Last Chance to See

If you haven’t made the most the chance to get hold of the current PARANOIA line in PDF format from DriveThru before now, then you have less than a day left to get over there and do something about it.

Right now, I’m struggling to get my head into gear on any kind of writing because of a web-based bugbear hanging over my work schedule. It feels like I’ve been sent on a mission and the briefing officer is hanging off my arm or something. I try to get the job done, but he’s always there, wailing and shouting at me to pay attention to him… and him alone. I have no doubt he’s got something important to say. I just wish he’d say it and get the hell out of here.

I’m current reading Ella Minnow Pea (also available, I note, in a Kindle edition for those lucky citizens with the right kind of mission equipment), which, if nothing else, is a novel crafted with incredible skill.

The people of the island of Nollop hold their language in high regard and use it with supreme skill and affection. Each citizen uses incredibly flowery language, pushing their vocabulary to the limits – as they effectively worship the man Nevin Nollop, the inventor of the pangram ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog’. The author, Mark Dunn, begins with the full alphabet at his command, but as the story proceeds letters disappear – as within the tale tiles on a cenotaph in Nollop’s honour fall off his famed pangram and the island council rule the lost letters prohibited.

At first the loss of Z or Q seems a mere inconvenience, but once you lose D, the past tense slips out of reach and it become fascinating to read. The people of Nollop either accept the decision or struggle against it, facing punishments that range from the stocks, through exile, and on to the death sentence. The council suggest the loss of the letters is a matter of faith, but put new statute in place that places land abandoned by the exiled in their hands, feathering their nests for an uncertain future. A man from the mainland offers science as the cause of the incidents, the matter of 100 year old glue losing all ability to hold the tiles in place any more; but, he can only sway the council to believe the truth if someone can create a pangram of 32 letters or less, which would prove Nollop is not the god-like figure others hold him to be.

Well worth reading…

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