Entropy Issue 3 96.01.01 Contents: 1. How to get in touch with the authors 2. Editorial 3. "MAKE.PENIS.FAST" (author unknown) [Parody] 4. Writing tips [Column] 5. "Managing Change" by '73 Chevy Pickup [Fiction] 6. "Re-run" by Sailfrog [Fiction] 7. "Halo" by Legion [Fiction] 8. Submission guidelines [Nonfiction]
How to get in touch with the authors: Legion: email@example.com or on several fine 303 boards '73: firstname.lastname@example.org Sailfrog: mail me and I'll get it to him, or try Sailfrog on 303 boards. N. Gingrich: email@example.com
Legal Information: Stories are owned by their respective authors, who hold full copyright (c) to their work. You *must* contact the author if you wish to reprint his or her work. If the author you wish to contact does not have an e-mail address, you may contact Legion (Steve Pordon), who will relay your messages (put "For
" in the subject line if you don't want me accidentally reading your mail. If I know the author personally, I will print the letter and give it to him or her by hand or by snail mail, so don't write anything sensitive). All other text in _Entropy_ is (c) Steve Pordon and may not be reprinted without written permission. Violations of these copyright guidelines may lead to e-mail bombing or spontaneous combustion. * * * The lyrics in "Halo" were taken from the songs "Chronic Infection" and "Out of the Body" by Pestilence.
Editorial: About the cover (newsgroup readers: sorry, no cover for you. FTP to ftp.netcom.com /pub/wr/wraveth/zines if you want the full package): These are three interstellar gas columns in the constellation Serpens. There are suns forming within the columns, a result of the dust and gas collapsing in on itself. This is the first visual evidence for the theory of how stars and planets are born, so enjoy it. The shot was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and it probably made the price of the HST worth it. You people who still believe in the myth of creationism can put that in yer pipe and smoke it. Update: the original cover was the same picture and Entropy logo, but the "Issue 3" caption down the right side was in the Japanese Katakana script. All my desktop files (including my original cover for this issue) were wiped out and I couldn't find the kata font anywhere, so I used a more arabic font this time. If anybody knows a good FTP font site, please let me know. The original picture as well as many other astro pix can be found at //ftp.stsci.edu/pub/stsci/epa/jpg. * * * Fascist Miserly Capitalist Loser of the Month: Problem: You keep hiring new employees and they appear busy, but productivity and profitability are down. Prescription: Review employees' job descriptions. See if they can't be tightened up. Rewrite if necessary. Combine the assignments of your employees, taking work away from the least capable and giving it to the most capable. Eliminate as many of the least capable employees as possible. If increasing the workload of remaining employees irritates them, consider giving them a modest raise. -- _The Small Business Trouble Shooter_, Roger Fritz (quoted in the 11/20/95 _Rocky Mountain News_) Translation: Throw the dawgs a bone if they howl about being treated like property. Move as many "units" as you can; fuck the worker. Heil Ronald McDonald (tm). * * * Welcome to the third installment in the Entropy empire. You will be assimilated...oh wait, disregard that last message. Must be line noise. In any case, I'm going to try my best to get this one out by the deadline (Dec. 1), although finals start about a week after that and I'd rather pass my finals than get the zine out on time. So if you don't see this on 95.12.01, the chances are you'll see it a couple of weeks later. One thing I can promise is that I won't just throw any garbage into it to get it out quickly. I take time on my garbage. Update: December's a busy month. I decided to wait an extra two weeks beyond that "middle of December" deadline and just release a normal issue on the first of January. * * * More astro news: Galileo should be well into its first orbit (of 11) of Jupiter as you read this. This orbit is scheduled to last 209 days, and the Galileo should be sending back the data that it gathered from its planetary probe, which arrived at Jupiter on Dec. 7. The only problem is that Galileo's primary antenna was overheated and refused to open. Scientists reprogrammed Galileo to send its info through the secondary antenna. Imagine if you were forced to trade in your 28.8 modem for a dinky 300 baud...but worse. Developing new compression techniques on the fly, researchers on the Galileo mission are getting data at the low, low rate of 160 bits/sec. * * * A fond farewell to _Calvin and Hobbes_, which was published for the final time today (Dec. 31). After the death of _Bloom County_, _Calvin and Hobbes_ became my favorite comic strip. I hope Bill Watterson continues his satire in book form, whether of the comic strip variety or the written kind. * * * Read this zine: FEH (Fuxin' Eleet Hax0rs); a zine chock-full of humor and wiley haxors. Kind of like PLA, but a bit more technical.
MAKE PENIS FAST!!! Instructions Follow these instructions EXACTLY, and in 20 to 60 days you will have received well over 50,000 inches of penis, all yours. This program has remained successful because of the inadequacy and vanity of the participants. Please continue its success by carefully adhering to the instructions. Welcome to the world of Mail Order Penis Enlargement! This little business is a little different than most cosmetic surgery. Your product is not solid (sic) and tangible, but rather a service. You are in the business of extending penii. Many small of endowment are happy to pay big bucks for this service. (The money made from the penis enlargement is secondary to the income which is made from people like yourself requesting that they be included in that list.) 1. Immediately cut off your penis at the base. 2. Cut off the head of your penis, and pack it in ice. 3. Take the remaining midsection of your penis, and cut it into 5 pieces of equal length. 4. Immediately mail each piece to the first 5 names listed below starting at number 1 through number 5. Send penis only please (total investment your penis). Enclose a note with each piece stating: "Please add my name to your mailing list." (This is a legitimate service that you are requesting and you are paying your penis for this service). 5. Remove the name that appears number 1 on the list. Move the other 9 names up one position. (Number 2 will become number 1 and number 3 will become number 2, etc.) Place your name, address and zip code in the number 10 position. 6. Post the new letter with your name in the number 10 position into 10 (Ten) separate bulletin boards in the message base or to the file section, call the file, MAKE.PENIS.FAST. 7. Within 60 days you will receive over 50,000 inches of PENIS. Keep a copy of this file for yourself so that you can use it again and again whenever you need penis enlargement. As soon as you mail out these letters you are automatically in the mail order business and people are sending you their penis to be placed on your mailing list. This list can then be rented to a reconstructive cosmetic surgeon that can be found in the Yellow Pages for additional income on a regular basis. The list will become more valuable as it grows in size. This is a service. This is perfectly legal. If you have any doubts, refer to Title 18, Sec. 1302 & 1341 of the postal lottery laws.
Writing Tips This is a new (duh) column to help you be a Better Writer (tm). Send me your questions and comments. When I was a kid I liked to read _Superman_ from DC Comics. I used to wonder why Superman was vulnerable to things like Kryptonite, magic, and something else I can't remember (beings from his own world?). Then I realized something that every writer should keep in mind: if Superman was absolutely invulnerable, he would bore the hell out of his readers. Your characters should usually have some flaws or weaknesses to make them more believable and interesting. Superman is interesting (we'll gloss over the "believable" part for now) because he's forced to use his mind rather than his invulnerability to get out of many situations. Sometimes the writing works well, sometimes not (remember Mr. Mxxlpllzk, or whatever his name was? The one who had to be forced into saying his own name backwards to be banished back to his own dimension? I could never accept the fact that a super-villian was stupid enough to be tricked into something so obvious, on numerous occasions). * * * Believablilty. I have to drop the Superman analogy here, because he doesn't work as a "real" character unless you're a kid. But I will use the plethora of action movies that clone _Die Hard_ as an analogy. I don't remember the title, but there's a new Van Damme action movie out now. The one where (judging from the commercials) terrorists take over the hockey rink and Van Damme is the only one who knows anything's wrong. Since this movie appears to copy the _Die Hard_ template, I'll use it as a launchpad for a hypothetical movie. In my script, Jean Claude is watching the Superbowl from a front-row 50-yard-line seat. He overhears one terrorist telling another -- in German -- about the plans to hold the stadium hostage with a bomb. How believable is this scenario? For one thing, why would the terrorists be discussing this so close to the game? It would make more sense for them to be on the outskirts near the payphones. So I should either have Van Damme in the mile-high stands or have him take a bathroom break to overhear them. J.R.R. Tolkien used a common technique to help his readers identify with his writing; he used average Joes as characters. This is also how the Bible is structured. Extraordinary events happen to ordinary people in most popular writing. How likely are you or I able to afford a front-row seat at the Superbowl? Right -- let's put Van Damme in the vacuum seats. Now, how is he going to understand the German? Sure, he could have learned it in high school, but if the viewers start asking questions they might pay less attention to the unfolding events in the movie. Let's throw a little background into the script: Van Damme has a German friend he talks to at the beginning of the movie. But I want the first shot to be the football field and the players hitting the field...this is a bit more dramatic than opening the flick with Van Damme and his buddy chatting in German. So let's say his girlfriend (we must have a loved one to put into danger in an action movie) reminds him to call his friend for some reason or another (the reason isn't important, as long as it's believable). He goes to a phone and talks to his friend in German, with subtitles. He returns to the game, and we cut to the terrorists setting up a bomb. Plausibility goes down the tubes if I put the terrorists in the row behind Van Damme, so I'll have him get up and go to the bathroom after all. When he does so, he overhears the terrorists, and from this basic setup the rest of the film falls into place on an action-film template. If you make your characters and your plot believable, your writing will be believable. * * * Next time: How the writing in Star Trek: Voyager could be vastly improved.
Managing Change [Joyce - proof read this one please, I was on the bubbly last night. -- Gladstone Kibitzer ] Let Wombat-Kibitzer plc charge you more money than you ever thought possible to tell you what you already know in language you won't believe existed. In a structured programme of pleasant jollies in a country hotel of our choice, we at WK will show how your company can tackle tomorrow's challenges today by interfacing your middle management personnel with our expensively coiffured charlatans. * Empowerment of Corporate Vision and Belief Seminar * This three day event will consist of: FRIDAY EVENING Will start with an informal "Getting to know you" Q&A session in the lounge and end with half a dozen sad sacks propping up the resident's bar at three in the morning telling the 17 year old, peroxided bubblehead on the other side how they're wives' don't understand them. Should your company sales force be attending the time will obviously be extended to cover a discussion of the varying merits of the electric rear windows on a Ford Mundano GLXi versus the cassette holder on a Vauxhall Omygod Itsonlyabasemodelbutitstillcost16grandi. SATURDAY AM Breakfast Role playing. Different scenarios include: a) An exec who's finally away from the family for a couple of days so spends all night watching porno movies on the pay-to-view. b) Tired individual who couldn't get any sleep because some wanker in the next room had the telly on last night till six in the morning. c) Freshly promoted pimply oik desperately trying to network but has forgotten the password on his palmtop and doesn't own a ballpoint pen. The "Let's Do" Working Lunch. SATURDAY PM Brainstorming. Julius Wombat will stand in front of an A0 size flipchart holding an unfeasibly large marker pen. Members will shout out words from a list of standard mangement bullshitspeak provided by WK in order to buy into an ongoing issue-awareness scenario. Topics covered will be: a) How get that sectretary sacked who you screwed at the last works do and who now won't leave you alone. b) Whither the paisley tie/coloured shirt with white collar combination? c) Getting the software people out of Red Dwarf T-shirts and into suits. d) Quality, whatever the fuck that is. SATURDAY EVENING Members are encourage to visit the picturesque local town if they wish. A typical nights attractions usually include: a) Five or six pints in the pub with the standard cry of, "Eee This beer's crap. Never as good as it is at home, Thanks, same again". b) A group meal at the Taj Mahal. Members are encouraged to engage in badinage with the waiters- "Ay oop Abdul! 12 pints and a packet of poppadoms, toute suite - and don't forget the pickles", "What's this jangly crap, haven't you got any ELO?", "Oy Patel - you can bring on your wives now", - are all acceptable greetings. c) Roxy"s Disco. At least one punch up with the locals is expected as a result of an overweight wally in a cheap suit thinking he's god's gift to some 16 year old punk rocker. d) Back to the hotel where at least one tosspot will lie about having screwed that barmaid who was on last night and there will be a heated discussion about the best way to get from Guildford to Banbury while avoiding the M25. Someone will punch Julius in the mouth for being a smug, overpaid dickhead. SUNDAY MORNING Breakfast. Presentation of certificates. Removal of Nissan Primera from fountain by main doors. Prompt payment is appreciated.
Re-run Gary had to hurry. A hole had worked itself into the structure of his backpack. Not a large hole, but it was threatening to widen, to put on display the things Gary had in it. If he hurried, he might make it home before the bag broke open entirely. He might be able to fix it. In haste, he didn't pay attention the sights around him. In fact, the sights of his town weren't really sights to him anymore, he'd seen them a thousand times. Normally he ignored the houses and people he encountered on his way home. Even the weird old lady on the corner who always waved to him as he walked past would get a cold shoulder; he was too engaged by his thoughts. Today, as Gary walked by, the old lady didn't wave. She wasn't even outside. Puzzled, he walked on by, and was a half block away when the houses on either side started growing. Now, they weren't just growing, he observed, they were becoming taller, thinner, changing colors. He became frightened when they started to sing campfire songs. To make matters worse, the houses couldn't sing well at all. It made him walk faster, and he made it home in time for his backpack to spill its guts on the floor of his apartment. * * * Gary flipped through channel after channel that night, in a desperate mission to find something good on TV. There was nothing on. Nothing except the news. Boring. Nothing important, nothing enlightening, the same old shit Gary always saw. He was dozing off when the news anchor's head exploded. With a start, Gary sat up, blinking, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. The anchor was still talking, about to cut to the sports guy. For a moment, he could have sworn the news anchor's head had exploded. What was happening? It made no sense. The sports anchor was showing a cut from a game earlier that day. Normally, Gary hated watching sports, but he was feeling too confused to change the channel. That, and he'd never seen seven foot reptiles play baseball, before, either. He shook his head, almost thinking he could clear the images from his head by jarring them loose. He looked again. They were wearing dresses. Something wasn't right. He got out his phone book and called the TV station. He explained to an apathetic secretary about the anchor and the baseball playing lizards. Click. He called again. More vehemently, he told the secretary something was wrong. A more vehement click. Gary held the phone in his hands, stunned. Was he going insane? Startled at the prospect, he settled down in his chair and stared at the ceiling, almost forgetting about the TV. Until, of course, he noticed the anchor trying to get his attention. "Yes, Gary, you *are* going insane! What a wonderful day, huh? Incidentally, your day, and your life, is going to end in about ten seconds when your television will explode. Didn't your mother ever tell you not to watch too much television?" Gary stood there, stunned, while the announcer counted down. "10," He couldn't believe it. Why, he wondered, was this happening to him? What did he ever do to deserve this? And why was he getting the impression that the anchor was only wearing clothes from the waist up? The countdown continued. "7," Gary ran, hoping he could escape, to the door, which he found was locked. From the outside -- what? He ran back. "4," "3," His mind was racing, he couldn't think clearly. He stood and stared dazedly at the anchor. He had the distinct thought that his life was flashing before his eyes. "2, well, your life has probably flashed before your eyes by now, so it's time to kick the bucket. Goodbye Gary, and good riddance. "1." As Gary died he remembered that his mother did tell him not to watch too much television. * Darkness * A tunnel, a swirling tunnel of darkness.. Finally a light. Light.. and growing bigger.. growing bigger, and brighter.... Gary woke up staring at the flourescent lights in the office, then looked at the vendor. "That program is wonderful! It's so realistic! I thought I was going insane! I didn't even know it was fake! How do you do it!?" The vendor grinned, and took the VE set off of Gary's head. "That's our secret. At CraniCom, we do our best to ensure the newest in Virtual Experience technology. 'You can experience death from the comfort of your own home' as we like to say. Right now it's still in it's exper- imental stages, though, and thanks to the information you've given us, we'll be able to market this sooner to the public." Gary noticed the bank of instruments indicated by the vendor, and understood what they were. "Cool. Well, thanks for an interesting day, I've enjoyed it a lot." "No, thank *you*! Without you, this product may never go on the market." Gary nodded, understanding. "Think I can try it again, someday?" "Yes!! Yes. I'm sure of it, in fact. I know you will," the vendor seemed all too sure of himself. Gary wondered at this as he picked up his backpack and left. On the way home, he thought about the experience. He thought, momentarily, on the resemblance between the vendor and the TV announcer. Then he realized there was a small hole in his backpack, and started to hurry home.
Halo "Thousands of men put away in isolation, suffered from the chronic infection," screamed the radio. The kid playing the music glared around angrily, as if daring somebody to say something. Griz wished the kid would shut the damn thing off already. It was getting on her nerves. Someone in the infirmary cried out and collapsed. The armed military guards swung their weapons up in the direction of the rip in space-time that opened when the sick man died. The other patients scrambled away from the pale nimbus of light that tumbled out of the rift. The radio played on: A swelling on my body makes me suffer, live in anxiety No time to waste, just open the abcess, will you please help me? The ignorance is dominating, remedies you try, I can't live this life any longer; what is it, and why? * * * Before the world died, Griz had been Senior Engineer for the BioTech corporation in Silicon Valley. The military contract she was in charge of was highly lucrative for the company -- about fourty percent of BioTech's annual income came from Uncle Sam's "peacekeeping" contingent. The military was interested in nanotechnology for the purpose of warfare. Griz's team modified existing "microscopic surgeons" by giving them brains. Not microchip brains, but actual biological brains. In a miraculous feat of engineering the scientists had created microscopic cyborgs. Software had to be written to communicate with the little creatures. They were so small that electrical impulses were used to pass information to them, which the software was supposed to handle. The military had some software of its own to help the microscopic marines discriminate between friend and enemy. The government had, typically, kept the source code for the recognition software a closely guarded secret. It had also -- typically -- screwed up. Out of over three million lines of code, the single line that contained an error had trashed the entire recognition code. 99.997% of the Earth's human population died because of a simple error in addition. * * * While you're asleep, they'll enter your skin, They search for a new place they will dwell, They give their children a place to be born, You won't notice except for the smell... The soldiers nervously watched the rift as it pulsed with pale blue light. One of the world's most prominent physicists -- more than likely *the* most prominent now that there were only about 150,000 people left -- had suggested that the halo of light that spilled from the rifts was blue because it was being dopplered between Earth and whatever was on the other side of the rifts. This in turn suggested that the material on the other side was either gravitationally compacted or that whatever dimensions the rifts led to were gravitationally attracted toward the rift because of immensely smaller sizes. Though you wouldn't know it by the size of the things that usually crawled out of the rifts. * * * The Earth was put under an enormous strain when vast amounts of intelligent beings had stopped thinking. As a result, the fabric of reality was torn in several places. Strange creatures would often emerge from the rifts. Once, a pitch-black wolflike being had spilled out. Bullets didn't affect it in the slightest. One of the smarter soldiers discovered that they were fighting a shadow -- literally. The actual creature was four-dimensional; the soldiers were merely seeing its three-dimensional shadow, which was cast by the light from the rift. Once the soldiers understood this they figured out where the being actually was and destroyed it. That was by far the strangest thing to come out of a rift -- but not the deadliest. * * * Mysteriousness, researches can't explain, The sorrow of this internal pain, It's burning stronger, day by day, Cure me -- there must be a way. Someone started sreaming. A clawed hand was emerging from the rift. The hand was as red as raw steak, for a simple reason: it had no skin. No, the fourth-dimension shadow wolf wasn't the deadliest thing to come out of a rift. But the demons were. The blood-red creatures dubbed "demons" by the human survivors had begun spilling out of the rifts shortly after the pandemic. They stood eight feet tall, weighed 600 pounds, and were extremely dangerous for two reasons: their ten-inch-long razor-sharp claws, and their ability to control humans like puppets. They often tore through many people before being destroyed by the soldiers who were somehow immune to the mind control. * * * Desperation, confused mind, Never heard of a disease of this kind, So tell me, what can I do, To leave this hell I'm going through. Griz huddled in a dark corner of the room as the demon pulled itself through the rift. It passed its malignant gaze over the cowering soldiers, and they promptly dropped their weapons. It started around the room, talons busily working. Griz overed her head to block out the screams and the sight of flying blood. The demon was a meticulous butcher, taking only the choicest cuts. All of a sudden, Griz heard a piercing screech. She looked up. The demon's body was covered with boils. The boils moved randomly under its skin. It collapsed, and a huge rift opened in the air above it. The microscopic marines had been built to attack the human nervous system, and were designed to replicate themselves. They had apparently begun adding modifications to their design. The little bastards weren't going to stop at killing humans. The industrious cyborgs were going to destroy anything organic. Griz wept at the folly of mankind. A huge, gape-jawed face appeared in the new rift. It smiled with malicious glee. The blood-covered radio played on. Human blood, the perfect place -- birth of descendents, Creatures living in my veins, the horror, Frightening, sickening, the pain that I am bearing, Begging, please get them Out of my body.
How to submit: Entropy will be dedicated to distributing quality fiction to the electronic masses. It will also be a (limited) forum for political articles and possibly a small amount of non-fiction, such as articles on hacking. The ratio of Fiction to Non-fiction will be approximately 90%-10%. I will review submissions in the following categories: Fiction Sci-Fi Horror Comedy Mainstream Fantasy Quasi-Fiction Humor (Dave Barry- or PLA-type humor) Non-Fiction Political commentary How-to (hacking, phreaking) Reviews Games (arcade or home systems) Books Movies Other zines Current-events or newsworthy stories By "Dave Barry- or PLA-type humor," I mean the kind of humor that starts out as an anecdote from reality which quickly introduces elements of hyperbole, or actual news stories that are genuinely funny without exaggeration. Be aware that this is by no means a complete list of valid material. If you have something in mind that you don't see on the list, send me a brief description of your idea (but not the entire submission) and I will get back to you. I have no length guidelines, although if your story/article is a long one I may break it up to be published as a series. There is no pay for work that I publish, but the you will retain full copyright to your work and may publish it elsewhere as desired. I request that you give it a month to propagate in Entropy before posting or publishing it elsewhere, but this is only a suggestion. I can be reached on the internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.