Ever read a book so amazing it all but overtook your logical sense? What if that book opened up a door to some other, foreign existence? What if it completely shattered the reality you’ve come to know? Professor Borylin is about to be able to answer those questions!
The tattered mass market paperback had changed hands several times in the last month and a half and now it lay alone, despondent, like a strange alien artifact, on Professor Borylin’s desk. The book had been published in the year 1994 (the year presently was 2015) and it was 599 pages long. Its condition was such that the professor was fairly certain the book had been read hundreds of times by multiple readers, one having gone so far as to underline passages and to write, in red ink, non-sensical, excitedly written notes on the margins. Its paper-board cover had been creased multiple times in multiple places and the lower right hand corner had been bent and unbent one too many times and had long ago fallen off. Its pages were brittle and yellow, they were foxing, and it was at present being held together by two lime green rubber bands.
The professor spoke on the telephone with a strange (unlikeable) man he’d met years ago named Cluny. Cluny had told the professor about the book in question only a few days ago and the words he used to describe it (“Should I have been prohibited from reading another book again for the rest of my life after this one, Borylin, I would not have minded. The entire contents of several self-contained universes are clapped together between those paper covers, sir.”), compelled the professor to read it on the same day it was given to him.
The professor spoke to Cluny thusly: “My god, all you said about it is absolutely true. I…I’m truly flabbergasted, Cluny. I just, I’ve been unable to think of anything else besides that book for three days straight.”
Cluny’s voice, inaudible to your narrator, responded and the professor listened, his small, bloodshot eyes, unblinking. The professor said, “Yes, the never ending layers and the futility, the downright hopelessness, of Pantunfla’s mission! Cluny, that chapter where The Wrapped Man tinkers with Pantunfla’s ship thereby forcing the showdown they have in the final chapters!” The professor’s voice trembled slightly as he spoke and nervous twitches played around his thin lips. “I kid you not, Cluny, I laid the book down then and wept. It took me several hours to compose myself. Were I not speaking on the phone with you now, I’d be weeping again this instant. Blubbering like a baby, I tell you.”
Cluny’s voice in the heavy matte black receiver again mumbled something.
“Yes, you’re speaking of the labyrinths of planet Dromelin,” the professor said. He laughed and his prominent adam’s apple bobbed in his long crane-like neck. “Could you imagine how he felt? The author doesn’t specify but you get the sense that he was in there for days and days. Perhaps months and that bastard Sonjay waiting for him up top like that, undamaged! That blue and orange suit of his glimmering in planet Dromelin’s triple suns!” Saliva had flung from the professor’s mouth upon him pronouncing the words, ‘triple suns.’
Cluny’s voice droned on again and your narrator will here point out that the professor’s large hand, as it gripped the phone’s large double antannaed ear piece, shook like the limb of one suffering from Parkinson’s Syndrome. In an attempt to stifle the trembling, to smother it, he held the piece tightly against his long chimpanzee-esque ear. This resulted in your narrator, perched inconspicuously beside the ornate stained glass lamp several feet from the professor and the book in question, to lose, almost altogether, the ability to hear even faint mumbling from Cluny, that strange unlikeable gentleman, on the other line.
“Do you really think the name Isak is unisex? Well, yes, I suppose it’s possible. But, so, nobody knows who this person, this Isak J. Farmer, is? Yeah, well, it certainly sounds like a pseudonym.”
The professor knelt to pick the book up. “And it’s the first of a series. No one’s been able to track them down. We don’t even know if they were even published or not. No other volumes have ever been tracked down.”
The professor here gazed intently at the book’s cover.
The Space Chunkers
by Isak J. Farmer
Book One in the Planet Dromelin Saga
based on the best selling Play Station game
The front cover’s illustration showed a dilapidated gunmetal-grey craft rocketing through space amidst floating asteroids and poorly aimed blue and red laser beams.
The professor sighed loudly and said, “To top it off, Cluny, it’s a novelization of a video game for crying out loud. I’ve read it three times now since you handed it to me and I am, I’m an emotional wreck. I exaggerate not in the least when I tell you that I don’t think I’ll ever look at the world the same way again.” The professor sat heavily in his chair, he had been standing until then, and he listened intently to what Cluny, goddamn him, had to say. The left corner of his mouth trembled and his small, wrinkled eyes, magnified slightly by the bifocals on them, appeared glassy, unfocused. They were the eyes of a man who had seen wonders, horrors, beauty, filth and had since grown jaded. They were the eyes of a man who wished not to see anything else anymore.
While listening to Cluny, whose thick monotone voice poured unemotionally from the receiver, the professor re-read for the 283rd time the back cover’s short synopsis:
The Space Chunkers 1,2,3, and 4 have all been brutally assassinated by the seemingly invincible, “Wrapped Man,” Sonjay Pinkin, reality manipulator extraordinaire. Now the 5th and final “Space Chunker,” Tatluco Pantunfla, is on the run and on his way to the dread planet Dromelin in hopes that its strange mind altering caves and tunnels will supply him with even a small advantage over the deadly and menacing, “Wrapped Man.” But can our favorite multi-lived video game hero deal with a malfunctioning space suit, a sabotaged space craft, a planet that seems turned against him, and the deadly Sonjay Pinkin, all at the same time?
Acclaimed author, Isak J. Farmer, brings The Space Chunkers to life (and death) in this fabulous novelization of America’s favorite new video game sensation, Tatluco Pantunfla!
“What I want to know,” the professor’s voice sounded hollow in his head and although he suddenly wished he could just hang up the phone, he continued, “is what the hell possessed you to even pry the book open to begin with? I mean, there seems nothing special about it at all.” Cluny responded but the professor thought to himself: how pointless was living life now, after reading this (a sad, gut wrenching sob escaped from the professor’s throat), this, The Space Chunkers video game novelization. What more was there to learn about the strange universe that he didn’t already know thanks to that disintegrating, mass market paperback there on his bland, oaken desk?
Goddamned Cluny’s voice on the phone murmured something else and the professor’s stomach turned. The two pronged fork of his black wireless phone’s antenna shook and it was all the professor could do to keep it from tumbling to the padded carpet from his trembling hand. “I’ve got to go, Cluny. We’ll speak about this some other time.” But the professor knew they wouldn’t or, rather, they would but not in this time stream. They would in an infinite number of others but not this one.
There is, reader, a strange valve, a spigot of sorts inside earthbound organismic brains that turns open upon it glimpsing, if only for a fraction of a second, vast and never ending infinity. The strange neural hub can never, it seems, recover from the severe shock, the unprepared-for wallop, that occurs when one perceives the unbounded, the never-ending. It begins to, the brain, of its own accord, consider the strange, the eerie, implications of the limitless. The conglomeration of self-aware atoms will begin to malfunction and warp its owner’s view of reality in such a manner that living in a normal fashion becomes impossible. One cannot go about one’s day to day routines while half immersed in (a) dimension(s) wherein exist limb eating monsters and sinister shadow beings that follow you home to and from work.
Beholding the terrifying insanity that lay before them, said glimpsers of the impossible will often opt, wisely, to cut their lives short.
Professor Borylin, sobbing quietly in his office, his family asleep in the rooms beside him, chose, albeit reluctantly, this last option. But he would go down swinging like Tatluco Pantunfla, that brave video-game character turned fully fleshed novelistic protagonist. He would, in his very own cave of insanity and delusion, stare Sonjay Pinkin (infinity) in the brown, indifferent face and spit defiantly…or he would sob, he would grimace, he would fall to his bony 56 year old knees and scream quietly into the room’s thick and luxuriant carpet so as not to awaken his sleeping family. He would do all these things and more, he knew, over and over and over again and Sonjay Pinkin would just stare on indifferently, as if he stood proudly, in that skin fitting orange and blue outfit of his, separated from this universe and all of its strange implications. The “Wrapped Man” would simply choose the time stream or dimension which he deemed safest and then he (or was it the caves of planet Dromelin?) would stir again the chemicals in your head and your self would once more glimpse teeth gnashing infinity.
The professor remembered what Sonjay had told the Space Cruncher in his thin, menacing voice: “But you yo’self gallop about forever and ever, Tatluco, even mo’ so dan a nomal person because there were five of you. Now only one, soon none, but at same time infinite number of you. You should be happy, Space Cruncher, here on planet Dromelin. You were right coming here, you know. You can beat me here many times if you wish. Look, tell you what: I let you be. I let you live.” The “Wrapped Man” had opened his gloved hand in Tatluco’s, and the professor’s, direction. The professor noted that the villain’s blue gloves appeared to have pale blue fingernails on them. Were they gloves at all or just Sonjay’s strange skin made to look like gloves? “C’mon,” said Sonjay. “I let you be. I let you live.”
But Tatluco couldn’t be, couldn’t live, ever again and neither could the professor, try as they might.