Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Selection From "The Vimana Incident"

This is without a doubt my favorite scene from the story, and it was fun to write!  In this scene, two characters from 1939 encounter a museum full of artifacts from the later half of the 20th century.

"The Vimana Incident" can be bought as an e-book from baddogbooks.com or as a paperback from furplanet.com.

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Ned and Tom, meanwhile, were surrounded by what could only be described as the collective detritus of the whole of Western Civilization. There were preserved outfits showing the rapid shifts in fashion that defined the Twentieth Century, cars, appliances, toys, furniture, and screens showing some of the surviving films of the era.

"Hey, check this out!" Tom said excitedly as they came to a sleek two-door car with long, flowing lines and fins. It looked like a space ship from a movie serial or the sort of comics they sold to ten year old boys at newsstands. "There was a replica of one of these in the Vimana's gaming system, a Studebaker Golden Hawk," the wolf explained. "It's gorgeous, isn't it? can't wait for the future!"

Parked next to it was a car with a very similar look, but much shorter, about two thirds the size of the big American car and stubbier in its proportions, black and white two-toned with a red interior and lots of Chrome, but with a long black number plate on the front and its steering wheel on the right-hand side... British, Ned realized. A plaque below the car identified it as a Sunbeam Rapier and explained that it had been styled by the American Loewy studio, that had also designed the Studebaker next to it. The fox tilted his head, a bit puzzled to see such American styling on a British car.

"See? It really is the look of the future!" Tom said excitedly.

"The future can keep it," Ned replied.

Ned's misgivings about the future of design were somewhat confirmed by the deteriorating quality of the artifacts from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Steel and wood had been replaced by plastic and rubber, that hadn't aged well in the increasingly poor air quality of the late twenty-first century, as the plaque on a badly-deteriorated Nintendo Famicom from 1989 explained. It was accompanied by an artist's rendition of how the faded, cracked plastic and rusted metal connectors had once looked, bright red and white with strangely utilitarian decals.

The plastic objects, sad though they were, must have been plentiful, as witnessed by the many displays of cruddy, corroded toys and appliances from the later half of the century.

The paper items from that period had survived in better condition, though were apparently much rarer and treated accordingly. There was a paper crown from a Burger King on display, dramatically lit and with thicker glass around it, as if it were the crown jewels of a lost empire.

"Take a look at this, Tom," Ned said, pointing at the paper crown. "Look at this and tell me how wonderful the future's going to be!"

"I don't understand," the wolf said, his ears sagging. "Everything in the first half of the century seems so well made, then after about 1970..."


"It all turns to rubbish," the fox finished.

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