Over the next couple of days I gathered together all the things my alt-Japanese brain told me I would need to make my masterpiece. The plan: until the family unit came back, I’d write. When they came back, I’d still write. When my friends came back, I’d write harder.
Fuck all those zombies, this was a mission.
Then I had a counter-thought:
I don’t need to write, pseudo-Mark’s already done it for me. The letter said he’d written a whole bunch of stuff, sci-fi novels. That I somehow couldn’t remember a page of. Because I was the pseudo-Mark. Was I?
Making myself a cup of Kerala-imported tea, I returned to my room and turned on the laptop.
Wait, didn’t he say his stories were hopeless…
The computerr loaded and the files came up on the desktop. I saw one that said Dream Fucker – a novel and double-clicked.
Nah, it was just modesty. People would call you arrogant if you openly hailed yourself a genius, so protective measures were required. And was he the type to boast? I mean, was I the type? Either lobe of me? No way, I was humble, to everyone except my parents. If anything, I was too humble, apologising for even picking up a pen sometimes. And why couldn’t I remember writing any of this? It was in his memories, so why didn’t I know about it?
Fucking Frankenstein scientists.
Dream Fucker appeared on screen, in giant comic sans.
I stopped reading and scratched my neck.
Rubbed my eyes.
Stared at the text on the screen again.
This thing…was a wreck. Beyond kuso. Kusoier than kuso. The kind of stuff a primary school kid would write.
I closed the file and looked at the posters on the walls. Biker Kaneda strolling to his red bike. LEGO Captain Eto waving a broken phaser in the air. Hari Seldon in a wheelchair, entrenched in pale-blue light. Biker Kaneda again.
God in the hills…
How could someone like Akira or Void Galaxia then sit down and write this?
I looked around the room at all the other things that made up the person called Mark. There was a drinks coaster on the table nearby, with a shitty caricature of Margaret Thatcher on top. For some reason, there were horns on the top of her head.
Wait a minute…
This Dream Fucker…maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Maybe it was a one-off.
Maybe he was writing it as a joke…
Maybe it was his first ever story and he got a hell of a lot better later…
I closed the file and opened a different one in the same folder.
The title wasn’t much of an improvement, but maybe…
I turned away from the computerr and rubbed my eyes.
It didn’t seem possible…he seemed like an intelligent guy, liked Akira, went to college, or used to go to college, had read other sci-fi books, classics…had a fucking brain and eyes and some kind of taste-trigger that told him, this is shit, really, really shit…didn’t he?
Lunar Crone. Dream Fucker. God knows what else.
Ten Step guide to what I did when attempting sci-fi
[Notes by an amateur, but not as bad as other Mark]
Step one – chose ten well-regarded authors: Tsukubashi, Heinlein, Haldeman, Le Guin, Dick, Anderson, Bradbury, Bley, Chu and Aziz. Not Mark Fucking Boyle.
Step Two – went to the college library and found four of those authors, each with one book. [My card still worked, not sure why. And Mark was right, it was a piece of shit college; decoration looked ugly and the man at the desk kept trying to sell me package offers. Typical adventurist scam. Should’ve gone to the Community Hub instead.]
Step Three – laid the four books on my bed: The Forever War, The Dispossessed, Tao Zero, I’m All Alone In The Kuiper Belt And That’s Okay.
Step Four – from The Forever War, took the idea of a drawn out war with an alien force. That would be my plot.
Step Five – from The Dispossessed, took the idea of two opposing ideologies, the science versus naturalism [I’m not sure if this was accurate, but it’s what I got from the synopsis, so that’s what I used.]. So, the aliens in my story would be naturalists, and the humans would be science buffs.
Step Six – from Tao Zero, took the universal human language of Swedish. My characters would all speak this language. I also borrowed the main protagonist, the hero, and turned him into my human antagonist. The aliens would also have some bad guys, but with less page-time, so I’d figure them out later.
Step Seven – from I’m All Alone In The Kuiper Belt And That’s Okay, swiped the main character, Salvo Cheung. He was an idiot and a sensualist, and a perfect foil to my cold, science-buff, bad guy.
Step Eight – wrote down the plot outline. Basically the same as The Forever War – the idiot and the science-buff, bad guy get sent to different alien planets to fight the enemy, and then come back to a changed Earth. The first time they return, the main language is Swedish. [Edit: each time they come back there will be a new universal language].
Step Nine – write the first chapter before the family comes back.
Step Ten – ??