Tag Archives | satire

Disquieting Postcards I’ve Recently Received from My Future Self

aliens in switzerland


Recognize the handwriting? Yeah, it’s me. More precisely, it’s you, circa fifteen years from now. Good news — you’ve finally lost that twenty pounds! Too bad you had to amputate your right leg to do it. At least it means our BMI is low enough to keep us out of the local “Fat Reduction Centre.” The less said about those, the better. I hope you like the card. This is a picture of our home town after the alien invasion. Cool, eh?


— P.S. Don’t sweat the aliens. They’re good for us.

* * *


You again. Okay, first things first. If I know me, you’re having your doubts about how legit these postcards are. You’ve probably even noticed that the postmark is today (your time). Here’s how it works: Some day soon you (previous me) will invent time travel. It’s limited to flat objects no bigger than a postcard and no more chemically complex than a postcard. Actually, it’s limited to postcards, but you’ve invented it. (Will invent it, rather.) Way to go. Oh, and there are still some overheating problems, so I can only send one postcard each day.

Or it’s a hoax. Ha ha.

Now, there’s something you need to remember for tomorrow — don’t have dinner with Susie from accounting. I know you’ve been looking forward to it, but just trust me. Crap, I’m running out of room. Promise me. Whatever you do, don’t go out with Susie. And especially don’t sleep with her. Really.


— P.S. Seriously. BTW, this is a pic of the Ruins of Manhattan.

* * *

Dear Asshole:

You still went out with her, didn’t you? I can tell because I (you) still have Susiecular Herpes. Yes, I know you’ve never heard of it. That’s because in about five years you’ll be first person ever diagnosed with it. When that happens, you’ll be sorry you didn’t listen to me. Okay, let’s try something simple. You probably still don’t believe I’m future you. Here is a prediction that will convince you: Next week, you are going to narrowly escape death. Don’t freak out. Don’t worry about it. You escape it. I’ll write again after that’s happened, and then we might be able to make some progress.


— P.S. This is a picture of Our Glorious Leader. Yes, that’s an accordion. All the aliens play them.

* * *


Listen, I know you’re an ornery bastard, but what’s the point in sending these notes if you insist on manhandling the timeline? By spending the entire week in your apartment, you’ve seriously messed things up. For starters, you didn’t get the promotion you had coming. Which means no trip to the Mayan Riviera this (that) winter. Which means you never meet our wife. And before you ask, the reason I can still remember her is because I’m writing these postcards from within a Grubenstorbian Bubble. I can see with infuriating clarity the repercussions of your actions (or in this case, milquetoast inaction). If you are going to be a complete dick-wad about it, I’m going to stop sending these notes altogether. You know, it’s almost like you’re trying to sabotage your future. (Which pisses me off for obvious reasons.) I loved Sheila! She was very understanding about the Susiecular Herpes, even when the virus mutated and turned our boy Chad into Balzrog the Destroyer. Crap, I’m almost out of space again.


— P.S. This is a picture of the on-ice celebration when the Leafs won the Stanley Cup for the first time in more than sixty years. But you’ll never get to see it now, you bastard. Who could have guessed your vacation in Mexico was so critical to the timeline?

* * *


Hey, more good news. I’ve used all the null-time I’ve had in the Grubenstorbian Bubble to invent an adaptive energy field that will act as a perfect prosthetic for my missing leg. It looks as though I’m hobbling around on thin air; freaky, but who cares? I think this is the last note that I’m going to send. The Bubble is almost out of entropy, and I’d like to get this prosthetic to market as soon as I can. Just promise me you won’t bet against the Leafs, okay? And in case you do finally believe me, for God’s sake, don’t try to track down Susie or Sheila, or act on anything else I’ve told you okay? This whole thing was just one big bad idea.


— P.S. This is a picture of the first Transnormative Human. Freaky, no? Get used to it. They’ve survived your non-trip to Mexico.

* * *

Dear Early-Twenty-First-Century Wanker,

Okay, you win. I guess it really is impossible to improve yourself through time travel. Once again, you’ve screwed me over. The minute I left the Bubble, I was arrested by the Fat Police for Transtemporal Violation of the Fat Laws. Look, remember when I said “The less said about the Fat Reduction Camps the better”? What that didn’t mean was: “It would sure be a great idea for you to write a short story about FRCs and send it off to some shitty science fiction e-zine.” I would have noticed and warned you if it hadn’t taken years for the issue to reach print. I don’t know who to curse (more), you or the glacial pace of the publishing industry. It hardly matters, they’ve got me now. Still, even Our Glorious Leader can’t take away my new invention. And I may just survive the Slorg Diet. At any rate, I won’t be able to send any more notes from where I’m going, so I just have one more thing to say: Play these every week: 3-15-27-29-44-46

In time,


— P.S. Wish you were here.

The End


Pirate Therapy and Other Cures -- cover artEnjoy this story? Go get a copy of it, and many others like it, which appear in my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures.

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Originally published by AE – The Canadian Review of Science Fiction in their first issue, October 2010. Alltop once married its own great-great grandparents. Postcard image by Franco Brambilla.

Interview in Western News

westernMy authorial compadre at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Kane Faucher, did a great job of interviewing me a while back, and it appeared in print today. Seriously. on PAPER, so you know it’s legit! You can read: “Finding humour in a changing landscape” here.

Western News is the campus paper “of record” for The University of Western Ontario, where I spend goodly part of my time, instructing students on how to create information architectures that won’t become self-aware and destroy all humans. (At least, so far.)

While you’re at it, check out Kane’s website and his books at: Kane X. Faucher. His work is amazing, and I particularly loved his latest satire, Professor Montgomery Cristo: An Adjunct’s Tale.

Alltop is about 23% satire.

Apocalypse Cow

apocalypse cow

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were going all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin’ program.

And me? I was off the boat the same time as Kurtz. Sure, I’d been obeying orders, but my mind was gone. I was in fields of green and clover. With milkmaids.

Oh man, those bullshit milkmaids…

But I had a job to do, and there would be no welcome, supple fingers pulling on my teats when we got to the end of the river. Only charcoal briquettes.

The barbecue … the barbecue.

Alltop is the catastrophic cattle baron of humor. Originally published on Name Your Tale, 2009.

Doug the neurotic invents a corollary on his daily commute

Revenge of the chickenOkay, I’ll admit it. I’m freaking out.

I ate at Wendy’s last night, and then I’m reading the paper today — yeah, like I do everyday on the bus — and so I’m reading the paper, and what do I see? Bird Flu! There was another breakout of bird flu in a freakin’ chicken farm in Canada!

Yeah, I know you can’t catch bird flu from a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but still. I’m just saying that it’s a sign. It’s just a matter of time. That or the polar bears. Where the hell are they going to go when the last of the polar icecaps melt? The motherfuckers are either going to drown or head south and look for a little protein in Doug form. Spicy Doug Sandwich. Did you know the polar bear is the biggest land predator in the world? Yeah, and they aren’t going to catch bird flu. Not to mention the terrorists. If they don’t get me than for sure some crypto-Nazi is going to rendition me to somewhere where water-boarding is like foreplay.

Holy shit! It says here that some of the people working with the chickens caught Bird Flu. Oh God, I don’t want to catch BIRD FLU.

Why the hell is everyone looking so calm? Look at that dude. He’s just listening to his iPod, pretending that we’re not all about to die from an anthrax attack. It says we will right here on page three.

The bus is awfully slow today. I wonder if that’s because the driver is working with the terrorists, or maybe he has the beginnings of BIRD FLU and it’s slowing him down? All these stories keep saying it’s only a matter of time until the virus leaps from poultry to humans. Just like the terrorists. They’re going to do another big attack.


They haven’t, have they? Maybe if the media is really covering a story like this, that reduces the chances of the thing actually happening. What if there is some sort of inverse relationship to disaster and the amount of fear churned up by the media: the more ink and airtime devoted, the less likely there will be a disaster?

Oh shit. What if there was some kind of OTHER relationship, like a corollary to Murphy’s Law? What is that? Anything that can go, will go wrong. No, that’s Microsoft’s motto. Anything that can go wrong, will.

Like, my bus is late. It can be late, so it is late. I’m going to have to run to catch my transfer. Bastards.

What if there’s some kind of corollary to Murphy’s Law? Anything that can go wrong, will, unless the media gives it saturation coverage … in which case, something else will go even more horribly wrong. Not bad. Call it Doug’s Corollary.

Finally, the bus is at my stop. Come on lady, move. I got to run.

Wait! If that is true, what is worse than BIRD FLU?

Dashing now. I’m still fast. Not young enough to fight off BIRD FLU, but still quick.

Oh my God. Ohmygodohmygod, EBOLA is worse than BIRD FLU!

Oh God, I’m going to catch some new strain of EBOLA and bleed out from they eye sockets and shit! It’s going to wipe me out like a —


The End

Alltop is a busload of fun. Photo by Mark Lorch. Originally published in 2007, so you can see how it’s the specific fears that change, not the general tone of the media.