About the Usenet News Group alt.callahans -
So as the door opens and we enter the bar...
rolls out a television and a VCR on a dolly,
then plugs them into the wall. "Okay, listen
up!" He announces, and all conversation
momentarily ceases, "It's come to my attention
that some of you are a little bit confused about
what this place is, exactly, and how it fits in
with the Callahans books by Spider Robinson.
Well, one of our patrons," he nods to Big Al,
who blushes and tries to hide himself under the
pillownest, "Has made a little speech on that
subject that fortunately I caught on videotape."
Mike inserts a tape labeled "The Greeting"
and presses play. An image of Big Al, lounging
against the bar in his lecture mode, occupies
"Okay," Al attempts, "here's the deal. The
Place is (as someone else said, I'm sorry I've
forgotten who) about as close as you're gonna
get to the books on the net, BUT the books where
written by one person, who knew where the story
was gonna wind up before he started. This place
is written by a bunch of different people, who
frequently don't know what they're gonna stick
in the next sentance. That produces some
"I like to describe the place as 'crueller,
yet more dynamic' than the books (for one thing,
'cause I got complimented for that, but also
'cause it's true). You probably won't, for
example, get the unconditional sympathy for your
problems here that you would in Spider's bar. I
know *I* almost certainly won't do that: I focus
on practical solutions to people's problems, to
the extent of ignoring people's pain in order to
accomplish what I set out to do. (I do have a
reason for this, but that's a separate thread.)
Also, we get into fights here. We have real
knock down drag outs (Okay, virtual kddos, how's
that?) and sometimes we hold grudges for years
after that. That's how it's crueller.
"It's more dynamic in that you're going to
meet a much more varied clientelle than you EVER
would at spider's bar. In our VR all of us have
the power to warp reality however we please
(well, there are a couple things that are
universally there, like Mike, and the bar, and
the chalk line, and the fire place) and we can
become whatever we want: vampires, venerian
dragons, multiple people, each other, sprites,
Kzinti (lot of them, really), our daily
Lamplighter's and whatevers
spring to mind. People in spider's books tended
(for some reason) to agree with spider. People
in here don't have that restriction, and
sometimes we don't even agree with ourselves.
You can count on just about any conversation in
here getting warped, within the space of a week,
into a conversation totally different from how
it started out. That's how it's more dynamic."
"The FAQs were just posted recently, you
should be able to chase them down on your
newsreader. Look for 'Allabout'. We don't really
conform to net.tradition all that well. As for
taboos, there are a couple...Try to avoid prying
with personal questons (the standard dodge for
that is 'if I can ask, are you suchandsuch?')
try not to do commercial spam at us...um... I
don't recall us doing much in the way of posting
lurid descriptions of our intimate selves. If
someone tells you to back off, please do..."
Mike rewinds the tape, unplugs the dolly, and
rolls it back into the back. "Any questions you
have you can direct at the rest of the patrons
while I put this away." He explains...