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Panto


From: Aquarion
Newsgroups: alt.fan.pratchett
Subject: [I] [AFPanto] Part IX, Supermouse's Story
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 20:11:06 +0000

[Aquarion, by dint of a double-length episode gets back to the right place in the plot.]

Part 9: Supermouse's Story

[Writers note: This was plotted last Wednesday. I nearly didn't write it after the events of this morning (ref news://iQ$FEIAKmNF8EAEp@unseen.demon.co.uk), but anyway...]

After Jack had dried out, they - Jack and Supermouse - sat down in front of the fire with cheese and biscuits and Supermouse began to spin a tail of fear and dread...

"Once upon a time there was an author in a far off and distant land, he wrote books. These books were fantasic, the writing was as close to perfect as is possible, and the stories gripped you and failed to let you go. For decades the Author churned out the books, and he became rich. He didn't stop writing the books, because he enjoyed doing his job, and so we continued to read the books, and he continued to write them, and all was well. But there were other writers in the land, and they became jealous of the money that the One True Author was making, and so they stole his ideas, and wrote their books, and also became rich and powerful. And the followers of the false prophets did come unto the followers of the One True Author, and say "You stole this!" and we did calmly say "Oh, no. In actual fact, we didn't".

"Indeed you did" the deluded fools responded, and
"Oh no we didn't" sangeth back the true followers, not knowing when to give up.
"Oh yes you did"
"Oh no we didn't"
"Oh yes you did"
And this went on for many years, never going beyond the countercheck quarrelsome, never hiting the lie direct, and the ignorant souls succeeded in their mission, and sewed dissent in the ranks of the Author's followers.
"This bit here" they would say, "Is clearly a reference to this city here" and we would nod sagely and say "Indeed, this is true"
"And so this idea here must have been stolen from this author over there" and we looked, and we saw that the similarities were purely co-incidental, or that they weren't even that, or that it was clear that the idea was an example of parallel evolution. And these people said "These are annotations! He has borrowed this idea!" and we ignored them, and hoped that they went away.

They didn't.

Over the years we got used to dealing with them, but that never made them less irritating to The Author, who *wasn't* stealing other peoples' ideas. The worst thing you can possibly ever do in writing is to deliberately steal someone elses ideas, because you can't possibly do them justice. The second worst thing is to search every phrase you write to make sure it has never been written before. Writers tend on to read inside the genre, because contamination - even accidental - happens. But it carried on, and it just carried on getting worse and worse.

We are not, as you know, in a land without Magic, and the Author had, over the years, picked up a smattering of some fairly advanced magic. And so when a reader wrote in connecting the author and managing to accuse him of both stealing someone elses ideas, and also trying to *cover up* what he was doing, he finally took this as the last straw, and destroyed himself, putting all his writing experience into the hat he was famous for wearing.

The hat was found by the Giant, who has kept it ever since. According to legend, whoever wears the hat will be able to churn out stories made of pure gold. I was sent here by the Readers Resistance."

Jack must have looked as blank as he felt, because Supermouse continued

"You've never heard of us, I bet.

Haven't you noticed what's happened to Pantoland over the last 10 years? Something has been sucking all of the new ideas out of the world. This place used to be famous for new retellings of old stories, but over the last 10 years, there have been hardly any new stories at all. Even this Quest you're on is derivative of a quest taken over a hundred years ago! And it's all the Giant's fault. Though the Author, new stories flowed into the land. The hat is still soaking up new ideas, it has been for years since the Giant stole it from the faries. The Giant cannot use the hat, when he wears it he just churns out angsty short stories. He's too big for the hat. The Readers Resistance was founded to find the hat, and either destroy it - allowing new stories to come to new people - or to put it on the head of a True Writer."

"Why not give it back to the fairies?" asked Jack, who still hadn't told Supermouse the details of his quest.
"That bunch of suits would sell it to the highest bidder. No, it's better that I get it"

Jack thought about this for a while. He reached a decision, and told Supermouse.

"I Have A Plan"

*******************************************

Jack slid back down the beanstalk. His mother was quite pleased to see him.

"Jack! You're home! I've been so worried! You've been gone almost two days! How could you leave your poor defenseless mother with nothing to eat but beans!"
(Jack's Mother, you may note, was *not* too stupid to see the Bean beyond the Beanstalk)

Just about that time, a voice floated across the wind...

(TTTO Parklife, With apologies to Blur)

Stories are the lifeblood of the art that is now known
as...
Panto.

The fairytale basis only has to take a route going
though what is known as...
Panto

Dames are really funny, but most of it is visual so
cannot be put in a text-based...
Panto.

Who says Panto is out of date? You should join in a bit
more mate, Get some Pantomime!

Oooh, the cliches, so many cliches, and they all go hand
in hand, hand in hand though my...
Panto...

Know what I mean?

We make it up on the spot, except every so often, where
we get rudely interrupted by the plot lines..

Panto

I put the costume on, Have some last minute nerves, and
then think about going on stage.

Panto

I play the audience. Sometimes I play the cast-members
too, it gives me a sense of enormous wellbeing.

And then they're out to get me, and I'm running for the
rest of the show, safe in the knowledge that whilst I'm
on stage I'm safe from the literal daggers.

Oooh, the cliches, so many cliches, and they all go hand
in hand, hand in hand though my...
Panto...

Panto
(Panto)
Panto
(Panto)

It's got nothing to do with your serious ballet or
theatre, you know.

And it's nothing like your identical-every-night shows,
that go around, and around, and around...

Oooh, the cliches, so many cliches, and they all go hand
in hand, hand in hand though my...
Panto...
Oooh, the cliches, so many cliches, and they all go hand
in hand, hand in hand though my...
Panto...

"Mr Hippo!" said Melody, spying the Minstrel as he wandered towards the cottage.
"Aha" said Jack. "Just the man I wanted to see"

And Jack began to tell Hippo and Melody the rest of the plan...

[To Be Continued]

Yours in total sincerity
Aquarion


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