Cactus Times Volume 4

Number [pi] • Sunday Extra!


The Cactus Times Literary Supplement

There was a mind-boggling response to the ill-advised Eight Word Novels competition, misjudged by Dave 'Hey, this judging's dashed easy!' Langford and Paul 'No it flipping isn't!' Barnett (who typed in all the entries). After complex calculations with pins, abaci and multi-sided dice, we can now announce the winners: Andy Lane for best original story and Brian Stableford for best retelling.

The Shortlist: Originals

The 'Nineties SF Novel Revisited. Elvis calling Mars. Kennedy dead. I'm coming home. (Andy Lane)

Bang -- Universe created. Blip. Life. Blip. Universe explodes. (Marion Pitman)

Bluebeard's Virus. On her computer, there's a she mustn't read. (Abigail Frost -- ineligible: on Mexicon committee)

Generic fantasy trilogy. #1: Hour of the Tortoise. Our hero sets out on a hopeless quest. #2: Month of the Horse. Nothing much happens for eight hundred pages exactly. #3: Year of the Hyena. The Final Conflict is an eleventh-hour victory. #4: Decade of the Exploiter. The publisher has demanded another great book. #5: Century of the Ghoul. The author has been dead for years, but ... (Chris Bell -- disqualified on grounds of interminability)

Understandable Misidentifications. #1: Temporal Denial. We are not Futurists. #2: Unbelievable Imitations. We are Stross impersonators. (Peter T. Garratt)

Sharecrop Shortlist: Retellings

The Time Machine (by A. Morlock). Stuff good public relations, there's Eloi for tea! (Brian Stableford)

Dune. Sand. Sand. Sand. Sand. Sandworm. Philosophy. Boom! Sand. (Mary Gentle)

The Nine Billion ... The stars were going out for a curry. (Alex Stewart)

Venus Rising with Kalashnikov (novelization of the picture). There's more than one kind of shell, buddy. (Gus Smith)

The Island of Doctor Moreau (by A. Beast). Hand over your women! Are we not men? (Brian Stableford)

Lord of the Rings. Wanted: one ring. Will exchange for nine similar. (Mike Scott)

The List to Starboard: Originals

The Borgia Channel. Pope's ghost haunts own downloaded personality on Mars. (Roz Kaveney)

They That Have Power. Colourless green ideas dream furiously of abject sex. (Abigail Frost)

Charlie's Angels. 'Manson guilty!' Nixon declares. 'Nixon guilty!' Manson declares. (Norman Spinrad)

'You can't,' she said: 'It already has done!' ( 1/2 r)

The Magus Zoroaster. 'Who's there?' 'You.' 'Oh, let's have a drink.' (Colin Fine)

The Real Answer. Now there's a syntax error. Retry, ignore, cancel? (Alex Stewart)

An untitled cyberpunk novel. Reader, I replicated him. Reader, I replicated him ...' (Mary Gentle)

I died. I grew young. I was born. (G.F.J.C. Hedger)

I looked at the sandwich and it exploded. (Gus Smith)

She's born. She lives. We rape. She dies. (Alice Lawson)

Aliens invade. Chris tells a joke. Aliens vanquished. (Chris O'Shea)

The starship exploded! He'd lost her! Oh, no. (KIM Campbell)

Digital Drones. I have no mouth; I starve to death. (David Barrett)

The Robbie Trap. The trusted android positronic robo-butler done it. (David Barrett)

Commuting Tomorrow. Men in pinstripe spacesuits with Daffy Duck boots. (Helen Stirling-Lane)

In existence. Backwards time travel. Chronoclasm! No existence. (Paul Allwood)

She fell off the train; her leg exploded. (Pam Wells)

Continuationwise this missionfuckup antisocialxeno's personalpsychosis prohibits perfect solution. (Dave Mooring) (Look, Thog only type this crap)

They crashed; boom, boom, out go the lights! (Pam Wells)

Once there was a universe, then there wasn't. (David T. Cooper and Pam Wells)

Whistlestop Tour of the Alpha Centauri Zoo. Zoon! ... Bark! ... Weep, wibble! ... Hoot! ... Fnargh! ... Help me! ... (Helen Stirling-Lane)

Find the Alien. Get shot at. Kill some dorks. Happy endings. (Helen Stirling-Lane)

Aliens! Call the army! Stop -- friends -- too late. (Marion Pitman)

End of the world postponed till further notice. (Marion Pitman)

Lichen eats edges, yet the centre still holds. (Fran Dowd)

Descending slowly, the starship landed in my custard. (Stu)

The Sun went supernova and the Earth melted. (Tim, who coyly added the Ballard version: The Earth went supernova and the Sun melted.)

In through the dilated door came the Dreadful ... (Tanya)

Searching for the Final Solution; we found two. (Tanya)

He went inside his head and changed everything. (Tony)

The road to Hell was paved with joggers. (Stu)

Came down; looked around; trashed the planet; left. (Tony)

Mortal Illness. #1: Attack. Astronaut brings contagious disease earthwards from Galaxy. Humanicide. #2: Quiescence. Immune Japanese kid lives. Meets numerous others. Persevere. #3: Decline. Quest. Resourceful survivors test unlikely vaccine. Wait. Xtermination. (Colin Fine)

Classix Revered -- the Sheercrops

Lensman Saga. Dualisms collide galaxies; deal drugs, lenses; apotheosize; ends. (Roz Kaveney)

The Cosmic Trilogy. Cambridge philology don takes walking holiday on Mars. • All at sea. Green Eve. The serpent outwitted. • Merlin joins academics and bears to thwart AntiChrist. (Marion Pitman)

Baby swap scandal -- AntiChrist grows up nice boy. (Marion Pitman)

'Throw the ring down a hole,' said Gandalf. (Alex Stewart)

The Nine Zillion Names of God. The stars were going out for a curry. (Alex Stewart)

Lord of the Rings. The Crack of Doom is closed for renovation ... (Mary Gentle)

Vladimir & Estragon: Solicitors -- Back in Ten Minutes. (Mary Gentle)

Dune. I came, I saw the future, I conquered. (A.A.Adams)

'Repent, Harlequin' Said the Ticktockman. Shit, my clock's busted. That's me screwed now. (Mike Siddall)

New Maps of Hell's Cartographers. They mapped reality at one to two scale ... (Andrew J. Wilson)

Generic Storm Constantine. Gad, sir! That's no gentleman! That's my wife! (Anonymous)

Generic Rob Holdstock. rut earthy rut in the forest rut rut. (Anonymous)

The War of the Worlds (by A. Bacterium). Next time, don't eat them all at once. (Brian Stableford)

The First Men in the Moon (by A. Selenite). Stop sending those radio messages now, Mr Cavor! (Brian Stableford)

Nineteen Eighty-four (by O. Brien). When the clocks strike thirteen -- unlucky for some! (Brian Stableford)

Brave New World (by A. Delta). I'm rilly glad I'm a better dildo delta! (Brian Stableford)

Vintage micro-saga. Aliens disguised as typewriters? I've never heard such -- -- (plagiarised by Colin ['Mr Rake Back Plenty!'] Greenland)

Harm's Way. Sophie suffers, seeks secrets, summons skills, soils spaceways! (Colin 'That was sails, you b•••••d sc•m' Greenland)

The Wayside Pulpit

'This is all perfectly readable when you shut your brain off ...'