Grailrunner’s Flash Fiction Puzzle Box


Believe it or not, the story behind the Philadelphia Experiment is more interesting to me than the story itself. I’m not going to get into the conspiracy nonsense about the disappearing destroyer, the government experiments, and sailors reappearing inside solid metal. If that’s news to you, go read up on it. There’s something slicker going on you should know though.

The source for the story was an enigmatic drifter named Carlos Allende, who sent an annotated copy of Morris Jessup’s ‘Case For The UFO’ to some folks who dug it. The fact that those folks happened to have secretive jobs in the military made it seem like they were hiding something. My point today is the annotations…the stuff Allende scribbled in the margins. Here, see what I mean.  If that link stops working, get yourself a copy on Amazon – make sure it’s the Varo edition.

The story was nonsense. Never happened. Nothing in those annotations even makes sense, honestly. It’s apparently, if you pay close enough attention, a running dialogue between three mysterious figures – three personalities – who talk like they know something about a secret history of the world. Some quotes: “mother ship, home-fleet, Great ark, great bombardment, great war, force-fields, deep freezes, undersea buildings, scout ships, magnetic and gravity fields, vortices, sheet diamond, dematerialization”. These three figures scrawled their notes helpfully in different colors in the original sent to Admiral Furth, Chief Of The Office Of Naval Research.

The Philadelphia Experiment that has grown such wings sounded originally like this: “U.S. Navy’s force-field experiments, 1943, October produced invisibility of crew & ship. Fearsome results. So terrifying as to. Fortunately further research halted!”

Anyway, this is a deep well I go to sometimes to steal things from. (I had to have ‘sheet diamond’ – I used it in Tearing Down The Statues.)

Let me come back to all that.

The only reason I suffer through social media is for the hope that there are cool people out there who dig science fiction and mind-expanding ideas, and who don’t whine incessantly. There is a disappointing majority who will argue whether some inane TV show is science fiction, who will viciously insult hapless posters only looking for conversation, mass vomiters of their ad banners, and the social justice folks who weaponize every topic by steering it into politics. Those people can bite me. It’s sad when someone is looking for inspiration and they get that kind of noise shoved at them.

A while back, I started posting flash fiction on a few sites to try and keep up a base of people who recognize my name even though it takes me years to write a book. The thought was if the stories are quick with open hooks good for pondering afterwards, and are accompanied by intriguing images, then maybe some other grailrunners will show up. I’m really happy to say I’m not alone after all this time. Recently, one very cool dude named John put a massive smile on my face by suggesting he’d like to read the books behind all those stories. I told him I would too, maybe someone should write them.

But it got me thinking, I really would like to see all those stories printed and in my hands, ready-made for seizing off the shelf for quick inspiration. Then I remembered the Varo edition.

I’m up to about 25k words, targeting probably 40k in all. I’m anxious to string them all together in sequence, letting my subconscious find the evolution of the various parts of it all. Shockingly, it does tie together into themes that tell an overarching myth. I’m planning to let some mysterious figures comment on blocks of the stories to help unlock the mystery behind the entire collection. Like a puzzle box.

Honestly, I can’t wait to see it packaged and ready for you!