Unfinished Stories (1970s)

by Roderick T. Long

Ban-Al of the Lost Jungle (1975)
The Starship Silvus, Vol. I: Massacre on Mrvon (1975)
The House Without Doors (1975)
The Great Tricycle Race (1975)
Flight to the Stars (1975)
Under Perseus (1976)
Battleaxe, Episode One: Shepherd of City Heorot (1976)
The Horned Circle (1976)
Assassin on the Board (1976)
Flight to Borango (1976)

Ban-Al of the Lost Jungle

[written around 11, or 1975-ish, in Idaho Falls; unfinished. I don’t know why there’s prairie grass on the desert, or how they were going to get from there to the promised jungle.]

The hot sun beat down on the parched Arizona ground. The raw framework of what was once a cactus lay across a bare hillock. Not a breath of wind stirred the dried-out prairie grass.

Jim North looked longingly at his canteen, but he knew he had to reserve the water. His partner, Mike Blue, had no such foresight, and had long since used up his supply of water. Right now, he was trying to wrangle a drink of water from Jim.

“Can I help it if you used up all your water in one day, like adman fool?” asked Jim. “You knew we wouldn’t get any more water ’til we got these five stragglers back to the herd!”

The Starship Silvus, Vol. I: Massacre on Mrvon.

A Science Fiction Novel.

[written around 11, or 1975-ish, in Idaho Falls; unfinished. The only way I can make sense of the exposition below is if “never known any sun but Solios” means “never known any Earth sun but Solios,” but even so it’s hard to follow.]

The blue-green orb of Trinus, the third planet from the yellow sun Solios in the system Revolvus, turned slowly in a star-studded sky, far below the starship Silvus. Oakrli felt a lump rising in her throat as she realized she would never see her home again.

Solios, the artificial sun, pulsated slowly in the sky with a sick yellowish light. Back in the days when Trinus had been called Earth, the sun had been real, and had glowed with a cheerful light. But that had been before Oakrli’s time. She had never known any sun but Solios.

But the old sun had begun to wane and dwindle, till it became a tiny spark in the sky, and they called it Minutus. They developed a gigantic energy generator, which they shot into the air, and it became the new sun.

Oakrli had never seen the old sun. She had not been born on Trinus, but on the planet Altha in the Andromeda Galaxy. Altha was a young world, and on an expedition from Trinus to Altha, she had climbed aboard the alien starship, and when it took off, it had a five-month old, curious, frightened stowaway. Or so she was told. She did not remember.

The House Without Doors

[written around 11, or 1975-ish, in Idaho Falls ID; unfinished.]

The first thing he felt was a throbbing pain in his head, as the room danced and swayed wildly before his eyes. Slowly, his blurred vision cleared, and he saw the room in which he was being kept prisoner.

It was a long, oblong, room with oddly shaped fluorescent lights on the ceiling

The Great Tricycle Race

[written around 11, or 1975-ish, in Idaho Falls ID; unfinished.]




“Is that a joke?” Carl said, as he pointed at the brightly-colored poster.

“Of course not!” said Mike. “What do you think? That old Clinkhorn would

Flight to the Stars

[written around 11, or 1975-ish, in Idaho Falls ID; unfinished. This fragment shares a title with a completed story of mine, but to the best of my knowledge it wasn’t ever part of the same story.]


The shining disc moved slowly through the crisp, cold air, the sunlight glancing off its side. The snow was falling gently, and the man was almost blinded by the bright snow. The man’s boots sank into the

Under Perseus

[written age 12, or 1976, in Idaho Falls ID; unfinished.]

The yellow sun Perseus glowed brightly in the sky as we gradually reached our destination. I was lucky to be taken along on this scouting trip, since I am only 12 years old, and children are usually not allowed on first expeditions, since new planets are often dangerous. But in 3 hours and 27 minutes, I would be walking on the soil of Gideon, third planet from the new sun. Gideon had gone through a complete


Episode One: Shepherd of City Heorot

[written around 12, or 1976-ish, in Idaho Falls; unfinished.]

Roth stood on the hill, looking across the foggy moors of City Heorot. His black hair blew in the wind, and he shivered with the cold. Except for a loincloth made of bearskin, he wore nothing but a necklace of bones and a hunting knife at his belt. Roth’s fingers were colder than the rest of him, for he held a battleaxe in his right hand. The cold metal made his hand ache.

Roth was fifteen. He had been born in City Heorot in the year 2055 A.D. The City Heorot was a jumble of strangely-shaped buildings that were quite different from the huge stone castles which composed the majority of the County. Roth did not live in a castle because he was an Outlaw, as were all his friends and relatives. None of the Castle Lords would accept them, so they lived alone in City Heorot.

The only time Roth’s family had anything good to eat was when the Pryza Danté, or King, came to check on the County – one of forty-eight in the United Counties of Emericus. Then, the Pryza Danté of the Hoo-ess-ay (his royal title) would provide a great feast for the outlaws. The rest of the time the Outlaws fought the wild animals who roamed City Heorot. The animals were the outlaws’ only source of food or clothing.

City Heorot was what the Tawne Mayer called the city, a name he found in a book. The actual name of the city, however, was Welcometonewyork, whatever that meant. Roth had seen the name Welcometonewyork on an old sign he had found at the entrance to City Heorot.

Roth often wondered what life was like in the old days – in the days when the United Counties of Emericus, or the hoo-ess-ay, were still young. He wondered how the country got started – and the city of Welcometonewyork, too.

Roth was tending the Katsendawgzez. He was not sure why they called them that, since each Katsendawgz was different. There were the small ones with the pointy ears and long tails. There were the large ones with floppy ears and short tails. And pointed ears and short tails. And floppy ears and long tails. And big. And small. And white. And black. And red. And brown.

They made different noises, too. Some made Rrowrff-Rrowrff sounds. Some made Yap-Yap sounds. And some made Mrrowrr-Mrrowrr sounds.

Roth glanced at the huge statue of the War Goddess, or Valkyrie, standing in the harbor. Her flaming torch and the menacing spikes on her helmet reminded Roth that the United Counties of Emericus was a nation conceived in violence and dedicated to the proposition that the strong survive and the weak perish.

Roth was eager to City Heorot. The Pryza Dante was coming from Watchingtown, D.C. tonight. Well, that wasn’t quite accurate, for the Pryza Dante of the Hoo-ess-ay didn’t live in Watchingtown any more, but in a huge castle on the outskirts called the White House – even though it was black. The Pryza Dante didn’t live in Watchingtown because it was a ruined city just like Welcometonewyork, or City Heorot as it was commonly called.

The lords of the castles were peeved because the Pryza Dante always visited the Outlaws first and had the big feast there. “He should be arriving soon,” thought Roth, so he started to herd the Katsendawgzez back to the city. Already the sun had set, and the first stars started to twinkle in the sky.


The Horned Circle

[written around 12, or 1976-ish, in Idaho Falls ID or Scottsdale AZ; unfinished. I would later reuse the name “N’hai-kolakanakaya” in Jumbo Jet.]

The shrill cries of marsh cranes rang out across what would, in many millions of years, be Lake Michigan.

Tiny, scruffy shore birds picked their way across the prehistoric sand, heated by the tropical sun. Huge conifers trailed their great fronds lazily in the warm water. Pterodactyls wheeled in the empty blue sky, and foot-high lizards, running on their hind legs, snapped at insects and played in the tide.

A wooden canoe moved silently through the reeds, the muted paddle dipping softly into the clear blue water. On the front of the canoe was the sign of the tribe – the N’hai-kolakanakaya: a horned circle, with a vertical line on either side, and a mountain range underneath.

Assassin on the Board

[written around 12, or 1976-ish, in Scottsdale AZ; unfinished.]

A clear, summer moon shone down, casting its pale blue light across the grass in front of the huge, gray concrete slab which housed dozens of featureless cubicles.

In one of these, a potted fern formed eerie shadows across the faces of the two men seated at the cubelike table.

Between them was a two-level board of alternating green, white, and black squares – Doublechess.

One of the men – dressed in a white tight-fitting suit that covered all of his body but his hands and his head – had a crown of fiery red hair that reached to his waist – full around his head like a mane, and then thinning out in locks down the back.

The other man was very ordinary-looking; a whitish crew cut ending in a widow’s peak covered his head, and his lips were pursed. He wore a flowing blue robe.

“Queen’s Merchant to Square Five, captures Duke,” said the red-haired man, moving the pieces as he did so. They had been playing for an hour, and the sun would be rising soon.

“King’s Scholar to Square Five, takes Merchant. Commander moves to Square Twenty-two, capturing Priest,” replied the second man triumphantly. He had achieved the ancient Doublechess battle position – Scholar on Five, Commander on Twenty-two – the “Warlord’s Triangle.”

“The long sword arm,” laughed the first man, using the 20th Century term for the Warlord’s Triangle. “But by moving your Commander, you leave your High King unguarded.” A panel opened, and an Assassin dropped from the High Board to the Low Board, onto the King. “Pin-Strike!”

“I won,” said the red-haired man. “Now what about that information?”

“You’ll find the gang of Breakers down on 17-18S-AL, in the Central Arcade.”


Flight to Borango

[written around 12, or 1976-ish, in Idaho Falls ID; unfinished.]

The plane banked steeply through the cloud and then coasted slowly downwards, signifying the arrival in Borango. Lee looked at the faces of the other passengers. None of them seemed excited – except one woman, two chairs behind him on the other side of the aisle, who was pointing out the window and exclaiming how beautiful this or that was, and urging her sleeping husband to wake up and see this or that. Tourists, probably.

Lee was looking forward to this summer in Kenya. His Uncle George lived in a huge ranch just outside Borango, one of the main port cities of Kenya. Uncle George was a scientist, experimenting with some sort of metal disintegrator. He had explained it once, but Lee hadn’t paid much attention at the time.


The plane landed on the runway and circled around toward the airport, where another plane, Uncle George’s small private one, would be waiting for him.

Lee always enjoyed riding in Uncle George’s plane, coasting between sea and sky, and the feeling that you were alone up in the plane and there wasn’t anyone else in the universe. But this would be Lee’s first visit to the ranch.

The rumble of the huge engines gradually died away, and the hatch was opened, allowing the fresh air outside to stream in. The people rose and walked toward the hatch.

There was a stairway at the end of the hatch, just like in America, only this one had no rails. Most of the people were used to this, and walked evenly, except for the woman Lee had see before, who had a terrible time keeping her balance, though her husband seemed to have no trouble.

At the information desk, Lee asked how to find Uncle George’s plane. The lady explained that the plane was not here, but that Uncle George had left a message for him. Lee read it:

“Dear Lee:

I have been called away to London to demonstrate my metal disinte(SPLOTCH) have made arrangements for you ... Kenya Hotel. Here is flight money ... back home tomorrow ... Maybe next summer ... sure to go home tomorrow ... careful ...
Uncle George

The letter was covered with splotches and was obviously written in a hurry, making it hard to read, but its meaning was clear. His uncle was away, and Lee had to go back to America the next day.

As Lee walked past the docks on his way to the Kenya Hotel, he heard a noise behind him. He wheeled.


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