Inferno News 1879

(with thanks to the London Times and various other worthy publications)

AN ADVERTISEMENT   Announcing a work from the New School of Theatre...
'Ants and The Man', a new script by Mr Sidney Weaver. Steeped in New
Realism, Mr Weaver's play is as fresh as the Headlines. Ants and The Man
follows the fortunes of several men coerced into the Austrian army and
forced to fight for an unjust cause. Drama, Mystery and high Tension ensue
as they try to extract themselves from the terrible clutches of their
Brutish commander 'The Man' and return to their homes alive. Never has war
been brought to the British stage with more Topicality, Realism, Passion
and Satire. You will feel that you too have suffered the mercies of the
Front Line! Playing at the New Theatre this year!

 'BUBO-BUSTER JIM' MARRIES   Renowned doctor Jim Dawson has announced his
marriage, to the fortunate young Bavarienne born Fräulein Margarita
Krankheit. We will not forget Dr Dawson's tireless labours over plague
victims in London and Whitby, and he remains our very own 'heart surgeon'!
(from How Do You Do? magazine)

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR   "It has been brought to my attention that half of
the population of this country is being denied the most basic human right:
that of choice. While women are being denied the right to have a say in the
affairs of the land they live in they are being denied all dignity. What is
the assumption that men hold? Is it that women do not have the intelligence
to understand matters of state? This cannot be right for if we are to
accord the right to vote on grounds of intelligence there must be many men
who do not qualify. Do they think then that women are not interested in
larger matters? Again, they have been proved false time and again. Or is it
that men are afraid once they allow women to vote their wives will be
demanding equal rights in other areas? A woman with the intelligence to
grasp the need for change, the courage to demand what should be hers by
right, and the strength of character to do whatever is necessary to achieve
this would be a formidable opponent indeed. To anyone reading this, I would
say, at least have the honesty to question why women are denied the right
to vote.  This country is supposed to be built on good reason and justice.
I see neither in the present system. Miss Charity Wells." The Editor
responds: while Miss Wells's language is a trifle intemperate and extreme,
this newspaper supports the broad thrust of her message, and hopes that
measures to introduce female suffrage will soon prove successful.

TAMWORTH-SMITH TAKES HIS SEAT   Reluctant politico Mr William
Tamworth-Smith has at last succumbed to Tory party pressure and taken his
place in the House of Commons, comfortably winning the marginal seat of
Southampton after the death of incumbent Mr Walter Greaves in a riding
accident this winter. Mr Tamworth-Smith has long been a support of and
campaigner for the party, and many informed observers are saying that he
would make a fine Home Secretary - a post that Mr Southville has left
inexplicably vacant during the entirety of this year, no doubt for lack of
a candidate of sufficient stature to make up for the egregious failings
(alleged) of Mr Derothshire. 'Stability in changing times' and 'Only the
guilty need fear' were Mr Tamworth-Smith's campaign platforms, and they
were as readily accepted by the people of Southampton as they would be by
the country. On constitutional and religious matters, he is thought to be
of moderate progressive opinions, and a likely supporter of Mr Southville's
newest initiatives.

MARS LOOMS CLOSER   Baffled astronomers have announced that the red planet
is drawing closer and closer to Earth, to the extent that its brightness
dominates the night sky and its waxing and waning can be seen by the naked
eye. Quite what might have precipitated this celestial motion remains a

THEATRICAL CRITICISM   'You will feel that you too have suffered the
mercies of the Front Line!' claims the New Theatre in its advertising for
new drama 'Ants and The Man', and never a truer word was spake. This
correspondent found himself heartily wishing that he could be invalided out
of the world of pain and suffering that is to be in the audience of Mr
Weaver's turgid play, for the armistice seemed a punishingly long time
coming. If Mr Weaver had made even the smallest concession to having a
credible hero, to using properly dramatic language, to spending a little
money on sets and costumes, then a little escapism might have been possible
- but no, the grim 'reality' of the event was unavoidable. Do yourselves a
favour, theatregoers, and accept the white feather due to a coward rather
than volunteering for this particular field of conflict. (by our Drama

*** FREEDOM FOR SWITZERLAND   The stolid burghers of Switzerland have
returned with light hearts to their chocolate-making and
cuckoo-clock-carving, safe in the knowledge that their ancient federation
has been restored by their Prussian liberators. Prussia has entirely
vacated the country, restoring the government toppled by the Bavarian
invasion, and has arrested and prosecuted all those suspected of
collaborating with the occupation.

HERO DOCTOR HONOURED   The de Bonvoisin-von Poelzig Medical Academy has
struck a special medal for Dr Sir Charles Welmerdyke, one of its graduates,
who was instrumental in concocting a cure for the plague that troubled us
so in recent years. 'It is humbling to be able to so honour one of our
own', said Baron von Poelzig in his customary saint-like fashion.

GIFFARD GOES PRUSSIAN   Rogue weapons technologist Henri Giffard has taken
the name of Henri von Giffard, it was announced in Berlin, and has been
granted Prussian citizenship. Along with it comes a Prussian wife, the
former Fräulein Helga von Blumenkraft, and the post of Minister of Science
and Technology in the Prussian government. The Times can only express its
horror that Mr von Giffard, inventor of so many machines of death and
destruction, is now so firmly linked to the fortunes of our largest
Continental rival. Why did the British government not do more to woo this
brilliant but sociopathic man?

PROPHETS SPEAK OF ALIENS   This spring has seen the country thronged with
unwashed prophets, babbling mystically of the imminent coming of 'God's
Other Children'. What can it all mean? Even the religious establishment
seems to have caught the bug, for vicars, bishops and the like have been
interpreting all manner of recent events as signs and portents to this
expected visit.

RUDOLF IN BRITAIN   There is nothing sadder than a member of a toppled
royal family, and we are now richer by one: former Austrian Crown Prince
Rudolf has taken up residence in Devon. Neighbours say that the Prince is a
quiet man, who keeps to himself, his only companions being his lady friend
Miss Trudi Skrumptlich, and a faithful old retainer.

*** FREEDOM PROMISED FOR BAVARIA TOO   Prussian forces have spent this year
pacifying and restoring order to Bavaria, flushing out Morgan sympathizers,
and indicting war criminals. They are now ready to hand the country back to
its true royal line, in the person of young Prince Paul, son of the late
King Otto, as a result of the Tervueren Peace Conference, Prussian
officials announced. Grand Duke Magnus Eisengrim, the Prince's second
cousin, will be regent.

AT THE THEATRE   A wonderful evening for all the family is to be had at the
New Theatre, where 'Ants and The Man' is breathing new life into the
moribund British stage. Away with the pomp and fustian, in with direct
language that anyone can understand, powerful issues that strike at the
heart of our humanity, and straightforward characters who are human rather
than heroic, in their strengths and in their weaknesses. More from Mr
Weaver, please! (from The Observer)

MORE PRUSSIAN CHANGES   After last year's reorganization of the apparatus
of civil government, this year saw Count von Essen undertake a similar
exercise on the military front. The awesome Prussian war machine now has a
structure fitting to its size, with a massive expansion in Supply Corps and
Audit Department. Count von Essen now has a deputy as Army Commander, to
match his deputy as Chancellor, so that he himself can move back and forth
between the two roles with freedom.

*** SECOND COMING ANNOUNCED IN JERUSALEM   The enigmatic Temple of Solomon,
raised from its ruins a decade ago, shivered asunder this Christmas to
reveal a human figure, swathed in divine light, announcing himself to be
the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, here to prepare us for the Last
Days leading up to judgement. 'He that find me, be it even at the last, he
will surely be saved,' the self-proclaimed Messiah said. Local authorities
are attempting to cast doubt on his credentials, but he has already worked
a number of miracles, including pushing a whole herd of pigs over a cliff.

WAR HERO WEDS   Captain Jonathan Hazelmere, DSM & Bar, leader of the
valiant 23 Squadron during the war with France, has married Miss Eleanor
Courtney, of the respected Norfolk family, at a quiet family ceremony. The
bride was given away by her brother, Mr Valentine Courtney. Captain
Hazelmere has spent his time since leaving the Navy in establishing a
courier business, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the new
technologies, and he is surely one of tomorrow's men.

*** MARTIANS HAVE LANDED   Not a headline this newspaper thought it would
ever use, but the facts speak for themselves. To the accompaniment of
dramatic weather conditions provided by Mr Ferdinand Lancelot Gaboon and
his Cloudbuster, the Martian vessel landed in the Shropshire estate of the
Marquess of Salisbury, during one of his famous shooting parties. The
Marquess and his charming Lady, together with other luminaries such as Lord
and Lady Chelmsford, Baron von Poelzig and the poetess Miss Julianne
Fulbright, were the first to greet our celestial neighbours, shaking the
brave spacefarers warmly by the tentacle and welcoming them to Earth. The
Archbishop of Canterbury used his Easter sermon to welcome the arrival of
'God's Other Children', as the Martians have rapidly become known, and he
baptised the leader of the delegation, a five-tentacled squid-like being
named Vxxthn, into the Church of England. This was followed by a lengthy
caravan affair in which the amiable GOCs were paraded around every parish
in the country, meeting and greeting amazed villagers and townsfolk, under
perfect weather conditions as provided by the Flying Circus, Minerva
Women's Groups handing out the gifts they had brought as they went - every
household in Britain is now richer by a 'Pauper's Comfort', an amazing
device which turns household waste into heat for the building, and
apparently this is merely scratching the surface of the bounty our new
friends are keen to shower upon us. It is believed that similar events have
taken place in the United States.

A PRESS CONFERENCE BY MR DEROTHSHIRE   The disgraced (allegedly) politico
said "My position as Home Secretary has been made untenable by the
accusations levelled against me. I will not deny them, what is the point,
opinions have already been made. I will step down as Home Secretary because
it is best for the country that I do so - no other reason, I stated when I
took this post that I serve my country above all else. Yes, it is true I
consorted with members of the Steampunk Mafia, high-ranking members - but
how else would you expect me to behave - I spoke to them, negotiated,
threatened, I introduced the Guardian Angels and Special Constables - all
this I did to reduce crime, make the streets safer, and for a better
quality of life for the people of this country. All I can say to the person
or persons responsible for the accusations levelled at me is: I hope you
realize what you have done to this country, if it is your mother, father,
child, wife or husband who becomes a victim of crime due to the lack of law
and order on the streets you only have yourselves to blame... I wish my
successor all the best."

NEW CULT THRIVES   London-based Christian cult, The Approach to God, has
been gaining in power and influence lately, with a number of respectable
citizens signing up to its progressive and mystical philosophy. Enigmatic
leader and former monk, Brother Simon, is rarely available for comment, but
it seems clear that he and his followers are moving up in the world.

AN ADVERTISEMENT   Fraternity, Equality, Equity! (from The Observer)

CUP FINAL SCANDAL   This year's Salisbury Cup final had to be abandoned
shortly after half time, with Langley trailing Newcastle by a goal to nil,
when all twenty-two players and the three match officials suddenly stopped
playing, stripped themselves naked, and conducted a war-dance in the middle
of the pitch. Ladies shrieked, gentlemen expostulated, urchins and
hobbledehoys guffawed, but will the game of football ever be the same
again? (from our Sports Correspondent)

BILL TO WELCOME GOCs   The Archbishop of Canterbury has authored a Bill to
welcome the GOCs to Britain and offer them the status of British subjects,
with wide cross-party support in both Houses, although whether voting
rights will be extended to them remains to be seen.

ANNUAL EVENT   The 1879 Minerva Girls Annual contains a complete reprint of
Mr Hans Christian Andersen's touching story 'The Ugly Duckling', which was
serialized in the magazine during the year. It tells an instructive tale
about a family of ducks who are too stupid to realize that one of their
brood is actually a cygnet, despite it being clearly much too large and
completely the wrong colour.

LATEST MARS CRAZE   The new fashion for all things Martian and
space-related has manifested itself in a range of confectionery brought out
by the esteemed Mr Ferdinand Lancelot Gaboon, to compliment his range of
soft drinks - he is rapidly becoming the dentist's best friend. The range
includes Moon Dust, Martian Delight, Rocket Ships, Space-Mead, Martian
Mallows and of course Mars Bars; all brightly coloured, stickily sweet and
in shapes reminiscent of squids, asteroids, canals and other such things.
They have been snapped up avidly by a Mars-hungry nation: 'they're crawling
off the shelves!' said one retailer of his stock of Crunchy Squid Delights.
'And we're selling quite a few of them, as well!' he added hastily.

*** ITALIAN PM OUSTED   Prime Minister Grand Duchess Adriana Sforza of
Milan has been booted out after an internal coup in her party, following
the merger of La Equitá Italia and the Italian Democratic Party to form a
new entity, the Democratic Equity Party. Most seasoned Italo-watchers had
seen this move as inevitable, given the near-identity of the two parties'
policies, but with the IDP contributing most of the deputies and most of
the members, theirs is the whip hand in the new arrangement, and so it is
that the Grand Duchess has been dismissed by King Cosimo, officially for
her high-handed action in tearing up the alliance with Prussia last year.
The new Prime Minister is Signor Domenico Morfeo, hitherto the Finance
Minister, and a well-respected Florentine banker in pre-unification days.
All this has left War Minister d'Aventine, and his Venetian and Neapolitan
allies, rather isolated in the Government.

MARTIANS TAKE UP FOOTBALL   The GOCs are eager to learn more of Earthly
sport, and as well as sponsoring Christian Rovers - 'three squids on your
shirt' - a few of them have tried out for the team. With their many
tentacles they are all but impossible to nutmeg, but as Earth's gravity is
stronger than that of Mars they are generally very weak in the air. (from
our Sports Correspondent)

NEW HELP FOR POOR OPPRESSED   Captain Percy Blakely, archaeologist and
man-about-town, has established the Blakely Institute for Legal Empowerment
(BILE), to provide legal assistance to the poor. 'I thought it was time to
put something back,' said the wealthy yet modest gentleman.

BYZANTIUM GETS INTO GEAR   Magister Militum Niels Graaf has completed the
mighty task of reorganizing and re-equipping the army of the Byzantine
Empire, welding together its component parts and bringing it up to the
standard of a modern Western nation. Generous budgets have been coming his
way thanks to the great improvements in Byzantine tax collection,
engineered by renegade Swiss banker Mr Alex Boon - fleeing Switzerland
ahead of the Prussians, as he was suspected of collaboration with the
Bavarian occupiers, Mr Boon has now washed up in Constantinople as Finance
Minister, and seems to have done an extraordinarily good job of producing
large amounts of blood from the Eastern European stone. Krupp have been the
main supplier to the Magister Militum. The young Emperor himself has been
much more in evidence this year, restoring confidence in those of his
subjects who feared they might never lay eye upon his revered visage.

GOC EMISSARY KIDNAPPED!   It was announced from the GOCs' Shropshire base
that one of their number had been kidnapped by unscrupulous manufacturing
interests, keen to learn the secret of how to manufacture the 'Pauper's
Comfort'. But the GOCs stoutly refused to give in to such blackmail,
protesting that their inventions should be gifts to all humanity, not
exploited for commercial gain. The kidnapped delegate was released
unharmed, its tormentors regretting the folly into which their greed had
led them.

*** NEW POPE ENTHRONED   After the tragic (and still slightly mysterious)
death of Pius IX on his visit to London at the end of last year, the new
Pope took the name Leo XIII, promising close cooperation with the Italian
government and with those of all Catholic states. Seasoned Vatican-watchers
describe Leo as a protégé of his predecessor, so we can probably expect
little change in the Vatican line: in particular he is thought to share
Pius's ecumenizing zeal. The French Antipope Clement XIV, challenged to
declare his allegiance to the new Pope, said that he would think seriously
about it.

LEAGUE TITLE TO SALOP   With the two strongest sides, Langley and
Newcastle, suspended from the competition after their disgraceful display
during the Cup Final, the chance was there for some of the less-fancied
teams to shine in the Salisbury League, and Salop United took full
advantage to snatch the title on the last day of the season, ahead of
Christian Rovers. Surprise third placers were the 'Crazy Gang' of
Wimbledon, whose long-ball game may win few admirers for its aesthetics but
certainly seems effective, at least until the other teams work out how to
counter it. (from our Sports Correspondent)

*** THE FRENCH ARE REVOLTING!   ... and, more newsworthily, they have had
another revolution. Starting in Marseilles, and led by retired General
Louis Perisson, neo-Jacobins have swept the land, calling for the
destruction of all remnants of the Napoleonic regime and the establishment
of a new Year Zero of the Third Republic. The French antipope Clement XIV
has added his voice to the calls for Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité, and
various 'aristos' have already been sent to 'Madame Guillotine' in what can
only be described as 'La Nouvelle Terreur'.

IT-FLICKS KEEP GROWING   The Italian film industry continues to dominate
Europe, with big investments being made in technology, locations and above
all talent. Mr Sunil Laing is the latest backer to seek a piece of the pie,
producing this year the longest epic yet committed to Stone box - an
adaptation of Othello, with himself in the lead. Although Stone movie
equipment is cheap and simple enough that anyone could make a film, what
marks out the Italian product is the clarity of its artistic vision and the
understated professionalism of its production values: costumes, make-up,
lighting and so on all betray the hand of the most consummate talents of
the age. And so hopeful youngsters wishing to get a start in the trade
travel out to the factory of dreams, would-be actors seek to gain jobs
waiting at table in the cafés of Salerno and Bari, and the concentration of
talent intensifies. Why our own government did not have the vision to place
Britain in this favourable situation vis-à-vis this rapidly-growing and
tremendously lucrative industry is a question that only Mr Southville can
answer. The rival Maguire Cinema-to-Graph technology is now dead in the
water, Stone-based production completely overwhelming its comparatively
pathetic efforts.

*** BILL OF RIGHTS   Mr Southville, in a neat side-step, has stolen the
progressive clothes of all three opposition parties (Liberal, Equity and
NWO) in introducing a Bill of Rights, composed with cross-party
contribution, seeking to guarantee certain basic freedoms for all Britons.
Constitutional reform on such a scale has never been attempted in this
country, and while some stuffy types oppose it, The Times welcomes it
warmly. We must confess that we did not think Mr Southville would be the
man to make such a move, but he has proved himself an adept political
manoueuvrer over the years. The Bill includes * the right to serve God and
the Queen * the right to freedom of speech, where it does not infringe the
rights of others * the right to freedom of worship (this is in effect a
repeal of the Heresy Act of last year) * the right to expect Government to
look after the state's best interest * the right of the individual to a
fair trial, innocence until proven guilty * harsh punishment for infringing
fellow subjects' security, through the due process of law * the right of
the country and the individual to defend its honour amongst equals in a
fitting manner * the right to success, allowing men and women to own stock
and shares and take positions in business * the right of all to a basic
standard of education, housing and healthcare (to come into play on a
rolling basis within the next 20 years) * the right to self-determination,
creating a stake-holder society where all have the vote (including women
and the poor), including devolution of power to local and regional centres,
such as England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

SPACE PROGRAMME SNAG   The Bertrand-von Giffard space project seems to have
hit the buffers this year, with simultaneous failure of all of its
important supply companies. Quite what quirk of international finance
brought this about is difficult to say, but one thing is for sure: it
leaves the British Government project, based at Bicester and now we
understand receiving advice from Martian space scientists, firmly in the
box seat as regards the further exploration of the starry domain. (by our
Science and Technology Correspondent)

AN ADVERTISEMENT - Gaboon's candy - confection perfection at a
down-to-Earth price - it's out of this world! (seen on StoneVision and
other media)

CRIME PROBLEMS GROW   Mr Derothshire's warning about the rise in crime to
be expected following his resignation seems to have been a self-fulfilling
prophecy, with a steady build-up in crime sweeping the capital during the
year, including a succession of high-profile and embarrassing robberies
culminating in the theft of a despatch-box from Number Ten Downing Street
itself. The lack of appointment of a new Home Secretary can scarcely have
helped matters, for cases are collapsing, detectives are ineffective, and
the whole law enforcement apparatus has seized up. Mr Derothshire himself
has been out of the country for almost the entire year, so he can scarcely
be held responsible for the wave, even were it not libellous to suggest it.
(from our Home Affairs Correspondent)

ARMSTRONG GETS THE FEMINIST BUG   Britain's favourite arms manufacturer has
shown himself in tune with the mood of the nation, by opening up
apprenticeships and places in technical colleges and universities to women,
to train as engineers. As yet the take-up has been small, but The Times
applauds the gesture.

WORD FROM MAGUIRE   It seems that missing space scientist Colonel Sir
William Maguire is still alive after all, having crashed onto the surface
of Mars last year, rather than being lost in space as we all feared. This
year he was able to send messages back to Earth, via a Martian delegation -
he is unable to travel back physically as yet, because the high
acceleration of Martian spacecraft would be deeply injurious to anyone with
a skeleton. This is an excerpt from his message to the Queen: "... As you
can imagine, Your Majesty, the red planet is a wondrous place, and the
Greens [the GOCs' own name for themselves - ed.] are most generous hosts.
During my stay here I will continue to work tirelessly for the good of
Crown and Country and will personally deliver a full report on the Green
Civilization to yourself on my safe return."

A PRESS RELEASE   "The PIST facility and Prussian Inventor Henri von
Giffard are pleased to announce the invention of the first phase of
Intercontinental Warfare. The EXplosive Prussian LOng-range Defense Entity
(EXPLODE) will ensure that Prussia is a feared force all over the world.
However, it is a weapon which will act as a deterrent to attacks against
Prussia, a weapon which is for defence rather than offence."

SPECIAL SCHOOL FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN   Mrs Aramintha Savage, wife of the
noted industrialist, has founded a school for under-privileged and
'problem' children - a long-standing interest of hers. In a speech
delivered at the sch
ool's opening, she outlined how, in the increasingly tolerant and
compassionate England of today, everyone should be given a fair chance to
contribute to society, no matter what their gender, race or origin may be.
"If we are willing, quite rightly, to open our arms to the inhabitants of
other worlds, we should also take care not to neglect those native to our

BARONS FLEX THEIR MUSCLES   This year has seen an increasing trend for
press barons - the owners of newspapers - to involve themselves more
closely in matters of editorial policy. The long tradition of the British
press's independence from its owners, so vital to ensure free and frank
journalism, is in jeopardy, with even The Times's owner, Lord
Northcliffe... [kill this story - word from above - ed.]

WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED...   if you only see one show this year, make it
SquidDance - but be prepared to wait, with queues stretching round the
block each time the ticket-office at any of the six theatres showing it
opens. This show is like nothing on Earth - literally! Regular readers will
be aware of this correspondent's reluctance to 'rave' about a production,
but for SquidDance he feels he must make an exception: your life really
will be a pitiful, hollow sham if you miss it. Some dedicated fans -
recognizable by the skirt of 'tentacles' they wear - have invested in
season tickets allowing admission to every single performance! Similar
scenes are being witnessed in New York, we learn. But what is the show
about? It is difficult to imagine a reader who is not aware, but for the
benefit of any hermits who have recently returned to civilization after
three years spent living in a barrel: think haunting melodies, drifting
over the red soil of Mars; think slow, passionate dances evoking the
homeworld that they have left behind; think melodies of hope for future
friendship as they greet their Terran cousins; think a big high-kicking
tentacled chorus line as the show-stopper. There is no real plot, the show
is more a revue, but its mood is carefully engineered so as to engage the
maximum emotional involvement from the audience. You leave really feeling
that you know something of what it is like to be a GOC. The music, original
work by promising newcomer Mr Arthur Sullivan and including elements of the
weird Martian music, is immense: and the libretto, penned by Miss Julianne
Fulbright, shows all the greatest strengths of bringing poetry to the
masses. If you do not leave the theatre humming 'I'd Like To Teach the
Worlds To Sing' then, sir, you have no soul. (by our Drama Correspondent)

POSEIDON GETS THE DRILL   The Poseidon Institute, in Italy, has been aided
in its task of mapping and surveying the Mediterranean seabed by the
provision of a deep-sea drill and a Stonar underwater imaging / location
system, developed by Mr William Stone. It is rumoured that Lord Armstrong
is also working with the tireless Mr Stone, on an aerial mapping system.

MARS PUTS ON THE BRAKES   The rapid approach of the planet Mars, which has
so brightened our night skies, seems to have halted now, leaving the red
planet hanging in the sky with a rather larger apparent magnitude as our
Moon. As Mars is less cloudy than Earth, surface features such as Martian
cities and the famous canal system can clearly be seen with the naked eye.
Apparently the GOCs themselves are as puzzled by this behaviour as we
Earthlings are, although glad of the opportunity to allow humans and GOCs
alike to travel more easily between the two worlds. An extra set of tides
has been introduced into each day, much to the confusion of fisheries and
shipping, and there is some speculation that the two planets are now near
enough that we will effectively share an atmosphere. We will have to hope
there are no odd Martian germs that might prove fatal to our race! (from
our Science and Technology Correspondent)

STONEVISION SCREENS   All Britain's towns are now the richer for a giant
StoneVision screen, the latest product of Mr William Stone's fertile brain:
essentially just like your own domestic StoneVision box, they display
images up to twenty feet across, so that mass audiences can watch together.

*** POLITICAL FALLOUT   The Parliamentary consequences of Mr Southville's
shock move in introducing the Bill of Rights are still being felt. 25
Conservative MPs immediately resigned the whip in protest at its
progressive nature, forming the Traditional Conservative Party, leaving Mr
Southville in a minority. He has continued to govern from this position
while pushing the Rights legislation through the Commons, with Liberals,
Equity and NWO not able to oppose him on what are important planks of their
own platforms. Furthermore, they dare not force a vote of no confidence,
because Mr Southville is more popular in the country than he has ever been
(admittedly this is not saying a great deal), particularly in the regions
of Britain which have warmly welcomed the suggestion that power to manage
their local affairs be devolved down to them. The Bill is now through the
Commons, but it is still in process in the Lords, and it is feared that the
Upper House, more reactionary by nature, may stifle certain clauses,
particularly if the Archbishop of Canterbury mobilizes his bloc vote
against the repeal of his beloved Heresy Act. To cap what must be
considered a highly successful year for Mr Southville, though, her Majesty
honoured him in her birthday list, and he is now Lord Southville of

FAIR TO MIDDLING   Mr William Stone has been touring a mini-Science Fair
this year, around the rural parishes of the nation, asking the question
"What can Science do for you?" Unfortunately, he has found in several
places that the answer to this is "Put us out of a job, you greedy,
heartless so-and-so", and he has been burnt in effigy in a number of
villages particularly hard hit by the advent of labour-saving devices into

NEW WAR HORRORS   With his fiendish EXPLODE intercontinental missile, Henri
von Giffard has taken humanity one big step close to the teetering brink of
doom. Prussia is now capable of devastating entire cities, across the
globe. Any who, like this correspondent, saw the demonstration of the
EXPLODE prototype will have shuddered for our fragile planet. Surely all
civilized folk will call at once for the Kaiser, that man of peace as was
proven at the Tervueren conference, to forswear the use of EXPLODE under
any circumstances, the dismantling of all research relating to it, the
disbandment of the PIST which created it, and the immediate execution of
Henri von Giffard, who has proved conclusively by this latest invention
that he is utterly beyond the pale of the human race. If, as so many
portents seem to be suggesting, we are now entering the Last Days, it is
men like von Giffard who are hastening them.

*** RETURN OF NAPOLEON   The son of the former Emperor has returned to
France, with Spanish backing, and has been crowned Napoleon IV, in a clear
attempt to nip the Troisième République in the bud. The remnants of the
Army have swung behind the new Emperor, but thanks to significant defection
from their ranks to those of the revolutionaries, they have only been able
to establish Imperial control over the south-western quarter of France and
a strip up the west coast as far as Nantes. The country is effectively now
divided into two parts.

NEW WAR IN ARMENIA   The Ottomans, quiet for a time, have re-opened
hostilities in Armenia, the territory which they have disputed with the
Russians for many years now. War in this hilly country, with primitive
weaponry as used by both nations, can only result in tremendous suffering
and loss of life, and surely the civilized folk of Western Europe could use
some apparatus such as the Tervueren Conference, or the International
Justice League, to prevent it claiming as many casualties as did the last
war here, a decade ago.

STONE THE CROWS   Mr William Stone has been asked to explain a number of
curious interjections recently heard on his Radio One. Interviews and
speeches have been interrupted with squeaky heckling voices, the Play for
the Day was somehow replaced between recording and broadcast by an
extensive laundry list, and most shockingly of all a brass band performance
of the National Anthem was replaced by a version made up of biological
noises. Opponents of the system have not been slow to call for Mr Stone's
head. Prussia has reportedly banned the new StoneVision technology: perhaps
they know or suspect something about it that the rest of Europe does not.

AN ADVERTISEMENT   You've seen the films... now see the locations! Holiday
on the Italian Riviera, the Factory of Dreams. (from the Süddeutsche

VAMPIRES OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA SPREAD   "... and now it seems the problem has
engulfed Cochin-China and Siam as well, with villagers terrified of going
out at night for fear of the dread blood-sucking leeches in human form. The
British colonial authorities in the region have been utterly supine: has
the Government no care for Her Majesty's far-flung subjects? Just because
they are dusky of skin should not mean that they have any less right to
protection from vampiric attack than do the citizens of London, many
hot-headed young radicals in this part of the world are saying." (from our
South-East Asia Correspondent)

MARTIANS ALSO WELCOME IN ITALY   The Committee to Welcome Our Alien
Friends, whom many will have forgotten started this whole business off,
have recently prospered in Italy, and that is why the GOCs have also paid a
visit to that country, the only other so favoured apart from Britain and
the USA. The Italian CWOAF has been working hard to prepare the ground,
with favourable images of GOCs in newspapers and StoneVision, and the
Government is fully on board, with a programme of gala balls and the like
to welcome our alien visitors. The traditionally superstitious Italian folk
have taken to their cephalopod chums with some warmth.

OTHELLO PUZZLE   The London premiere of Mr Sunil Laing's new Stone film
Othello passed without incident, but on the second night of the
cross-country showings that followed, a somewhat different version was
seen, in which Othello (Mr Laing) grows horns, a tail and fiery breath, and
chases around the court killing everyone he meets, to the accompaniment of
squeaky malevolent laughter. Shocked audiences walked out across the land,
demanding their money back. Projectionists are baffled, as each only
received one copy of the film, and it is difficult to see how it could have
changed so radically between showings.