, before I checked her answer. Is it indeed Wbanguna Yvivatfgba Frnthyy? (I had a split-second of not wanting to even admit I'd read it, but in the '70s it was practically mandated reading.)

732: Nepuvr & Zruvgnory. My daughter named her pet cat after the latter.

I still want to know about the singing, dancing, and flying gay assassin who has been teasing us since early on.

#736 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:53 PM:

725 a: Gur Yvba, Gur Jvgpu, naq gur Jneqebor but I needed the clue

732: Nepuvr & Zruvgnory

#737 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 08:57 PM:

Actually, I think I misquoted - that should be "perngherf", not "crbcyr".

#738 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:05 PM:

An oldie:

He sold the government a worthless bridge so that others can live forever.

And something newer:

A thief for a good cause becomes a god to fight other gods, but winds up shackled.

#739 ::: Lloyd Burchill ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 09:39 PM:

In a techno-paradise...

Fgrry Ornpu ?

#740 ::: Ebo Ehfvpx ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:20 PM:

A few years back on 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft interviewed Jay Leno. At some point, the conversation turned to his cars, and the next shot is in a parking lot with Leno about to take Kroft for a spin in his lemon yellow 1931 Bentley convertible as the crew records.

Leno turns to the cameraman, and says:

    HE'S an investigative reporter!
    HE'S a tv talk show host!
    TOGETHER, THEY FIGHT CRIME!

Sorry, it's not literature... I threw in a little ROT13 to make up for it, though.

#741 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Clifton @ 737: "Perngherf"? Is that the latest in the series?

#742 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:11 PM:

Joel: No, that's what I say at this point when confronted with the prospect of reading more Pern-pron: "Gherf."

"Come from the dusty perf, Pern in a gherf, and be the Jedi master of my soul", as Yeats definitively did not write. (It's been a long day.)

739: Try Oenir Arj Jbeyq

#743 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:22 PM:

Xopher, #709: So, if you'll recall, did the protagonist and some others. There was at least a ray of hope held out that Change might be underway.

Mine at #652 is still open:
Exiled princess must impersonate a male warrior-priest (who happens to be her distant relative), leading an army to defeat her usurper brother and save her kingdom from his ruinous reign. Along the way she overcomes her own distrust of men and finds True Love.

And here's another entry:
Warriors of Light and Dark, they lead the armies of their respective Empires. Who would have guessed that a psychic bond could form which makes them need each other as much as they hate each other? Their desire will reshape worlds!

#744 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:45 PM:

#743: Oooh, is that Zvpuryyr Fntnen'f Fhaqrerq frevrf? That was damn fine stuff.

#745 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:46 PM:

Mr Chris @ #689: Carrie S. has already suggested that this is Ryevp bs Zryavobar by Zvpunry Zbbepbpx. I think, rather, that it is rirelguvat by Zvpunry Zbbepbpx.

#746 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:48 PM:

Clifton @ #701: Aha! I'd worked out that it was Zlgubybtl, but I was trying to make it fit into Bivq'f Zrgnzbecubfrf and not succeeding.

& @ #705: I agree.

#747 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Ginger @ #712:

If one of us is suffering from advancing age and/or lack of oxygen to the brain, it's more likely to be me than you.

Probably I'm just being over-precise; it's just that "cerffher" makes me think "uvtu ngzbfcurevp qrafvgl" before it makes me think "uvtu tenivgl". In any case, you've probably read the book more recently than I have, so feel free to ignore me.

#748 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Tlönista @ #717: Good one. That's Nfu N Frperg Uvfgbel ol Znel Tragyr. (I particularly like how you've made "hggre naavuvyngvba" and "uvfgbel jvyy arire or gur fnzr" sound like overblown hyperbole instead of exactly literal description.)

#749 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:50 AM:

Clifton, #744: Nice try, but no cigar.

#750 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:46 AM:

Lee @ #743: Purff? (gur tnzr, abg gur zhfvpny)

#751 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 02:54 AM:

Paul, #750: Interesting guess! But no, it's an actual book. Hint: I entered another one by the same author way back upthread.

#752 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 04:20 AM:

386b: Gur Znovabtvba (Sbhegu Oenapu).

#753 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 04:22 AM:

Michael I @ 728: Right on both counts. The person who posted it to rasfw was...me.

#754 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 08:23 AM:

Xopher #720 (re my 718): That wasn't what I was trying for. But I've only watched about three B5 episodes, so it may fit. This is a pretty widely-read book.

#755 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 08:28 AM:

I'm feeling a bit guilty about just sitting here guessing answers and not putting anything back into the conversation. Therefore:

"Fighting on the front lines of humanity's struggle against an implacable enemy, he is the best of the best, the man who cannot die! Yet even he cannot win victory alone... in the end, the caprice of a space pirate will decide his fate -- and the fate of an entire world!"

"Her father didn't want her! Her mother couldn't keep her! From a childhood of slavery and degradation, she escaped into the arms of a man old enough to be her father! Now, she's torn between the two men who love her: the impoverished and disinherited son of a baron, and the rich man whose past holds a secret she could never have guessed!"

(That first one might be cheating, since the source uses some of the tropes deliberately. The second one, on the other hand, is pure artifice.)

#756 ::: Mr. Chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 09:22 AM:

My entry at #689 is not based on anything by Michael Moorcock, although in retrospect I can see the resemblence, and it frightens me. Of course, on rereading it, I can see that I got the most vital plot point wrong. I could claim that this was to make it less identifiable, but the sad truth is that I was so entranced by the idea of transforming an SF classic into OMGKEWL fanfic by a slightly disturbed teenager that I just failed to catch my oversight before I posted.

Also, fair warning, I may have gotten some details wrong, since all my books are halfway around the world at the moment. In any case, I shall provide some additional hints, while attempting to maintain the authorial voice:


OK, I've made some revisions to the plot since the last time I posted. First, one of my beta readers told me I needed to have more "cute stuff that makes you go awww" so I added a sequence where the hero sort of adopts a kid. I don't really know where to go with that whole subplot, but I'll figure something out. More importantly, it turns out a lot of my readers said the whole "saving the universe" thing is WAY overdone, so instead of saving the universe, I'm going to have the hero become King of the World at the end, which is a little more believable.

I didn't seem right to just end the story there, though, so I've started working on a epilogue. What's going to happen is the hero is going to save the world (or maybe the whole solar system) by traveling to ANOTHER UNIVERSE! Only all the people in the other universe are, like, angels! ALIEN angels! Man, that'll mess with people's heads! And maybe the hero will have sex with one of the alien angels, because he's just that irresistable. And since the other universe is, like, heaven, that means that I can have a big scene where all the characters from earlier in the story make a cameo appearance! Awesome!

Progress: 54% completed

#757 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Spherical Time at #721
Has this already been done? Probably, but I'll go anyway.

A tall reincarnated orphan farmboy with three wives learns he has magic powers and is destined to fight evil except in the end

That would be Eboreg Wbeqna'f Jurry bs Gvzr.

#758 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 10:06 AM:

Joel @732 — indeed, several other have guessed this. To which I can only add, musically: "gbhwbhef tnl, gbhwbhef tnl"

#759 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:03 AM:

Our Hero starts off as a lazy jerk, but as he grows up he learns to be helpful and heroic as well as becoming amazingly strong. He goes around slaying monsters, robbers, and the undead, but one of the undead monstrosities he faces curses him that his attempts to help will forevermore end up backfiring. He makes all sorts of enemies due to this curse, but even as he grows old and alone they can only bring him down by resorting to magic.

#760 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:03 AM:

Paul A@ 747: I'll be happy to share the oxygen tank with you.. ;-) As for "uvtu ngzbfcurevp qrafvgl" -- you've got a good point there. :-)

#761 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Ginger @ 760: Any chance you were thinking of Pybfr gb Pevgvpny?

#762 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:19 PM:

Joel@ 761: That one doesn't ring a bell -- I may have read it, but I don't remember it -- and nope, that's not the one. Paul did get it at 675.

By the way, I love your 732. ;-)

#763 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Ginger @ 762: Same author and series, different extreme environment. Heat and pressure are the critical factors. So to speak.

#764 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 12:57 PM:

734: It's Vfnnp Nfvzbi, Zheqre ng gur NON.

#765 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 735: Well done, but you and Mary Aileen are still wrong about the last one, so you didn't need to admit to having read Wbanguna Yvivatfgba Frnthyy after all. Would you like another hint? I mentioned that the protagonist is shunned for being different. I'll add that the difference is located in a part (two parts?) of his anatomy.

#766 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 05:41 PM:

Paul A. @ 755: Your first one sounds like Qbpgbe Jub, rvgure Gur Cnegvat Bs Gur Jnlf vs lbh'er gryyvat vg fyvtugyl bhg bs beqre, be Gur Fbhaq Bs Qehzf/Ynfg Bs Gur Gvzr Ybeqf.

Mr. Chris @ 689, 756: Gur Obbx Bs Gur Arj Fha.

#767 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Eleanor @ #766 (about #755a):

Interesting guess, but no. It's rather more obscure than that.

In fact, it's obscure enough that I probably wouldn't have done it, except that
(a) around here, what does "obscure" mean?
(b) after what Madeline said about making the lead character sound SUPER AWESOME, I couldn't resist.

Which reminds me: in addition to being "the man who cannot die!", our hero could have been King of the World, and he said no. And they're still after him to take the job, because anybody else would be a distant second-best.

How's that for SUPER AWESOME?

#768 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 07:04 PM:

766: Wow, you clearly got Mr. Chris's 689. I had to go back and take a close look, but it all goes together.

#769 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 08:40 PM:

Duncan @ 757: Yes, of course. That's correct.

#770 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 11:16 PM:

I suspect there are other possibilities for 738.1, but the obvious oldie is "Oevqtr" / Gurl Funyy Unir Fgnef, by Wnzrf Oyvfu.

#771 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 01:43 AM:

OMFG I found him, I found Alaric http://www.snell-pym.org.uk/alaric/

only now he's a rock-climbing geek gentleman scientist, spending all his time doing bizarre and eccentric research out of pure curiosity, trying to establish an habitable colony offworld!

#772 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 02:50 AM:

Luthe #168:
Don't think anyone's guessed "Alcoholic policeman and his motley band of subordinates (one who may or may not be king) must save the city from a dragon."

Thneqf Thneqf.

#773 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 03:29 AM:

Clifton @701/705: You're right about the work, of course, and I'm fascinated by the same gender politics you mentioned. I can't think offhand of any other medieval European text in which not only are the rapists punished, but the victim is given the most honorable possible marriage in recompense for the crime. (Of course, it's past midnight and I may not be thinking very clearly; if anyone else knows an example, please correct me!) Now I want to go looking up medieval Welsh law codes to see what the actual legal consequences of rape were.

#774 ::: Mr. Chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 09:10 AM:

Eleanor @ 766 is correct, of course.

In light of the hints Paul A. dropped at 767, I'm going to take a stab at #755a and say that it's Nezbe, by Wbua Fgrnxyl.

I can't help but notice how many books I've enjoyed sound absoluely awful if you strip every element of theme and characterization (other than descriptions of the mains character's AWESOME POWERS) away from them, and describe them solely based on the plot. It's almost as though this game contains some sort of hidden lesson for novice writers, but I can't imagine what it might be.

#775 ::: Mary Aileen sees something odd ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 10:08 AM:

774 doesn't look like spam, exactly, but it doesn't seem to fit the conversation, either. (I didn't follow the link.)

#776 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 10:33 AM:

Mary Aileen @776: It looks like someone cut a line from one of my replies. It seems rather random.

#777 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:36 AM:

No longer spam, now toast. Thanks for the heads up.

#778 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Toasted spam?
Urp.

#779 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Serge @ 779: A Hawai'ian delicacy, toasted spam. In fact, spam, spam stuffed with spam, spam on spam, toasted spam, eggs and spam, spam and spam, ketchup and spam, spam with rice, and many other fine spam dishes are very popular in Hawai'i.

You may think I'm exaggerating. ;-)

#780 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Ginger@780

Then there's spam with soy sauce...

And, of course, green eggs and spam... :-)

#782 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:15 PM:

Serge @ 782: Asked for it? Heck, I played it!

#783 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Ginger @ 783... A few years ago, there was a documentary about the show. My favorite bit was when Terry Gilliam talked about the time he was visiting a Greek island, camping on the beach for the night, when he heard other campers start singing "Spamspamspam..."

#784 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Serge @ 784: Ah-ha! He can run but he can't hide!

#785 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2008, 01:14 AM:

Mr. Chris @ #775 is correct about the identity of my #755a.

If anybody's still interested in #755b, I should probably point out that although it's a classic (and much less obscure than #755a), it's not a classic of SF.

#786 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Eleanor, #765: Now I'm irresistibly reminded of The Ballad of Stan Long by Joe Haldeman!

#787 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2008, 08:17 PM:

All of these plot descriptions remind me of the random action film trailers that this generator comes up with.

http://seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=actionfilm

#788 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2008, 08:04 PM:

Chip @ 770 - that's what I was thinking of. Now re-reading it for the umpteenth time.

#789 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:13 AM:

"All of these plot descriptions remind me of the random action film trailers that this generator comes up with.

http://seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=actionfilm"


So if I wrote a script that scraped that and plugged the result in here, and then people bothered to answer and I scraped their answer then over time I could build a graph showing how many randomly stupid plots match real plots or something like that?

That sounds like a lot of work.

Lazy bastard has slightly amusing idea but does not do anything to implement due to first word of this sentence.

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