Fear Feller’s Master-Stroke

A new study discovers that people who think they’re arachnophobic are actually afraid of disembodied hands with lots of eyes in the knuckles.

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New studies conclude that all claustrophobics remember being placed in a coffin while still alive in their immediately previous life.

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A new study shows that people who believe they are afraid of snakes are actually troubled by the thought of elongated severed zombie penises.

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New tests have established that agoraphobics are genetically immune to gravity, and could potentially fly off into space at any moment.

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A new study proves that fear of heights signals a rare disorder called Magnetic Dropsy, in which you are drawn at a cellular level to the abyss.

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New studies fairly sure that ailurophobes have been experimentally chewed by their own cats while in a post-public house ‘napping’ posture.

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A new study establishes that fear itself is more afraid of the fear of fear itself than the fear of fear itself is afraid of fear itself.

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The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 15: Ringo and the Dormobeetle 

Doc Moreau would like to announce that, after reaching an agreement with Ringo, plans for his new Dormobeetle are finally going ahead!

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Imagine: a giant black Beetle you can sleep in as it crawls around in the dark, lulled to golden slumbers by the music of The Beatles!

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Doc Moreau reassures us that Ringo definitely agreed to all this after an extended drinking session saying, ‘I’ll get the lads on side.’

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This agreement (and the extended drinking session) either proceeded or followed his failed attempt to attach Ringo’s head to a brontosaurus.

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Doc Moreau says, ‘Give me a day or two for the precise legally binding memories to come back to me. In the meantime, prime the giant beetles!’

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To manufacture the Dormobeetle, Doc Moreau has to deploy the radioactive substance ‘Kafkanium’, extracted from the excreta of wild Kafkas.

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Wild Kafkas are notoriously shy and difficult authors to track and trap, and even then can be extraordinarily retentive of their excreta.

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‘The last one didn’t do a crap for seven years,’ Doc Moreau reminisces, ‘then finally he says, “You have captured me for no reason,” and poops.’

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The excreta is dry and firm to the touch. It has no detectable odour and resembles a thick biscuit. Sometimes it has ‘Ecto’ embossed on top.

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Hundreds of distillations containing Kafkanium can be extracted from a single ‘Ecto-Biscuit’, triggering the growth cycle of the beetles.

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‘Sometimes, before I start pimping up the beetle with speakers,’ Doc Moreau confesses, ‘I have me a little nibble of that Ecto-Biscuit!’

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It’s not clear what effects the ingestion of Kafkanium may have on the human body. But delusional states and random chitin growth are likely.

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What Doc Moreau dismisses as ‘pimp surgery’ is actually a complex procedure creating a luxury sleeping cavity in the giant beetle’s abdomen.

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‘This is gonna be better than that time we put bathyscapes in cows!’ enthuses Doc Moreau. ‘Tomorrow never knows how many we’re gonna shift!’

The Darkmonger


‘First, agitate the darkness. Then insert head.’

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‘Remain perfectly still till darkness dissipates. (Up to ten hours.)’

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‘Note that particles of darkness (called “darkles”) may become attached to household objects such as keys, making them difficult to find.’

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The first thing a Darkmonger learns is that darkness is not the absence of light, but the presence of these darkling particles, or darkles.

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Chimeric quantum theory teaches us that ‘darkling particles’ are the only particles that aren’t there when you are looking directly at them.

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When constructing a Darkbox, then, the Darkmonger literally has to work behind his or her own back.

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More, if you intend to see a darkle, this displaces it, so the Darkmonger’s left hand must not know what the right is doing, and vice versa.

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In order to develop the abilities of Darkmongers, they are apprenticed at an early age to a Luckmeister, who assesses their sensitivities.

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For instance, the Luckmeister will play a hand of Chimeric Slap with the youth, using a pack from which a dog has licked off all the luck.

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If the would-be Darkmonger has not detected the lack after the thirteenth slap, then they are sent home: you must be lucky to handle the darkles.

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They’re then shut in a cupboard which has merely been painted dark, so is lacking in darkles. If they can sense this, there’s one final test.

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They are sent onto the Darkling Plain to find a hatbox. There isn’t one. A true Darkmonger will return with their own hat full of darkles.

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Every Darkbox is actually a hatbox with a hapbox inside it, and every darkling particle has two sub-particles called Happy and Hapless.

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People think a Luckmeister can give them good or bad luck: but what they teach is it’s all luck, just pointed in different directions.

Living On The Sun

Of course, when we lived on the Sun, the great problem was shoes. You needed the correct leather to walk on the surface and it was expensive.
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You could burn through ten or eleven pairs of shoes an hour, just walking to the shoe shop and back. The shoe shop owner was the Sun’s richest man.

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Apart from the darkmonger, that is. Darkness was a very valuable commodity on the Sun, and they sold it in hatboxes.

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You had to put your whole head in the darkbox, and, lo! it was night. Of course, the darkness would leak out, which is why space is dark.

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They said the shoe shop owner had a whole dark room, and he kept a bed in it, and would just go and lie down whenever he wanted it to be night.

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People ask: was it very hot living on the Sun? But of course, if that’s where you live, you just jump in the suncream canal and swim!

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The best thing was there was no time. They kept trying to import ‘sunproof’ watches, but they would just melt right off your wrist.

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When we moved to Earth the other children called us ‘Krinkle Kids’ because of the skin corrugations, but backed off when we breathed ‘fire’.

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They didn’t know we had hot breath lungs for outdoors and cold breath ones for indoors! It was sad when we finally coughed the hot lungs up.

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What did we miss most? The good old Grilled House where you could just slap a steak on the wall or fry an egg on the floor…

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I remember when the Sun Librarian wasn’t looking you could throw books out the window and they would instantly vapourise. I feel guilty now.

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In the instant that a book vapourised, every letter would turn to gold and be indelibly marked on my memory – I never read so intensely again.

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My favourite thing was Sunspotspotting: no-one knew where the next one would appear, but every eleven years we’d throw forks into them for luck.

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The intense magnetic field which had generated the sunspot would cause all our forks to form a single giant fork, hovering.

War Snails of the Chimeric Empire


Few sights are as stirring as the giant War Snails of the Chimeric legions wheeling into battle, usually months after the conflict is over.

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At a diplomatic level, it can be problematic for colossal snails to lay waste to a nation with which a treaty was signed weeks previously.

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Fortunately, most civilian populations and even military intelligence units gradually become aware of colossal armoured molluscs with cannons.

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The War Snail strategy, of course, was to move so imperceptibly that opposing military units would completely forget about you until too late.

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In practice, however, the enemy had time to remove everything of value from the territory concerned down to the level of individual plants.

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The Counterstrategy to the Removal of Viable Targets from the Field of Combat was to send raiding parties to seize shrubs in mid-evacuation.

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The War Snails were retired when the cost of maintaining them was set against the net worth of geraniums gained, most of which they ate.

The Underwater Zoo

The first problem with the Underwater Zoo was that none of the animals were able to breathe underwater. Cages do not tend to retain oxygen.

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Haon’s air bubble helmets simply caused the animals to float to the top of their cages and then to dangle there: a most inelegant solution.

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Even when the creatures were provided with aircubes to live in, they had to be held down with weights and chains, which was regarded as cruel.

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Then there was the choice of site: by locating the Zoo in a deep trench far from any land mass, Haon had arguably reduced visitor flipperfall.

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Of course he argued strongly that the Underwater Zoo was as much for aquatic visitors as human tourists, but these did not add to revenue.

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While jellyfish gathered in their billions to bob brainlessly by, jellyfish are seen more as a toxic hazard than a marketing success.

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Although there was some evidence that Right Whales deviated from the whale roads to visit the Zoo, these were not necessarily the right whales.

In the Alchemist’s Kitchen

A poem inspired by the painting, ‘The Alchemist’s Kitchen’ by Leonora Carrington.

the alchamists table

In the Alchemist’s Kitchen

Her charged table attracts seekers toward it like a magnet pulling in iron bars. Beast-headed beings, they stand, linked by fingertips, around the lodestone’s veiled field.

Unlike the king whose corrosive touch burnt water to bullion, gold is not their goal.

This séance comes together to reverse polarities. Positioned as compass points, they drink charmed solutions from crystal goblets.

As the bewitched air transmutes to a quicksilver rose, whispering its melting secrets, the conversion is activated and these omnidirectional forces conjure up a spirit ovum.

They place this ghost-egg in parenthesis where, the words of an incantation, fluxes of winged insects, flutter about its gleaming shell.

They do not know what horror they’ve unleashed. This voodoo seed is a booby-trap! Countdown commences. As the timer’s decisive zeroes click up, the pseudoscientists scream.

Flesh melts. Bones burn to sticks of brittle charcoal, bodiless cinders, bomb-shadows.

Her calm chair repels finders away from it like an anus pushing out soft turds. Bird-footed objects, they lie, unrelated by toes, within the swab’s overt ignorance.

Like the queen whose gentle separateness froze fire to plastic, silver is their indifference.

This conversation falls apart in similar convergences. Lost as constrained antipathies, they express unlucky problems from organic ridges.

As the repellent earth maintains a constant weed, bellowing its harsh explanations, the stagnation is ceased and these subordinate weaknesses dismiss a materialistic sperm.

They jettison this human-seed in focus where, the numbers of repulsion, stabilities of crawling birds, dither within its leaden kernel.

They know what delight they’ve contained. This valid harvest is a release.

Arrival terminates. As the uncontrolled insignificant infinities rattle down, the technicians murmur.

Feathers solidify. Blood freezes to stones of robust pulp, concrete reconciliations, pillow-shimmer.