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Chrononauts: Lost Identities
11 Characters In Search Of A Time Machine

Sometime this summer or fall, Looney Labs plans to release a new product, packaged like Fluxx Blanxx, called Chrononauts: Lost Identities. This will consist of a dozen or so new Chrononauts Identity cards, which you'll be able to mix in with the fourteen that come in the deck. And to help us create this product, we're holding a 55-word fiction writing contest, with the prize, of course, being the publication of your story on a Chrononauts playing card!

Here's how it happened. A few weeks ago, Bill Andel posted the following on the Chrononauts mailing list:

A little analysis of the timeline and the identities reveals the following:

1) All unparadoxed Ripplepoints have at most one identity associated with them. Those with NO identities include 1939, 1942, 1962, 1974 & 1999.

2) Most of the patches have two identities associated with them. The unstable 1945 patches have none, which stands to reason as it is unlikely such patch could be "protected" long enough to achieve victory. Those with only one associated identity include 1868', 1929', 1933', 1952', 1944', 1948' & 1991'. 1962' also had only one identity associated with it, but that identity is a particular super-evolved cockroach and this patch is the Uberparadox, so associating further identities with it is probably pointless.

This data suggests that there are still more identities possible in the current Chrononauts timeline and still some 55 word stories left untold. Here's one of them:

Herbert (1868', 1929', 1939)

Seeing Is Believing

When a fellow member of the Diogenes Club told Herbert he'd actually built Herbert's fictional time machine, Herbert didn't believe it. Challenged to try it, Herbert did and to his surprise got a first-hand look at the shape of things to come.

I challenge the other members of this list to devise identities with 1942, 1962, 1974 or 1999 as their "true" history headline.

Bill Andel

Even though I never wrote back (sorry Bill, this came in at the start of our DSL crisis), I got a big kick out of this message, and it got me to thinking. I really liked Herbert and immediately wished to have a card featuring him; moreover, I couldn't help but rise to Bill's challenge. Specifically, I couldn't resist the really tough challenge, of creating another character who'd be in favor of World War 3. Far from being pointless, as you suggest, such a character would actually be very useful, since as soon as someone really starts going after 1962' everyone knows they're a cockroach. So I wrote this:

Zoltar (1929, 1948', 1962')

At Long Last, The UFOs Arrived

Tragically, the Earth was a wasteland by then. Nothing remained of human civilization except a "time capsule", buried during a "world's fair" 5000 years ago. But those artifacts inspired us to use time travel to rescue humanity, by preventing a global atomic war. What we didn't consider was how mankind's survival would impact our own...

I haven't really settled on calling him Zoltar; in an earlier draft he was Spa Fon (it's the obvious companion to Squa Tront, but if you don't get that reference (EC comics from the 50s) then you won't understand this one either) and for awhile I was calling him "Commander Zorgquitz" so his name is definitely subject to change.

Anyway, all this led to the idea of publishing a bunch of new characters, and letting the fans help me write the Nanofiction...

The Official Contest Rules

  1. By submitting an entry to this contest, you are freely granting us non-exclusive permission to publish your story on our website, as a playing card in a retail game product, and in any other manner that we see fit. The author's name will be always be included with the story.
  2. If we elect to publish your story as part of a product we offer for sale, we will provide as additional compensation one display box of the final product (so you have plenty to give away and show off!)
  3. The decision over which entries will be used will be made by our panel of non-impartial judges and their decision will be final. The judges reserve the right to edit the stories as they deem appropriate prior to publication.
  4. Stories submitted must conform to the standard definition of Nanofiction (i.e. 55 words in length, plus a title of no more than 7 words, etc)
  5. Deadline for submission is June 15th 2001. Winners will be announced at the Origins Game Convention in Columbus, and on our website, on July 5th 2001. The product will be released this fall (assuming we get enough good entries...).
  6. This contest void where prohibited by law.
  7. Contact us with your entry. Thanks and good luck!

A few guidelines

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