The Anthology that breezed through human consciousness like a neutrino through a planetary crust can be downloaded under a Creative Commons license.
Short fiction and prose presenting a serious compendium of some of Mark Cantrell’s varied works; wrapped in a sweet and sour wrapping the better to enhance the nutritious tang of the verbal bite. You can also pick up a copy in a variety of different formats from Many Books.net
Read the introduction, then download the anthology:
THINGS were getting serious.
I was fresh out of fags.
The coffee had congealed. And the beer was definitely off.
Yes. Out it went, through the door, slithering along like an oversized amber slug.
Always sensible in any crisis, a pint, but I was in no state to follow course and sup the bitter dregs of retreat. So, in the thick of all this chaos, I went for the less-than-heroic option and made like The Scream.
They were coming in thick and fast all around. Porting in through the hollow points in the quantum-foam-wash of real space like, well, like hollowed out bullets bludgeoning through flesh.
The doors of perception were being well and truly gate-crashed. What was to be a rather gentile soiree of a literary persuasion, was turned into a cyber-boot-stomping montage of fearsome verbiage. There were words everywhere. They merged into one writhing, putrescent orgasm of frenzied composition. The cascading babble deafened right down to the bowels. The walls and windows were drenched in spilled ink, the floor was awash in black and bubbled with more words emerging like ectoplasm ghouls to eat the flesh of literary taste.
It was horrible.
The Attack of the 50-foot Verbose Mutant Killer Fountain Pens From Mars.
And try saying that in a bookshop without getting funny looks.
It was all my fault too. I just wasn’t capable of controlling my pen. I let it prod and probe where pens were not meant to ponder, and cracked open a splurging orifice of psycho-babble into an unprepared universe.
With those words flooding into this doomed world, and me out of chemical inducements, I figured there was only one thing left to do. Make like a writer and delete the scene, but the only part of me capable of running was my bowel.
Fortunately there was a deafening flash of inspiration and the ink-blinded windows imploded. Black-clad figures, straight out of an action flick, chased the cascading shards like a punctuation expletive. I managed to duck as they abseiled into the narrative flow with the [full-]stopping power of a full-metal-colon.
The Editors were here to save the paragraph.
Red pens flashed like maser-death. They scythed through the invaders. Dismembered clauses floundered on the ink floor bubbling a death rattle tattoo as the editors hacked and butchered these babies. Streams of high velocity tippex wiped their asses clean off the face of the Earth. I just ducked under a table and admired the sheer choreography of this high-power revision.
Even so, it looked tight to the deadline. These editors were tough S.O.B.s, but the words were giving a tempestuous backchat. We were far from clear of the verbiage yet. Truth is, those editors were in serious danger of becoming overwhelmed by the sheer deluge of noisome composition. I was definitely destined for somebody’s bad books…
That’s when the Critics smashed through the doors. You should have been there to see it for yourself. Some piece of work. The action didn’t last long after that.
They destroyed them. Drowned them in scorn. The Fountains Pens From Mars just withered and died under the Critics’ combined vitriol aplomb and heat-beam stares.
With the last bubbling decomposition writhing its last on the ink-swilled floor, I crawled out from under the table. I had to thank these guys for saving my arse from the verbiage swamp. I went up to the nearest editor, grinning like a classic hippy with a bowel full of good shit.
He saw me. This Heraclean Hero of the Delete Key watched me sidle nonchalantly his way. He turned and holstered his Red Pen. Adopting a casual stance, he rested one gauntleted hand on his hip while the other reached up to peel off his respirator hood.
I stopped then, and stuttered a few grateful incoherences.
The Hero’s mouth curled in disdain.
“Goddam passive voices,” he said, “more trouble than worth.”
I grinned a little weak.
He must have mistaken me for some other scribe...
Bolton, 16 November 2004
Copyright (C) November 2004. Some Rights Reserved. Released Under A Creative Commons License.
Category: FOUNTAIN PENS FROM MARS