Title: Space Raptor Butt Redemption
Author: Chuck Tingle
WhatWhat: Astronaut Lance Tanner, last seen in the Hugo-nominated Space Raptor Butt Invasion, stands trial. The charge is being too weird for space, and the lawyer argues that a serious, historical institution like space travel can’t be associated with Lance and his raptor lover Orion. Worse yet, Lance’s mission was funded by Scoundrels Inc., and even though he didn’t know that he’s somehow guilty by association. But a demonstration for the courts wins Lance his freedom and his raptor.
I am world-renowned astronaut, Lance Tanner of the Earth Outpost Program, sanctioned with the unequivocally important role of searching out planets that could one day be inhabitable for human life as Earth becomes more and more toxic. (loc 20)
So Lance’s Earth, much like the real one, is drowning in dangerous levels of toxic smug?
“I don’t support bad guys,” I try to say as clearly as I possibly can.
The reporter just stares at me blankly. “So you’re not going to come out against them?” (loc 66)
Lance is basically being subject to a level of bad faith argument rarely seen outside of Twitter. It’s a dark day in the Tingleverse.
It takes a long night of working with helpful friends to translate my words into something that sounds even the slightest bit like a speech fit for a courtroom. (loc 78)
I feel like I’ve had a glimpse at the author’s process.
“Okay,” I counter, “but did you ever think that something could be dumb…and good?”
There is more chatter from the jury box.
The lawyer laughs. “Ha! In space stuff? Not a chance, space is for smart people.”
“Maybe that’s why nobody likes it enough to get a rocket off the ground,” I offer. “You know Chuck Buckarooski once said ‘An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way, and artist says a hard thing in a simple way.'”(loc 152)
You will never convince me that the Bukowski-quoting Chuck Tingle doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing.
“Have you ever heard of Andy Kaufm–” I start but the lawyer interjects. (loc 159)
The performance artist? Why yes, I have. Up on this layer there was a movie made about him, called Man on the Moon. He was entirely unlike any other performer, and a lot of people disliked that about him.
“So you’re telling me that you would rather just not go into space at all?” I ask, suddenly much more upset than I expected to be and in an entirely different way. “The core of the earth is dying because of these guys, right? The fate of the planet is up to astronauts exploring new worlds and inspiring others to do the same, and your answer is just to burn it all to the ground because my version of sace is not serious enough for you?”
“It was funded by Scoundrels Inc,” the lawyer repeats like a skipping record. “You wouldn’t have been up there in the first place if it wasn’t for Scoundrels Inc.” (loc 207)
When assholes are assholes you don’t react by shutting it all down and doing half their work for them, you react by finding joy in the darkness. (loc 242)
Verdict: I’M NOT CRYING. YOU’RE CRYING.