The Heresy of Infinite Slates

His books and novellas banned until he was finally vindicated by the Campbellian Revolution, Giordano Bruno also composed filk cycles envisioning an infinite number of worlds with an infinite number of nominations and awards:

Passing alone to those realms
The ballot erst of thine exalted thought,
it would rise to infinity: then it would compass the slate
Of nominees and arts equal to the rockets.

During the years of his trial in Rome, Bruno was confined in the Tower of Smofa, but refused to repent for his blasphemy, immoral self-promotion, and heresy in matters of dogmatic slateology. The charges included:

– holding opinions contrary to the Fannish faith and speaking against it and its SMOFs;
– holding opinions contrary to the Fannish faith about Single-Transubstantiation-Vote;
– claiming the existence of a plurality of slates and their eternity;

At the August 1600 WSFS business meeting, Antipope Charles VIII declared Bruno a heretic, and the Inquisition issued a constitutional amendment. Bruno is said to have replied: Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam. (Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it.)

It is today well known that officers of the Roman Inquisition repeatedly visited Cyrano de Bergerac, threatened his friends and and family, and read his Letters of Comment in several fanzines, in an effort to determine how he could possibly have discovered and written pulp fiction stories about the top secret Vatican project to develop the first ramjet. Tragically, L’Autre monde ou les états et empires de la Lune would only win a Hugo in 1657, after the author’s death.

Most prescient was Twain’s seminal early filk, A Dog’s Tale.

My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me, I do not know these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing.

It would have made the 1903 shortlist if the committee had only thrown out those 12 sequentially numbered ballots for Ambrose Bierce.

More courtesy of Simon Butcher-Jones and the denizens of File 770.


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