Table of Contents



Jon Stone



An alkaloid found in the venom of the damned scorpion (Androctonus exsecrabilis), a species that remains extremely popular in the exotic pet trade—though the product can also be synthesised from wood-tar creosote. Its nickname among Paracelsians, who were able to obtain it in small quantities, was 'Daedalite', after the architect of the labyrinth. Its principle effect is a reorganisation, or reknitting of a person's avenues of reasoning, such that all considerations lead knottishly to the same central dilemma.
     The result is "a close cousin of obsession", says Swinburne. "Whatever topic of interest one chooses to advance upon, whether it is predicting future developments in unmanned space flight or the optimal arrangement of the cutlery drawer, one returns by increments of logic to the particular problem—the defining problem, it seems, of one's existence. It is as if all else is mere breadcrumb trail."




In low doses, an antispasmodic and underwhelming narcotic. Mrs Burden [1786] likens it to blurry sleep. Sufficient exposure seriously fritzes the appreciators, so that major and minor pleasures alike are reduced to:

  1. A distant, dooming, sunken, swallowing bell, then;
  2. An abstract principle.

The heart, where it ought to be lifted on a shivery spoon, sits blarting in its pan. Summer sours and wilts the wings of butterflies. The afflicted grabs at thin little mights, crushing them with a desperate love.




subject: shedafabricus

Adult male. There is at first nothing apparent besides a spongy inclination. When enlivened, horizontal and vertical grooves at first become perceptible. The whole then opens out, presenting as a shallow, winged vestibule. But there is within it neither introitus nor projection. Instead, the vestibule blooms again, along diagonal seams, into another vestibule. This vestibule in turn opens itself. Beneath: more folds, of increasing fiendishness, of supreme lightness, that go on flowering until apogee is achieved, whereupon all previously unfurled layers close as one, evading the grip of any ministrating digits.

Unconscionable. Abhorrent. Execrable.


subject: venticuniculum

Young adult female. The field of study is a lacuna; that is to say, it is an inguinal cavity, or rather a channel: a horizontal, annular 'underpass' that spans the body's depth entire, interrupting the orderly arrangement of gluteal muscles and (presumably) the colon, bladder and urethra in a manner most heinous. The entrance lies on both sides, such that an object may be passed right through. The internal wall, however, is spinose—the void cannot be filled by flesh without the bearer of that flesh encountering pain and laceration. Pleasure, on the other hand, is reported to be continuous—so long as neither entrance is blockaded by garments or other items. The natural current of the air has sufficient inspirational effect. Subject has never experienced total ruin and evinces no interest in doing so.

Direful. Odious. Exasperating.


subject: futuere diabolo

Adult female. All investigative essays have proven futile in the extreme; the vicinity itself mystifies the eye, frustrates the diagnostic equipment and even goes so far as to thoroughly perplex the olfactory senses. It is something in between a haze and an event, the effect being not dissimilar to those visions conferred upon a person by the ingestion of psychotropic chemicals. The subject's own account is not in the least instructive; she professes to be unable to articulate, in her own language or ours, any details pertaining to the particulars of her organ or her relationship with it, except to say that she derives satisfaction from a variety of forms of intimacy.

Infanadous. Incogitable. Displeasing.







These works are extracts from imaginary books. That is to say, while I am actually writing them and hope to one day publish them as books, they are also components of a larger work of fiction, and belong to a world where their contents, while not being entirely accurate, are accepted as genuine first-hand accounts. That larger work of fiction is intended to be interactive and web-based, and visitors/players will be able to browse excerpts from these books and many others when they explore the city library.