For new material please visit my main blog, CHEESEBURGER BROWN: SCIENCE-FICTION STORY-WALLAH.


A Succession Of Cells

I spent many hours in a small white room, sitting on a narrow cot with my back against the wall and talking to my little blue plastic diary. "Your Majesty, I said," I said, "I am Terron Volmash." As I recited a lump formed in my throat around which I worked the words.

I was quiet for a few moments, and then roused the effort to conclude. I pushed the bauble back into the hip pocket of my tattered pants, their original grey lost under a patchwork of stains and grime.

Once or twice I gasped and looked over at my uninjured shoulder, certain I could feel the Nightmare Cannon alighted there. But it was gone. I was alone.

I was startled when a slot along the bottom of the wall snicked open and a tray of hot food was ejected, skidding across the floor. It bumped into my bare, raw feet and stopped there, the cup of water threatening to spill. I leaned down and caught it, then drained the cup into my mouth...

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

It has happened at last: 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 starting Valentine's Day, 2008.

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

Cheeseburger Brown

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


Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

Yet another great episode. Thanks CBB!!

Mon Sep 12, 08:56:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

OOhh NOOO!!!!
Simon cant go down!!!




Mon Sep 12, 09:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger TechnoInfo decreed...

If this doesn't go on forever, I will be sad. Excellent work!

Mon Sep 12, 09:13:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Christien Lomax (TheCatWhisperer) decreed...

Glad that Greskin is back :) I like him very much. I can't wait to see how the trial goes!

Mon Sep 12, 09:33:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous goldenboy decreed...

Great installment, CBB.

It's good to see the classic Simon that we have all grown to love is still there, dispite his revelation of being Terron and all that comes with that. I particularly enjoyed how the seemingly "end" of the story mirrors the beginning - we experience Simon as he tries to make sense of his foreign surroundings through Simon's eyes with a heavy dose of his contagious humor.

Things I enjoyed about this post:
- Simon messing with the golden robot pair on the tender: "I slapped its surface with my hand and hooted. "I win!""
- The transparent, swiss army knife suit that Simon (and Greskin) are subjected to wearing after being decontaminated and before entering the prison cell.
- And, "Time leaks, dude."

WV: itjlbie
Ummm... I'm taking suggestions on this one

Mon Sep 12, 09:50:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Nyxll decreed...

This is the last planet. Can you hear the crescendo building?

I love the playfullness of this chapter. Quite refreshing after someting so heavy.

Mon Sep 12, 10:13:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

I wonder what that "brace of executives" wants...perhaps they're having trouble dispatching the NC.

Or they're going to go into a group monologue about how Simon has changed their view of humanity, and that some day Pish's generation will speak Simon's name fondly. But he'll be long dead. Sorry, old chap. Someone's got to take the fall, and you conveniently volunteered.

Mon Sep 12, 10:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

Awesome post CBB... and I can see many more coming.

I love the translucent suit, and the smoke... not ALL creatures converse through audio means.

Word Blurb: nixmgxl (Nix my great XL?)

Mon Sep 12, 12:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

This is why I keep coming back. This is Simon as we first met him. Wow, that translucent suit. Maybe I haven't read enough truly good science fiction, but your range of skills -- character development, devices and creations of the future, humour, heart-tugging -- is amazing.

Can anyone recommend published sci-fi authors of this caliber? Or are there any?

Dave, what happened to your blog? It just disappeared from your profile, and I have no bookmark to it.

wordver: uibggud

Mon Sep 12, 01:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

Ah! 'A Succession of Cells'! I guess my interpretation was wrong.

Something's got to happen here, I don't forsee dealing with 700+ charges at trial.
Either a 'fast forward' or somehow speeding up the trial itself. (he is not terron volmash?)

We don't KNOW this is the last planet, do we?

Mon Sep 12, 01:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Teddy decreed...

Isaac Asimov is an excellent scifi writer, Ray Bradbury as well. The Martian Chronicles (bradbury) is one of my favorite books, as are Fahrenheit 451 (bradbury) and I, Robot (Asimov). I Robot is absolutely nothing like the recent Will Smith movie, far better.

MFDH, it's coming to a close! by the way, do we get to see the surface of Pegasi Secundae? and the steam thing is excellent. we have five senses, why bother communicating with only one, audio? for that matter, human's manage to use more than one. we also use visual cues. a person's posture and stare can tell wonders about what is running through their head, as any child who waits for his mother to launch into a tirade about toads and indoors and why the two don't mix can tell you.

glad to see greskin mile. i look forward to the trial itself. being as how it is the legal process for not only human civilization but in fact three interstellar organisms, i expect something radically different than the normal judge and jury bit. in fact, even amongst humans, the legal process has varied to all extremes, from lynchings to carefully worded trials and a multitude of others whose natures i simply don't know of. and that is, of course, based on the human social structure, where each being is an individual mortal intelligence fearing primarily pain and lack of freedom. pegasi and hennish values may differ radically, and as such their ideas of justice would be fundamentally differed, and if one court is to exist between all three societies it would need to take into account the various means of punishment for transgressions of the three species, else there would be three courts.

looking forward to seeing the Trial of Terron Volmash. by the way, interesting note: the trial of OJ Simpson was televized. no doubt the trial of TV will be broadcast out to the world, and everybody will be watching...much like the Kamari War. and the nightmare cannon, if used as evidence against Terron Volmash, will be present. and it's workings, to quote corinthia tag, are thus: "The Nightmare Cannon is not a creative device, but a projective one". i honestly cannot imagine a stereo capable of playing only, say, classical music and being able to ignore all others. then again, pain is sensed in a different part of the brain than other sensations, so maybe the cannon ties directly into that bit of the brain. needless to say, if Simon can get his hands on the cannon during the trial, he may be able to do something interesting.

again, MFDH, two things i really, really look forward to: more original SoS artwork and a prequel.


word veri: gjwfeau. gauge wife awe. when you give your spouse a christmas present, you have to figger out how much she likes it.

Mon Sep 12, 01:42:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Irish Wolf decreed...

One nit, Teddy - those of us afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome (actually, I think the people around me tend to be afflicted by my AS more than I am, but..), or other forms of autism, do not communicate by visual cues. We can't, generally speaking, pick them up, at least without spending a long period of time learning to "read" specific individuals (I can usually tell how my wife is feeling, but random strangers on the street are unreadable). I get that your point applies to most people...

Mark, in addition to Teddy's recommendation, I would also include Robert Heinlein, Spider Robinson's earlier works, Allan Steele, and James White (especially the Sector General stories - good aliens in there!). Sometimes, the writing here also puts me in mind of Ursula LeGuin or Harlan Ellison - the conceit of the Nightmare Cannon, the most horrifying weapon in existence, being built into a mechanical sparrow sounds like something Harlan might have tried. :)

Veriword: bjdcs. I dunno - Capt. Hunnicutt's multiple national capitols?

Mon Sep 12, 02:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jill decreed...

I wonder how it's all going to pan out. Yes, Terron Volmash did terrible things. Simon is Volmash...but is enough of Volmash still residing in him to take the fall for those crimes? What point would be served, punishing him for crimes he doesn't remember committing, and in his current state of consciousness, incapable of ever committing again? Simon is not the same man Terron Volmash was. Surely that will be taken into consideration?

It's admirable that Simon has come to accept that he indeed was the galaxy's most notorious criminal. It's noble that Simon has chosen to accept responsibility for what he, as Terron Volmash, did in his past life. But I sincerely hope that he doesn't share the same fate as Volmash would have had he been arrested and tried before his memory was wiped, and before he undertook this journey towards discovering himself.

(Okay, I know there are holes in that argument. There are cases where people have murdered their bedmates while in some odd sleepwalking state, have no memory of doing it, and should still be convicted of a crime. But we'd all still be crushed if Simon was put to death for creating and using the Nightmare Cannon. It just doesn't seem right!)

Mon Sep 12, 02:10:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Pneuma decreed...

Irish Wolf,

Nonverbal communication is much more than just body language. Unless you miss the meaning of stop signs, streetlights, the middle finger, bathroom signs, and the majority of TV advertising (sex sells), you're still involved with quite a bit of non-verbal communication, learned or otherwise.

Teddy may have used an example that doesn't fit you, but there are others that would, and I figure his observation is valid for >99.99% of the people in the world, as even the blind have Braille.

Don't mean to split hairs, but hey, isn't that what nit-picking is all about?


verification - cwfnnsbs

the Cow Fans Bus, which I can only assume is name of the parking lot shuttle at the US Dairy Association's HQ.

Mon Sep 12, 02:36:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Simon (of not space) decreed...

Hey Mark,

I highly recommend Stephen Donaldson's GAP series of five books. Most excellent sci-fi reading. And, as would appeal to MFDH, there is no sound in space.

Word veri fun:
What do the gods use for their pickup games of Dodgeball?

Mon Sep 12, 02:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous goldenboy decreed...

I just had a crazy idea...

I wonder if CBB's intent with this story was to get a large enough following to unleash his version of the nightmare cannon on the online world via this blog site!

word veri: fxloov - fox love

Mon Sep 12, 02:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...

Dear Irish Wolf,

Aspergerites unite!

Dear GoldenBoy,

My version of the Nightmare Cannon (hypothetical, and NOT about to come to pass): the last chapter is *only* included in the dead-tree edition.

...Now wouldn't THAT be evil?



Mon Sep 12, 02:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jill decreed...

Oooooo...yes, that would be REALLY evil, CBB!!!!!

Mon Sep 12, 03:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lilaena decreed...

Nooo! That would be terrible!

But very evil. Darth would be proud. :)

Mon Sep 12, 03:20:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Wil decreed...

Don't encourage him

Mon Sep 12, 03:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

If CBB refused to publish the last chapter, we'd be forced to fire the Nighmare Cannoli, in which we each wrote our own version of the final chapter in the comments section.

Or potentially even more nightmarish, each of us would write a successive paragraph! Think of the plot twists, the surprise cameos, the tortured dialogue.

I think we have a credible counterthreat...

word veri: qbriu - what the director said to the prop master right before the soft cheese flying saucer was supposed to fly on-screen

Mon Sep 12, 04:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

Thanks for the suggestions. Once SoS is over, I will have something to fill my time waiting for SoS to be published.

Waiting to put the last chapter in the print edition? I would not like it, but I would be forced to applaud it as ingenious.

Mon Sep 12, 04:04:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

That would be one way to get people to buy the book.


word veri- ewhoobot

Mon Sep 12, 04:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...


That would be too cruel. I could never do it.

It would make me worse than the new Napster.



Mon Sep 12, 04:15:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

CBB: That would make a hell of a lot of people analogs of Terron Volmash in the real world. Then again, that may well be the truth of the matter. Damn.


Mon Sep 12, 04:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Drkdstryer decreed...

Stunning chapter as usual.

And actually, printing the last chapter deadtree only wouldn't be so bad... seriously, is there anyone where who ISN'T going to buy a deadtree version anyway?

It just means that you hold us in suspense a little bit more... something that I've learned to appreciate reading this amazing story :D

Verifun: jwezcz

Wow I'm so bad at this. Jaws easy in Czech?

Mon Sep 12, 09:20:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous FasMaster decreed...

well, technically, Simon is on a moon, so perhaps this is not the 'last planet' after all..

Mon Sep 12, 09:28:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous delirium of disorder decreed...

Mark -
Another option for authors is Gene Wolfe and the Sun Series (New Sun over Long, but either have plenty of twists). These have a little more depth than many of the straight up sci-fi books. SO mush so that there is a book published in dictionary form ('Lexicon of the New Sun' I believe)just to explain all the meanings of the names terms etc that he uses without your knowledge - much like CBB has done here wher Calcitrates wasn't a randomly chosen name.

Well I'd say more but my 4 week old daughter is crying - chow time - gotta go.

Mon Sep 12, 09:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger razorsmile decreed...

Great attitude; Simon outwitting the robots was delightful.

Seriously, he's rapidly becoming one of my favorite protagonists of all time.

weevee: iunggch (what a planet says when it's about to introduce itself and instead gets punched in the stomach)

Mon Sep 12, 09:50:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

My speculations:

1) Whatever happens, Simon won't get death. There is much more good to be had keeping him alive, to serve the Neighborhood in whatever way is best to help undo the work of the NC (and other crimes).

2) Even if Simon is really TV, one wonders if TV is really the monster that everyone made him out to be. Why would such a man, who had acted in his own interests for so long at the utter expense of others, suddenly decide to wipe his memory? It doesn't quite add up... or maybe it does... ah, who knows? I *am* glad to see that we made it to a Pegasi world.

Let's hear it for waste-action codpieces!

Two grammar nitpicks:

I set to occupying one robot with cleanup with I made runs at the controls.

...and now I can't find the other.

At least I am not sexual this season.

Mon Sep 12, 09:57:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...

fasmaster: Simon is not on a moon. He's on Pegasi Secundae.

Mon Sep 12, 09:59:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jason in LaLa Land decreed...

A couple of grammar nits to pick...

"quickly reached the conclusion that I hadfew options"

"my hair falling on the green tiled around me" Either "green tiled floors" of "green tiles would work.

word verify: mwjrwfr: major woofer - a great steroe component, or a very uncomplementary statement on someone of the opposite sex.

Mon Sep 12, 10:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lilaena decreed...

One nitpick - the sound of Simon's voice intimated him into silence.
Shouldn't it be intimidated?

Mon Sep 12, 10:35:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous cek decreed...

CBB, you read John Scalzi's _Agent_to_the_Stars_? I ask because John also has aliens that communicate via stink...

FWIW, both of John Scalzi's novels are great reads (_Agent_to_the_Stars_ and _Old_Man's_War_): http://www.scalzi.com/books/

Mon Sep 12, 11:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Sith Snoopy decreed...

Poor Simon!

I hope he doesn't have another bad case of the runs while he's wearing that plastic outfit. Yuck!

Awesome episode, Dude!

Wow, the total lack of communication would have driven me batty very early...

Tue Sep 13, 12:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave decreed...

Mark, I'm with whomever said Spider Robinson's earlier "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" books! Awesome writing (another Canadian, like CBB).

Also, I sent you the URL in one of your blogs.

WordBlurb: qwqnoyhv
Not even going to try.

Tue Sep 13, 07:38:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

Could CBB have given the QoS her unique malady to set up a surprise ending?

Perhaps Duncan will prepare her a special burrito, and at the height of drama she will accidently expel an impassioned defense of Simon, climaxing in a billowing pea grean clemency.

Veri Word Fun: lhadk - Lilaena had (k)nit picks in her last comment.

Tue Sep 13, 12:41:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...

Dude. I'm eating chili here.

At least I was.

Oh, that other typo:

quickly reached the conclusion that I few options

(probably needs a "had" in there)

Tue Sep 13, 02:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

Sith Snoopy:
I'm guessing the food gave him the runs in the first place so that he would be 'cleaned out', and now he's just eating pills.

Edmund: It won't be a burrito, it will be a cannoli.

veriword too fun to pass up:
fynfzlbx- fin fizzle box
A puzzle game in which you have to free a fish from a box before it catches on fire.

Tue Sep 13, 03:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Tsunayoshi decreed...

I have just spent the last 3 days reading the entirety of this fiction (I got sidetracked from it months ago). This is by far some of the best sci-fi I have read in a long time. I will sincerely miss this story when it finally comes to an end.


Wed Sep 14, 12:16:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Balrog decreed...

Actually Spider Robinson is, in his own words, "a New Yorker by birth but a Canadian by choice".

Put me (and Spider for that matter) in the RAH, RAH, Robert A. Heinlein camp too, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is a classic, as are "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Double Star", and many others.

I also agree with the endorsement of Greg Bear, although he can be a tough read. His prose definitely do not flow as easily as CBB's.

I would also add Joe Haldeman to the list for his many timeless classics, most notably the unrelated novels "The Forever War" and "Forever Peace".

Some of Niven+Pournelle+(sometimes Barnes) more recent stuff seems to me to meet Mark's standard. Their failure to meet the standard is usually due to wooden characterization, as in "The Mote in God's Eye" where the aliens are amazingly well-constructed and much more believable than the 1- and 2-dimensional humans. Even so, their characterization is much better in "The Legacy of Heorot", "Beowulf's Children", "Oath of Fealty" and "The Burning City".

And don't get me started on Douglas Adams... incredible characters, amazing, imaginative scope, side-splitting humor, classic lines: "Life... don't talk to me about life." "Mostly harmless." "Zark off!" "So long, and thanks for all the fish." "You're a jerk, Dent, a complete kneebiter." "The long, dark tea-time of the soul." (Three of those were good enough that Adams himself scavenged the lines for later book titles).

VWF: rxppc = "Rx, Prescription Pill Case", or perhaps "Rex? Poppycock!"

Wed Sep 14, 02:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

OK, I've started my own blogfiction.

It is purely episodic, I don't have any plan to end it, just a number of story arcs and themes.

I'm hoping to make it 'real time' so a day will contain about a day's worth of event's, if they are worthy, not unlike a regular blog.
No guarantees on post frequency though.

I plan to stay in character. This should make the comments interesting.

The blog is by an android xenobiologist who is property of Woods Univeristy.


Wed Sep 14, 03:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

Thanks again for the suggestions on authors. I have read Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio, a good book a friend gave me. I played "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" on my Apple IIe back in 7th-ish grade, but never have read it. I liked the sense of humor and the imagination in the game.

I started Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, but got sidetracked with life and dropped it. I look forward to completing that trilogy one day.

Michener's Space was big, and interesting because it was fiction based on science that really happened.

Enough about me. Can't wait to read more Simon of Space. Gotsta get me some!

wordver: sxycyug
Sexy Cyborg Yiddish User Group

Wed Sep 14, 09:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

cek, this Agent to the Stars is great reading! I recommend it to anyone who wants to read something all the way through as we wait for SoS posts. Or after SoS is over. :-(

Wed Sep 14, 10:36:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Pneuma decreed...

Anyone know of any other online novels worth reading, sci-fi or otherwise?

I did enjoy Agent to the Stars... too bad I went through it in a day.



A three year old with a speech impediment saying "mister"... msdwh.

Wed Sep 14, 11:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

There. I did it, CBB. I paid some money to MFDH. Not much, but it's about what I would expect to pay for a paperback book. If everybody reading this gave that amount, this definitely would be more than worth your while. *Hint* to all of you out there. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?

You can promise to buy the book, but why not give something now? You know you've got immense pleasure from the story and the online community it has inspired.

wordver: vpyzto
Vou pays, too.

Wed Sep 14, 03:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mandrill decreed...

Mark, I'm really surprised that no-one has mentioned Iain M. Banks in their reccomendations, I can only assume that its becuase they haven't read any of his stuff. His "Culture" novels are some of the best SF I've ever read.

Pneuma, I too would be interested to know what other online fiction there is out there. I only really know of MFDH (some of the shorts on his website are very good, but thats only to be expected from the man who brought us SoS), Indrax (see above) and myself (shameless plug, again. Theres a new episode up btw :P)

I'm really surprised that I've not come across more of this kind of work. The medium was almost made for it.

verifun: sdopxj, A derisible person gets as much active ingredient in a funny cigarette as possible.
(Translation for non-brits: Saddo Packs Jay)

Wed Sep 14, 05:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...


Your story looks very promising. I'm glad you plugged it!

Wed Sep 14, 06:50:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Teddy decreed...

Hey, for fiction, i'm doing a scifi blognovel as well. the story has been floating around in my head for lord only knows how long, but the style of a blog of the main character was inspired directly from Darthside and SoS, so props to CBB! here's the link:


if you click on my name above, rather than taking you to my normal blog it will take you there as well. and i have LOTS of story to go until i'm done, so i'll be updating for a while.


wordveri: ztlacbhz. zit lack buzz. people don't talk about pimples enough.

Thu Sep 15, 04:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown decreed...

Re: More Blog-Fiction

Here's another one:


I met this guy down at some ambient music club in Toronto the other night. I haven't cracked into it yet but the premise sounds very cyberpunky.



Thu Sep 15, 08:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger indrax decreed...

I've set up a blog to index the stories that are inspired by SOS, and other similar blogfiction.

SOS SpawnFiction

I want it to be a group blog so the various authors can post links back to new entries as they are posted.
So mandrill and teddy, and just about anyone here with blogfic: put a post over there about it and I'll make you a member.

Thu Sep 15, 02:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mandrill decreed...

Nice one indrax. Will get over there and add my meagre fiction to the pot :)

Verifun: cilvudud, A well known comic book hero according to those he emulates (think about it)

Thu Sep 15, 04:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark decreed...

Okay, indrax, now you gotta tell... what's up with Friday, December 15, 2006 as the SoS Spawnfiction date?

wordy vert: gbfyvh
Trying to be cool when you have a cold: "Gibbe five."

Thu Sep 15, 10:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...

Have we all forgotten about Simon of Space? I'm excited about the possiblities of the other fictions, but it's high time that CBB squeeze out another Pegasian vapor for his devoted fans.

C'mon, CBB! Let's wrap this thing up.

wvf: pgiiivx - piggii vox - expressing the porcine point of view!

Thu Sep 15, 10:09:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous decreed...


Thu Sep 15, 10:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous sheik yerbouti decreed...


Edmund... was that a nod to CBB by way of fart joke, or am I all alone with that interpretation?

Thu Sep 15, 11:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ewan decreed...

For those of you asking for an update, please remember that Greskin is trying to get through those 700+ charges as fast as he can.

I mean, this is being posted in "real time", right?


Fri Sep 16, 08:20:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Edmund decreed...


Er...um...yeah, that's exactly what I meant!

wvf: wymtsu - Waymatsu - the nickname Garth used in the Japanese soundtrack of Wayne's World.

Fri Sep 16, 10:25:00 AM EDT  

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