My little works, 3/3

In addition to this weird fiction, there was some really weird fiction, too; the result of two high school students with loose mouths and too much “long” mathematics (Finnish high school math is (was?) taken as either “long” or “short”; they’re different in intensity, and taught separate from each other).

“What’s that? A frog statue?”

“Found it back home; brought it here to decorate the class.”

“What’s its name?”

“Don’t have no name.”

“Let me look at the daily paper… how about Aulis Gerlander? [the long-time virallinen valvoja or official watching eye of the television lottery authority]”

“Okay, why not.”

And some time later, as partly recounted and exemplified in a rare English example here over on Mirrors of Eris, monsters called quylthulgs and a weird world of bad jokes and purposefully random words of obsession had sprung into being. This then led into the writing of at least four “scripts” by me; something like amateurish “descriptions” of movies or intricate plays. We didn’t have the ambition to actually film anything. I just showed the ghosts I had spun up, taking entirely foolish things altogether seriously for the purposes of trying to be funny; we both agreed it was insane, absolutely bonkers; and felt immensely proud of having this insider tangle of words funny by association.

No alcohol nor drugs were involved; if the above sounds like something to the contrary, it was because of all the long math. And the Swedish lessons, dear heavens. (A sampling of the “codewords” of our private world, inhabitants two growing to four or five: Edema. Quylthulg. C-pap machine. Frog invasion. Gustav Komppa (a famous Finnish chemist). Stavkyrka. The hilarious English-class accident of pronouncing poverty as poetry. The incident of the teacher asking for a “message that conflicts with its delivery”, and a demented lurching gesticulating pronunciation mumble-yell of “I AM HEALTHY!” And that was just a fraction of it.)

The scripts were for movies somewhere on the borderline of the ludicrous which takes itself so seriously it is both comedic and dramatic; and the shit which is just totally messed up, man. For the most part, and somewhat fittingly in my opinion, the junior high crowd became a teeming herd of orcs; the high school a bastion of moderately sensible people; the teachers a distant line of indifferent Lovecraftian gods; and the actions were the normal life of a high school being played as an epic fantasy drama, with occasionally the invasion of mind-controlling space frogs from a different dimension, one of them named Aulis Gerlander, inexplicably; all the threats were defeated by some random posse of plucky high school math nerds with clever applications of courage, cowardice and running away at high speeds and bumping into things. Each of the scripts ran, single-spaced, to some 20 to 50 A4 sheets. (Hm, apparently Americans call a near match of the A4 size a Letter.) They weren’t quite stories; just the spoken words and brief notes on the action; and that’s a hard rut to get out of when you fall in.

The stuff gained limited circulation among friends; and was once printed out on the excuse that “well, our class needs something for the doing-presentations thing X; do we have anything?” — not a serious contender, but a good enough excuse to print and not worry about it later.

I apparently wrote a synopsis of one as the preface of a sequel; translated into English, it shows the general level of these jaunts. Note that while I’m a fan of the Keroro Gunsou / Sgt. Frog manga/anime, this was long before I heard of it.

An abridgement of the events of the movie “Frog Invasion I” follows, for those too lazy to read it.

The frog warlord of the planet Croak-II, the Official Supervisor XII, and his aide, called the Aide, arrive to Earth as the spearhead of an alien invasion force. Both are frogs, about 10 cm (4 inches) tall. In the name of smooth PR, the Official Supervisor takes a “human name” he judges to have sufficient gravitas: Aulis Gerlander.

The frogs are armed with hypnosis devices, bombs and the space alien mercenary monster Zorg with his raygun. The actual space frog fleet is, because of technical issues, late.

The frogs are opposed by a band of high school students: the duo of inventive Hessu and unstable Kali, the female high school student Anne, and the rather sleepy Hieronymus.

Additional terror and confusion into this all is added by Lord Bripsiph, a nasty and cruel junior high warlord.

After some breathtaking adventures the evil plan of the Official Supervisor XII is defeated and deflated; he himself flees in an unspecified direction. The Aide is squished under a thrown school bag, and Zorg, without his rayguns and power armor, is trapped in junior high.

And so, after a suitable period of time, this sequel begins… Frog Invasion II : Gustav Komppa must die! [the subtitle was in English in the original, too. For some reason it was real funny to have a frog lackey substitute teacher have the name of a chemist in, gigglity, in the chemistry textbook!]

Then there was the benighted exercise of taking some background elements of this all, namely the elements that cast the junior high and the high school (at the different ends of the same building in our municipality) as a Tolkienian-Howardian-Lovecraftian fest of epic adventure and pants-wetting horror; and trying to write something that said more about the place’s character. That was called “Divvina Commeddia Horribilis”, a nine-part cycle of story-plays told in freeform verse, each part representing one of the nine “gods” that I had thought up for the purposes of comedy and plotting as representing certain features of those two schools, those Two Cultures. I finished three or four parts and left two or three more unfinished; basically after a while it dawns on you that when your poetry is just stilted diction with very short lines, the result is not going to be all that spectacular; and when you’re seventeen, your insights into the human condition tend to strike even yourself as trite and boring.

Oh, and the nine gods? I think they were from the nine boxes of the traditional roleplaying matrix of one of Good, Neutral and Evil, and one of Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Thus:

  • LG: Tuc I Opo, the protector of those who want to study in peace; tukiopetus was “remedial lessons”, and “opo” the colloquial word for a vocational and studies guidance counselor.
  • NG: Gaea, the friend of the friends of nature, and all those who are environmentally sensitive; girl druids and screaming boys running rounds in the woods. Obvious derivation.
  • CG: Hilaric, the source of all humor, but especially bad jokes and practical ones. His priests are clowns, and vice versa. Obvious English derivation.
  • LN: Saga, some kind of a wisdom god. (How am I supposed to remember when those files that I can find don’t say?) No particular name-origin.
  • NN: Libramo, the god of libraries and the wizened folk that inhabit them. He smiteth those that disrespect books. Again, a primitive effect of profundity by taking an English word and mauling it a bit.
  • CN: Ödeema, the god of high school students. As this was a high school next to a junior high, and as (at least in my case and opinion) Finnish high schools are calm havens of introspection compared to the churning nihilist clique hell of the junior high, this meant Ödeema was a god of too much mathematics, and exhaustion and hysteria after the Swedish lesson. Ödeema is Finnish for “edema”, the hypothetical result of cramming too much knowledge into your head.
  • LE: Jippo Handy, the god of those with mobile phones and not a clue of when to not use them. Jippo could mean a trick or a ploy; handy is an either English or German slang word for a mobile phone. (Those whose native language is English can dig for Latinate terms; me, a poor Finn, was left inelegantly grasping for what I knew of English.)
  • NE: Jasmine Chat, the goddess of those who frequent the chat room and find the net a most social place. No derivation that I can recall; certainly not any particular person because I’ve never been either able or willing to introduce anyone except fractions of me into these myths of mine.
  • CE: Qlzqqlzuup, the Lord of Quylthulgs, the star-spawned pulsating monster-summoning blob lifeforms of myth, legend and dim primeval memory. Included among these nine for reasons unknown. His “cult” made frequent appearances in the various stories. Origin in the game of (Z)Angband and other Moria derivatives.

In addition to these there was Öde-Shoggog, the dread demon monster wizard Loki emperor agent of utter destruction, a designated antagonist.

* * *

There were a few high school fan fiction pieces, too; a couple even were about the Lord of the Rings. (Remember, long before the movies. And I wasn’t especially interested in fan fiction; it just usually came as shorter pieces I could actually start and finish without getting bogged down in the possibilities of the setting.) As I remember there were at least three of these, written at different times. One had a high elf, during the Second or the early Third Age, chartering a ship to sail west and north, to the islands north of the island of Himling that were the remaining peaks of Thangorodrim, the mountains of Angband, dark lord Morgoth’s fortress; now just dead islands in an ocean. Diary-form foolery ensued, until the elf, a slave in those dark places countless millennia ago, went into the bowels of the old fortress and awakened an ancient terror there; a balrog, probably. The ship fled; the captain thanked his luck; that was all.

The two other stories were just beginnings of a few hundred words. One was about proto-Black Numenoreans settling in the far south of Middle-Earth; this got diverted into using the Silmarillion appendices to make a lot of plausible-sounding Elvish names for all of the places they found. (This I worked on when our family was having a skiing vacation in a cottage next to some big winter wonderland resort; that’s me, curled up next to a luggable computer while the others are skiing. And note, this was 1996 or so; luggable because there were no portables back then. The battery alone weighted as much as a medium-sized dog, and the machine ran MS-DOS.)

The final story had a beginning, too, and then it too stopped because I didn’t quite know where it was going; I remember I had the mathematical inspiration to have the main characters be three dwarves, two riders of Rohan, and one hobbit; I don’t think anything beyond them meeting was ever written.

Then there were a few bits of Dragonlance fan fiction, featuring draconians, orcs and goblins just trying to stay alive as a violent and frightfully humorous world turned round them; half a dozen of these, maybe. Those bits that were action farce were better than those which tried to be all serious; as is well known “serious” written by someone under eighteen always means “insufferably angsty”. (In addition to these all that I’m listing I could, if I remembered, mention a dozen scrawled ideas or jotted fifteen-word synopsises for each of these; but I only really remember just the ones that I finished, i.e. those that didn’t include a plan for a twelve-book cycle of novels. Those never got off the drawing board.)

Then there was a “cycle” of fantastical accounts and mundane housekeeping notes from round a mage coven in some swampland corner of Dark-Age England; based from getting lost in an Ars Magica RPG rulebook and, I think, seeing a line that the role-playing gamemaster might want to keep a journal of sorts of the adventures the players had. Didn’t have no players nor games (did make some characters though; jolly good fun!); but made up a journal for something that happened in the game’s setting.

* * *

Other: A few short fragments, a few hundred words or so, some of them descriptions of arena fights (“What would this game sound like if I wrote it down?”), and some riffs off an encyclopedia and the general idea of Robert E. Howard’s riffs on Clontarf (1014) and the siege of Vienna (1529) (these being “the Grey God Passes” and “the Shadow of the Vulture“); looking back, it seems my mode of operation was largely “This is so cool! I want to write something like this!” — which while not a bad idea, is something that generally should be interpreted less, er, literally.

One riff off these was, I think, a bit where a Teutonic knight was bloody depressed; the alternate-historical iron-handed Papal empire of Europe was crumbling (possibly because of Reformation-ologists; I don’t remember), and he was certain him and his army being called from one end of the realm to the other would mean the weakening of the both and the empire’s fall to enemies within and without; then a messenger arrived with some dire climatic piece of news that ah I don’t even remember anymore.

* * *

And those, more or less, describe those bits of my writing that got somewhere, until the year I was eighteen years of age, graduated high school, and arrived at this here university ten years ago. Wasn’t fame, wasn’t success; but was a whole lot of fun for a bookish young un.

A longish period of not knowing what the hell to write now followed; then more silly crap graduating into actual real humor, and a double handful of short stories, mostly really short ones. (And Ranma 1/2 fan fiction in English! Also aneurysm-inducing Ranma/Mega Man and Ranma/Lord of the Rings crossovers and fusions that, come to think of it, I should dig up some day.) Then in 2006 along came a NaNoWriMo novel along those same lines of laughter at an absurd universe, whether that of reality or fantasy, and three more since, each dancing somewhere on the line between so weird it’s funny and so weird it’s scary.

One Response to “My little works, 3/3”

  1. Taranaich Says:

    Have you read the non-fantasy version of Howard’s account of the battle in “Spears of Clontarf”? It basically removes Odin and the Sidhe, and makes it a straight historical fiction story.

    There’s definitely a lot of scope for adventure in Middle-earth, which struck me as almost post-apocalyptic at times. There’s the many ruins of Arnor, Moria, Angmar, the sunken ruins of Angband (“In his house in Angband, Dread Balrog lies dreaming?”), but the real adventures lie in the distant south and east, uncharted by Middle-earth cartographers. Unfortunately most Middle-earth fan fiction is set in the same places of the books (and movies in later years). Ah well.

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