Tales from long ago

This posts looks back at some of the stories that I wrote for my own pleasure when I was a child. I remember very little about the plots of most of these, so this post is not heavy on synopses, but it will give you some idea of what I wrote about back then.

One of my first stories, written when I was about seven, was Gelikokia, a fairy tale about goats against wolves; Gelikokia was the name of one goat. There was a scene in which the goats cross a river via a fallen tree in order to avoid a trap at the bridge.

An obsession for many years was the Adventurers of Antherus, of which enough remains on paper for me to elaborate another day [Update: here is the elaboration]. It was sort of epic science fiction crossed with Greek legend and influenced by whatever was on TV at the time.

Around the age of twelve I wrote several stories, but can’t remember the order in which I wrote them (or which of them if any I actually finished; I was always better at starting a story than ending it). There was a science fiction adventure story called Explorer of the Galaxy, of which I remember practically nothing. [Update: A complete copy of this story was discovered in 2009, and is available to read.] There was another science fiction story in which the aliens pretend to read people’s minds so that the psychological effects make the people vulnerable to invasion. There was a story set inside a magical ant’s nest (and I worked on an RPG to go with it). There was a horror story that began with skeletons being dug up on my parents’ farm and built up to a forgotten climax.

The Snakewhip Adventure was a story I wrote about a bad guy who collects poisonous snakes from various planets in order to use them as whips, and a couple of boys from Earth who are picked up by a UFO and volunteered to fight the bad guy. (I mentioned this synopsis on alt.fan.pratchett once, and Quantum Moth replied: “Okay… so he collected snakes… poisonous ones, I assume, as well as ones which can crush bone and consume whole pigs, and he used them in their capacity as *whipping devices*. That’s one hell of a bad guy. What was his next plot? To use the deadliest spiders in the world as catapult ammo? I applaud that kind of genius.“)

The Door to Destruction was yet another science fiction plot, but with some ideas taken from the Biblical Genesis story. It was set on a huge spaceship, which had been in space so long that it has its own share of legends, the crew don’t actually know how their voyage started, and they spend quite a lot of the time exploring forgotten corridors in a mission to find out. One day they stumble upon a key together with a cryptic piece of poetry, which seems to imply that they key fits a certain door that they’ve often wondered about but have never been able to open, that there is treasure behind this door, and that disaster will befall them if they open it.

Controversy breaks out over what to do next: open the door or not. Inevitably the door is opened, but not with everyone’s consent, and indeed there is treasure behind it. However, later on when the crew are reporting this discovery to their captain, some gold dust is accidently spilt into the vents, causing the anti-gravity mechanism to stop working. This is particularly unfortunate given that the ship happens to be engaged in close-up scientific study of a black hole at the time…

(I actually got this story published in an amateur magazine once, but the magazine only lasted two issues, so effectively I doubled its lifetime.)


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