The Young Assassin's Guide

AIRLESSNESS: Place your victim in a fairly hermetically sealed room and surreptitiously remove the air molecules, a few at a time when he's not looking. N.B.: this will not work if he is wearing a spacesuit.

BLACK HOLES: A handy disposal system, less passé than the concrete-boots-and-river method. Not recommended for the purist, since though the victim is gone forever he is not guaranteed to be dead. (See also WHITE HOLES.)

COHERENT LASER LIGHT: Too bloody expensive to begin with, you mere amateurs: beside, the target always turns out to be wearing mirror-sunglasses. Better to offer him a high-power laser and let him rupture himself while trying to lift it.

DENTICHAR HANDGUN: First invented for the amazing Mac Malsenn series (advt.), this device emits a supermagnetic induction pulse which causes the victim's fillings to glow white-hot.

ELECTROCUTION: Purchase a quarter mile of extension cable and wait for your victim to have a swim. While he is in the sea, attach an electric fire to the end and unobtrusively toss it to him. Since you have forgotten to plug it in, the principal effect is to distract your enemy until he succumbs to pollution.

FEAR: Say "Boo!" very loudly. Say, "Joseph Nicholas didn't like your fanzine!" [*] Or as a last resort, "You've won a life subscription to Fanzine Fanatique!"

GRAVITY: is harmless outside Larry Niven stories – unless you're foolish enough to oppose it, e.g. by standing on a planetary surface rather than free-falling down a safe bottomless hole. On Earth, either dig a hole with a bottom (which is the dangerous part) or sadistically dig no hole at all and wait for the tug of gravity to give your enemy a heart attack.

HYPNOTISM: Say to the victim 1,000 times in a low soothing voice, "You want to commit suicide." He will either fall asleep – in which case the next step is left to you – or leap angrily towards you and (unaware that you have secretly tied his feet together) fall and break his neck.

INJECTION: of air into veins, thus causing an embolism, is always fun. Use a sterile hypodermic (you don't want the poor fellow to get an infection) connected via rubber tubing to the FREE air pump of any convenient garage.

JOSEPH NICHOLAS: needs no comment from me.

KRAKATOA: is merely biding its time. Lure your enemy on to the island and quickly drop three fusion bombs into the crater; this should revive the volcano so that he apparently dies from natural causes such as lava.

LIGHTNING: Covertly erect a 400-foot metal tower insulated from the ground; connect a stout wire between this and some metal part of your victim's umbrella. Important: do not attempt this approach in dry weather.

METEORITES: are more difficult to direct. You might build a gigantic funnel to concentrate them upon your enemy's unsuspecting head; more effectively, try hurling forged meteorites from aeroplanes.

NITROBENZENE: is a useful though gradual contact poison. Pour down the back of the victim's neck, or fill a beer-mug with the stuff and bump against him to impregnate his clothing. You will find that nine times out of ten it goes all over you instead. Tough.

ONOMATOPOEIA: for example, Thud! Crash! Bonk! Pow! Zap! An unsubtle approach, yet strangely satisfying in certain cases.

PLAGUE: send S.A.E. and flask to M.R.E. Porton Down for the virus of your choice. (Their closing-down sale still continues – everything must go!) It is then a question of training the rats to bite the right person; inoculate them with something less deadly, such as penicillin, for practice runs.

Q-RAYS: are famed in S.F. as the rays we have not yet discovered. Indubitably they will turn out to cause cataracts or tumours in mice. Watch for them.

RADIATION: This is exceedingly simple and subtle. Merely collect the excreta of as many Aldermaston [Atomic Weapons Research Establishment] employees as you can find, boil it down to a potent concentrate and deposit this in his Watney's bitter. Then wait; he will suspect nothing.

SMOKING: a subtle futuristic way of eliminating some poor sod. You addict him to this carcinogenic substance to the stage where he will refuse to believe it is killing him. Too fantastic for use in SF, of course.

TOTAL CONVERSION OF MATTER: simply combine this fanzine with an antifanzine of equal mass and the reaction should adequately reduce a small city. When posting antifanzines to enemies, remember to put them in antienvelopes that they may travel safely.

ULTIMATE WEAPONS: Always carry two in case you miss with the first one.

VIVISECTION: Not recommended, as you need a licence and (unless you are careful to leave the subject in recognisably human shape) the R.S.P.C.A. may mistakenly complain.

WHITE HOLES: are included here for the sake of racial balance and sexual equality. The rather silly concept is that victims thrust into black holes may reappear out of white ones, reduced to a chaotic flux of elementary particles (but still not 100% guaranteed to be dead). Go at once to BLACK HOLES or miss a turn.

XENON: if pure, is utterly inert and harmless and thus will kill people almost as effectively as a vacuum. (I could have suggested xylol poisoning, or a xerox machine dropped from a great height, but these methods seemed all too obvious.)

YOGA: this is close to suicide at the best of times, and if your enemy takes it up he is doomed. Should he show signs of surviving the cruellest yoga positions, a little cyanoacrylate adhesive daubed in the right places will keep him immaculately posed until starvation sets in.

ZENO OF ELEA: showed logically that an arrow can never reach its target – for first it must travel half the distance, then another quarter, then an eighth ... and thus must cover an infinite number of steps in finite time. Prove this to your victim with cunning sophistry, and when he is wholly convinced and ready to die for his new belief, produce a forty-pound bow.

* Some fans may react with more terror when told: "Joseph Nicholas did like your fanzine!"