Alan W.: Backwords

This InMon entry was sent to me by Alan W.

Even Stephen Hawking had pretty much doomed time travel to the science fiction shelves despite being the only person on the planet that would have any concept of how it could be achieved anyway. No one had come to his party to confirm it, so that was that.

I read his book, “A Brief History of Time”, well… the first 8 pages anyway, that’s the extent of my understanding of all things scientific, but as a person who harboured the dream of becoming a published and world class author, my imagination held on to the concept with great hope.

I’ve been pounding away at this piece now for the better part of 6 months and had only achieved about 12,000 words. Not exactly the habits of a great author, but I wasn’t deterred by this; I’m a lazy shit at the best of times and my infrequent return to the pages of this “masterpiece” was always an occasion of great enthusiasm until something newer, shinier and more of a distraction caught my eye…and my magpie brain.

So as usual, I’m pouring words into the keyboard at a fair clip and constructing another scenario for Lasen, the hero of the story when, quite clearly, a voice said “Use the backword”.

I sat silently for a few seconds, trying to determine whether I’d actually heard the words or whether my train of thought in the story had strayed for just a moment and become audible.

They made no sense in the context of my current writing, so no it wasn’t Lasen speaking so I continued for one keystroke and the voice, this time, bolder, “It is Lasen speaking actually” and now an undercurrent of apprehension was evident in my chest.

“How can it be” I said, apparently and cautiously to myself.

“Just say the backword and I’ll tell you”

“I don’t know what the backword is”, and now I was starting to get freaked out. I was having a conversation with myself and it wasn’t me that was answering.

“It’s my name backwards; or any character in your book. Go on, say it”

I had to let this percolate into my logic and common sense and assess how I was going to proceed from here.

“Don’t think about it Alan, just say it. It has to be out loud”

“Then what happens Lasen?”

Logic and common sense had abandoned me and had decided to leave me to it, as they sprinted, screaming into the distance. I continued.

“You have to admit, talking to myself and being answered by some disembodied voice claiming to be the character I’m writing about isn’t exactly in the realms of sanity.”

“Maybe not in your world, but it’s about dimensions and the human race hasn’t even begun to grasp dimensions in a way that can be applied to the 3 dimensions that it lives in”

“So what’s the dimension you’re in?”

“The first paragraph you wrote alluded to it”

And now he was talking about this story. Could it get any stranger? I thought to myself

“Well it could, but I’m pretty sure I’m pushing the boundaries of your understanding. As you said earlier, you don’t really “get” science”

“Great. Now telepathy is a thing” and I could feel panic rising.

“Just part of the dimension. Look, I’m actually communicating from what you call the future and the reason I can do it is because I read your book.”

“I haven’t written one yet”

“But you did, or will anyway and in my dimension, characters can be made to exist, and I do. Your book was very popular and became what is termed “Creation”.


“Think of it like how you make movies in your dimension”

And the fact that I had apparently become a famous author, according to the voice in my head, started to excite me.

“That’s it, get excited. You’re famous here and by saying the backword, you can get a taste of it now”

“Sounds promising Lasen” I said telepathically, and the idea was truly appealing

“Or should I say Nesal?” this time out loud.


Lasen looked at the words on the screen. How should he continue with the story? So he just typed…

“Alan was surprised to find that he was still in his study and unable to move”

“Lasen. Lasen… nothing” panic gripped his brain and that was all that his consciousness could perceive.

Lasen closed the lid on the laptop, looked out at the bright sunny day and decided to go exploring.


  1. Love, love, love this! Great concept, great twists. One has to wonder about the layers. Is Lasen really the author, or has he just tricked/trapped his author for the sake of his own freedom? What has happened to Alan?

    “Logic and common sense had abandoned me and had decided to leave me to it, as they sprinted, screaming into the distance.” This is my favorite image in this piece. Hilarious!

    “And now he was talking about this story. Could it get any stranger?” …I don’t know what to do with this. My characters talk to me about their stories all the time. Perhaps I should be worried.

    • Thanks for my first ever comment Jubilare,
      Yep. Trapped by Lasen. If I were to continue this, I think he’d be causing mayhem; sort of a time travelling criminal of the violent type.
      I somehow have a need to intersperse humour into tension. Glad you liked it and yes…be worried, you should start to feel that trapped feeling soon as I explore your world hehe 😉

      • Wow, truly? That is something.
        Perhaps you should continue it, see where it leads. Sounds like Alan ought to have known better than to trust him, then… reckless, reckless.

        Interspersing humor and tension can be done very well, T. Pratchett being a case in point. You seem to have a knack for it.

        Lol! You are not one of mine. I know their voices very well. 😉

        • You’ve inspired me Jubilare !
          This will be the second novel; now all I need to do is finish the first (I’d better ignore the voices).
          Thanks for more kind words and I’ll be sure to read Pratchett.
          Hmm. We all have our own particular tribe sitting on our shoulders, but they all speak a similar language.
          I’ll be sure to take a look at your blog too. You sound interesting 😉

          • Every writer is different, but I find it handy to have a backup project for when I stall on my main one. It helps keep the creativity flowing even when I need a break. 😛

            Do read Pratchett. I’m a particular fan of his Watch series, which begins with “Guards! Guards!” Also, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend exploring the backlog of Stephanie’s blog, here. It’s fantastic.

            Similar language? Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s that they all breathe the air of a universe that isn’t quite ours. 😀

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