Time Enough at Last!

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Time Enough at Last!
Time Enough at Last!

After you catch your breath, or what have you, you gaze up at the book stacks. You've got all the time in the end of the world, so what do you want to read?


Read some classic literature (1)

You skitter past all of the new books in their shiny jackets and make your way to the back of the library, where all of the fine old books are. You see one fine old volume that has a picture of a cockroach on the spine. It must be written just for roaches! You roachhandle the book off the shelf, and somehow manage to leverage the cover open.

That's weird. There's nothing written in the book -- there aren't even any pages; the entire middle of the book is solid. There's just a roach-shaped hole in the solid mass of the book, and something that smells absolutely delicious at the bottom of the hole. You dive into the book, eager to taste the delicious bait that --

Wait, where there's bait --

Yup, the cover of the book just snapped shut, trapping you in the book. At least for the next person who opens the book, the roach on the spine won't be false advertising. Oh, wait, there aren't any more people. So, I guess there's no upside.


Read a fantasy series (1)

You scuttle over to the library's best-seller rack. You recognize the covers of a fantasy series that you'd been reading before the atomic blast. The last book just came out, and you hadn't had a chance to read it yet! Now you can sit and read the whole thing cover to cover, with no interruptions and nobody to spoil the ending! You roachhandle the book off of the shelf and somehow manage to get the cover open. Finally, you get to see whether Lars and Helga are meant to be together, or if the mer-people will come between them! You eagerly look at the first page --

-- the page is nothing but gibberish. There are no chittering noises, no antennae-waving, just endless combinations of twenty-six shapes. Silly adventurer, cockroaches can't read!

No. No, it's not fair. There was time now. Bored and desparate[sic], you try to end your own life. Since you're a cockroach, that's no small task, but you finally manage to find something tall enough to fall off of that you can't survive the drop. If only Lars and Helga spoke cockroach . . .


Read a horror novel (1)

You scuttle through the library back to the horror section, which is in a dimly-lit alcove far away from the more respectable books. You recognize one of the covers as that of a novel you had heard good things about: apparently, it's about some kind of evil clown that's really a giant spider or something. You always intended to read it, but couldn't find the time, and no wonder -- it's roughly the size of a cinderblock. Whole forests must have been leveled just for its first printing. It's too heavy for you to get it off the shelf. You ponder the problem, then go through the library and collect some tape, a stapler, and some of those little nubby half-pencils that libraries always have. You spend a few minutes constructing an elaborate lever system around the gigantic book, then stand in front of it and admire your work. "This is perfect," you say to yourself, "I just knock this pencil over, and it knocks that book down, which lands on the stapler, which is taped to that huge, heavy book that I want to read, and then the book will slide off the shelf and land right where I'm standing. Oh, wait a minute --"

You hear a resounding WHUMPF, and everything goes black.


Occurs upon selecting "Catch up on your reading" during It's Nukyuhlur - the 'S' is Silent.

References

  • The phrase "It isn't fair, there was time now!" references a classic The Twilight Zone episode featuring Burgess Meredith.
  • The book about the evil clown is a reference to the novel It by Stephen King.
  • The paragraph about the cockroach is a reference to Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis.
  • The mechanism using rubber bands and pencils et cetra is a Rube Goldberg Machine.
  • The romance of Lars and Helga is detailed in Lars the Cyberian.