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Two-Stroke Toilets

My time-travel story "Two-Stroke Toilets" has just been published online by the science magazine Nautilus; if you're very good, you can read it by clicking this link.


And I've decided to inaugurate a competition to go with the story. The first person to sell the movie rights (or even just an option) for a large sum of money (6+ figures preferred) wins a FREE DRINK from the author. How could you resist? Get those entries pouring in!



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
May. 8th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks, K! They don't publish much fiction, so I was startled when they bought this!
May. 8th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
Good story.

I shall refrain from poking at the hole that comes from using fuel from that era in modern engines with catalytic converters...
May. 8th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
Ooo, please tell me more, since my ignorance is infinite. That had crossed my mind, but I was under the impression the engines would actually continue to work an' all, but it's just you'd be faced with a garage bill every now and then. Am I right?

I'd like to get this plugged, because I want to put the story in my next collection!
May. 8th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
Lead kills off the catalytic converter pretty fast, as I understand it, which means an MOT fail and a big bill replacing it, since they contain platinum. For example, one for a .71 litre Smart Car costs £131 without installation charges. And if the police stop you for a vehicle check and the converter isn't working you have to get it fixed immediately and get it tested before they'll let you go on the road again. I'm not sure how much leaded petrol you'd have to use before it was a problem, but I get the impression it isn't much.

It's possible that unleaded petrol was available at this time, with the lead compound sold as an additive, I really don't know for sure. A little before my time, I was only five!
May. 9th, 2014 01:03 pm (UTC)
I was only eight!

I've done a little patch for the book's version of the story, and have incorporated a little thank you to you for the info.
May. 10th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC)
Mentioned this to someone last night, I was reminded that you'd also need to tweak things for the fuel being a much lower octane rating than modern cars are designed for... Some hand waving may be necessary...
May. 10th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I think I'll simply ignore that aspect. After all, we're ignoring the bit about time travel being impossible . . .
May. 11th, 2014 01:55 am (UTC)
Good point, I do have a tendency to obsess about this sort of thing too much and occasionally miss the wood for the trees

E.g. the time I pointed out to Ian Banks that if you throw a gold coin into mercury (as in Surface Detail) it won't bob back up gleaming brightly, because gold reacts with mercury to make gold amalgam and would turn dull grey.

And completely missed another small problem, which is that gold would sink in mercury...
May. 11th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
I was expecting that the science fact-checkers at Nautilus would come up with such stuff; obviously, though, they decided the story was the important thing.

It's weird writing fiction for science mags like Nature and Nautilus: in a way they seem more familiar with the conventions of fiction than some of the sf magazines do.
May. 8th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
Woo! On both the story and the illustration, which is gorgeous. Who knew a story that has "toilet" in the title would be so elegant?

Love, C.
May. 8th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
Many thanks, C!

I reserve the word "toilets" for the titles of only my very most elegant stories.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )