Transportation Module 3076

Following the re-allocation of my work assignments from Area 6 to Area 8, I am applying to the Sector Director’s office for the issue of a Personal Transportation Module, to reduce the commuting time and increase my work-effectiveness.

– Human Resource KT9, Worker Class 4.

HR KT9 is hereby informed that this decision has been referred to the Transport Sub-director, who will adjudicate within the next standard workweek. As I am sure you are aware, PTMs are in short supply, and allocation is strictly on merit. Please stand by.

– HR JD24, Secretary Class 2.

I await the sub-director’s adjudication with hopeful expectation. And aching feet.

– HR KT9

Levity will not assist your case, KT9. Please show a more respectful attitude.

– HR JD24

A thousand humble pardons, JD24. I throw myself on the mercy of The Directorate.

– HR KT9

Following adjudication, the Transport Sub-director has graciously consented to allocate you a Personal Transportation Module. PTM 3076 will be delivered to your work-unit on day 4 of the next workweek. You are hereby notified that on receipt of delivery you will henceforward be responsible for the care, upkeep and good order of your allocated PTM, and will be liable for any loss or damage thereto. Annual maintenance will be carried out at the PTM Station nearest your work-unit, but otherwise the PTM will be stored at your home-unit when not in use.

– HR MNE3, Transportation Engineer Class 3

I am deeply and humbly grateful for this allocation, and await delivery eagerly. Already my production rate has risen by 4% in anticipation of this boon.

– HR KT9

Your PTM has now been dispatched, and delivery to your work-unit is imminent. Please familiarise yourself with all aspects of care and operation before using, and consult the supplied user guide in case of any difficulty.


A thousand thanks for the safe delivery of my PTM, MNE3. PTM 3076 appears to be fully functional and all working parts are present. I was perhaps hoping for a higher grade of PTM, but I accept that my lowly status does not justify such. Having consulted the supplied manual, I do have one outstanding question. What does it eat?

– HR KT9

It appears that due to an oversight, this information is not provided in the user guide. PTM 3076 is a Class EOR module, and I am informed that the optimum fuel for such is oats, carrots, grass or, at a push, thistles.


Thank-you for this information, MNE3. But I regret to inform you that so far PTM 3076 has been nothing but trouble. On being directed to transport me back to my home-unit, the PTM refused to move, and attempting the recommended starting manoeuvre resulted in a narrow avoidance of injury on my part, and two storage units being kicked over. I ended up walking home as usual, but this time leading the PTM on a rein. This was the occasion for many ribald remarks from passing HR units, which I did not deign to reply to, for fear of making an ass of myself. I trust that the operation of my PTM will be less troublesome in future.

– HR KT9

EOR class PTMs are unfortunately prone to early malfunctions of this nature, KT9. I am assured that keeping a regular supply of carrots about your person alleviates most of the difficulty.


Further operational problems have been encountered concerning the storage of the PTM, again, not mentioned in the user guide. To this end I should now like to apply for the allocation of a Loose Material Redistribution Tool.

– HR KT9

 A shovel has been dispatched to your home-unit, KT9. Please dispose of the said materials in the approved manner, as laid out in Health Regulation P00/SH/1T.


I have been trying to use PTM 3076 for three workweeks now. So far, it has kicked: me (numerous occasions); two mail operatives; all five of my co-workers; one Management Class HR; and a dog. And not once has it carried me anywhere by so much as a metre. Not only that, it is costing me a fortune in credits keeping it supplied with carrots. I wish to return this malfunctioning and malevolent unit forthwith, and apply instead for a higher grade of PTM. I might add that this application is fully endorsed by HR CJ4, Management Class 2, who still can’t sit down comfortably.

– HR KT9

In view of the strongly expressed objections raised by HR CJ4, we have approved your application, and in order to make some sort of amends for the inconveniences suffered by your fellow workers we have allocated you the highest grade of Personal Transportation Module available. Please exchange PTM 3076 for your new PTM on day 3 of this workweek. We hope you will find your replacement more user-friendly, but given the prestige attached to a Class 1 PTM, advise you to use it as discreetly as possible.


I am overwhelmed by your generosity, MNE3, and am now the envy of not only all my co-workers, but also all classes of Management. Thank-you so much; it is a very nice bicycle.

– HR KT9


The Return of the Huldrasaga

This weekend I have laid Aiella aside, on the grounds that, pending any further reports from beta-readers, it is as finished as it is going to get, and also I’ve had enough of it for now.

Instead I have taken up my other work-in-progress, untouched for nearly two years, to see what might be done with it.  The Saga of Gorm the Less and the Huldrafolk (hereinafter referred to as the Huldrasaga) is actually the older work, having been started about five or six years ago now. It is a fairly conventional comic fantasy, trying hard not to be a pale imitation of Pratchett, set in a fantasy Northlands very (very) loosely based on Norse sagas and mythology.

Continue reading


Today’s interview is with minimalist author Rien de Blanque, writer of such acclaimed pieces as Five Hundred Completely Blank Pages and Make Up Your Own Story, I Can’t Be Bothered. Here’s what she had to say:

<blank space scrolls into infinity>

Thought provoking stuff, there. An amazing writer, although Rien’s avant-garde work is better in the original French, obviously.