[In which our hero learns the future fate of the Sad Puppy campaign and discovers a list of the Puppy Slates of the future]
I had been sitting in the small library in the south wing of Felapton Hall, perusing the annals of the Felapton estate in my set of antique Kindles, when I was jarred from my studies by a sudden ache in my ankle. Such an ache could mean one of two things – either my gout had returned or there was a disturbance in the space-time continuum.
I jumped to my feet, which displaced Timothy the talking cat from my lap and sent him scurrying up the pile of dusty Kobo’s at my feet, where he perched complaining loudly about something called “Jade Helm”. As always I ignored both the cat and the pain in my ankle and strode purposely to the croquet-green. It has been my long experience that temporal occurrences are most apt to happen in the vicinity of sporting activities. It is for this reason that I had been dispatched to Australia only recently to ensure that a time-displaced troop of Varangian guard did not slaughter the Collingwood Australian-Rules Football team under a mistaken belief that they were the hereditary enemies of the Emperor of Byzantium.
Sure enough as I approached the exquisitely manicured turf of the croquet green, I could smell the heady scent of burnt grass and tachyons. A late 23rd century chronoPrius had manifested itself and all the visual evidence suggested that it had arrived without sufficient due care and attention to the vagaries of the space-time vortex.
The hatch cracked open and a chrononaut part-stepped and part collapsed out of the opening. [Timothy advises that I should say “a beautiful chronoatrix” so readers are not too alarmed when I reveal shortly that the chrononaut was a woman. Instead I’m placing this brief note here so that any sensitive minds can anticipate this revelation. Also she wasn’t that beautiful in the circumstances, having just crashed through the time-walls without an adequate temporal-paradox shield]
The chrononaut was a woman.
She gasped – clearly in pain from her journey.
“Dear traveler from the future” I cried “You are in need of medical care! I would take you inside but I’m afraid that Timothy has a thing abut people he doesn’t know arriving unannounced. Let me fetch you a pillow and a glass of water.”
“No…” she gasped “it is too late for me…I have come to bring you a warning”.
She was briefly consumed by a coughing fit, after which she spat out a green mess of mucus and fundamental void particles.
“They didn’t realize…they tried to tinker with the Hugo rules…but instead…” she paused again
“Yes? The rules? Is this the WorldCon 15 rules you mean?” I inquired as gently as I could despite my ankle pain and a croquet hoop digging into my thigh unpleasantly.
“The horror of Spokane they called it. The rule changes…they went wrong…a memetic virus was introduced…it spread through blog posts…the world became consumed by puppy-slates”
With that last gasp, she died. I knew enough about cross-temporal time stream mortality to know to step back quickly as the competing time-lines resolved themselves – consuming a croquet ball and an unwitting hedgehog in the process.
“Good” said Timothy “I hated that hedgehog.”
All that was left of this event was a scrap of paper that the chrononaut has stuffed into the side of my Crocs. I returned to the library where I typed out this account on my vintage Queen Anne laptop, while Timothy browsed fighter-jet specs on his Louis the fifteenth iPad.
And so dear readers I bring you what I learned from that harrowing event. A list of the Hugo slates to come. A vision of a future gone slate. The post-Apuppylpse.