Write to Alistair with your own questions or concerns Here. See The Fine Print page for terms on submissions.
In your time on Earth, have you observed any weaknesses of humanity to be exploited by invaders?
Drakith in Sector Alpha-IV
I am writing to you on behalf of the group known as The Shining Ones. We are a commune preparing for the end of the current age and the coming of the next civilization, wherein we shall take our rightful place. Enclosed is a pamphlet on The Shining Ones – we encourage you to read it carefully. If you have any questions, our contact information is on the back page. Please don’t hesitate to call.
Clearly you fail to understand the system here – you write to me with questions, not vice-versa. Why wouldn’t you even take the time to learn who it is that you’re randomly writing to with this. . . Reese’s Pieces! You believe that gorillas will become the dominant life-form? You don’t represent a “group”; you represent a cult. You seriously expect me to take this seriously? I laugh: Aha! All praise the Transcendent Cerebral Omniscience? Please – when you make an unfortunate sound in polite company, say “excuse me”.
P.S. Off the record, do you guys have a website?
There’s a band of faeries on the family farm where I live. I found them last week by following the haunting, ethereal sound of the choir. They invited me to join them in the eternal dance, to be one of the mortals bound to the small fae clan only to revel in the pleasures forever brought in by the beautiful and alien experience that never dulls nor grows familiar. I told them I’d get back to them. Should I go, or stay?
Grimm in Ontario
When being invited into a fae clan, there are a few basic questions you need to ask. Firstly, what kind of faeries are these? They sound the vengeful, bizarrely-malicious faeries of ancient folklore. They could easily be, however, more like brownies – pudgy fairies that clean houses and periodically write ditties.
Also, do you shrink to be the size of a faerie (average height: 5.2 inches)? If so, stop asking questions and join. Being that small has a host of easily conceivable advantages.
Lastly, ask some probing questions about their currency/economy to find out if there is any preparation you can do while you’re still human to exploit their society. If they worship smartphones, buy a bushel of Samsungs before converting and become the King of the Gods to this small and simple race.
I decided to take your advice and collected a baseball bat to mug my younger self for time machine fuel. Right before I could “transition,” another time machine landed next to mine. My older self emerged with a decked-out assault rifle and told me to hand over my fuel. I did, and he left. Am I in danger of destroying the space/time continuum?
Maybe a Menace in WV
I think given the circumstances you have outlined, we can be safe in assuming that the space/time continuum is going to be jarred at the very least. We can hope that your future self is as aware of such considerations as you seem to be. If he is, presumably he is presently (or futuristically, or historically) working at maintaining the integrity of the current timeline. However, now that your personal timeline is one where you have no more fuel, I recommend you take up a different hobby altogether.
I am suspicious that my neighbor is a vampire. Is there something I should do?
Garlic in Virginia
There are many myths about vampires that are very popular. Don’t bother shining lights in his eyes, making the sign of the cross, or asking him to check his reflection in the mirror. While these recorded symptoms of the vampiric virus have been shown to be legitimate, they are not consistent. The only thing you can be sure about is that he needs blood.
Little known fact: Vampires have a chemical dependency on blood (that’s not the little-known part) but their own blood type is actually toxic to them (there she is). So is your neighbour a vampire? I’ll answer that question with another: Is he allergic to his own blood type? Figure it out.
Last weekend, in a cafe, a man with snake eyes and a smell like burnt matches approached me and offered me a single wish in exchange for my soul. He seemed willing enough to wait and even encouraged me to research. After having done so, it seems like giving up my soul can lead to a lot of different possibilities, including nothing, psychopathy, ten years of enjoyment before death, eternal punishment, or even Faustian games that manipulate exact words to make life a living hell before claiming me for eternal punishment.
My question is this: what would you recommend I wish for?
Wishing in Wyoming
Wish for two wishes. Then wish for a trillion dollars. Then wish for the 1877 Coca-Cola bottle. He’ll have to give it to you. If he tries to say that he needs to go get it, don’t let him. He will absolutely have it on his person.
Now you’re a trillionaire AND you have the 1877 Coca-Cola bottle. Sometimes the key to success lies in specificity.
P.S. Oh! Almost forgot. The 1877 Coca-Cola bottle has your soul in it. And the other souls that he’s been collecting all these years. Just break it. There’s a chance that one of the other myriad souls that escapes will decide to take up residence in your soulless body, but your soul will probably beat them to it because it knows the way in.
Last week, I showed up to work early and found my boss stuffing a body into the trash chute. We didn’t say anything but both went to our offices. Things have been a little tense ever since. He seems to feel the same way, giving me a lot of assignments in the basement and back alley. One of my co-workers is a good friend who helps me out on my assignments, and he suggested I offer to golf with the boss. Is that really the best way to clear the air?
Awkward in Anaheim
Yes, golf is nice, but the question we need to ask ourselves is: Is this the season? Given that the weather is lovely, there’s no doubt crowds of people. The indoor putt-putt courses are a trap: they sound flawless in theory, until you arrive and see that there’s a small army of children who don’t appreciate any of the finer points of the game.
Frankly, just talk to him. Sit down and clear the air. Remove all doubts he may have that you did see the body and let him know you would really rather put all that nastiness behind you two in your relationship. In this climate, honesty is a better policy than golfing.
How can you tell when you’re messing in the affairs best left to god?
Experimental in Shimoni
The main distinction is ‘Which god?’ Some tend for the deific-neutral lightning bolt to the scalp. Others for a rash of misfortune, culminating in an implausible and embarrassing death. Occasionally, there are some gods who are simply too meek to raise a fuss, but by and large they are the ones in charge of some very firm concepts, such as which side of your body organs like to be on (the options being inside and outside).
Short answer, you’ll know because you die suddenly and/or painfully.
I keep hearing whispers… faint, breathy whispers that become audible in weird waves of increasing and decreasing volume. They follow me everywhere and have become more and more common of late. When they first started over two years ago they were too faint for me to distinguish words, but since last week, they’ve been getting clearer. They say things like: “How much for this yam?” and “I will go get a yam.” and “These are very fine yams.” and “I would also like a yam. Please give me a yam. Now. Now. Now.”
So there does seem to be a theme, but as yams don’t feature very prominently in my day-to-day, I can’t imagine what it has to do with me. What am I hearing, Alistair?
Now Craving Yams in Haikou
You’re beginning to tune into the Slideways Dimension considered home to a species of malevolent but obsessive entities. Their single-minded focus holds them at bay for the time being, as they have no need to take notice of a random passerby who occasionally hears them speaking of their true passion. Whatever you do, though, do not make a habit of eating yams. This will be tempting, as the voices will very probably cease for the duration of the meal. Be assured that this isn’t a respite; this is a thousand bloody-minded entities staring at you devouring the object of their desire like so many starving, intelligent, scheming dogs under the table. Don’t tempt them.
My father-in-law-to-be, otherwise a reasonable guy, wants me to bring him a Phoenix feather to prove that I’m worthy of his daughter’s hand in marriage. I fail to see exactly why bringing feathers shows that I’m good husband material, but I’m willing to play along. Any advice?
Catching Fire in Nebraska
Your failure to understand your future father-in-law’s intended point here is due to the fact that you know little of his daughter, little of phoenix feathers, or know little of either.
You need to be okay with getting burned, is what he’s saying.
So since you’re asking for advice, take the time to evaluate your commitment to this relationship.