Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #10.1     Annotations on issues 7 through 10
Waffled by Saxon Brenton

Cover shows a huge clutter of scribbled on scraps of paper and books
of various sizes taking up the entire floor space of a moderate sized
room. In the foreground is the only legible note, which reads: 'Saxon,
the story's size has already had a blow out, and you're behind
schedule. Just post the bloody annotations and be done with it'.

  And to think that I swore to myself that if a story ever became too
large I would just post the two parts with consecutive whole numbers
and would never, _ever_ do a 'part a/part b' or 'point five' issue. :-)
Oh well.
  Since this adventure was written as a trip to to
introduce two new LNH members from that newsgroup, I deliberately
tried to include a lot of stuff to evoke the feel of a.f.p. The
topics they talk about (and they way they talk about them) were an
obvious target. So were the genre differences between superheroics
and Pratchettian fiction (whether fantasy or SF). Pratchettian
dialogue, however, was problematic. Trust me, it's enormously
difficult to get right the mix of naturalistic flow that acts to
confuse the characters, enlighten the readers, and entertain with
double entendres. In the end, I also chose to include the problems of
Pratchettian vs. superheroic dialogue as a plot point; that way no
one would miss it because it would be shoved in their faces.
  A fourth technique I copied was Terry Pratchett's heavy use of
'resonances': brief homages of ideas and dialogue from other sources.
This in turn leads directly to this set of annotations, since
Pratchett's works are all annotated in Leo Breebaarts's _Annotated
Pratchett File_, available form
(Netherlands) (and _not_ as I said in issue 9 -
sorry, that was an old address) and its mirrors at
pub/pratchett (America),
(Britain) and (Australia). For
these annotations, I'll try to stick to the non-comic book stuff
(mainly Pratchettian or 'school fiction'), and only touch upon some
of more obscure superheroic references.
  Obligatory warning: Potential spoilers.

Limp-Asparagus Lad #7
* Librarian Lady's appearance: LLady embodies the stereotype of
librarians being grim-faced old women in dowdy clothes, which dates
back to the 19th century when many of them tended to be that way.
There is a significant push to update the image. In particular,
_American Libraries_ magazine has a semi-regular column 'Image: How
they're seeing us' on the subject. As a librarian myself I created
her to deliberately poke fun at the stereotype. LLady's specific
description is copied almost word for word from M. Stilwell's
_Librarians are human_.
* "Considering the nature of British boarding schools [...] I suspect
she's off involved in an Adventure.": Refers to the 'school fiction'
genre prevalent in Britain in the first half of the 20th century.
Plucky school-children are _always_ having Adventures.
* Librarian Lady's methods of dealing with the footnote creatures:
The first is a direct parody of the librarian stereotype of always
going 'shh!' to maintain quiet. The second is an inversion of the
first by making her strong and capable of physical violence. The
strength similar to orang-utan's comment derives from the fact that
one of Pratchett's most popular characters in the Discworld series is
the Librarian of Unseen University, who as an orang-utan has greater
than human strength.

Limp-Asparagus Lad #8
* Footnote Fiend's dialogue: Both a reference to Pratchett's' use of
lots of footnotes in his writings, and the habit of people on a.f.p.
to use footnotes in imitation of him, including the use of the
obligatory redundant footnote, and recursive footnotes that refer
back to themselves in a closed loop.
* Harvard style citation vs. footnoting: Harvard citation is where
details of publication of a mentioned work are included in brackets
immediately after the text, rather than at the bottom of the page as
footnotes do. Needless to say, this would have made it a lot easier
to read, and was therefore to be avoided at all costs. :-)
* and The Turtle Moves T-shirts, and Unseen
University scarves all really exist. They are created and sold by Stephen Briggs (aka Cut Me Own Throat Briggs) who also
produced _The Streets of Ankh-Morpork_ and co-wrote _The Discworld
* Drinking or investigating bread products: Two perennial a.f.p.
topics. There is a drinking game where whenever a newbie asks a
question (esp. one that is in the FAQ) people take a drink, until the
entire population of a thread are roaring drunk.
* Banananana dakris: In _Witches Abroad_ Nanny Ogg is so impressed by
banana daiquiris that she writes home about them, but doesn't know
when to stop writing 'banana'.
* Cambridge vs. Oxford fight: Another sporadically repeating a.f.p.
* Roundabouts: Recent topic that caught my fancy as something weird
to include in _L-ALad_.
* Cat with buttered toast strapped on it: Ibid. In late 1994 the
thread was theorising on this as a means of creating a perpetual
motion machine to solve the world's energy problems.
* Proposal for marriage: A long-running a.f.p. joke. Newbies (usually
the women) are often proposed to when they are ascertained to be
single. It is considered good etiquette for a lady to say 'I'll think
about it' and leave the often numerous suitors panting and fighting
duels to the death for her affections.
* KidNAIARH's nigh invulnerable cape: Since it's been over a decade
since Crisis, this may need explaining. Pre-Crisis, Superman's costume
and cape were made from the blanket he was wrapped in during the
rocket trip from Krypton, and as such were indestructible. From time
to time he would need to wrap a companion in it for protection
against some hostile environment,
* 'As you know, your father, the King...' Plots'R'Us school of
narrative dialogue: A description of Pratchett's dialogue by Stephen
Briggs taken from _The Discworld Companion_. Briggs is also the
person who has adapted many of Pratchett's books into plays, and so
appreciates good dialogue.
* Mohorovicic Discontinuity: The point where the Earth's mantle meets
the crust. To my knowledge it's not an a.f.p. topic, but it
represents the type of technical information that is typically
brought up on a.f.p., and sometimes even applied to a discussion
about some of Pratchett's works.
* Infinite number of alternative pasts: An inversion of the alternate/
branching futures concept, Pratchett has used this as a tongue in
cheek explanation for some of the inconsistencies in his books:
"There are no inconsistencies, just alternate pasts".
* *B*, *D*, *R*, *I*: A.f.p. has such a huge article count that it's
become a habit for posters to indicate the type of article content in
the subject line so that people can pick and choose rather than try
to read everything. *R* for 'relevant' (discussions of Pratchett's
works) and *I* for 'irrelevant' (everything else) were apparently the
first, with *A* for 'annotations' of Pratchett's work (and with the
implication of possible spoilers) and *F* for 'fanfic' were recently
suggested, though I'm not sure as yet whether they will last. *B* for
'bread' and *D* for 'drinking' I made up. It should be noted that at
one time it was jokingly maintained that all of a.f.p. was for
discussing irrelevant topics, and to actually post something about
Pratchett was considered heresy.
* Mort and Death: There is a sporadic but long-running argument
about Death's name, based on a passage from the DW novel _Mort_,
where Death's new apprentice Mort (short for Mortimer) tells his name,
to which Death replies "What a coincidence" as a play on the fact that
'mort' means 'death' in French. Some people have taken this to mean
that (one of) Death's real name(s) is Mort, while others contend that
Death was commenting on the appropriateness of it as a name for his
apprentice. The bit about Death having only one name and her brother
Dream having many is, of course, a reference to Gaiman's _Sandman_.
* The 'm' word: An a.f.p. running joke about how dangerous it is to
say 'monkey', in case you offend the Librarian of Unseen U. and he
comes and beats the crap out of you. Posters on a.f.p. are forever
almost saying the 'm' word, or posting follow-ups where the Librarian
commits violence upon those who have.
* James Earl Jones: The man who did the voice of Darth Vader, and
generally considered the best choice for the voice of Death in any
hypothetical Discworld movie.
* Alien comic book writers in _Captain Mayan_
#fish-eagle-dot-dot-dot: Hands up everybody who remembers Lance
Smith's sig.file: "Did alien comic book writers really visit ancient
cultures and teach them how to sneak over the fourth wall? (see
Captain Mayan #fish-eagle-dot-dot)".
* Ridcully's comment about the world having more holes than Quirm
cheese: Yes, Archchancellor Ridcully did say that. In _Soul Music_.
* Wizards darning the fabric of reality. In the DW books, one of the self-
assigned duties of the wizards of Unseen U. (after eating big dinners)
is occasionally darning the fabric of reality. Which is just as well,
considering they're usually the ones who tear the bloody thing.
* L-Space: The process by which L-Space is formed was first (and most
thoroughly) described in _Guards!Guards!_
* Hoot and Snob: Parodies of the Silver Age Sandman's minions, Brute
and Glob.
* Of the things that Gla'hartru claims to be the foe of, only the
Universal Dictionary has actually appeared in LNH comics. Or rather,
it would have been, if I'd named it properly as the Infinity
Dictionary, last seen in _Continuity Champ_ #s9-11 when the Collector
tried to steal it from Webster's World. (This is what happens when
you try to write a net.comic that wallows in established continuity
but do the references from memory rather than use notes and original
sources like sensible people.)

Limp-Asparagus Lad #9
* The cover is a montage of various Pratchett ideas. The wizards in
the Discworld books traditionally wear red robes. The 'orrible Things
are Things from the Dungeon Dimensions (also DW). The three bicyclists
(and one pedestrian) of the Apocralypse are a combined distortion of
the Bikers of the Apocalypse who appeared in the non-Discworld novel
_Good Omens_, and the Horsemen of the Apocralypse (an apocryphal
Apocalypse) in _Sourcery_, one of whom had his horse stolen during
the pub lunch. The M25 burning as the dread sigil Odega happened in
_Good Omens_ too. The first Sirian Bank is actually a planet, and
appeared in the non-DW novel _Dark Side of the Sun_. The list of
short descriptions with exclamation marks are takes on the habit of
the movie posters in _Moving Pictures_ of ending with the dramatic
blurb "With a thousand elephants!". The dragons and the small scruffy
dog (Gaspode the Wonder Dog - and no relation to Arvie) are from the
DW books. The gnomes might be either DW gnomes or from the Bromeliad
trilogy. And the chattering nuns are of course Satanic Nuns of the
Chattering Order of Saint Beryl from _Good Omens_. [Gasps for breath]
* Greeny-orangy-purple flow of magic: A reference to the colour of
magic, Octarine, the eighth colour visible only to mages and cats in
the DW books.
* isn't a real newsgroup. But I'm a fan of her
writing, and since I want to tie in some of KidNAIARHS' background in
with certain themes she uses, I made it up. The wizards referred to
are from her Wizardry series.

Limp-Asparagus Lad #10
* The title 'Petina Witherington Brown's Schooldays' is a parody on
the title of Thomas Hughes' novel of school fiction _Tom Brown's
Schooldays_, although it might be more recognisable from the episode
'Tompkin's Schooldays' from Michael Palin's _Ripping Yarns_ TV
series. Most of this issue is a parody of the school fiction genre
that ultimately derives from _Tom Brown's_.
* Petina's summation of the types of Adventures she has repeatedly:
These represent the type of melodramatic Adventures that generally
happen in school fiction as well as other fiction for that age group.
* First formers wrestling bears: This is lifted directly from
* The official School Bully being called Flashman: The name Flashman
is from the school bully in _Tom Brown's_. The official position of
School Bully is from 'Tompkin's', which seems to have been based on
the original Flashman.
* Paying for use of escape tunnels: From 'Tompkin's'.
* Roasting people on the spit: Based on Flashman's roasting of Tom in
_Tom Brown's_.
* The pre-eminence of Tradition: Both a general comment on the
development of school traditions, and more specifically an
acknowledgment of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, wherein the
castle of Gormenghast is ruled absolutely by Tradition, none of which
makes sense anymore. The actions of the school masters chanting 'hold
fast' are lifted from the 2nd book _Gormenghast_.
* The Head droning about the butter dish, the tent peg, and the bits
of goats: _Monty Python's The Meaning of Life_.
* The leopard used to run down escaped children: Another bit lifted
from 'Tompkin's'.
* Merkins: Yes, Americans do tend to be called that on a.f.p.
* "Flat-chested as an ironing board with a couple of peas on it": A
description of the witch Magrat from _Wyrd Sisters_.
* Kay Sarah Sarah: I'm not sure whether this is obscure enough or
not. It's another of the briefly-held identities of the Roach in Dave
Sim's _Cerebus_. She's specifically a counterpart of Destiny of the
Endless in Sim's Clueless. Part of her name translated as "She of the
impossibly large hooters..."
* Hockey sticks at St. Trinians: In the movie series about St.
Trinians, the most unruly of British girls schools, the hockey sticks
are used as clubs.

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