I suppose the scam artist got carried away by inspiration at the end. He thought, “Screw the payoff, I just want to do that name.”
What a great name
by Tom Crippen
It isn’t taken out of some cult sci-fi comedy novel. I googled and there’s at least one person in Europe going about with this name and he’s done well at the study of maltherapeutin, which sounds to me like the science of providing bad therapy with a folksy accent, though probably there’s more to it than that.
In other news, I spent two hours in large, crowded rooms with Neil Gaiman today and can report that he is charming beyond smooth. This was at Worldcon, where the Hugo is awarded and which is being held here in Montreal this year. I also met Lev Grossman, though I had no idea who he was. He gave me a chapbook with the first chapter of his novel, which I liked, and at the end there was an author’s bio. It revealed he is by far the most literarily connected person I’ve ever spoken to. Seemed like a nice guy! He had wandered into the back of the room during a misbegotten shambles of a panel whose scheduled participants had bailed and been replaced at the last minute. The subject was fantasy novels and how much politics and economics they should contain. Grossman offered that he was a fantasy novelist — heads turned — and that he had just finished a novel about a world much like the Narnia world but with some revisionism as to adult realities, including socioeconomic realities. For instance, how come Mrs. Hedgehog or whoever has a sewing machine when there are no factories in Narnia? That sounded good to me, so after the panel I asked for his name, he gave me the chapbook, etc. Hence the revelation that followed.
Back to the panel discussion. A very odd, even semi-deranged, lout also wandered into the room, but he sat up front and soon planted himself in the middle of the conversation, such as it was. Otherwise the place was full of whispery fans who deferred to each other; we didn’t even raise our hands properly, just bent our elbows and parked a hand by our ear, fingers curled over. So the strange lout began talking loudly and soon offered an idea that I liked: how do we know that the whatever kids, Peter and Lucy and Susan and that other one, how do we know they were the first bunch to be sent along from our world to wake the sleeping king (or whatever their mission was). The fellow reasoned that getting the job done first crack out of the box was kind of a long shot. So maybe others had come along, failed, and died, and all over Narnia there were discreet little plots of land dedicated to the graves of the Wilkins children, the Anderson children, the Smith children, etc., but the talking animals didn’t want Peter and Lucy and the rest to know, so they covered it up. I liked that he remembered they would all be Anglo-Saxon family names.
All right, so maybe it isn’t the greatest single pop-culture revisionist geek goof you ever heard, but it sure livelied up the occasion. That panel sucked so bad. And the idea would come in handy if you were doing a parody about it being the late ’80s and DC somehow acquiring the rights to Narnia and hiring some schmuck writer who had just read Watchmen.