Some Miscellaneous Data about the Planet Blenkinsop
NOTE: From 1970 until about 1973, when the impetus died out, Grobius Shortling
and his brother Celius carried on a correspondence regarding the Planet Blenkinsop.
The separate files number in the 70s. To organize and cull this mass of information
would be a major undertaking, which I am not proposing to do at this time (or any!).
However, from time to time I will extract some items and publish them on this Web
The Story of Bettylou
has already been online for about a year, as have pages about the
Moons and some of the
Characters of Blenkinsop.
This site will contain extracts from various files that will explain some of the curious
topography, history, and taxonomy of this planet. The many graphics developed in
this correspondence are, regrettably, omitted as they were mostly done in pencil
and are not easily reproducible.* The central focus of the Blenkinsop papers is the
interplanetary cartel known as the Mallowfat & Fagg corporation.
--Grobius Shortling (Sept 1997)
* However, a rough-drawn map of the planet will be included below.
Borgesborg to CCJ
A Few Misconceptions about Blenkinsop Corrected
- Blenkinsop is not generally known of on present-day Earth; its secret is
kept by a small clique of businessmen who find it to their own advantage not to let the
public and hoi-polloi discover the existence of this rich and under-populated planet.
At the proper time, of course, when all our tourist facilities are ready and the power
of the Blenkinsop Security Council (BSC) consolidated enough to control immigration and
commercial exploitation, Mallowfat & Fagg Inc. will make an important announcement
in the UN. We do not think this will occur before the year 2020 A.D. at the earliest, for
the public must be prepared for the revelation by a very subtle program of brainwashing--
the joint BSC/M&F Master Plan No. 1.
Note: This is now moot, as there was internal dissension and feuding that resulted in
the assassination of most of the major players and the dissolution of the cartels. --G.S.
- The Technology Laws of 280, 396, and 442 A.C.. [A.C. in the Blenkinsop dating
system stands for After Contact -- i.e., the first spaceship landing -- and these dates are in
local years, which are 5/6's of an Earth year. -- G.S.] A series of planetwide BSC laws of
increasing severity designed to protect Blenkinsop from the disastrous effects of
technological advance as seen on Earth. Primarily designed to limit the complexity and
destructive power of weapons, in their present form (including the Pacification Treaty
of Wall, 493) they ban the manufacture, possession, and use of all hand-weapons
developed since 1800 A.D. [Earth date], all tactical weapons developed since 1700, and
all strategic weapons developed since 1600; an exception is made for the Blenkinsop
Peace-Keeping Force and for the regulated agencies responsible for civil order, Great
Shrew control, and trade regulation on the high seas. Other aspects of the laws ban the
internal-combustion engine, the steam-engine with the exception of paddle-wheel steamers,
powered aircraft (excluding balloons, of course), submarines, etc.--always granting the
right of the BSC itself to use them under strict control. The generation of electricity is
restricted to water-powered and thermal dynamos, although portable generators may be
used under license by exploration teams, research posts, and other legitimate groups and
agencies. Radio (except for government communication and such groups as listed above),
television, cinema, etc. were banned in 442 after a brief experiment in the Liverpool & Tidy
area [this is the Metropolis of Blenkinsop, pop. about 800,000, including suburbs
-- G.S.]: the Dracula productions are a case in
point [see Bettylou -- G.S.]. Spaceship travel between Blenkinsop and Earth and from
point to point within the local solar system is very stringently regulated indeed.
From time to time the enforcement of the Technology laws was relaxed, with invariably
disastrous results.... [I omitted examples, since they are imbedded in all the documents
- The Blenkinsop Security Council (BSC). A direct descendent of the original
Australo-Saxon government, it rules directly over the Blenkinsop Continent and such
territories as Queen Victoria Land; it holds title to and regulates all undeveloped and
unsettled land on the planet and controls the high seas and the desolate polar areas; it
indirectly governs most of the rest of the planet under protectorate and supervisory
treaties, as on Northern Wall, Hyborea, Noo Borneo, etc.; and while it has no power at
all, officially, in Noo Japan, New Eire, Swettipore, and a handful of minor places, the
BSC by naval power, embargo, sequestration, and so on effectively contains and
influences these areas. In the history of Blenkinsop, BSC control of the planet was a long
and frequently warlike process, with many setbacks, at least three periods of complete
anarchy, and until the recent settlement in Wall* a matter of some doubt.
* This is an interesting document in itself -- "The Convention" -- and has been posted up
on the Web as Constitution. --G.S.
- The elaborate Mallowfat & Fagg projects. [Omitted -- G.S.]
- The Keepemout Laws. [Restricting immigration; omitted -- G.S.]
- The Longevity Factor and the Fertility Rate. [Interesting stuff, but much too
complicated to go into here; maybe some other time -- G.S.]
- Some astronomical facts about Blenkinsop.
(a) The planet rotates from east to
west; hence the sun rises in the west and sets in the east (I can't imagine why I never
mentioned this before). ["I" is the Earth-based M&F representative Borogrove Borgesborg who compiled
these notes. -- G.S.] Also, its orbit about the sun is retrograde, as are those of all the
planets in the system. [Note: since everything is relative, these conditions really make
no subjective difference to the inhabitants--just think that if you lived upside-down everything
would look rightside-up. It's just that the original settlers kept the names East and West
so Earthlings do get confused. -- G.S.]
(b) There are four other planets in the solar system of "Gogol" -- thus, in order from the
sun are "Quicksilver," "Blenkinsop," "Totnes," "Lever," and "Snowball." Blenkinsop's
mean distance from Gogol is 87,000,000 miles and its year is 521 Blenkinsop days
of 14 Earth hours each, or 304 Earth days; Blenkinsop's gravity is 3/4 that of Earth; its
diameter is 6500 miles, circumference 20,430, but mass density is greater than Earth's.
(c) Blenkinsop has 3 1/2 moons: "Tsetsefly," which orbits the half-moon "Boomerang,"
"Blue Moon," and "Samurai Star of the East." [See the related article. --G.S.]
(d) Because Gogol is a yellow dwarf star with less radiation than Sol, Blenkinsop's climate
is colder than Earth's--in fact only the equatorial areas, where fortunately most of the land
is, are warm enough to be called temperate and inhabitable; Blenkinsop's orbit is almost
circular, and its axial tilt only a few degrees, so there is very little seasonal variation in
the climate. [Note: Gogol is a small star in the Constellation Pisces. It turns out that this
planetary system was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. --G.S.]
(e) The prevailing winds are very strong on Blenkinsop because of its high rotational speed,
its vast oceans, and its frigid poles (so cold that every now and then it actually rains
liquid air); sub-polar mascons [large masses just under the surface that are probably
remains of the other half of Boomerang -- G.S.] and towering ice cliffs deflect the wind
toward the south in some places, causing the notorious Gale Storm.
(f) The Blenkinsop Continent and the Antipode Island complex are the only major land
masses in the temperate zone, and altogether the inhabitable land area is not much
greater than that of the New England States; land capable of supporting a large population
(the Navel Valley) is about the size of Scotland, although the addition of Queen Victoria
Land, New Eire, Noo Japan, and a few small protected enclaves of fertility, doubles the size
of the cultivable land.
[As in all things human, Queen Victoria Land disappeared from the
archives, and Noo Borneo, a brand-new island (for the Blenkinsop collection) cropped up, and
other things came and went -- well, that happens when you construct a world by correspondence,
with months between submissions. Nobody can claim that the Blenkinsop structure is logical, or
that even the scientific claptrap is accurate. But I decided to bury this disclaimer down here in
the text because I really want people to think this could be real. --G.S.]
- The Time Warp Paradox. [This is the meat of the whole Blenkinsop concept. Note that the Blenkinsop Security Council decreed that
the year 1971 AD (Earth) is 495 AC (Blenkinsop), whether that is right or
wrong; that is now the official time line, your zero crossing point as it were.
I despair at trying to describe this lucidly, but here goes: First of all, to avoid the confusion of
having to translate Blenkinsop years into Earth years and vice versa ... we will use Earth years
only; in these terms, the year 495 A.C. ["now"] is 413 A.C. in Earth years. Blenkinsop was discovered
in 2063 A.D. and there have been 413 years of human history on that planet to the "present" time;
therefore, the events that are taking place in Blenkinsop's present are occuring relative to Earth
in the year 2476 A.D. (your chronology is wrong on this point [i.e. Celius -- G.S.]). The first spaceships
to leave Earth for Blenkinsop, arriving there in 2063, departed here in 2020 and were in transit for
43 years; the first relief ships arrived there 136 years later, which was rather amazing because
they left Earth in the year 2306 A.D.--286 years later! This meant--subtracting the 3 years they
spent in transit--that the relief ships went back in time 147 years. The reason for this is the
relativity factor whereby time slows down on an object approaching light speed and actually
reverses according to a completely different set of universal laws on an object exceeding the
speed of light--for the relief ships, as opposed to the original sub-light discovery ships, were the
first faster-than-light (ftl) spaceships built.
After a brief stay on Blenkinsop, the ships returned with skeleton crews, and arrived on Earth in
the year 2006! before they had left. The UN Space Agency immediately clamped down on
all publicity and made the subject top-secret; the Australian gov't, however, covertly built several
ftl ships and began shipping off colonists to Blenkinsop--at regular light speeds to avoid ... [risking
paradoxes -- G.S.]. At the speed of light, the trip takes 24 years objectively, 1 year subjectively
to the passengers, and the first great immigrant ship thus arrived on Blenkinsop in 2035 A.D., or
-28 A.C., 121 years before the relief ships of 2306, or 93 A.C., ever got there (indeed, 28 years
before the discoverers arrived!).
The colonists set themselves up in hidden bases, revealing themselves neither to the first settlers
in Watchitmate nor to the relief ships when they arrived, in order to avoid any more tampering
with history. But when the relief ships left, they went to the replenished Watchitmate colony and
persuaded the inhabitants to join them in building a new world--as we have seen. Meanwhile, on
Earth, since Australia was the world's greatest superpower from the late 21st century until the end
of the 23rd, there was no trouble in their retaining a complete monopoly on spaceship travel and
emigration. In 2290 there was an atomic war--most of the world [Earth] lapsed into barbarism
and forgot all about Blenkinsop save for a small colony of scientists in Tasmania, who
reinvented the ftl ship (or first invented it, depending on how you look at it) and sent off those
relief ships that started the whole thing in the first place. I hope this has been perfectly clear.
- What happened next to give us our present state of affairs: Now these same
Tasmanian scientists, having done their thing to establish the historical cycle, decided to resume
contact with Blenkinsop--but on the basis of regular light-speed ships such as had been used in
the great emigration and settlement period of the 22nd century to avoid any further time travel with
its nasty historical paradoxes. [Note also, that ftl travel is very expensive with limited payloads. --G.S.]
Thus Tasmanian spaceships of this time (about 2360 A.D.) were traveling back and forth to
Blenkinsop (in its time about, in Earth years, 297 A.C., or 356 A.C. in B. years) and everything was
hunky-dory: BSC establishing itself, Mallowfat on the uprise (M's father was making a small fortune
as a pirate), Tasmania becoming the new center of Earth civilization. Along came Dr. Malley
O'Meinstein, a young scientist of decidedly mad proclivities who is now Mallowfat's exclusive
consultant but at that time was a spaceship engineer bored in his job and itching for mischief. He
decided to see what would happen if he broke the nice comfortable historical cycle that had been
established: he not only stole the highly classified secret of how to make a light-speed spaceship
go ftl, but improved upon it to such an extent that the time distortion would actually bring one back
into the 1970s. All he needed now was to steal a spaceship, modify its engines, and find a backer
for his great adventure. That backer was Mallowfat. And now in the year 1971 A.D., we have
travelers from the year 495 A.C. going back and forth between the two worlds serving the great
interests of the M&F Company, by whom we are fortunate enough to be employed.
To be sure, Mallowfat had the vision, and persuaded O'Meinstein to the same opinion, not to do
anything that would jeopardize the historical cycles (hence, the secrecy of our Earthside operations),
but a little here, a little there, under careful control, M&F and the BSC together are working cautiously
to change the entire history of Blenkinsop and the future history of Earth in mankind's most
challenging adventure of all time. The year 2020, or thereabouts, is the time the fruits of our
present Master Plans will be planted in the soil of the future--and who knows what great flowers
will blossom therefrom? In the meantime, it is the chore of us historians to record the history
of Blenkinsop before what has happened there will have never come to pass.
Nice little plug there for the schemes of the Mallowfat & Fagg organization, which after all that
went "agley" in the classic manner. That's a good point at which to end this web page, but I will
publish more from time to time.
Some Grobius Shortling in Brooklyn Links