SWANCON 1 – Maureen Gell

Transcribed by Elaine Walker, all typos faithfully preserved

Write, they did say, handing me a sheet of paper and pencil (well actually I had to get up and get it myself).
Write what? I asked, looking down the barrel of a loaded pen.
Anything, they said.
Anything?
Well……

I always liked Lord of the Rings, and having recently forced my one-and-only, beloved, tattered copy down a friend’s throat who had never heard of it before, I had nothing else to read. So I got to thinking about it instead. (This is the serious part).

First off, I had heard of Men, Elves, Trolls, Dwarves, Goblins and so on before, but what had I never heard of? – Hobbits. And hobbits are pretty central characters; the story would’nt exist without them. What hobbits are, I think is people. All the other character types, including Men, are extra-ordinary, mystical, stronger, more cunning more knowledgeable, while the hobbits are–well, almost nuisances. (Bilbo in the Hobbit was usually getting into trouble and needed looking after, or so the others thought). Most of their abilities are not obvious (like their resilience) they are homelovers; they are ordingary. Ordinary in the sense of you and me, of people. Tolkien invented Hobbits for the occasion; people disguised (deliberately or not, I don’t know) as hobbits.

Also I have this friend who does Electronic Engineering. He likes explaining to me various theories like Black Holes swallowing the Earth, but luckily I don’t understand any of it. Anyway we started talking about time – time he says, can be defined as an increase in entropy. He said a lot of other stuff too, but if entropy starts decreasing, then time, going backwards, could do some interesting things, and still be logically consistent.

Think of a supermarket. People would dash in, trolleys loaded with food, receive money, and put everything back on the shelves. Garbage would be delivered everyday – you’d stroll up, select a suitably smelly newspaper-wrapped article, unwrap it – pretend it’s mouldy oranges – put it in your fruitbowl where it would gradually become firmer and fresher.

You’d desgorge a few, put the peel back on, and place that in the bowl too. Eventually you could go out and stick it back on the tree, which is getting smaller and younger all the time, until it becomes a seed.

The possibilities are infinite. Sculptors would, with great patience, would carefully reduce models to clay. You’d unwrite books: the biro would collect the ink, from the letters and the page would become white – your biro would fill up, whereupon you take it back to the shop, it being unusable anymore, and go find an empty one in the bin. You see – all beautifully logically consistent.

Well, it filled a couple of hours with interesting conversation anyway. Not to mention a whole page.

MAUREEN GELL

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.
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