A Short Listory

by Michael Bernardi

This was originally posted to the lois-bujold mailing list in February 1999.

Inspired by "Feés des Bujoldistes" by Kirsten Edwards
Listixie Grouping

"Feés des Bujoldistes" is the artist's representation of the Quote Pixie, Birthday Tixie and the OT: Thug.

This tale attemps to tell their story.

Listory: Being an historical account regarding the denizens of the Lois-Bujold mailing list.

Once upon a time, on the Internet long ago [1], in a reality contiguous with but strangely unlike our own... a fan went searching for discussion about his favourite author. Yet none could he find! (for in those days the web was small and insignificant).

"So", he thought, "I will create a list for discussion and let the good news be spread around the world, so all will know where to find it. And the fan spake to the Listmaster of the University in the North East of the city of London and the Listmaster approved the Plan and spake arcane words to the dread Listserv, a creature who exists to unite the minds of fans -- such that as each one scribes an essay, every one receives, as if by magic, an instantanious copy... And so the list was made, and many scribes became listies and many insightful essays, were, as hoped, bescribbled.

But the best laid plans can fall afoul of fate. For the Listmaster was called away to higher things (in the domain of Pipex) and the list grew ill and died. And, lo, each day was dimmer and each night darker, while the list quickened not...

But then the fan cried aloud and asked the heavens for aid. And lo the most favoured Listmistress, Melanie the Herald, heard the cry and answered the fan's plea. And lo the list lived once more, and grew in strength and numbers.

And after awhile the scribes who were listies grew in mutual favor and affection and wanted to wish each other birthday greetings but the requirement to be orderly and organized was beyond them. An ordinary listie bravely stepped forward, saying, "I will organize things, though I do not know the days." And in that moment a shower of pixy dust fell and annointed her. and the listies made their days known to her. And a splendid steed, the basselope, appeared, to serve her needs. And ever after was she hailed as the Birthday Tixie. And she continues to bestow birthday greetings, to this very day [2].

Then as times evolved a new wide world opened, and many notions were linked, in a gentle gossimer web. And then the fan thought "I have built a list, and it was good. I'll build a web and it will be better!" And so a web was built, and its care was also entrusted to Melanie the Herald, whose arts expanded to Webmistress.

But then woe, such success befell the list that the list became a victim of its sucess and much off topic material was posted and excessive quoting of elder text also, and this was not good. For many scribes found not the time to read each message and much that was worth reading was buried. Worse, the ListServer suffered sore, and many feared it would be overloaded and die!

A chorus of voices clamored, "We must instruct the foolish scribes who quote and repeat and re-quote and repeat and repeat and quote --" but a voice interrupted and warned. "An instructor will be insulted and reviled and disliked. who could we ask take on such a difficult task?"

But a brave soul stepped forward and said: "I will chastise anyone who over quotes, and hope I can do so, politely." And again, a shower of pixy dust fell and annointed him. And he, too, was welcomed, and hailed as the Quotie Pixie.

Yet the chorus continued to clamor, "But I can't find the scribbling about our beloved author for all the inscriptions regarding guns and politics and evolution and hot-buttons of every sort."

But up spake a brave soul who declared, "If they wanna speak, mark it. If they can't mark it, beware my 'thugee' cord. And if I'm polite about it, it'll be accidental!"

And behold, a cloud of power and darkness and shadow beshrouded him. the listies trembled, and warned one another to beware the "OT Thug"

The three set forth on their glorious quest... A quest that continues lo unto this very day and so the list was saved.

[1] Long ago being defined as more than three years

[2] The Birthday Tixie can still be contacted at birthday@dendarii.com.

© 1999 by Michael Bernardi (mike@dendarii.co.uk)

Current version by Michael Bernardi, mike@dendarii.co.uk

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Last updated: November 15th 2002