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March Of The Ants

The gong for breakfast did not wake me, but being hit across the face and thrown out of my hammock did. "Wakey-wakey-wakey!" invited someone unfriendly. "It's time for eggs and breaky, my little mules."

I opened my eyes and coughed, finding myself entangled with Pish in the web of vines beneath our bunks. Pish was staring with wide eyes at the two scar-faced thugs glaring down at us from the round wooden balcony that surrounded the nook, wound out of the face of the living tree. "Is this some kind of Annapurnese wake-up call?" I muttered groggily. "I distinctly remember asking not to be pistol-whipped."

Simon of Space - a science-fiction novel by Cheeseburger Brown
Dear readers,

It's finally happened: the free version of this science-fiction novel has been taken offline in order to make room for the hard-cover printed edition from Ephemera Bound Publishing, on sale in stores and online beginning Valentine's Day, 2008.

I regret any disappointment. I kept the free version available as long as I could. Pleasure be sure to check out the new edition! See Cheeseburger Brown.com for more information and updates.

Cheeseburger Brown

P.S. You can read more of my free fiction via my weblog or in the complete story achives.


Blogger Sylver decreed...

Some great action, but what I want to know is where did Simon learn the phrase 'pistol-whipped'? Is his memory slowly coming together, or did he overhear that somewhere on that rough planet?

Another great chapter!

Wed Jul 13, 09:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger tee decreed...

great stuff, thanks!
two words i noticed... in this para:
"We had beef for supper..."
(chef & skiness)
"I tried to beg off but the chef of their clan insisted, nodding and grinning, throwing back another cup of mead, the head of the skiness bull on his crown seeming to smile at me, too."
- although "chef of the clan" might be an appropriate honorific too... ;)

Wed Jul 13, 10:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

Woohoo -- third comment!

I love Simon's little witticisms that pop up, although I too had to wonder about pistol-whipping.

A few fleas before someone else gets them:


I looked around at the dirty, sun-burned, happy faces looking at me, their features swimming the firelight
(I assume there should be an "in" there, but you might have wanted the more poetic effect)

Man, what high adventure. Mind the ants, indeed... are we going to learn more about the translucent yellow ones?

Wed Jul 13, 12:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Niels decreed...

I'm quite intrigued about the shock absorbing fluid. So simple, but I could have never thought of it.

Keep it up.

Wed Jul 13, 12:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Egamma decreed...

sylver, remember that simon's vocabulary was pretty much intact. He knew what a pistol was, because he owned one. It's not too much of a stretch to think that he either recalled the term, or created it on his own. After all, somebody else did.

sheik, advocat is Middle English for lawyer, although it is most likely a typo.

niels, that shock obsorbing fluid is similar in effect to the foam that filled the car that was crashed in the movie Demolition Man. but a nice touch, to be sure.

Wed Jul 13, 01:39:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

The oxygenated fluid thing was used in the Neon Genesis Evangelion mechas too, but it was permanent there..

Wed Jul 13, 02:30:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Excellent so far. As an avid reader of the former Darth Side, I commend you.

Wed Jul 13, 02:39:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous SithSnoopy decreed...

One word: Dude! :)

Good job as always. :)

Wed Jul 13, 03:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jamie Poitra decreed...

Ahh...another episode and my day feels complete now. :)

Wed Jul 13, 05:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

I think
Espying an opportunity
Should have been "Spying an opportunity".

Great story so far cbb... keeping me on pins and needles! *S*

Wed Jul 13, 09:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous converted decreed...

Big thumbs up.

Had Simon seen a compass before?
Because, once told it was a compass, he seemed to know what it did.

The imagery of the marching ants... I can just see the two rivers and our companions marching along, grimly and silently. Nice.

I also liked this: "The enemy of our enemy is our friend." :)

Thu Jul 14, 01:13:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Yet another shot to make my day :)

Thu Jul 14, 05:32:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Was anyone else there reminded of C3PO's story to the ewoks in Return Of The Jedi?

Thu Jul 14, 06:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Niels decreed...

Indeed, it reminded me of it as well. Allthough I imagine the Ruffians to be more of a Tusken-like people than small, cuddly teddybears.

*shivers at the thought of teddybears in SoS*

Actually, that's a likely thought.

Thu Jul 14, 07:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...

Dear all,

Reference, Homage or Plagiarism?

This is the question that bounces around inside my head every time I allude to a famous scene from other works of fantasy or scifi.

Consider Simon's recent demand to know whether or not Jeremiah is "an unusual" robot. His phrasing, down to the italics actually, is lifted directly from Isaac Asimov's THE ROBOTS OF DAWN, although I only realized it a day after I'd posted it after having a nagging notion to flip through the paperback.

Anyone familiar with Asimov is already well aware that the relationship between Simon and Jeremiah bears more than a passing resemblence to that between Elijah Baley and R. Giskard Reventlov. Is drawing a direct line to that consanguinuity reference, homage or theft?

Was I thinking of C-3P0's story to the Ewoks when Simon started his tale for the Ruffians? Of course -- how could I not? I've seen the same movies you have. That isn't where the idea came from, but it's definitely where it went.

Are the stuttering and obvious reports from the talking yellow flying taxicab umcomfortably similar to Cobin's vehicle in THE FIFTH ELEMENT, or is it just a tip of the hat to a memorable scenario? Myself, I'd say the former -- I should've thought it through further, to realize sooner what it resembled. Then I could have differentiated the taxicab more. But it's all posted now.

SoS Patented Tru-Geek Trivia: What popular European faerie-tale is used as an allegorical device in both SIMON OF SPACE and Spielberg's 1977 film CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND? (Hint: when people guessed THE WIZARD OF OZ a few weeks ago they were close, but no cigar. They were thinking too STAR WARSy.)

(...Actually, now that I think of it, I believe the same allegory is used in a slightly different -- considerably more ham-fisted -- way in Spielberg's 2001 film A.I., too. Ah, if only it could've been a Kubrick picture!)

I'll leave it to you to figure out who's who, though for the record I must say I've followed no blue-print slavishly.

There will be no new installment today, but there will be tomorrow, guaranteed. I'm going through a bit of a severe fiscal/career crisis right now, so my time is at a bit of a premium. Thanks for your patience, all.



Thu Jul 14, 09:20:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...


Hmmmmm, was there a subtle clue there as to where the story is headed?

Back to the previous post though - although there are numerous similarities/references I think they make it all the more interesting, they remind me more of "easter eggs" from movies and games rather than homage or plagarism.

In fact I think that one of the greatest things about Simon of Space is the authors wealth of knowledge, and sources from which he can draw to weave this classic tale.

Thu Jul 14, 11:47:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

CBB, I like all the in jokes/homages.

Besides, Tarantino's made a pretty decent living doing much the same thing in the film world, and you don't see him taking (much) flak for it.

Thu Jul 14, 12:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Niels decreed...

I hadn't noticed the similarity between both cab scenes (yours & Fifth Element's), but now that you mention it, yeah.
BTW, the cab driver is named Korben :D.

Thu Jul 14, 04:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger razorsmile decreed...

Stuff that rocked

- aircar-chase, dude! Woohoo! With the comedy commentary from the car, this scene couldn't be any more cinematic if you tried.

- oxygenated crash-gel. Nice ...

- possible emergent colony antmind(or is that ant colonymind)?

Stuff that didn't rock

Everyone else got to the typos already. Aside from that, well:

I rubbed my forehead and winced. May tomorrow dawn without a beating!

Argh. This just rubbed me wrong for some reason. Sounds too YA, I think it is.

Finally, as always, my line of the day:

""I'm a lawyer," he explained. "I have to be quick"."

Glee! I love this.

Sat Jul 16, 09:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lilaena decreed...

I've been away from home (camping) for the last week, so it was nice to sit down this morning and read five installments in a row.


I love the story, and I hope you send it in to a publisher when you get finished with it. I will refrain from talking plot theories, as I will be content to let it all unfold in front of me straight from your imagination.

Fri Jul 22, 11:43:00 AM EDT  

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