Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Thirty Books from Interrupted Worlds

Inspired by Philip Purser-Hallard's @trapphic Twitter-stream (a series of 140-character micro-stories, entirely original in his case). The following are all classic works of literature by well-remembered authors, abridged to exactly 140 characters for easy dissemination among the puny humans, but taken from those universes where events have been influenced by multiple timelines, anachronistic technologies, or Things That Should Not Be.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was an age of wisdom, it was an age of Roman legionnaires riding about on dinosaurs.
- Charles Dickens

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a time machine must be in need of a wife who's really his own nan.
- Jane Austen

It was only when she saw the tendril attached to the rabbit's back that Alice realised how the Xithraxi went "fishing" for psychic children.
- Lewis Carroll

After driving out the animals, the MetaTermites wrote on the side of the barn: FOUR LEGS GOOD. SIX LEGS BEST. Then the UltraSpiders arrived.
- George Orwell

"It is not only the Heights that seem so curiously disposed," Heathcliff warned, "but the Widths, Lengths, and... perhaps other dimensions."
- Emily Brontë

Disguised as a washer-woman, Mr Toad found it easy to slip past the jailer. The bizarre inconsistency in scale had destroyed the man's mind.
- Kenneth Grahame

"You mean I can't get out of this unless I kill my own grandfather, but if I kill my own grandfather, I won't be around to get out of this?"
- Joseph Heller

24 hours later, Fogg returned with Hitler's crown and the Grail of Saladin. His friends claimed he'd definitely said *one* world, 80 *days*.
- Jules Verne

It was chaos: when the boys on the island learned they were being killed by public vote, they tore off Davina's head and stuck it on a pole.
- William Golding

Now Mary understood the secret of Jamaica Inn. Its eerie mystique was a beacon, allowing the locals to kill and rob any curious Time Agents.
- Daphne du Maurier

"Why, you're a Son of Adam!" said Mr Beaver, delighted. "Our race has been interbreeding with yours for millennia. How are our death-spawn?"
- C. S. Lewis

On winter evenings, Beth would sit by the fire and sew Higgs-Bosons onto subatomic quilts, while Amy would carp about modern-day relativism.
- Louisa May Alcott

"Lolita, fire of my loins, light of my life. And apparently it isn't legal even if you use a tachyonic accelerator to make them look older."
- Vladimir Nabokov

"Oh bother!" said Pooh. "It's bad enough that my back half is stuck in Rabbit's kitchen, but my front half is in the universe of Nazi bees."
- A. A. Milne

"The warpship wreck had inverted space and time, marooning me on a single day, far from the present. Still, at least I had my Man Sideways."
- Daniel Defoe

- Salman Rushdie

"Its back shines like quicksilver," said Ahab, "and in its gut, Hell's own wrath. Aye, a uranium coin for the first to spy the Red October!"
- Herman Melville

riverrun, in stream of conscientiousness, wilfitfully scarding sense to halve the Horror from 'Cross Eternity and its rrravaging of rrreason
- James Joyce

Once she'd dug a well for the villagers, adding her own DNA drones to the water was simple. Oh yes: this town would be *exactly* like Alice.
- Nevil Shute

D'Artagnon's faith in "one for all, and all for one" was only tested when he felt the Musketeer Gestalt surreptitiously borrowing his liver.
- Alexander Dumas

"Yet on some whim, I Judas' nipple brushed / That cold tomb swung aside, and there revealed / A lower level still, that's like the Batcave."
- Dante

"You fool," growled his anti-world counterpart, as its claws tore through his duffelcoat. "Did you really think yours was the Darkest Peru?"
- Michael Bond

"Nanocure Kurtz-G318 has gone native inside the Congolese ambassador. We think it's arranged the cancer cells into its own personal empire."
- Joseph Conrad

Among those at the Paris barricade was Les Miserables, a '70s club comic who'd become unstuck in time. France remembered him subconsciously.
- Victor Hugo

The golden age ended in 1963, when a study found that not every tank-engine required AI to be efficient, especially on island branch-lines.
- The Reverend W. Awdry

Mina accepted her fate after realising that Dracula means "Son of the Dragon", and that he could give her rides "like in Neverending Story".
- Bram Stoker

"Reader: I married him. This was considered daringly metatextual, yet it was a preferable narrative device to the Fourth-Wall Siege Engine."
- Charlotte Brontë

Its four arms became helicopter blades; its turret, a great cannon. But Rotatron, leader of the Windmillcons, was about to meet its nemesis.
- Cervantes

El-Ahrairah gazed beyond the portal, at all the worlds his people would infest. From this day, he'd be the Prince with Nine-Billion Enemies.
- Richard Adams

"Long before becoming Emperor, I visited the Sybil at Cunae. She revealed to me a monstrous prophecy about a place called the Night Garden."
- Robert Graves