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October/November 2001
 
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Plumage from Pegasus
by Paul Di Filippo

Aventures In Mishmosh Land
by
A. Patchwork Girl, Customizer

"The Frommer's guide to France may be made up of chapters and maps, but most readers know it as an indivisible and coherent whole: a book.

"This fall, that book and a few hundred others will take a new form on the Internet. They will be sold in component parts--chapters, maps and even paragraphs--that can be mixed and matched. Readers will be invited to create customized books by picking pieces of content a la carte from an array of already published guides...."
--"Books by the Chapter or Verse Arrive on the Internet This Fall," by Lisa Guernsey, The New York Times, July 18, 2000.

 

The landing party from the Enterprise, consisting of Captain Kirk, Scotty, Bones, and Spock, beamed down onto the surface of the strange new unexplored world. As soon as they had fully materialized, Kirk flipped open his communicator and hailed his ship in orbit above.

"Lieutenant Uhura, notify Starfleet Command that we've arrived--"

"--on Arrakis, you know, Paul, water is at a premium. That's why we must render down our corpses for their liquid content. To do otherwise would be to risk--"

--the foul wrath of Sauron. "You have failed me for the last time! How did you let those hobbits escape? By sheer ineptitude!"

The Orc leader snarled. "They had help! Elvish intervention from that accursed--"

--Lazarus Long, who smiled now with his trademark centuries-old boyish charm. "Shucks, ma'am, it's just that I was born with--"

A ten-inch-long serpent crawled out of the Healer's pouch. But before the Dreamsnake could escape--

--the hologram of Hari Seldon materialized, exactly at the appointed hour, and began to speak. "Members of the Foundation, psychohistory faces its greatest challenge with the appearance of--"

--Rama, an artificial world unto itself, appearing out of nowhere on its chartless course through our solar system and beyond, heading for--

--Ringworld, whose orbit had been disturbed so that it would soon brush up against--

--Confluence, where an endless river debouched onto--

--Riverworld, where Mark Twain looked up into the sky and spotted--

--Orbitsville, which had recently seen the arrival of--

--the Black Star! "Come on, lads! We can still save the day! I've charged up the accumulators on--"

--the Skylark of Space! Shields coruscating, the mighty craft plunged straight toward--

--the Emerald City of Oz. Here, Dorothy would at last find the answers to her many questions:

Who can replace a man?

Can you feel anything when I do this?

Who made Stevie Crye?

Do androids dream of--

--the body electric! Grandma, O dear and wondrous electric dream! When storm lightnings rove the sky of--

--Jupiter, where the re-engineered human and his canine companion blissfully and telepathically communicated, firm in their agreement that they would never return to--

--Neveryon, where Gorgik fondled his slave collar, vowing--

--that the criminal who had shot down his mother and father in cold blood would someday know the wrath of the Caped--

--High Crusade! Aboard the supernatural iron vessel, the knights hunkered in a frightened mass, while their horses--

--spoke to Gulliver--

--Jones of Mars--

--the dying planet whose empty canals beckoned John Carter and his bride--

--the Female Man--

--the Demolished Man--

--who folded himself, on an endless trip--

--across the universe--

--across a sea of stars

--beyond the blue event horizon--

--beyond the fields we know--

--to the end of eternity--

--Destination: void.

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