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Foreword to Tales of New Babbage Vol 3

Babbagers know a Babbager when they see one.

To be clear, no one thought I was a Babbager when I first
arrived – even though I blew in with a frock coat and a top hat on an airship
of my own design. Within my first few hours in the summer of 2007, I had been
greeted by Mayor Sprocket, danced at one of Breezy Carver’s legendary soirees, and enjoyed a cup of chocolate at the original Cocoa Java cafe.

It was also made clear to me that that I was – most decidedly
– an outsider.

It took the better part of a year before I left that black
mark behind.

While always scrupulously polite, Babbagers don’t take kindly
to strangers. Come to think of it, we don’t really take kindly to each other. Babbagers
don’t share secrets or emotions or become deep, personal friends. At best we
are mild collaborators or ensemble players in loose, open-ended improvisational
performances. Colleagues. Co-workers.

But we do become familiar with one another. Perhaps by
establishing a distinctive and memorable character, crafting a series of noteworthy
builds, or simply manifesting your avatar with a consistently epic wardrobe, with
persistence and diligence you can earn a place in New Babbage. To be sure, your
“place” will not mean widespread affection or warmth from your fellow citizens (what
could be less Babbagey than that?). But it will mean recognition, grudging
acceptance and, if you’re lucky, respect.

But there’s something else. Once you’re a part of the City, your
fellow citizens will become a part of you. Whether it’s taking pleasure in a
Loki Eliot video, sharing yet another
Relay for Life award for achievements out of all proportion to our size, or amazing
even ourselves with the cleverness of our Oiling Festival creations, the work
of our fellow citizens has a way of reflecting on us, making even our prickly, misanthropic breasts swell with pride.
And when we put our hammers down to honor those who have been lost – which has
happened far too often – the sorrow is real.

If anything binds the stories in this volume together, it’s this:
there is something about our sooty, messy, chaotic City that makes us love it. And
as much as we hate to admit it, that something is each other. If you stay long
enough and work hard enough you’ll know what I mean. You’ll look in the mirror
and know you’re seeing a Babbager.

A.E. Cleanslate
December 2014


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  1. Aeolus Cleanslate Aeolus Cleanslate December 6, 2014

    Revised version, now with less old drama.

  2. Pilipo Underwood Pilipo Underwood December 12, 2014

    Very well done, and reminiscent of my experience when I moved here.

  3. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse December 14, 2014

    AE, sent your email address a message about copies of TFNB 1 & 2. Let me know if you got it please.

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