John Thiel writes...
John picks up on a discussion dating back to issue 90.
To the Folks at BEWILDERING:
Well, physics is a very worthwhile preoccupation, and I can't complain about Spud going into this with great integrity and singleness of purpose, but I don't want him to have difficulty breathing, and I hope he does find more time to show himself.
The story about the clerk sabotaging the munitions is one of mine! I'm not saying anyone got the idea there, though, as it hasn't been published. The way it goes, The industry has had it suggested that they go into munitions manufacture, and during a general inspection they are asked to vote on the matter of doing so. Everyone is told to vote yes. However, in a back office it is being discussed, and it is the belief of these minor workers that both the government and the public will get rid of them if they go into that, since they're already unpopular and under high discipline. They are all robots and have serial numbers. The back office is required to vote yes and in perfect form.
On the principle that if a yes vote is that tight and mandatory, a negative vote would have big consequences, the clerk, who is not allowed anything but a perfect YES form and can make no errors in doing it, figures the censors won't notice one in his individual serial number, which must be on the form, and changes a number on it. Up front, they do not get their error-free form, the inspection process is stalled, and the conditions of the vote are sabotaged. Then a protest becomes possible.
Copyright © 2004 by John Thiel
Well, John, I’ve just returned from a brief sojourn in the mythical and fabled land of California. It’s been said with some justification that it’s not a part of the United States; it’s a foreign country. To begin with, the West is to the east of it... I also hazard that the sunlight is so different from everywhere else that it must actually be located on another planet. “Are you importing any pestiferous plants?” “Uh... no?” “Okay, then (wheetling of transporter beam), “welcome to California.”
The culture is also... all so... strange. Entire cities — San Diego, Santa Rosa, take your pick — seem to have been prefabricated by space aliens whose means of locomotion is obviously racing wheels, not feet. What is the state’s — country’s? planet’s? — primary activity? Shopping. And the elections... Suffice it to say that the premise you’ve outlined here is truly a Bewildering Story, and yet it is the stuff of everyday news articles there.
Pace William Blake, they have built Barsoomia in California’s golden, peculiar land.