Bertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument at the breakfast table about egg boiling times escalates and threatens to end their marriage.
This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 3500 words, written in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s.
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- The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg is a short story of 3500 words. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- This story was written in response to the Not Really SF Short Story Challenge by writer E.P. Beaumont. The idea was to write a completely mundane short story in the style of science fiction’s “golden age” of the 1940s and 1950s, complete with clunky overexplanation of every single piece of technology with which the characters interact.
- The challenge was a response to complaints by some more traditionally minded science fiction writers and fans that science fiction had been invaded by literary writing and that the virtues, values and scientific rigour of science fiction’s so-called “golden age” had been forgotten. In response, E.P. Beaumont proposed launching a counter invasion of literary fiction by science fiction.
- The plot of the story was borrowed from the classic 1970s comedy skid Das Frühstücksei (The Breakfast Egg) by the brilliant German comedian Vicco von Bülow a.k.a. Loriot.
- Parathion a.k.a. E605, the insecticide with which Alfred contemplates poisoning Bertha in the end, was a favourite of suicides and poisoners in the 1960s and 1970s and therefore strangely appropriate to a story that is after all based on the 1970s comedy skid.
- The cover image is a stock photo by greschoj. I chose it, because it depicts an egg and is still somewhat reminiscent of the abstract cover art of many classic science fiction paperbacks of the 1960s and 1970s.