Baseline Bob

Baseline Boc
Image from Steve Bowers

A lengthy, picaresque morality fable written by eccentric superbright human author Gyzantium Gyzaarno (b. Teleana Vikkolich, 4982, d. 5243), first released onto the Known Net in mixed media format (mostly text) in 5051 AT. The tale was intended for young superbright children, and thus proves to be a somewhat bizarre read for baseline and nearbaseline adults - structurally and linguistically complex, filled with clever puns, alliterations and other such wordplay, as well as literally thousands of ingenious cultural references, in-jokes and satirical commentary; yet also strangely crude in its visceral humour and controversial underlying message.

"Baseline Bob" tells the story of a baseline human simply known as "Bob" who has many adventures throughout the known galaxy, hitching rides from one star system to another, meeting all manner of (mostly stereotyped) beings; a sinisterly seductive leopard uplift, an even more manipulative gathering of NoCoZo businessminds, a sentient freighter (who reflects fondly upon eir previous life as a battle cruiser in the Version War), and a slightly mad archailect (who is so frustrated by Bob's stupidity that e destroys eir own entire inhabited system "in a fit of frenzy"). Being a complete simpleton, Bob stumbles, staggers, belches and farts his way from one adventure to the other with little - if any - comprehension of what is really going on around him, and what consequences his innocent, inquisitive actions may trigger. Being completely unenhanced and unmodified from the original Homo sapiens - with little knowledge or understanding of hygiene and medical precautions -, Bob is prone to many mishaps found in the more remote colonies (much hilarity ensues when Bob sprays an entire restaurant with medical cleaning fluid, in a scene that may have partly inspired the wup movement of a few centuries later). Fortunately, he is given a nanopanacea by a friendly medical vec, which allows him a more active role in the second half of the tale.

The lengthy epic (of over a million words) finally reaches a conclusion when the Blue Power, to reward Bob for his many acts of selfless kindness (and forgiving him for his klutzy catastrophes), transforms him into a perfectly psychophysically optimal superbright with one wave of eir godtech wand; a fate which according to the author is "the best thing any lowly baseline could hope for."

Despite the myriad complexities of the narrative, the underlying message is simple: being as dense as a post matters not if you have a heart of gold, which Bob proves numerous times throughout the story (in one scene, he cuts off his finger to feed a starving kitten, only to throw away his own sandwich after bleeding all over it). This, understandably, has upset most baselines, nearbaselines, and a great number of superbrights who regret that Gyzaarno's work has become one of the more visible elements of su cultural history. The story has been banned in many of the more conservative baseline and near- baseline worlds. It reached its lowest popularity in the early 9400's following the Abbaddon incident (the "mad archai" scene was considered in bad taste), but bounced back into vogue shortly afterwards, and has remained a fixture of su children's literature ever since. This has no doubt been bolstered by a great number of dramatic and interactive adaptations. Indeed, Baseline Bob ranks alongside The Odyssey, the Gospel, the Baghavad Gita, 1001 Nights, The Tale of Genji, Hamlet, Journey to the West, The Wizard of Oz, Edge of the Swarm, Souls Uploaded, and Waking Gaia as one of the most frequently adapted literary works in Terragen history.

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Development Notes
Text by Darren Ryding
Initially published on 27 January 2003.