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Roy Janik

[ website | Parallelogramophonograph ]
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So you have a choice. You can spend the rest of your life counting Spotted Woggles. Or you can come to my city and let me prepare you for your destiny. [Nov. 12th, 2001|12:50 am]
Roy Janik
Alright, so most, if not all of you will give a flying flip about what I'm about to talk about, but meh. It's my journal. When I was a wee lad, Scott, I think had this game for the Apple IIe called "In Search of the Most Amazing Thing". It was great stuff, featuring Robot Auctioneers, tribes of weird swamp creatures, hot air balloons, and an infinite ambiguous quest to find the most amazing thing.

This was back in the heyday of unique and substantial packaging, so the game came packaged with a short novel called the "The Adventures of Smoke Bailey" which basically introduced the player to the universe and the basic premise of the game. It was actually a really funny book, despite being a thinly veiled manual, and I read it repeatedly. Here's a brief snippet to give you a feel for it:

The Genetic Engineering people did some very clever things with the Spotted Woggle. You know the old joke about brown cows giving chocolate milk? In the winter Spotted Woggles really do give chocolate milk. In the spring they give ordinary milk. In the fall they give apple cider. In the summer they give lemonade or root beer, depending on
what you feed them A Spotted Woggle is about as intelligent as a barn door. Until my adventures began, my mornings on the farm went like this:

5:30 a.m. Wake up to buzzzzzzz of the alarm clock.
5:40 a.m. Get dressed.
5:50 a.m. Feed the stupid chickens.
6:00 a.m. Slop the dumb hogs.
6:10 a.m. Water the crummy goats.
6:20 a.m. Go to the cow pasture and count the Spotted Woggles to make sure none have wandered off.
6:45 a.m. Eat breakfast.
7:00 a.m. Start running to school.

By the way, I should tell you that none of the Spotted Woggles ever wandered off. Somehow they knew there was no place worth wandering off to.


Flash forward a decade or so. I've been devouring the works of James Morrow over the past couple of years. He's a satirist, who weaves modern day fables and fairy tales ala Swift, under the guise of Science Fiction. He usually takes stabs at religion, but in general he's an unabashed humanist who at once both demonstrates the pointlessness of the universe and struggles to find meaning within it. At any rate, today I finished reading "Bible Stories for Adults", his collection of short work, which means that the only things of his left for me to read are "The Continent of Lies" (his second novel), and a few short stories. I got curious, and pulled up his bibliography, to see how many short stories I was going to have to track down.

And that's when I noticed it. He wrote "The Adventures of Smoke Bailey", the novella that came with the game. I guess I've always been a fan. Hurrah.
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