The Enchanted Duplicator

by Walter Willis and Bob Shaw

Chapter 5

In Which Jophan Enters Fandom

Next morning Jophan arose with the first rays of the sun and set off toward the now beckoning summit in good heart. He was overjoyed to see that there were no more gloomy people like Disillusion coming galloping by. They were probably very rare in Fandom, he reflected, and the thought put him in such a good humour that he redoubled his efforts to reach the top.

Thus far in his travels Jophan had been journeying alone, but now he began to overtake others on the same path. It pleased him greatly to hear their fannish talk, and by the time he had achieved the peak he had befriended several. The closest of these new-found friends were Mr Plodder and Mr Erratic.

The former was a slow-moving climber, who went straight at every obstacle with grim determination, sometimes losing ground but in the end winning through by the great quantity of his effort. He had no shield of Umor, as most of the other travellers had, but Jophan noticed that his skin was tremendously thick and it looked as though even the fiercest blow would but glance off it.

On the other hand Mr Erratic scorned to take great pains as Mr Plodder was forced to do. His method of progress was to wait for an opportunity to make some great and brilliant leap which enabled him to do in one second that which had taken the other a full minute. At times Jophan was greatly impressed by some unusually clever bit of work by Mr Erratic, but he noticed that the other seemed to have very little real strength and would rest for so long between leaps that Jophan left him far behind.

In a short time Jophan reached the top and felt compensated many times over for the arduous climb. A smooth green slope ran gently downwards into the most beautiful country Jophan had ever seen -- Fandom.

It was a land of streams and meadows and valleys, over and between which ran meandering roads, dotted here and there with cheerful cottages. Beyond all this, in the mists of distance, he saw yet another peak which was too far away to be clearly seen. Jophan saw with wonderment that it seemed to have a golden radiance about its summit.

With glad cries the band of travellers in which Jophan had found himself ran down the gentle grassy slope. Each and every neofan felt in his heart that he would soon reach the new peak which was called the Tower of Trufandom, for here they had no Mountains of Inertia to climb, and just the bright inviting land of Fandom to cross.

After a moment's hesitation Jophan ran after them, and so brightly did the sun shine on Fandom that he and the other Neofen (as they now were) were blinded by its light and quite failed to notice the hazards, of which in Fandom there are many.

As Jophan ran he was astonished and horrified to hear the eager cries of those in front turn to screams of fear and consternation. On shielding his eyes from the sun he perceived that some distance ahead the verdant ground had become soft and treacherous underfoot, in the manner of a quicksand. And to his dismay he saw that many unfortunate wretches had broken through the surface and were being sucked down, drawing with them others who had sprung to their aid.

When Jophan saw the horrible purple stains that spread from underneath to clog the victims" mouths and nostrils he realised that they had blundered into the dreaded Hekto Swamp, and that there was no help for them. With a last pitying look he bore to the right onto ground which had at first seemed uninviting because of its slightly stony appearance, but which bore up underfoot, unlike the seductive smoothness of the Hekto Swamp. -

This version is from GHUTENBERG'S BHIBLE -- Section 7-b (Appendix B) -- Copyright © 1994 by Greg Hills. All rights reserved.

All rights to the original material is retained by the authors.