I want to share another MiSTing with you. This is the art of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, which flourished on the Internet in the 90s and early 2000s. That community’s drifted off … somewhere … I assume, and left me behind. I keep my hand in, writing something now and then. This week’s offering comes from sci.space.history, a Usenet group devoted to exactly what you might think. For a long while the group was haunted by a fellow who figured he knew something about Venus that everyone else insisted was jpeg artifacts and imagination.
I’d wanted to write a short little thing this piece, which is why it hasn’t got any host sketches. That’s why the characters talk about the abruptness of the start; they haven’t eased into it. It was originally published in 2012, as you might work out from the more dated jokes.
[ ALL file into theater ]
CROW: We don’t even get to say hello to anyone?
TOM: Man, austerity stinks.
JOEL: Don’t get political this early in the year, Tommy.
> >MIME-Version: 1.0
JOEL: Sure, now it’s mime, but when we got it it was ourms.
> >Path: reader1.panix.com!panix!usenet.stanford.edu!
TOM: Stanford! Topeka! Tahlequah! Watervliet!
> > l8no23395436qao.0!news-out.google.com!e10ni165558057qan.0!nntp.google.com!
CROW: Google. Because Google is watching you.
> > l8no23877973qao.0!postnews.google.com!e18g2000yqo.googlegroups.com!
> > not-for-mail
TOM: How did we get it, then?
> >Newsgroups: alt.astronomy,
JOEL: I like indie astronomy better.
TOM: Space history.
CROW: “Well, used to be we didn’t walk on the Moon, then we did, then we didn’t again, and that brings us to the present day.”
TOM: I like that grunge journalism.
CROW: I’m here for the news-media gangnam style.
> >Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2012 16:42:04 -0700 (PDT)
> >Complaints-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
CROW: Picture all Google coming to a stop because somebody complained about usenet there.
TOM: Shouldn’t this part be for the pharmacy majors?
> e18g2000yqo.googlegroups.com; posting-host=126.96.36.199; posting-account=nf79RwoAAABXjvy5ztMzmPxgY1WGoktI
JOEL: Discontinue use of GoktI if symptoms persist.
> >NNTP-Posting-Host: 188.8.131.52
> >User-Agent: G2/1.0
TOM: That reduces to G2.0.
> >X-HTTP-UserAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:14.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/14.0.1,gzip(gfe)
JOEL: User Agent Mozilla 5.0.
TOM: Women want him. Men want to be him.
> >Message-ID: <email@example.com>
TOM: Hey, that’s a cracked Photoshop license key!
> >Subject: Venus for dummies (6.0) / Brad Guth (GuthVenus)
CROW: Finally, some relief from that *smart* Venus.
> >From: Brad Guth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TOM: He certainly *is*.
> >Injection-Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2012 23:42:04 +0000
JOEL: He’s in a pleasing time-release form.
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
CROW: Windows 1252 is the version that went to the Model Parliament, right?
> >Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
TOM: Cut! Print it, Raoul!
> >Lines: 137
> >Xref: panix
CROW: *I’M NOT PANICKING! WHO’S PANICKING?*
> alt.astronomy:502748 sci.space.policy:489326
TOM: So with 85 percent of the vote in we’re projecting a win for alt.astronomy.
> sci.space.history:317343 alt.news-media:339276 alt.journalism:263200
JOEL: And in the school board elections alt.news-media has taken the lead.
> What sort of weird planet geology, or that of its active geodynamics,
> looks or acts anything like this?
CROW: A pudding planet geology!
> Thumbnail images of Venus,
[ JOEL holds up his thumb. ]
TOM: That’s not Venus, that’s a wart.
> including mgn_c115s095_1.gif (225 m/pixel)
CROW: 225 men per pixel?!
> Lava channels, Lo Shen Valles, Venus from Magellan Cycle 1
TOM: o/` We didn’t start the fire … o/`
JOEL: C115 S095 underscore 1.
CROW: You — you sank my battleship!
> =93Guth Venus=94, at 1:1, then 10x resample/enlargement of the area in
TOM: You can see Oswald turn and shoot Mark David Chapman.
CROW: That’s not Venus, that’s a picture of my cat!
JOEL: Add some captions you can have your own LOLvenus.
TOM: I hate that you said that.
JOEL: [ Sheepish ] I’m sorry.
> Not even the most active moon of Jupiter being Io offers up anything
> like this
TOM: Io doesn’t even try! You invite it to the potluck and it brings a bag of Doritos every-single-time.
> remarkable degree of surface geology complexity,
CROW: Fine dentition, good arch in the back. A good mudder.
TOM: How’s its fadder?
> and there=92s
JOEL: Mostly oats and hay.
> certainly nothing remotely artificial looking with anything discovered
> about the planet Mars
TOM: Apart from the big ‘MADE IN TAIWAN’ across the Mariner Valley.
> or thus far of any other planet or moon to speak
JOEL: What about Unspeakable Moon?
CROW: We don’t talk about it.
> outside of Venus that gets within 110 LD every 19 months
TOM: Except when taken internally by a physician.
> closer and we=92d have to reevaluate Venus as a NEO).
CROW: So if you spot Venus coming any closer to Earth than Venus
ever comes, that’d be suspicious.
> Of any humanoids or other intelligent species that’s capable of
> surviving interstellar treks,
TOM: So, what, we’re ignoring the total morons who make it across space?
> at least technically should have no
> problems with remaining stealthy
CROW: ‘Sure, you’ll have no trouble being stealthy on Earth, mister
space alien. Just pull your ball cap down over your forehead …
yeah, all three heads.’
> or even capable of infiltrating and
> mingle within any community of existing life-forms upon any given
> planet they chose to study
CROW: I’m imagining a pack of Vulcans wearing costumes trying to hang around a pack of wallabies.
> or even to populate and commercialize by
> extracting valuable elements in order to suit their own needs.
TOM: I don’t want to be a nitpicker but that sentence was 62 words long and forgot to have a predicate.