Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Quatermass

A blogger at LGM updates us on the saga of Bertha, the 7000-tonne tunnelling machine currently stalled in the Seattle substrata after it encountered the wrong kind of soil and overheated and blew a seal NO WAIT WRONG JOKE. It does not auger well for the future.
One option is for Seattle to just leave Bertha there, entombed and mothballed.* That way a future feudal society will discover it, reactivate its systems** and use it in wars against neighbouring city-states. Having first dealt with the descendents of the original crew who were trapped within the machine when it was sealed off. Why is there yet no dystopian SF novel with this plot?

Fortunately the future Seattle will have the Oregon Realm of Wicca to its south as a buffer zone shielding it from Emperor Norton VII's attempts to annex it into the San Franciscan Empire. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPHECY the Silverberg short story. The greater military threat will come from the Vancouveran Protectorate to the north.

However, I am skeptical about the entire story, if only because Bertha is depicted as resembling the circular scraping mouth of a lamprey fitted onto a giant fleshlight. This MAKES NO SENSE. Any fule kno that the canonical design for a tunnelling machine employs a helicoidal cone.

More likely the official story is a cover-up. History proves again and again that Bertha has probably run into a long-buried alien spaceship -- a relic of the Martian campaign to pass on their traits to our hominid ancestors -- and the authorities are stalling, worried that one wrong move will activate the ship's long-dormant psionic energies, with the resultant mass hysteria and genocidal rioting and cities on flame. This ALWAYS HAPPENS. It must be a tradition, or an old charter or something.

* The mothballs are necessary to avoid moth problems.

** I assume that Bertha is nuclear powered. If not, WHY NOT.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


M. Bouffant said...

It does not auger well for the future.


Another Kiwi said...

Dear sir, I have read the preceding post with great interest and am subscribing to your newsletter. Why is it called "Filthy Sailor Ted's Naughtycal Adventures" is my only question in that regard.
But, in terms of tunnelling, I wish to ask a question, if I may. My hometown is planning on constructing a new underground railway system and we need advice as to the tunnelling machine to use. The substrata is apparently Rock 'n' Roll.
Yours Sincerely
Wynder K. Bullfrog.

rhwombat said...

Dear Mr Bullfrog,
We have several tunnelling machines roaming around under Sydney Harbour like extremely geographically embarrassed Megascolides australis. For a small consideration, I'm sure I could divert one across the 'dutch', as they are as easily diverted as our Prime Mustelid, and are entirely in thrall to Mr R Murdorc Esq. of New York.
Yours Sincerely,
Petal Cretin
CoS to Toady Rabbott
Prime Mustelid of Oz

Li'l Innocent said...

Just to inject a note of serious cineasty, I'm (very) reliably informed that the original black and white lo-budget BBC telefilm of Quatermass and the Pit is even better than the excellent theatrical film version made almost 10 yrs later by Hammer, and foolishly retitled 5 Million Years to Earth in the US. The better, I suppose, to confuse it with 50,000,000 Miles to Earth.

I saw the color film in its first release in a double bill with Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm). This happened on a dark night at a drive-in in Seattle, Washington, 3000 miles from my home. I don't say that there's a connection, trans-temporal or otherwise, to the lost borer of your post...

I do say, having just read your 2011 piece on St. Leonard's, Shoreditch linked from WO'C, that this movie experience was enough to actually change me into Nicholas Hawksmoor. Fortunately I was able to resist, just.

tigris said...

Linky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6MwmPt7in4