Whoosh! Issue 57 - June 2001

ÜBER SCHMÜBER:
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK

By J. Bailey
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
2128 words


INTRODUCTION (01)
THE Q AND A (02-63)
      Exciting Stuff! (02-07)
      What the Heck Is Über? (08-17)
      Why Are Über Articles Soooo Long? (18-26)
      The Unified Field Theory of Conspiracies (27-31)
      Mysterious Little Dots and Why Only Professionals Should Use Them (32-41)
      The Adventures of UX and UG (42-48)
      Swedish Cave Dweller Fiction (49-63)
ARTICLES
BIOGRAPHY



ÜBER SCHMÜBER:
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK



INTRODUCTION



Mel admonishes Janice to 'cut the cord' after reading the proposed new contract.

Uber hit the mainstream with THE XENA SCROLLS.


[01] It has come to the author's attention that a number of people have questions about Über fiction. However, presumably worried about looking like fools, they have been afraid to ask these questions. Therefore, the author, who is not afraid of looking like a fool, will provide the answers. For the convenience of the reader, the remainder of this article is in a "Q&A" format. So without further ado, let us proceed to the first question.



THE Q AND A

Exciting Stuff!

Q:
[02] What is this "Q&A" format anyways? It sounds exciting!

A:
[03] No, no, you're probably thinking of "T&A". "Q&A" is completely different! It simply means "question and answer". The way it works is there will be a "Q" followed by a question, and then an "A" followed by an answer. Got it?

Q:
[04] Yes, I see, but I noticed you just asked a question in an "A" section. Are you allowed to do that?

A:
[05] Look, it will be a lot simpler from here on if you just think of the "Q&A" format as a guideline rather than a rule. So, what's your next question?

Q:
[06] OK...why are you not afraid of looking like a fool?

A:
[07] Well, I'm not exactly young anymore, see, and I learned some time ago not to waste time fighting losing battles -- unless it's a matter of principle, but that's a different story, an epic, I think. Look, don't you have any questions about Über fiction?



What the Heck Is Über?

Q:
[08] Sure ... what the heck is it? I mean I've read these long explanations and these long articles, but I'm still not exactly sure what it is.

A:
[09] In order to understand Über fiction -- technically, ÜberXena fiction, but Über for short -- let's say you're reading a story, and this story IS NOT a story about Xena and Gabrielle. This is important! There are NO characters in this story named Xena or Gabrielle. Are you with me so far?

Q:
[10] Yes, please continue.

A:
[11] OK, so in this story you're reading, let's say that one of the characters sort of reminds you of Xena, and another one sort of reminds you of Gabrielle. Got that?

Q:
[12] Yes.

A:
[13] That's Über fiction!

Q:
[14] That's it? That's all there is to it?

A:
[15] Yes!

Q:
[16] But, but, ... look, I've read these articles about Über fiction, and they just go on, and on, and on ... there must be more to it than that!

A:
[17] Sure, there's all kinds of Über stories, and you can classify and analyze them, and deconstruct and reconstruct them, and so on...



Why Are Über Articles Soooo Long?



Whoa!  Now *I* need therapy!

.Not Xena! Get it?


Q:
[18] Fine, fine, but why are these articles so LONG?

A:
[19] That's a very good question, one that I've wondered about myself in fact, and I've done extensive research on this topic. It turns out the authors of these articles were being paid by the word.

Q:
[20] Extensive research? What do you mean?

A:
[21] Well, I emailed some of these authors, and asked them if they were being paid by the word. Also, to make it easy for them, I indicated that no reply would be interpreted as a "yes".

Q:
[22] Hmmm ... say, how long did you wait for a reply?

A:
[23] Let's see, I think it was five minutes ... maybe ten, something like that.

Q:
[24] Isn't that an awfully short time to wait?

A:
[25] Listen, I'm busy, OK? Things to do, places to go, essays to write!

Q:
[26] OK, fine, but tell me this: if these people are getting paid, as you say, then who's paying them? Huh? Huh?



The Unified Field Theory of Conspiracies

A:
[27] A secret society.

Q:
[28] A secret society? How did you find that out? Wait, wait, let me guess ... in your email, did you also ask if they WERE being paid, was it by a secret society? And did you say that no reply would mean "yes"? And then wait five minutes?

A:
[29] Hey, you're pretty sharp! Yeah, that's right. Except it might have been ten minutes.

Q:
[30] That's some piece of research!

A:
[31] Thanks ... so, you must have some more questions?



Mysterious Little Dots and Why Only Professionals Should Use Them

Q:
[32] Yes, I do. Why are there those two dots above the "U" in "Über"?

A:
[33] That means the word is from a foreign language. Foreign languages have more vowels than we do, which is why they sound funny, by the way. They put dots and little apostrophes and stuff like that on top of the vowels to indicate the different sounds, and also to make it look cool, which sort of makes up for it sounding funny, I guess.

Q:
[34] I see ... so, what language is it anyways?

A:
[35] Let's see, where have I seen those little dots before ... Swedish! Yeah, I think it's Swedish!

Q:
[36] Swedish, huh? If you say so. What does Über mean in Swedish then?

A:
[37] Let me just dig out my Swedish-English dictionary ... über, über, über ... HA! Am I good or what?! I can't believe it, there's actually an entry here!

Q:
[38] So what does it say?

A:
[39] In Swedish, "über" means "snow with a hard crust (use red klïster)".

Q:
[40] So Über fiction literally means "snow with a hard crust (use red klïster) fiction"?

A:
[41] Apparently. Next question, please?



The Adventures of UX and UG

Q:
[42] OK ... in some of these articles on Über I've seen, there are these characters named UX and UG, who the heck are they?

A:
[43] That's referring to a collection of stories about some cave women, two of whom are named UX and UG. These are good stories. There's no dialog, just lots of action. Incidentally, were there little dots on top of the "U"s in UX and UG?

Q:
[44] Gee, I can't remember ... why?

A:
[45] If there were, then they were stories about Swedish cave women. Otherwise, they were just generic cave women.

Q:
[46] Gosh, these stories sound great! Where can I find them?

A:
[47] For reasons, which I sincerely hope would be totally obvious to anyone who might be reading this, I really can't say. However, I can tell you one if you like.

Q:
[48] Yeah! Let's hear it!



Swedish Cave Dweller Fiction



Which one of us is Joxer again?

Sorting out your personalities can be trying.


A:
[49] Do you want a Swedish cave women ÜX and ÜG story, or a generic cave women UX and UG story?

Q:
[50] Swedish cave women! Go for it!

A:
[51] All right then, here we go.

ÜX and ÜG were Swedish cave women. They lived about one million years B.C. (or, as we say now in the P.C.E. -- politically correct era -- one million B.C.E.), give or take a hundred thousand years. They looked exactly like what you would expect Hollywood versions of Swedish cave women to look like: tall, blonde, athletic, and big busted. ÜX was somewhat taller and more muscular than ÜG. They lived in a cave. It was cold outside, and it was cold in the cave. To keep warm, they slept naked together under a huge pile of furs.

Q:
[52] Wait a second! Could you excuse me for a moment while I go out for a ten mile run?

A:
[53] Sure, no problem, I'll wait.

(later)

Q:
[54] OK, I'm back! What happens now?

A:
[55] Back to the story then.

Morning came, and sunlight streamed into the cave, waking ÜX instantly. Gathering up the pile of furs and wrapping them around her body, she stepped to the cave entrance to see what the day might hold. There were some strange noises. Strange noises outside and strange noises inside! The strange noises inside were ÜG, waking up, grunting furiously to indicate her anger at ÜX for taking all the furs, leaving her shivering in the cold. Glancing around, ÜX unwrapped a couple of furs from her body and tossed them to ÜG. Then she stepped outside, curious about the noises.

In the middle of the clearing in front of the cave, a giant cave bear was sniffing the ground, looking for remnants of food. Spotting ÜX, he roared! Lifting himself to his full height on his rear legs, he began moving towards her. ÜX ran quickly toward the bear and just before she reached him, with a mighty leap and a half twist in mid-air, she sprang completely over his head, landing facing him from behind.

Then, with a loud grunt - UNGGGHHH! - ÜX gave the cave bear a swift hard kick right between its rear legs. Howling in agony, the bear ran swiftly from the clearing, never to return.

ÜG, now fully awake and watching from the cave entrance, indicated to ÜX by means of gestures and grunts that first, she was thankful that ÜX had chased the cave bear away, possibly saving their lives, and second, that it was morally reprehensible for ÜX to have rendered the cave bear incapable of fathering offspring. With a large yawn, ÜX indicated her opinion of ÜG's feelings at such an early hour in the morning.

So how do you like the story so far?

Q:
[56] Well, I liked the beginning part better, really. But what's this about the bear howling? Bears don't howl!

A:
[57] This isn't your modern bear! This is a cave bear! I did extensive research on this topic, and it just so happens that cave bears had an extended vocal range as compared to contemporary bears.

Q:
[58] Let me guess: you emailed a question to some "expert", you said no reply would be interpreted as a "yes", and then you waited five minutes?

A:
[59] Right again! Except it might have been ten minutes. So, do you want to hear more of the story? There's some exciting hunting and gathering coming up! Well, actually, just gathering. It turns out all the animals in the area have found out about ÜX (the cave bear wasn't from around there, right?), and are pretty much staying away for now.

Q:
[60] Uh ... no, I'm sort of tired from that run ... maybe later?

A:
[61] OK, whenever you like. Any more questions about Über fiction?

Q:
[62] No, I think I get the picture. Thanks.

A:
[63] You're welcome!



Articles

J. Bailey, "On Some Varieties Of Fan Fiction", WHOOSH #53 (February 2001)
http://whoosh.org/issue53/bailey1.html



Biography

J. Bailey J. Bailey

J. Bailey has been into science fiction and fantasy for over forty years (starting at an early age). He saw the first episode of XENA aired, fell in love with the show, and became a faithful viewer. This lasted for a couple of years or so, after which (for whatever reasons) he became an occasional viewer, which he remains to date. He still considers himself a fan, albeit one not particularly knowledgeable in all the happenings of the latter seasons. He is fascinated by the mysteries of the universe, including the missing dark matter, the apparent increasing expansion rate, the mechanism by which fundamental particles acquire mass, the "spooky" action at a distance predicted by quantum mechanics that was rejected by Einstein but later verified by experiments, and why Pasternack would seriously work on a new version of "Battlestar Galactica".
Favorite episode: Hard to say, but I've noticed that over the years the episode that remains most clearly in my mind is the first one I saw - must be an example of the "first" effect (e.g. first kiss, first love, first root canal, etc.).
Favorite line: I have yet to see anyone's favorite lines that I would not gladly have adopted as my own (in some cases I even remembered them), but can I honestly come up with some for myself? (no, but I'm working on it)
First episode seen:Yes.
Least favorite episode: Seems like there's been one or two that didn't make sense, but I can't recall the details.




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