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November 21, 2014

Pages like the petals of a red carnation
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 05:07 PM * 185 comments

For the past year or so Tiemen Zwaan, the SF/F and YA buyer at my favorite local bookstore (the delightful American Book Center in Amsterdam), has been doing what he calls Blind Book Dates. As he explains in a blog post on the subject:

I discovered that if you wrap a book and just put a few keywords with cryptic descriptions on it, suddenly something mysterious started to happen. People were drawn to this unknown book. They started to try to guess the obscured title. Interestingly enough, not knowing the title and the author made people more likely to try a new read. All the great (but not widely known) books suddenly started to fly off the shelves. And people came back for more Blind Book Dates. They tried new books, novels that they usually wouldn’t have picked up, and they really liked them.

I’ve seen the Blind Book Dates in the store, and the ones I’ve recognized have been well-chosen and well-described. I’m not surprised that people like them.

Tomorrow, the ABC in Amsterdam is hosting a Blind Book Date party, where people can bring their own wrapped and labeled books and try them out on other attendees. I’ve got other things to do and can’t go, but it does sound like a fun idea. I thought we might play along here on Making Light.

Of course, on the internet we can only “wrap” things with our words. So I’m suggesting a wrinkle on Tiemen’s rules: try to describe the book in about three points, but write them out in the style of another writer. I’ve included a couple of examples in this post, using fairly guessable books and styles. But I’d really love to hear about things I haven’t run across before. (Christmas is a-coming, and my wishlist is looking kind of thin.)

  1. For the first, this book is the story of a revolution—or perhaps it might be more precise to say, a rebellion. The terms are, alas, often used interchangeably by lesser historians, which has led to a not uncommon degree of confusion among readers of history. Therefore, rather than mislead, I shall merely state that it contains one or the other, depending on the reader’s understanding of the matter at hand.

    As a second clue, one of the characters in this book is not, in fact, human (nor, and I state this to once more be precise, is the character an Easterner). In short, he (or she, for the matter is not so much indeterminate as it is ambivalent) is not made of flesh at all.

    The third hint that I will produce is this: the greatest proportion of the events that the author does us the honor of narrating take place not on the soil of our own native planet, but on, or rather principally underneath, that of a satellite of said planet.

  2. He has painted
    the sigil
    her forehead

    with which
    she can probably
    the night god.

    But what is
    The meaning of
    the silver
    apricot stone?
  3. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a demon-hunter desiring to retire must be in want of a final challenge.

    However little he himself may wish it as he sips cardamom tea in his beloved city, this truth is so well fixed in the mind of the All-Merciful, that he is considered the rightful pursuer of any jackals and falcon princes that may appear.

Usual parlor game rules apply, please: it’s OK to duplicate books and authors, because everyone’s interpretations are interesting; ROT-13 your guesses. And do feel free to pick examples from outwith our usual genres and authors.

Comments on Pages like the petals of a red carnation:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 05:36 PM:

I now really want to read Cnnesv bs Ebhaqjbbq’s translation of Gur Zbba vf n Unefu Zvfgerff

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 05:45 PM:

Avram, I've ROT-13'd the writer name in your comment, not so much because it's obscure, but to make it clear that author styles are also part of the guessing game.

And I'm more than a little tempted to do a bit of that translation someday.

#3 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:03 PM:

Avram @ #1

<Mode=John Wayne>

Not just Yes, but Hell, YES!

Cadbury (currently recovering from eye surgery - computer time limited to 15 minutes at a stretch)

#4 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:05 PM:

Avram: I thought #1 was Gur Qvfcbffrffrq, but now that I see your guess I realize that it is of course correct.

I think #3 is Gur Guebar bs gur Perfprag Zbba by Fnynqva Nuzrq. And of course the wrapper is Cevqr naq Cerwhqvpr by Wnar Nhfgra.

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:16 PM:

David Goldfarb @4:
You know, it's amusing how close 1 is to fitting Gur Qvfcbffrffrq. Or, perhaps, "Gur Qnl orsber gur Eribyhgvba".

#6 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:27 PM:

Shoot, I knew 1 and 3 but didn't get here early enough.

Writing another will take more thought. Back later.

#7 ::: tnv ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:43 PM:

#2's wrapper is, of course, Guvf Vf Whfg Gb Fnl by Jvyyvnz Pneybf Jvyyvnzf

Is the content Gur Uhaqerq Gubhfnaq Xvatqbzf by A. X. Wrzvfva?

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:51 PM:

I agree on #3.

#9 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 06:58 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in the posession of a cupboard of gods must be in search of a husband.

#10 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 07:51 PM:

tnv@7: Didn't get it myself, but now that you say it I think you are right about the content.

Thomas@9: Same wrapper as abi's #3, of course. The content is Zbpxvatoveq by Frna Fgrjneg. Great book.

#11 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 08:03 PM:

Also, Twitter just re-mentioned SKZB's “Zl Yvggyr Wurert: Nffnffvangvba vf Zntvp” which is, somewhat disturbingly, not entirely nonexistent uggc://qernzpnsr.pbz/2013/03/07/zl-yvggyr-wurert/ thanks to the fanfic process :-) It might be more disturbing if Cnnesv had written it.

#12 ::: Alex G ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 09:46 PM:

I used to believe our world was ordered and rational, that trees and lampposts each knew their place, and that the Tube from Sloane Square would bring you to Victoria (the usual Transport for London caveats set aside).

But that was before REDHEAD CRUSADE WEEKDAY, before the British secret state was revealed to be altogether less British and more secret than our statesmen would like to think, and before the events with the captive balloon.

The philosopher and the policeman both know that if you think just the wrong kind of thoughts, you attract the attention of strange powers, things other than human - though they may wear a human face - who make anarchy out of conspiracy, conspiracy out of anarchy, and for whom our reality is no more than a diversion...

#13 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2014, 11:10 PM:

The wrapper on #12 is the Ynhaqel Svyrf.

#14 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 12:42 AM:

Actually, I think that the wrapper on #12 is gur fglyr bs U.C. Ybirpensg and that the Ynhaqel Svyrf is the content. I could be wrong, of course.

I don't have much head for these parlor games, but here's an attempt:

There was an orb. It would be foolish to say it wasn't important, though it was small; small enough that a child might hold it in her fist. It glowed, and it levitated, in ways that were obviously magical, and it was always found very near to the most important man in the Empire. It was the enabler of sorcery, and it was the repository of an idea. And important as sorcery might be, in many ways it was the idea that was the orb's more vital purpose.

And so it was the most important thing in the world.

Some people coveted it. Some people wanted to protect it. Both groups of people will succeed in some ways; and in others they will fail. Judge for yourself which are the more significant.

#15 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 01:01 AM:

David G., #14: Well, the wrapper is obviously Gbyxrva, fcrpvsvpnyyl Gur Uboovg. No guess as to the content.

#16 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 01:02 AM:

I feel pretty sure #12 is Purfgregba'f Gur Zna Jub Jnf Guhefqnl, with the wrapper in the style of Puneyvr Fgebff'f Ynhaqel Svyrf, as Carrie noted first.

I'm not placing the captive balloon, but I'm finding enough key phrases in #1's "gerrf naq ynzccbfgf", #2's "ERQURNQ PEHFNQR JRRXQNL" (think about each of those three a bit), and well, all of #3 to feel pretty sure about this.

#17 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 02:30 AM:

I think #14's content is from FXMO'f Qentnren, specifically "Svir Uhaqerq Lrnef Nsgre",

David Goldfarb was, of course, right about my #9 (where 'possession' goes both ways).

Clifton #16:Chapter 13

“Ybbx ng gur pncgvir onyybba!” fnvq Flzr, naq cbvagrq va n seraml.

“Jul gur oynmrf fubhyq V ybbx ng n pncgvir onyybba?” qrznaqrq gur Frpergnel. “Jung vf gurer dhrre nobhg n pncgvir onyybba?”

“Abguvat,” fnvq Flzr, “rkprcg gung vg vfa’g pncgvir!”

And now:

Sing, Muse, of the ambition of the Nameless, doomed and ruinous, that cast the world into war and plague.
Sing of the grandson of the Great King and his companions, wandering under many skies and suns.

#18 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 02:37 AM:

So much depends

a red

glazed with

beside the missing

#19 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 03:21 AM:

Clifton @ 16,

I think you have the right references, but the wrong way round. The wrapper is Purfgregba'f Gur Zna Jub Jnf Guhefqnl, and the content Ynhaqel Svyrf,

J Homes.

#20 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 03:33 AM:

Thomas@17 is right about my content. Lee@14 is wrong about the wrapper, but that's probably down to my poor writing skills. I would draw people's attention to the first sentence specifically; and hint that it's something that was mentioned upthread from my post.

I know the wrappers for Thomas@17 and 18 (Ubzre and Jvyyvnz Pneybf JVyyvnzf, "Erq Jurryoneebj", respectively) but not what's within.

#21 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 03:45 AM:

David Goldfarb: re #14 "a wall"?

#23 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 08:59 AM:

thomas @ 18, the wrapper is Jvyyvnz Pneybf Jvyyvnzf, but I confess the missing squid baffles me....

#24 ::: Dave* Twiddy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 09:29 AM:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a television tuned to a dead channel;
Let us go, through certain dex-accelerated streets,
The muttering retreats
Of broken cowboys in one-night capsule hotels
And prosthetic divebars with Aussie shills:
Streets that follow like a street samurai
Of murderous intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
Oh, do not ask what terms are spun
Let us go and make the run.

In the net the cowboys slot and slice
Cutting though lethal banks of corporate ice

#25 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 09:35 AM:

#24's wrapper is Cehsebpx and the content is Arhebznapre.

(confession: I did have to Google for that last title, although I knew the author straight away.)

#26 ::: Alex G ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 10:13 AM:

Carrie@13 identified my wrapper, and Clifton@16 has the sweet inside. Well done!

#27 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 11:51 AM:

Applause for #24!

#29 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 12:49 PM:

#18: The wrapper is Jvyyvnz Pneybf Jvyyvnz and it contains Puvan Zvrivyyr's "Xenxra", which is a cracking read.

#30 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 01:22 PM:

Newspaperman, detective, are you going to keep him down on the farm?

Note: there is no wrapper here (except maybe by accident).

#31 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 01:50 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of the complete works of Jane Austen must be in want of a life.

#32 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 02:39 PM:

31's wrapper is Wnar Nhfgra, of course, and the content is...what? gur pbagragf bs nal ahzore bs ZEN oybtf? That can't be right.

#33 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 03:37 PM:

There used to be a brown bag book auction for charity at Armadillocon. Two or three paperbacks wrapped in brown paper with only the most terse and oblique hints written on the outside. It was very successful and a rollicking good time.

And so I present to you a most excellent compendium of wondrous storeys, including the famous tales: Murder Most Fowl, The Cowboys Last Ride, and The King Who Would Be President.

#34 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 03:47 PM:

#31: I've never actually read it, but wild guess - Cevqr naq Cerwhqvpr naq Mbzovrf?

#35 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 04:54 PM:

31 is either a joke or Xnera Wbl Sbjyre'f Gur Wnar Nhfgra Obbx Pyho. It works either way.

#36 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Alex G @12: I am not going to invoke the shade of T. X. Purfgregba, but I am seriously considering writing gur friragu Ynhaqel Svyrf abiry, Gur Avtugzner Fgnpxf, in the style of Gbz Ubyg.

#37 ::: CN ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 07:49 PM:

14 could also be N. R. ina Ibtg Gur Jvmneq bs Yvaa

#38 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 07:58 PM:

Em #29. Yep.

#39 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 07:58 PM:

I'm not coming up with ANYTHING on the creation side for this. Maybe it will, but so far it's stuff like "It is a truth universally acknowledged that an Imperator in possession of a large empire must be in need of an heir." Which is both sucky and too obvious.

#40 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 08:00 PM:

Maybe *I* will. Sigh. I should go to bed, but I've only been up 6 hours and haven't even STARTED my Thanksgiving cooking yet.

#41 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 08:53 PM:

There's an awful lot of R'lyehian in this thread.

#42 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 10:15 PM:

Pedaling and pedaling in the darkened attic
The babysitter can not reach the Hat.

Wings fly apart; love potions can not hold;
His love by train must seek the underworld.

The girl detective seeks her mother lost,
And everywhere the dancing princesses are found.

[This form of course wants to be longer, but I'm limiting it by the form of three clues.]

#43 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 10:58 PM:

In a world where mutants are shunned and only the strong prosper, a brittle-boned dwarf yearns to make a difference.

#44 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 11:01 PM:

(trying to shake loose a comment trapped by the dreaded Internal Service Error)

#45 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 11:01 PM:

No? Okay, here it is again:

A blacksmith turned serial bridesmaid and an actor moonlighting as a wedding consultant. They fight crime.

#46 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2014, 11:41 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sea captain in possession of a dragon is in want of his old life back.

#47 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 12:10 AM:

Mary Aileen -- we seem to share the same reading tastes!

#43: wrapper trarevp zbivr gntyvar(?), content Ohwbyq'f Zvyrf Ibexbfvtna (specifically Gur Jneevbe'f Ncceragvpr)

#45: wrapper trarevp zlfgrel grnzhc gntyvar, content the first book in Qbaan Naqerjf' Zrt Ynatfybj zlfgrevrf (Zheqre jvgu Crnpbpxf)

#46: wrapper Wnar Nhfgra, content Anbzv Abivx'f Grzrenver

#48 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 12:15 AM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a wizard in possession of a mobile home must be in want of young women's hearts.

#49 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 12:49 AM:

Incoherent (47): You are correct!

#50 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:21 AM:

31 is just a joke, as I should have clarified at the time ... but I'm impressed that people managed to get reasonable suggestions out of it.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:31 AM:

Well, I hope someone found it funny. I thought it was kind of dickish and judgmental—rather a buzzkill for a literary game. But I was hoping there was actually an underlying book instead.

Protip: next time you want to sneer at someone for their reading preferences? Don't.

Signed, someone who was introduced to Jane Austen by a young man

#52 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:40 AM:

The wrapper for 31 is obviously Jvyyvnz Fungare sebz gung 1986 Fngheqnl Avtug Yvir fxrgpu gung gbbx cynpr ng n Fgne Gerx pbairagvba.

#53 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:06 AM:

abi @51, you are right; I now see that it was sneering and offensive, and I should not have posted it. I am sorry.

#54 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:49 AM:

Mary Aileen @ #30:

If memory serves, the answer is "lbh znxr vg n pbaqvgvba bs gur vaurevgnapr".

(That is, also assuming I'm correct about it being Yvyvna Wnpxfba Oenha'f Png Jub zlfgrevrf.)

#55 ::: Doug Burbidge ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:53 AM:

In a car on the highway there sat a Deliverator. Not a nasty, shitty, bimbo box, filled with the the smell of mother's hand lotion, nor yet a dry, bare, Burb beater with no steel in the body panels: it was a CosaNostra delivery car and that means power.

#56 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:54 AM:

Incoherent @ #48:

Wnar Nhfgra'f Qvnan Jlaar Wbarf'f Ubjy'f Zbivat Pnfgyr, naq V nqzver gur jbeq pubvpr bs "zbovyr ubzr".

#57 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 08:13 AM:

Doug Burbidge @ #55:

Wbua Ebanyq Erhry Gbyxvra'f Fabj Penfu.

#58 ::: Doug Burbidge ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 08:53 AM:

I suspect that by merely taking the opening sentences of one work and substituting the subject matter of another, I have played the lite version of the game. Nonetheless, Paul A. has it correct.

#59 ::: tnv ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 09:51 AM:

1. Breq was not eloquent, but the people far from civilization seldom realized it when caught by her demands as Seivarden Vendaai was. In her speech were too sharply blended the lack of gender distinction of her Raadchai empire, and the insensitivity to human nuance of her past as a colossal warship.

2. Once upon a time and a very interesting time it was there was a handover pending of Jewish Alaska, and in this handover was caught a divorced and bitter policeman

He found this murder in his hotel: the young man had been shot in the head: there was a chessgame beside him.

#60 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 10:26 AM:

Paul A. (54): Nope, not what I was thinking of. (I think I might have read one of that series, once. Not my kind of whimsy.)

#61 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 10:29 AM:

tnv (59):

Napvyynel Whfgvpr

Gur Lvqqvfu Cbyvprzra'f Havba

don't recognize the third one

#62 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 11:25 AM:

If nobody's getting #42, I should probably clarify: each couplet is a different story in a collection.

#63 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 11:58 AM:

Clifton, I cannot guess the wrapper but I think it's Kryyl Yvax'f "Gur Fcrpvnyvfg'f Ung," fbzr bgure fgbel, naq "Gur Tvey Qrgrpgvir". I can't think of the collection, though.

My own:

I sound my barbaric, "Huzzah, suffragettes!" over the rooftops of the world.

#64 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 12:05 PM:

Diatryma @ #63: You got the center! (The book is Xryyl Yvax'f Fgenatre Guvatf Unccra and the story you couldn't remember is 'Sylvat Yrffbaf', nobhg gur tvey jubfr oblsevraq vf Mrhf'f vyyrtvgvzngr puvyq naq gur zbqrea-qnl Terrx cnagurba.) It's a great book, but #1 is the stand-out story for me.

#65 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Since no one is getting my #30, another hint: it's a series, and not generally classified as Mystery.

#66 ::: tnv ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:04 PM:

Mary Aileen @67: You are correct. The "third one" was part of the #2 puzzle. Now what are the wrappers?

#67 ::: tnv ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:05 PM:

I will add the hint for my @59 that the wrappers are very famous literary works, but not (generally considered) SF.

#68 ::: Alex G ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:45 PM:

The poetic wrapper for Clifton's #42 is Gur Frpbaq Pbzvat by Lrngf. Another combination from me:


In those cities, the people are accustomed to sleep in the cicada beds for many years, awakening only for a month to meet, to trade, and to worship the Emperor of Time. Then they rest again over the long winter, never knowing the travelers who pass through their streets.

"One memory endures while another changes," said the great Khan to Marco Polo, "and what changes may come? A lost child awakens to find himself named a god; and while the generations pass away, can a family remain whole?"

#69 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 03:56 PM:

abi @51

> Well, I hope someone found it funny. I thought it was kind of dickish and judgmental

Only if interpreted with maximum hostility. I found it mildly amusing.

> Signed, someone who was introduced to Jane Austen by a young man

Signed, someone who happily read Jane Austen as a middle aged man.

#70 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:01 PM:

hints: My #17 is a recent trilogy

#71 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 04:29 PM:

Steve Taylor @69:

You know what? Policing other people's reactions is as inappropriate as policing their pleasures.

I could give you a history of why telling "young men" that they should "get a life" rather than owning Jane Austen books is offensive. I could draw a line between the ways that being a woman constricted her life as a writer and the present day; between the lack of acknowlegment on her gravestone and the rape threats that people got for proposing that she appear on a banknote. I could talk about gender lines and ghettoization, the people who simply won't read women's writing but expect women to read men's, and the extra sting of seeing her own words used to shame and belittle people who cross that line. I could talk about the role of jokes in maintaining cultural barriers, and why they matter.

Bt cn tll lrdy tht y dn't gv dmn, bcs y hv lrdy dcdd wht th ccptbl lvl f ffns s, nd hv dclrd tht hv xcdd t.


#72 ::: Tiemen Zwaan ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 05:22 PM:

Absolutely thrilled that Abi tweaked the idea for the Blind Book Dates and turned it into this game. So here is my contribution, bit long, but still one sentence:

It was the best of worlds,
it was the worst of worlds,
it was the age of anarchism,
it was the age of plutocracy,
it was the epoch of revolution,
it was the epoch of stagnation,
it was the season of altruism,
it was the season of egotism,
it was the spring of freedom,
it was the winter of dominance,

we had simultaneity before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to utopia, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its zealous believers insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

If you want to play another game, you can click on the link and try to guess some of the Blind Book Dates I actually display at the bookshop: Blind Book Date Challenge 2014

#73 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 05:33 PM:

Alex G @ 68:
I didn't even need to ROT-13 that to see that you had the wrapper for mine correct.

Meanwhile, the wrapper for yours is Vgnyb Pnyivab'f Vaivfvoyr Pvgvrf, a truly lovely book. I am not getting the contents, but it sounds like something I'd sure like to read.

Tiemen @ 72:
I believe yours is Hefhyn X. Yr Thva'f Gur Qvfcbffrffrq, in the style (of course) of Puneyrf Qvpxraf' Gnyr bs Gjb Pvgvrf. And thank you for the inspiration, and for the invitation!

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 06:04 PM:

Just to add one thing to me @71:

One role that jokes play in maintaining cultural barriers is that they co-opt otherwise well-meaning people into enforcing them. The writer who made a crack about a watermelon when a woman of color won an award would never dream of participating in the violence that underlies America's racial problem. But still, his comment underlined and enforced the barrier.

Likewise, Andrew almost certainly meant no harm by his comment. But still, it was harmful.

Heinlein has a good riff on jokes as enforcers of cultural norms in Stranger in a Strange Land, on the subject of cannibalism.

Your mother didn't have to say to you, 'Mustn't eat your playmates, dear; that's not nice,' because you soaked it up from our whole culture - and so did I. Jokes about cannibals and missionaries, cartoons, fairy tales, horror stories, endless little things.

Andrew's joke enforced the cultural norm that Real Men don't read "women's books"; that men who like things culturally marked as feminine are somehow doing something wrong. I didn't think that was appropriate, particularly not in a thread about enjoying books of all sorts.

Now, I have disemvoweled what I consider, on reflection, to be an overly aggressive element of my response. So let me instead say it more plainly:

Steve, I am a moderator here, and you are not. There is a reason for that. It has something to do with the ways that I protect the more vulnerable members of this conversation (which is, at times, pretty much everyone) against belittling, snark and dismissiveness.

The fact that you found the comment mildly amusing does not eliminate the offense that you did not see. These are the bricks that our walls are made of. And I, as a moderator here, am responsible for getting people not to use those bricks.

You, as a commenter, should consider listening to what the people around you are saying. You might learn things that your own experience of the world has not yet taught you.

#75 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 06:08 PM:

Tiemen @72:
With my Making Light hat on, I'd like to say thank you for the inspiration for this game. And that's an excellent contribution.

With my head bare, I'd like to say thank you for your part in running such a great bookstore. :-)

#76 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 06:24 PM:

Paul A. @56 -- Correct, and thank you for the compliment!

#77 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 07:01 PM:

In my post at #33 the wrapper is plain, for which I apologize. But the contents are priceless. And if for some reason they are not to your taste, you can always return them for no money back, guaranteed. We'll wrap them up and sell them again.

#78 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 07:47 PM:

TomB #33 & #77:

Is the first one "gb xvyy n zbpxvatoveq"?

#79 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2014, 09:33 PM:

Soon Lee: Good guess! But it is a collection. You do have the right general geographical region. Another clue: The word "most" is not insignificant.

#80 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 12:54 AM:

Task receiving, task rejecting,
fast the boat taken, far the town seeking,
wine-dark the windstorm, the whale-road riding,
returning the speaker, turning the spoken to,
shade seeking, shrubbery shrinking,
destruction still desiring, shamelessly sulking.

#81 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 01:36 AM:

"Now, since the invention of the ring, there have been eighteen rings rated the most potent, most powerful--"

"Aww rings again! Do we have to read the ring parts?"

"Hey, are you telling this story or am I?"


"Okay then. Where was I? Oh yes: eighteen rings rated most powerful, and this one ruled them all."

#82 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 02:07 AM:

I know not what to call myself. I must have had a name, mustn't I? I cannot explain the mood that took me that day on the shore--the very brotherhood of men had become loathsome to me, and me to it. Thus, like the blood rejects a foreign body, society expelled me, casting me out into that least humane of human companies. But the men who there I found myself among--even the best of them strange and savage--and the beasts they were driven to pursue, and that pursued them in return: what dark, bloody logic drove them? What drove me? I can only spill my ink on this page and hope, hopelessly, that some truth emerges there, some shred of sanity to cling to as I sink.

#83 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 02:18 AM:

Bill Stewart@80 I think is gur Ovoyvpny fgbel bs Wbanu done up like Orbjhys. (Nice play on "whale-road".)

heresiarch@81 is Gur Ybeq bs gur Evatf, wrapped in Gur Cevaprff Oevqr (gur zbivr irefvba).

heresiarch@82 I don't know the wrapper, but I think the content is Zbol Qvpx.

#84 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 02:42 AM:

David Goldfarb@83, yes. Thanks.

#85 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 03:09 AM:

This book describes how I saved the world, though I haven’t done it yet.

How is such a thing possible? I’ll do my best to explain. As a child, I had no interest in books. How could I take the time to read when there were rivers to swim in, and the necropolis was my playground? School was torture. Master Palaemon had meeting after meeting with Master Gurloes. “What are we going to do about Severian?”

#86 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 03:50 AM:

The shim-stock was finished. At the edge of the workbench, where the creascent wrenches hung in rows and the lathe stood silent, only a few shiny scraps shone among the nuts and bolts and engine parts...

"...I was dreaming. It was dreadful. You were there. We were sitting on a strange creature, going over a long stretch of black, oily-smelling stuff—some kind of man-thing, filled with hrududil and other creatures like ours..."

"...'and to you, Philosopher with a Thousand Questions, I give the the Dialectical Bite, with which you may divide the world. But use it carefully, for what you bite off can never be rejoined to what you have bitten.'

"But Homba-ra was enamoured of the Bite. He bit the voice out of Crow (who used to be one of the finest singers in the wood), leaving only the caw behind. He bit the shadow off of Owl, and she was so ashamed of her lack of shadow that she vowed never to fly in the daytime again.

"At last he bit the heat out of a December day (for in those times, December was as warm as June). And the land was plunged into sudden winter, the first ever. The plants withered and shriveled; all the creatures huddled in their holes and in their nests. And Homba-ra, no matter how he tried, could not rejoin the warmth to the day."

#87 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 06:37 AM:

Girl meets boy.
Family business most foul
Family feud

They escape, together

#88 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 08:30 AM:


Wrapper: Gur Uboovg
Content: Fabj Penfu

#89 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 08:53 AM:

The wind blew off the the mountains, and swept across to the courtyard in front of a castle. A red-haired boy, not quite grown to manhood, sparred with practice swords with two men-at-arms. As the boy tapped one opponent on the side of the helm, and then the second across the back of the knee, a tall woman with ice cold eyes nodded in approval.

The wind blew on across the plain, sweeping to where a boy was reciting the dictations under the eye of his adopted father. Faith warred with ambition in his soul, and he wondered how much his father saw of both with his unearthly vision.

The wind continued, brushing the tops of trees as a young man rode away from his home, off to the Bossman's war. His parting with his brother had been civil, but just, and the man was brimming over with the bitter things he'd just kept himself from saying. He vowed not to return till he was a proven fighting man, with fortune and lands of his own.

Still further the wind blew, across a chill forest where half a dozen men and one woman fought a twice their number of troll-men. The savages had numbers, the northmen had armor and discipline, and at last their leader, a large, strong young man, dispatched the last of the foemen with his sword.

"There are more of them coming....and something else. Something dark drives them. Something we will have to face, or go under. But not today, Bjarni."

"As you say, godhi. Let's move out, get back to cover before we meet more of our savage friends out here in the wilderness."

The wind was not a beginning. There are neither ends nor beginnings in the wheel of time. But it was *a* beginning.

#90 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 09:36 AM:

I don't recognize the wrapper, but that's the Rzoreirefr in #89.

#91 ::: Carrie S. has failed to rot13 ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 09:37 AM:

#90. Ooops.

#92 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Rotter of Thirteens ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Carrie S @91:

Fixed. Or, if you prefer, svkrq.

#93 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 10:18 AM:

In old Namquen did Pham Nuwen
a stately trading fleet recall
where optimizations reached their bound
and rescue ships were run aground
delaying culture's fall

#94 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 10:25 AM:

albatross @93:

That one, I get. It's N Qrrcarff va gur Fxl in the style of Pbyrevqtr'f "Xhoyn Xuna". (And nicely done, too.)

#95 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 11:03 AM:

Carrie S@90: the wrapper of 89 is uvqqra va cynva fvtug.

abi@86: the wrapper is Jngrefuvc Qbja. But I don't get the content. Something with a sbk in it?

#96 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 11:10 AM:

Andrew M @95:

The wrapper is correct. The content doesn't have a sbk, though it does have (after a fashion, sort of) a jbys. But although Yncva almost certainly has a word for that, it doesn't appear in the glossary.

Don't get hung up on that issue; it's not the meat of that clue.

#97 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 12:19 PM:

Is the content of 86 Mra naq gur Neg bs Zbgbeplpyr Znvagranapr? Shim-stocks and dialectical bites, yes, but it's years since I read it and I can't think where the crow or owl fit in.

#98 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 12:26 PM:

James E @97:

Got it.

The crow and owl are not from the content; they're illustrative elements in a mythic narrative, because that's the only way of talking about abstractions that the characters in the wrapper know.

#99 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 01:27 PM:


Right, and thanks!

#100 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 02:10 PM:

The wrapper on 82 UCYbirpensg or Nhthfg Qreyrgu punaaryvat uvz -- more the latter, as many of the former's prose excesses are exaggerated in the latter.

#101 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 04:12 PM:

albatross @ 93: Seconding abi's appreciation!

Tom Whitmore @ 100: I've long thought that myself. In particular those stories whose ultimate paragraph is consistently squamous with italics and whose final ultimate cosmic horror leaves an ichorous trail of exclamation points are really more a Qreyrgu than a Ybirpensg thing.

#102 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Rotter of Thirteens ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 04:27 PM:

Clifton @101:

I've rotted the proper names in your answer to Tom.

#103 ::: Clifton would appreciate a ROT-13 ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 04:31 PM:

Sorry, I wasn't meaning my comment to Tom to possibly spoil the game for someone else still going through the comments.

#104 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 04:33 PM:

I'm waaaaay ahead of you, Clifton.

#105 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 05:53 PM:

85 is the Gur Funqbj bs gur Gbeghere, but I don't know the wrapper.

#106 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 06:26 PM:

The wrapper is Gur Cevaprff Oevqr (the book this time).

#107 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 07:29 PM:

Idumea @ 104: :-)

#108 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 11:11 PM:

I was not expecting my #63 to be quite so challenging. Would people like clues?

#109 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 11:24 PM:

Diatryma @ 63/108: The wrapper is Jnyg Juvgzna of course, I was remiss in not saying that at once. I didn't get the content, though. Perhaps more clues are necessary or perhaps I just don't know that one.

#110 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2014, 11:43 PM:

It's not SFF in any way. But the game riddle did make my roommate laugh aloud when I mentioned it. A very beloved recent book, not one I've seen mentioned here.

#111 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 01:37 AM:

David Goldfarb has 81, the wrapper and contents and all. Also the content of 82, and Tom Whitmore has the wrapper. (I intended the former--I didn't know the latter until just now!)

#112 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 09:15 AM:

The wrapper of 59 (2) is Cbegenvg bs gur Negvfg nf n Lbhat Zna. I don't know (1).

#113 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 10:37 AM:

I was thinking that the content of Diatryma's #63 sounded like Qvfarl'f Znel Cbccvaf, but #110 rules that out from several different angles.

#114 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 11:50 AM:

No one has gotten my #30, either. (The only guess was, if not exactly wrong for the clues, not what I had in mind.) There's an additional hint in #65; shall I give another one, or just give the rot13'ed answer?

#115 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 12:10 PM:

Mary Aileen: Serqqvr gur Cvt?

#116 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 01:13 PM:

Andrew M (115): That's the one.

#117 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 06:55 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Earthman must triumph in a confusing world even though it means losing the one person he loves.

#118 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 08:36 PM:

Wrapper is Nhfgra, of course; content sounds like Gur Fgnef Zl Qrfgvangvba. I could be wrong.

#119 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 08:37 PM:

That was for Fragano @ 117.

I know better.

#120 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 09:50 PM:

This may not be quite what you have in mind, but the challenge has inspired me to finish a full stanza of a fragment that's been in my notebook for years.

Ronald, this is stupid stuff:
You teach your classes well enough;
It's clear you're healthy, that's no joke,
To see how you enjoy a smoke.
But oh, by Jove, the books you write,
They give a chap an awful fright.
"The years of Elves, their years fly fast;
All their glory lies in the past."
Now we poor lads, yes we ourselves
Must hear such tales as killed the Elves.
Verbose decay is such a bore;
Instead write like you've done before.
Hark where the lure of commerce bids:
Write a Christmas book for kids.

#121 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 10:20 PM:

Three drugs for the teenager pressganged aboard.
Seven anti-sleep drugs for the traders in their platforms aloft.
Nine anti-death drugs for the mayor driving the plot.
One deus ex machina for the city fathers in their circuits of germanium.
One deus ex machina, brought out when the author wrote himself into a hole,
Never to be explained, never to be used again,
In the city with two names twice.

#122 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 10:45 PM:

Allan Beatty #121
Gbyxvra, wrapping Oyvfu "N Yvsr sbe gur Fgnef"

#123 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 10:51 PM:

thomas, yes (although I may have alluded to more than one book in the series).

#124 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 10:58 PM:

I recall that one of the of the anti-death drugs blocked synthesis of cholesterol. That must be one of the very few details in the book that matches how reality has turned out.

#125 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 11:13 PM:

I thought 'Pvgvrf va Syvtug' myself. It's been a long time since I read it; I'm not sure if I even have a copy still.

#126 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2014, 11:29 PM:

P J Evans: Yes -- as Allan says, it's not just book #2 of the series, though I think it may be just #2 and #3, not #4 or #1.

Random observation: if Marvel get their way, "Erzrzore Gube I" will be relevant again in a few years.

#127 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 12:39 AM:

Did you mean to rot13 the last letter of your quote in 126, thomas?

Because it works, oddly enough, either way!

#128 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 02:05 AM:

Just a note before I go
To whom it may concern
Traveling betwixt the mingled worlds
It's easy to get burned

When the ghouls were finished
We had to go back home
And while she floated in the pond
I had to be alone

Just a note before I go
To whom it may concern
Traveling twice the speed of life
It's easy to get burned

#129 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 08:57 AM:

Allan Beatty @ #120:


(And, of course, it's Gbyxvra in a wrapping of Ubhfzna. "V gryy gur gnyr nf V jnf gbyq: Ovyob Onttvaf, ur qvrq byq." Rkprcg ur qvqa'g, qvq ur? Ur jrag njnl gb gur Jrfg. Ohg V pna'g guvax bs nalbar jub svgf orggre.)

#130 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 09:28 AM:

Might I ask a small favor of people giving answers? The 'of course' is starting to get to me. I've seen it several times over the course of the thread and each time wanted to say something but decided it was an isolated thing.

My own #63: perhaps we should Ask a Man.

#131 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 09:41 AM:

(I have discovered that my clue isn't as cluey as I'd like. There's a tumblr. It may help. It may also amuse.)

#132 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 10:59 AM:

Short and obvious:

I sing of rings and the hobbit.

Short and obvious but perhaps a bit dated:

Call me Corwin.

#133 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 12:06 PM:

MilesToGo @128:

Is that Tnvzna'f Gur Bprna Ng Gur Raq Bs Gur Ynar to the tune of Pebfol, Fgvyyf & Anfu'f "Whfg N Fbat Orsber V Tb"?


#134 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 12:17 PM:

Pfusand #132: The second wrapper is Zbol Qvpx, and the content is on the tip of my brain.

#135 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 12:24 PM:

Mary Aileen: I know, I had to stop and think, too. For some reason the title didn't want to come to me, but I did get it eventually. The content of Pfusand's 132 number 2 is Avar Cevaprf va Nzore.

#136 ::: Jon Marcus ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 12:53 PM:

Not sure of the content for 128, but the wrapper is "Whfg N Fbat Orsber V Tb" ol Pebfol, Fgvyy naq Anfu

#137 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 04:58 PM:

I second Diatryma at #130. None of these were an "of course" to me except for Abi's very first example (which I used myself the last time we played a book game).

#138 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 05:55 PM:

I really don't have the brain bandwidth to think these up, and all the ones I get have been answered before I see them. I'm enjoying the works themselves, however, so nothing is lost.

Just a reminder that we have a great store of ones that employ Jvyyvnzf' "guvf vf whfg gb fnl" as either wrapper or* content here. I'm particularly proud of my own entry on that thread, but won't recycle it here.

I can barely remember what it was like to have that level of creative energy.

*xor, in this case

#139 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 07:57 PM:

Don't forget also all those using Gbyxvra as content which may be found here!

(Man, that was a great thread.)

#140 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 09:13 PM:

Zwien @72: The frame is N Gnyr bs Gjb Pvgvrf; the story sounds a lot like Gur Fgnef Zl Qrfgvangvba (or is it still Gltre, Gltre! on your side?), but I'm not sure after rechecking the book.
      Off-topically, that reminds me that I haven't seen Mark yelling "Gltre! Gltre! Gltre!" (at least, that's what it sounds like) in the highlights-rerun of Doonesbury; I wonder why Trudeau has ducked so much of that period?

D. Potter @ 118: Possible but debatable (he ended up with another woman); I want to see what Fragano says, as the content sounds like it should fit several stories.

thomas @ 126 (assuming you \did/ mean the rotation, contra Tom): that seems an unpromising part of the franchise to produce that many parts -- and at the rate Marvel is going "a few years" seems an underestimate. But it was a clever carom off Allan's post.

#141 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 09:27 PM:

CHip @ 140: I believe in the case of Zwien's offering fvzhygnarvgl (no, not urkncbqvn) is the key insight. (And the content could perfectly well have been named N Gnyr bs Gjb....)

#142 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2014, 09:56 PM:

Incoherent @133: correct on both counts.

#143 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 04:45 AM:

One had a pretty boat
And two or three had skill
But skill and boat were all in vain;

Because the mountain mage
Cannot but heed the call
He tends the hills from whence he came.

#144 ::: Bartkid ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 09:07 AM:

Diatryma @ 131, my first thought seeing ask a man was Znetnerg Gungpure ("Vs lbh jnag fbzrguvat fnvq, nfx n zna. Vs lbh jnag fbzrguvat qbar, nfx n jbzna."), but not recent, not very beloved, and rather dystopian, so not not SFF. Following the tumblr angle, my guess is Gur Fhssentrggr Fpnaqny by Pbhegarl Zvyna, but I have to admit unfamiliarity with this tome.

#145 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 10:01 AM:

In re 132:

The first one is Ybeq bs gur Evatf, and the wrapper is gur Nrarvq. "Nezn ivehzdhr pnab => V fvat bs nezf naq gur zna."

The second one, as Mary Aileen and Cally Soukup said, is the wrapper Zbol Qvpx around Avar Cevaprf va Nzore.

#146 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 10:37 AM:

Diatryma @ #130:

My apologies.

In my case, my error was compounded with poor wording; I hadn't meant the "of course" to apply to the entire answer, but only to the content, which is reasonably well known and has appeared in this thread several times already. (The wrapper, I'm well aware, is considerably more obscure.) But even so, I'd have done better to avoid the "of course" entirely.

#147 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 01:40 PM:

MilesToGo @ 143: The wrapper is a lovely short poem by Lrngf, and the content would nicely fit the first half of N Jvmneq bs Rnegufrn, although you might have something else in mind.

#148 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 02:56 PM:

Bartkid got mine! Go Bartkid! I hope Ask a Man was amusing. And it's a great book.

I'll have to come up with another one. Since I'm at my brother's house, it may be one of his books or other media things. I wonder what would work well with Ninja Turtles.

#149 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 03:22 PM:

Tiger! Tiger! Soft and plush
When the parents come to watch.
When the boy is all alone
The tiger turns to flesh and bone.

#150 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 03:52 PM:

I'm way behind on this thread due to no brain, but stopped in to see one I recognize!

Tom Whitmore @149 is Pnyiva naq Uboorf in a wrapper of Oynxr.

#151 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 04:12 PM:

Excellent, OtterB! And here's another one that shouldn't be too difficult:

You must never forget the towel, O Best Beloved!

#152 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 04:31 PM:

Tom Whitmore, wrapper is Xvcyvat'f Gur Ryrcunag'f Puvyq, content is Gur Uvgpuuvxre'f Thvqr gb gur Tnynkl.

#153 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 04:57 PM:

Right on the content, wrong on the wrapper, Jeremy Leader.

#154 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 08:24 PM:

The wrapper for #151 is 'Ubj gur Junyr Tbg Uvf Guebng', oh readers of infinite-resource-and-sagacity!

#155 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 10:57 PM:

Very true, Clifton! Jeremy had the right church, but the wrong pew.

#156 ::: MilesToGo ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2014, 11:12 PM:

Clifton @147 is as close to correct as makes little difference. I had in mind the trilogy.

#157 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2014, 04:46 AM:

I never read the Dreadful King,
I don’t see why I mustn't.
You say Act Two my dome will ding –
A Bushmills says it doesn't!
Alas, I read the Dread King's Book –
I'm Sorry, now, I read it;
Its Loathsome Lines my Spirit Shook -
Dear Gods! - this URGE TO EDIT!!!

#158 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2014, 12:58 PM:

There are several possibilities that I can see for the content of 157, but the wrapper is Gur Checyr Pbj by Tryrgg Ohetrff and its sequel.

#159 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2014, 02:52 PM:

My linguistics professor David Lockwood once wrote

I never saw an affix hop
I never hope to do it;
But if you think that's what they do,
I'll tell you now—you blew it!"

(Affix-hopping was this stupid tranformation that generative linguists used when their theory couldn't account for the positioning of affixes. I'm sure it's obsolete now.)

#160 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2014, 03:22 PM:

Tom: I'm in exactly the opposite position, having gotten the content but not the wrapper. Gur Xvat va Lryybj by Eboreg J. Punzoref.

#161 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2014, 03:25 AM:

May I say that Eboreg J. Punzoref is a terrific name, and not just because it has the word 'pun' in it?

#162 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2014, 12:34 PM:

Late applause for Allan Beatty @120, who has brightened an otherwise grim day (though not, as auto-correct would have it, a Grimm day, which could have been considerably worse.)

#163 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 02:24 AM:

Looking at it again, I see that Tom actually said that he saw several possibilities, so I'd be surprised if my guess weren't one of them. But I'd be willing to bet a small sum that mine is what Gray intended.

#164 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 02:32 AM:

Oh, I'm quite sure you're right, David -- and it wasn't what I was seeing at all. Much better.

#165 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 06:27 AM:

Tom @ 158 and David @ 160 are, of course, correct.

The next one I tried went way off the rails, but here's another offering:

When a pal's in trouble you're not supposed to let him down. It doesn't make any difference if he's a goofball. He's your pal and, with a little help from your valet, you're supposed to do something about it. Then, it happens to be a romance business - he wants to marry the girl, and you don't. Well, if the girl who wanted to marry you and improve your character breaks up with her man, it's bad for you, and it's bad business for all bachelors everywhere. Whether you end up sneering at a cow-creamer, or slamming up against the junior stormtroopers, or even marrying some generally hopeless dame so as not to hurt her feelings - you follow through, because that's the Code. It may not be a clever code. but it's what I've got. That, and buying my valet a fish dinner.

#166 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 06:56 AM:

That's Gur Pbqr bs gur Jbbfgref in a Enlzbaq Punaqyre (I think) wrapping. Very nice if I'm right especially since they obgu jrag gb gur fnzr fpubby .And now I want to try Cuvyvc X. Qvpx in a Hefhyn Yr Thva jacket, or vice versa.

#167 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 07:13 AM:

@166: More like Qnfuvryy Unzzrgg, Znygrfr Snypoa.

#168 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 07:26 AM:

praisegod barebones @166 has the content right, but D. Potter @167 gets the wrapper - though, looking back on it, the wrap-up does read a thought more Punaqyrerfdhr than Unzzrggl. I didn't know about the school thing until this very moment!

#169 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 09:28 AM:

She is the Eaten One, bound to a rock. Andromeda?
No. More Prometheus, but eating at herself instead.
And more still Ariadne, for she has
A labyrinth. When Theseus arrives,
She is herself the spool, who first must be unsnarled.
And when the minotaur – or something older and more foul –
Is slain, does not elope. Lives on. Mostly, in peace.

#170 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 09:37 AM:

I find myself wondering whether there could conceivably have been something about the English teaching, in both cases. (Mods:I guess that since the fpubby thing turns out to have been a red herring, it's okay to talk about it in the clear.)

#171 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2014, 10:28 AM:

Dave Luckett @168 The wrapper is elegant and on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite place it. Zvygba, perhaps? I's been a long time since I've read Zvygba....

The content, however, is YrThva'f Gur Gbzof bs Nghna

#172 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 06:21 AM:

So. The Bear-Folk, when gods turned grim,
Forged from two stars a sword meet for slaying
Dragon or doom: so our Prologue proclaims.

There is a farmboy who finds how his fathers
Hid with their households from foes and friends faithless
Till times should call them to kingship anew.
Hardly a hero he deems himself here,
Riding the roads in a truck full of turnips!
Wolf and white owl lead him where Wyrd commands them.
Red bear and rat range themselves to defend him
From bale-work and boar, while he wallows in wangst.

#173 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 06:38 AM:

And belatedly: apologies for, at #165, totally failing to keep in mind Diatryma's point @ 130. Ugh. Brain evidently on holiday.

#174 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 08:36 AM:

Gray Woodland, is that Rqqvatf wrapped in Orbjhys? It's been a while since I read the first, but the latter is distinctive-- and I know which translation you're using!

#175 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 12:06 PM:

Tom W @ 149: not very difficult, but the clash of contents was \way/ fun.

Woodland @ 172: "wangst"?!? I hope that was intended for more than alliteration as it's the best one-word putdown I've ever seen.

#176 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 01:24 PM:

There is a man in middle earth
They call him Mithrandir
he'll sweep you from your dry, warm hearth
to adventures full of fear

My father was respectable man
a Baggins through and through
but my mother was a wild-eyed took
with her my fancies flew

Well the only think a burglar needs
is a short-sword and a ring
and he's never hungry very long
if he can rob a king

Well, I got one foot on the barrel
The other on the shore
I'm floating down to Dale, it seems
to save my friends once more

A wise man avoids guarded treasures
and monsters in the dark
and I can tell you here an now
Smaug's bite's worse than his bark

There is a man in middle earth
They call him Mithrandir
he'll sweep you from your dry, warm hearth
to adventures full of fear

#177 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 01:58 PM:

albatross: Gur Uboovg bs gur Evfvat Fha?

#178 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 04:07 PM:

Applause for Dave Luckett's #169: a very nice take on one of my favourite characters. Alas, I can't get the wrapper.

Diatryma @ #174: Yes, and nice catch on the translation. I have slightly ambivalent feelings about it overall, but I just love that opening!

CHip @ #175: I wish I could claim credit for that one, but it was an established term long before I got my grubby mitts on it. Apparently the need summoned the notion...

#179 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2014, 07:29 PM:

Albatross's wrapper is a bit thin at "Well, the only thing a burglar needs." Meaning that's the line where I got it.

#180 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2014, 12:46 AM:

Tom Whitmore #177:

That's what I thought too. I have been following this thread and the few I've managed to puzzle out, others got there before me, but that hasn't diminished my enjoyment at all.

That moment when I get one of these? It tickles my brain, in a good way.

#181 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2014, 02:48 PM:

I'm going to have to cheat a bit here, mainly doing some word-swapping, but the wrapper is obscure enough (unjustly IMO) that I think going for style would make it totally impenetrable.

"They all had tough names except Charlie. Spider, Bird Woman, Tiger, The Neighborhood Witches. They had all taken tough names at the naming. Only Charlie had kept his own—to the disgust of his commander."

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2014, 04:21 PM:

The wrapper is a Ynssregl short story (the one with Prena Fjvprtbbq), and I could figure out which one with a list. Not sure about the content.

#183 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2014, 07:30 PM:

The content reminds me of Nanafv Oblf, although maybe that's just the juxtaposition of "Charlie" with "Spider".

#184 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2014, 10:26 PM:

And you are both correct. The story is the one in the collection of the same name, Avar Uhaqerq Tenaqzbguref, which happens to be the only work I have by that author. I thought it appropriate, as Tnvzna did a Ynssregl pastiche in one of his own collections.

#185 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2014, 03:55 PM:

B. Durbin: I was thinking of that very story just a few days ago!

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