For the 108th time in two thousand years, The End of The World ™ has been delayed. This has caused much anger as it had been thought that an agreement had been reached, but talks broke down last night when several factions withdrew their support.
“It was the wrong kind of Armageddon,” said a spokesman for the fundamentalist caucus. “We wanted a more traditional Armageddon with all the trappings – plagues of locusts, the four horsemen, AND a Second Coming. But the offer on the table was only two horsemen and a small outbreak of bubonic plague. And the science mafia was insisting on some ridiculous brown dwarf star. But the real deal breaker was the planet burning up in a ball of flame. Our followers cannot, and will not, accept any form of global warming.”
A spokesman for the ‘Even More Fundamentalist’ caucus claimed the real sticking point was the failure to agree on proper segregation. “You cannot have men and women, believers and non-believers, humans and pigs, being incinerated in the same fiery furnace. It’s not natural!”
The spokesperson for the Science lobby had a lot to say too. “We bent over backwards to accommodate the other parties, but some of them don’t understand the word compromise. If you’re going to destroy a planet it has to be done according to actual science. You can’t have a horseman making it so!”
Apparently Health and Safety was also an issue. A lobbyist for the ‘Campaign for a Safe Armageddon’ said, “Too many of the suggested compromises were far too dangerous. The End of the World doesn’t have to be all about explosions and locusts. We could all be advised to safely lie down and then be slowly euthenised with nitrous oxide. We’d die laughing, and then the planet could be safely taken apart over several millennia and the rubble carefully disposed of inside a star one piece at a time.”
The RSPCA had an opinion too. ‘A pet is for life, not until the first Armageddon.’ Their representative insisted that no pets should be put down – however safely. “They should all be found new homes first. Isn’t that what the space missions were for? To find new caring owners for our pets in case of a planetary catastrophe?”
Complications were also caused by several countries attempting to manipulate the calendar. New Zealand’s call to have the international dateline moved a minute before midnight on Dec 21st and then switched back a day later so that, on New Zealand, December 21st never existed, caused a furore. Then other less geographically fortunate countries attempted a similar ploy with the 25-hour Daylight Saving Bill. “We’d bring the Bill in, then repeal it as soon as the danger past,” said the 17 year-old, Italian Minister of the Apocalypse, Bubbles Bunga-Bunga .
A spokesman for the Mayans was more sanguine. “Never mind,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
FREE THIS WEEKEND – GLAMPIRE – a fun short story of First Contact, 70s style.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award for short fiction. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?
Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!
French Fried – the international bestseller – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth?
Resonance – “This is one of the most original new science fiction books I have ever read. If it is as big a hit as it deserves, it may well be this book which becomes the standard by which SF stories about … are judged.”