06/18/20 – Bollycks Attack

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, June 18, 2020.




It’s not a Spacetrawler story if the Bollycks don’t show up SOMEWHERE (usually in cold space when you’re alone and vulnerable)


    1. TB

      Ah. The laser shield wears out! Another small narrative loophole plugged. As a writer myself, I appreciate the need, and the skilled use of the process.

      I got a lot of enjoyment watching J. K. Rowling do this in the course of the “Harry Potter” books, and she had to deal with some doozies.

  1. The Saprophyte

    Freshly flayed hide? Implying they can be prepared, perhaps by tanning and hanging on a shed?
    And is there such a thing as warm space, other than in the immediate vicinity of a star?

    1. Felixscout

      You have a ship with life support you can make a drying room just by fiddling with the controls. Of course there is the whole curing process which is more than drying.

      And does the laser resistance survive this process? Dunno.

  2. Muzhik

    I’m still interested in finding out how barbecued Bollyck tastes, and if it’s better with a tomato-based sauce or a mustard-based sauce? Maybe marinate in a whiskey/ghost pepper/garlic mixture overnight before throwing it on the grill?

    Oh, I know, I know… “FOOD THAT TALKS IS NOT FOOD!” One of those pesky “rules” that everyone knows until it’s inconvenient to know. As in, there is now a race out in the stars that not only knows how to KILL us, but wants to EAT us! Maybe we should stay away from humans for a while… And kangaroos …

    And I’m still waiting for some genius to come up with a way to grow furryite steaks.

    1. Pete Rogan

      Damn you. Now I want Bollyck ribs, and freshly pulled Bollyck, and a whole Bollyck ham for slow-roasting. Seriously, can’t the food-bot whip up a reasonable facsimile of such? Think of all the life-forms we could be saving by eating their synthed flesh!

      1. Muzhik

        @Pete Rogan, I’ll wager that whoever makes food synths has programming built in to prevent such “experimentation”. Because, you know, you have to have samples to draw against for the synth to use, and then you have to have consumer response teams who will eat the real flesh with the synthed flesh and compare texture, taste, “mouth feel” (yes, that’s a real criteria. Ask anyone who has had to taste-test chocolate), and so on, to ensure the synthesizers have actually created, say, Earl Grey Tea and not come up with something that is almost completely but not quite entirely exactly unlike tea.

        1. Pete Rogan

          The progress of Earth food chemistry having produced such things as plant-based hamburger and similar faux meat products, I don’t doubt that a properly-equipped would-be Galactic synthesizer could produce lookalikes sufficient to be taste-tested (anonymously, of course) to find a suitable replacement. Adjusting the results, unless they required a unique ingredient uniquely tailored to the end purpose, would be routine.

          And who said they had to be government-sanctioned? There are loads of criminal organizations out there willing to fund a winner like syntho-furryite. And enough cheats to be willing to steal the recipe and duplicate it at their own plants. Pretty soon the Galaxy would be awash in all manner of syntho-furryite, from insipid to better than the original, and trade wars based on whether to allow imports or just rely on homegrown syntho-F.

          Einstein was wrong. The most powerful force in the universe is not compound interest. It is the profit motive, which tends, in enough strength, to override moral scruples and even the instinct for self-preservation. And to twist the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke, sufficiently advanced food synthesis is indistinguishable from magic.

          Of course, those with moral objections to the whole process will have to develop a polity sufficiently outraged, and governments sufficiently motivated and funded to even slow this process down. Not impossible, but oh, when you drive the price up from scarcity, how the money rolls in!

          I’ll finish with pointing out the absolute failure of America’s drug war, which has neither restricted supply, increased the street price, or reduced the number of users in the slightest. I can see syntho-F achieving the same success at the extraordinarily more-expensive efforts of those wishing to see it gone.

          1. Muzhik

            @Pete Rogan, Bingo! In Book 1, Earth’s main claim to fame was that Neptune (I believe — too lazy to look up now) was supposedly a major source of Darkhuenium (sp?) which is why having a human representative at the GOB was such a vital question.

            Now, we simple humans have demonstrated a skill that apparently the rest of the galaxy never even thought to acquire or develop: the ability to create faux food! Another fulcrum upon which to rest the extremely long lever needed to move the GOB.

  3. Night-Gaunt49

    The food synth we already get is more powerful than ordinary food. Set to hit your bliss all of the time and to thereby addict you to their almost food. In looks and taste compared to regular untouched food they wish to totally usurp eating normal food. They have no intention of sitting on their laurels either. On to greater heights of consumption and still being starved of essential nutrients as they go.

    The Some Drug War is just a means to an end. End to our rights and perversion of society and a serious mind screw involved that is still ongoing since 1904.

    1. Pete Rogan

      Actually, drugs were a non-issue through most of American history. The first American cargo to China in the Eighteenth Century was mandrake root. And farmers were not just allowed but required to grow hemp, which was used to make rope, a naval supply necessity until the Civil War. The introduction of morphine didn’t raise an eyebrow, any more than the Mexican intake of marijuana or ‘women’s tonics,’ largely tincture of opium (paregoric) sold through the mail. Nobody remembers today that in 1880 the largest group of opium addicts wasn’t wounded Civil War veterans, but middle-aged farmer’s wives with their Lydia Pinkham’s.

      The introduction of refined morphine, made by the German Bayer company (entirely separate from the American Bayer) and given the trademark name of Heroin changed that. Slightly. There was concern enough about stable White families turning addicts and thieves to support their habit that the FDA finally got involved. To a limited extent.

      But it was Prohibition that really brought the house down, Or, more accurately, the end of Prohibition and the end of Congressional support for the Volstead Act and the IRS division responsible for enforcement (such as it was). The division and its personnel swiftly shifted their efforts to curbing marijuana use, especially among White families and especially young White women, who might become ensnared in nefarious Black jazz bands, an evil that had to be prevented at any cost. So it was bureaucratic inertia propelled by ignorance and given its head by racism that led to the prohibition, nationwide, of marijuana and its eventual deletion from the pharmacopeia in 1942. About two decades after the poppy was largely exterminated, save for dried imports.

      I’d say it was the shift from prohibiting booze to prohibiting weed that drove the abuse of the laws and the public, a witch-hunt that is finally being wrecked on the overall poor performance of the Nixon-inspired War on Drugs. A century on, it’s proven itself to be as massive and expensive a failure as Prohibition and the Volstead Act, and without any results that justify its continuation. But neocons can’t bear to let it go, because it’s a primary enabler of all those hippies they are sworn to destroy or to at least make uncomfortable. As soon as we figure out spite is a really expensive reason to waste money, I expect to see a change in policy.

      Modern drug policy aside, no one’s ever found a way to curb our addiction to food. It seems no matter how hard the breatharians work at it, people will keep on eating. And that drives a surprisingly hardy and yet astonishingly unprofitable set of industries to feed this addiction. You’d think that making an absolutely irresistible food would be the key to mammoth success, but despite Coca-Cola and McDonald’s and even Alka-Seltzer, it hasn’t happened yet. Curious, that.

      1. Muzhik

        You have GOT to check out “The Space Merchants” by Fred Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth, and especially its sequel “The Merchant’s War” by Fred Pohl. The books detail consumerism and advertising gone mad. In “Merchant’s War” a person from the Vesuvian colonies, which has EXTREMELY strict “truth in advertising” laws after the war in the first book, comes to Earth on a business trip. He inadvertently has a Mokie-Coke from a vending machine without seeing the warning sign or knowing that it is instantly addictive. With his first gulp, he has become a moke-head. He then becomes involved in an earth culture based entirely around building and feeding addictions, not JUST to food OR drugs, but to things like buying “collectables.”

      2. Gregg Eshelman

        The tobacco and plastic industries most likely had a hand in the marijuana ban by getting hemp included.

        Hemp growing land is also ideal for tobacco. Ban hemp and what are those farmers going to turn to?

        Got some fancy new polymers you’ve figured out how to spin into fibers to make fabrics? What’s that? There’s a plant that grows in a lot of places and its fibers are processed into products your synthetics will have to compete with? Well, just hook up with the tobacco industry and get that damn evil hemp banned so your synthetic rope, fabrics and more will have the market to themselves.

  4. Pete Rogan

    I know it well, and the memorable “Gladiator-At-Law,” which, despite its weak ending, shows us what capitalism can turn into without a good leash law.

    Now I’m remembering a line from the TV series “The Addams Family,” where Gomez realizes he has the Ultimate American Product: “It costs a dime to make, sells for a dollar, and is habit-forming!”

  5. Now I imagining a ship that trolls through the space lanes for pirates. They are processed through the front boarding entrance, slaughtered, skinned and stored in freezers in the aft section.

    “This is a very tender steak. What is this?”

    1. Gregg Eshelman

      There’s a story by Keith Laumer where a spaceship has for some reason run into problems, including a major loss of food supplies. An alien ship turns up, offering aid and supplies. The supplies include a large, frozen block of something. It turns out to be the dead crew of another ship that went missing.

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