Saturday, 16 February 2013

What they really meant when they wrote it.

Have you ever read a book and felt that the content of the book doesn't match the promise of the title? What if the writer had misspelt the title and had really meant the content to be something else? Well here are some re-imaginings.

The Lord of the Files

This is the terrifying and gripping story of a group of schoolboys who are flying in a plane over the Pacific Ocean when the plane crash lands on an island. They try to organise themselves under the leadership of Ralph, who rescues important files detailing the students' homework for the next term. He is aided by Piggy, who, as the boy with glasses, is the only one intelligent enough to interpret the files and allocate the homework which needs to be done before they are rescued, especially as the glasses convey mystical powers onto the wearer, a secret known only to Piggy. However, a faction led by the evil Jack rebels and attempts to steal the files and take Ralph's place as the boys' leader by virtue of possession of the Sacred Files. In the ensuing battle, Piggy loses his magic glasses, and with that his intelligence, and he falls off a cliff to his death. Then the true lord comes to reclaim the Sacred Homework Files and the boys start crying.

King Solomon's Fines

This is the epic story of a gruelling expedition across the Dark Continent by a group of intrepid explorers with their trusty native African porters to the ancient land of Sheba to uncover the hidden history of the fabled visit by King Solomon to the court of the legendary Queen of Sheba, most beautiful and alluring of ancient women of power, and to locate the treasure said to be hidden there. They risk man-eating wild animals, fiercely hostile tribes, ferocious storms and rancorous internal disputes over the beautiful but pointless female that they take with them to arrive at their destination, only to discover nothing more than the records of penalty notices issued to the retinue of King Solomon by the Sheba State Police for parking their camel trains in the wrong place.

The War of the Words

One ordinary day in Woking, south west of London, or maybe in New York, depending on your viewpoint, nothing much is happening. Then there is a flash in the sky and a strange spaceship crashes to earth. A crowd gathers round as the never-before-seen alien craft, throbbing loudly in a very non-pre-synthesiser-age manner, and giving off an eerie reddish glow, lies smouldering. Then a strange arm-like object slowly rises from the object with a flashing red light on the end. Suddenly, a volley of words flies out from the end of the arm. The words are so painful that people fall to the ground clutching their heads and explode in clouds of dust, with comments like “you earthlings are a bunch of non-entities” and “we Martians will wipe the floor with you puny humans” horribly ringing in their ears. The evil Martians fan out around the world and proceed to infect anyone within earshot with their terrible put-downs, until suddenly, all the machines start going out of control and crashing, with the Martians slowly perishing from an unknown cause. It turns out that they have been infected by the most banal utterances known to humanity, which humanity has grown so used to that they have developed total immunity. Unfortunately for the Martians, they have never encountered these utterances before and it proves deadly to them – politicians' promises. Armed with this knowledge, people all over the world blast the Martians with proclamations of tax cuts, manifesto pledges of prosperity and solemn-faced promises of firearm reform, and the world is saved!

Great Expectorations

This is a warm and touching 19th C novel about a young orphan called Pip and his attempts to escape his lowly position and make a success of his life. When he is young, he encounters a horrible escaped convict called Magwitch, who forces him to bring him food and a file to cut away his chains. Pip is mostly impressed by Magwitch's ability to clear his chest of phlegm in huge quantities and resolves to be like him, even after Magwitch is recaptured. He spends his youth improving his chest-clearing abilities, and goes to live with an old woman called Mrs Havisham, where he falls in love with Estella and trains her in the niceties of throat clearance in exalted company. He then finds out that he has received an inheritance consisting of finance to build a chest-clearing device factory. He becomes rich and finds out that it was Magwitch who gave him his inheritance. Unfortunately for Magwitch, he falls desperately ill after the biggest chest-evacuation he has ever attempted and dies. The factory collapses and Pip loses all his money and with that his ability to perform outsized mucus movements. However, he finally makes up with Estella and they live out their lives together with their great expectorations reduced to modest but manageable levels.

Peter Pun

This is the magical and heart-warming story of boy who never grows up and can fly owing to his ability to produce an apposite turn of phrase for any occasion. He arrives at Wendy's house and persuades her to fly with him to Neverneverland, where they will be able to indulge in magical word plays all day. They fly off together after Tinkerbell sprinkles Wendy with witty expressions to give her the power of flight. Once in Neverneverland, they encounter Captain Hook, a dour, humourless pedant, who leads a band of mirthless pirates that combat any kind of witty wordplay with swordplay. Peter constantly raises his ire with expressions like “have you hooked up with anyone recently?” and “come on captain, I'm waiting for you to get stuck in”. Eventually, the epic struggle of verbal witticism against cold literalism reaches its climax when Hook is eaten by a giant crocodile, with Peter wisecracking “fangs for the memory, it was a jaw-dropping experience!”

The Lord of the Rungs

This is the epic tale of a small and simple Hobbit called Frodo, who, aided by his fellowship of eight companions, must risk his life to protect his world and rid Middle Earth of the greatest evil in its history, the evil lord Sauron. In the mists of time past, Sauron created a giant ladder leading to the top of Mount Doom which he invested with most of his power. However, the ladder was destroyed in an epic battle at the end of the second age and all its rungs were scattered far and wide. Now Sauron has managed to recover most of the rungs, but one rung remains, the last and greatest rung, which will complete the ladder and allow him to ascend to the top of the mountain and regain his lost power. Frodo's doughty band, led by the great wizard, Gandalf, whose knowledge of ladders and rungs is unsurpassed, battle through danger, horror and treachery, not least from the evil Gollum, who himself once possessed the Great Rung and used to stand on it to become invisible. Frodo, aided by his trusty servant, Sam, manages to fling the rung into the fire of Mount Doom, thereby denying Sauron his last chance to reach the top of the mountain, destroying the ladder and his power in the process and saving the world. One small step for a Hobbit, but a giant step for Elfkind, Mankind, Dwarfkind and every other kind in Middle Earth.

Moby Duck

A crazed ship captain known as Ahab swears vengeance on the denizen of the ocean which has blighted his life for years. He pursues the creature, a gigantic white quacking waterfowl known as Moby, and finally corners it near an island where the bird is exhausted and doesn't have enough room to take off. Ahab launches himself with his duck harpoon at the massive aquatic avian, and in the ensuing struggle gets himself tangled up, with the result that they both go to their doom at the bottom of the ocean.

The Adventures of Tom Lawyer

This is the ripping story of the adventures of a poor boy living in a small town on the banks of the great Mississippi river. His shenanigans involve falling in love with his classmate, Becky Thatcher, hanging out in a graveyard with his friend, Huckleberry Finn, and getting into all kinds of trouble. However, he dreams of becoming a respected attorney, and seizes his chance when he defends the town drunk, Muff Potter, framed for murder by the local mob don Injun Joe, who actually committed the crime in an attempt to take over the local crime syndicate. Revealing, in truly dramatic fashion in the courtroom, that Muff is indeed innocent, and Injun Joe is guilty, he earns the accolades of the townsfolk and the eternal hatred of Joe, who escapes and swears his revenge. In the end, Tom triumphs in the face of adversity and travels abroad as a great international advocate.

Look out for more of these in the future if I can think of any.

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