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The Duel of the Ages

Sam's Introduction

It all began rather innocently, actually. Dave Parker and I were having a literary discussion on various punctuation marks. We are both accomplished authors -- by this I mean that we have both written novels which have been read by at least one person besides ourselves -- and therefore, nothing could be more engaging for us than a debate about whether or not the dash has a place in the English language. Needless to say, the want of excitement in our lives may well have been a catalyst for the resulting literary escapade.

The fuse was lit when I illustrated a necessary (in my mind) usage of the dash. On a whim, I included the two main characters from each of our worlds in my example: Blood Drops from mine, and Darius from his. Blood Drops is the main character in my fantasy trilogy. (I'm currently in the middle of the second book.) Dave is also in the middle of his second book, but unlike mine, his two books take place in unrelated worlds. Darius is from the book he is currently writing. I've read the first eight chapters of his new book, and he had read my first book, so we each had a familiarity with each other's worlds.

Thus, a simple grammar illustration somehow led to a war to see who could quote the most of The Princess Bride. Dave replied to my grammar example with two short paragraphs about how he thought a true confrontation between Blood Drops and Darius would result; I naturally had to correct his error. Before long, we had unleashed our literary weapons and engaged in vicious war, exchanging blow after blow. We tried to maintain the continuity of the story, but the number of inconsistencies that wound up in it are innummerable -- just pretend not to notice. Allusions entered the battle early on; between us, we may have quoted the aforementioned Princess Bride in its fractured entirety.

But finally, our energy supply became depleted, and, to cap our creation, we each wrote separate endings to the saga, both of which are included here. The story is divided up into chapters which mark the boundaries where one of us stopped writing and the other started. The grammar illustration that started this whole thing is also included. Immediately following is Dave's response -- chapter one -- the beginning of a war of truly epic proportions, and yet more proof that the pen (keyboard) is indeed mightier than the sword.

Samuel Stoddard
August 26, 1994

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