LNH: Alt.stralian Yarns #7: Whack Whack Ka-Boom Ahoy

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 4 17:51:31 PST 2007

With the seventh issue of Alt.stralian Yarns, Mitchell more or less
ties up his first arc.  It feels like one of those I-got-tired-of-my-
storyline-so-let's-end-it endings that's so common in a lot of LNH
writing.  But that doesn't mean it isn't as funny and inventive as its
predecessors; it is.  The Mario Bros. reference is well-timed and very
amusing, and I've come to enjoy moments like this--

> Deciding that that was an appropriately dramatic moment, Been-Out-Bush-
> For-Way-Too-Long Man stepped out from behind the obstacle that he had
> been hiding behind. The obstacle itself is completely irrelevant. A
> shelf, counter, whatever. You can make it up yourself, you're all
> clever, resourceful people. Just don't make it something ludicrous,
> like, say, a walnut. I hardly think that Been-Out-Bush-For-Way-Too-
> Long Man could have hidden behind a walnut. Or a giraffe. What would a
> giraffe be doing in a hardware store in the middle of Syd.net?
> Gracious me.

-- which, though they certainly have their ancedents (particularly in
the writings of the wMaster himself, and in some of Martin's work), I
think should be properly dubbed "Mitchell Crouchisms", for just as
surreal, brutal humour has become closely identified with Arthur
Spitzer, this sort of passage has cropped up in Mitchell's work with
increasing rapidity.

Speaking of which, Mitchell channels Arthur "He That Signs Off With a
Quote" Spitzer in this issue's finale, which finds Bingo the dog
repeatedly struck by large vehicles of increasing surreality, until
the second "alternate ending":

> And a helicopter. No, wait, wait, a submarine. Yeah. Heh heh. He was
> hit by a submarine. A helicopter-submarine. A subcopter! A helimarine!
> A flying train of submarines! A flying submarine train track! Oh,
> damn, this is just too good. Uh, okay, okay, hows about a, um, hey, a
> flying submarine train track rabbit! Heh! Heh heh! A flying submarine
> train track rabbit! Ha! Yeah!

No mention is made of Bingo's fate or, indeed, which of the endings--
or which of the instruments in the final ending-- is canonical.*
Which makes me wonder if Mitchell is going to address it at a latter
date, or if he's already moved on to other things.**

(*-- Though, again, that sort of continuity confusion is very much at
home in the Looniverse.)
(**- Ditto short attention spans.)


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