PAYNEful - the site where humour goes to die, the repository of all things by Sean Patrick Payne

What are the Tales?

In the year 5687b, explorers found a hidden cache under the Monument to (His Holiness) Montague Thatcher positioned outside the Public Archives of Arcovia. The cache consisted of several vast rooms purposed for storing documents and artifacts of history. Datachips, flash drives, magnetic memory vacuums, video materials, audio files and even paper filled the shelves, coated with the dust of years. These rooms became known as the “Hidden Archives” of Arcovia.

While combing this treasure-trove of history, archivists found a curious set of papers – a bound set credited to Watersly Monger, better known as the mysterious “Storyteller”. The Storyteller was a bohemian mercenary traveller who, when not collecting bounties and body-counts, collected stories. Many of his tales were collated into collections, but this was a set previously not collected; the “Lost Works” of the Storyteller. These works, after further analysis, were revealed to be his most ambitious efforts – his magnum opus.

The stories, entitled the “Tales of Sin”, center around a series of individual but connected stories, focusing on events surrounding and following the historic Great Salmanic Revolution of Lusinia. Although many of them are told in third person, some are curiously written from a first-person perspective (odd given the implication that these stories are based on things that happened to actual people) and one of the more unusual volumes uses the framing device of the Storyteller himself telling a story to people in a bar.

Occasionally outrageous, insightful and epic in scale, these hand-written papers have since been digitised and stored for all to enjoy. Many of the tomes came with audio discs, image slides and reams of footnotes, all of which were kept with the original materials in order to preserve the author’s original intent. We present these to you in their entirety, and hope you find as much value in them as the archivists who originally discovered them.

–The inscription on the obsidian collector’s case that comes with the Tales of Sin Centenary Special Edition, sold by the Haverland Media Corp. in the year 6125b.

Holy shit, these are stories from the future, Sammy! Let’s transcribe these and put them online for fun and profit!”

–Sean Payne, having discovered a black box that crash landed in his back garden.


Alright, in all seriousness, what is all this about?

A long time ago, in the prime of 2005, myself and Sam started a game on a forum; one of those games where people contribute towards a story for the sheer enjoyment of writing. The thread was modestly titled “Teh Best Story in Da World”, and after avid interest from a particular circle of friends it became quite apparent that we had started something bigger than we could have ever predicted.

We had characters we actually gave a damn about, which was almost not the case as I remember most of my opening posts being geared towards a sort of tongue-in-cheek humour; the planet the story takes place on was originally called “Achchewie” (the man naming it sneezed at an inopportune moment) and the main character was going to be a seven foot Scottish stereotype meaning they would have been ginger with a full beard, string vest and kilt. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and a balance was found between humour and drama.

The purpose of this exercise is to try and finish the damn thing. The book has went through one and a half drafts, both of which were full of spelling and grammar errors, continuity problems and glaring plotholes that, on reflection, were large enough to threaten to collapse the story structure in on itself and consume the plot in one vast gulp. The drafts we present here will also have those problems, but because we’re sharing it online the vocal community that makes up the web can act as a sort of quality control.

The first story, entitled “The Mercenaries’ Tale” is a science fiction story that follows three mercenaries who inevitably get caught up in events larger than the three of them (i.e. the plot of every sci-fi story ever written, with the exception of Blade Runner). There’s a lot of swearing, gore and at the same time a touch of whimsical humour to the story. It features mad scientists, corrupt corporations, sky pirates, hillbillies, an underground resistance force, robotic killer children, a man with a gun for a crotch, technomages and at least one rubber duck. Like every other shmuck who’s taken to a keyboard, we’ll cite Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin and Neil Gaiman as lead sources of inspiration, but I’d also like to cite a couple of my favourite authors being Raymond Chandler and George McDonald Frasier (which might lend a little credibility) and I’m sure Sam won’t mind me mentioning that she’s read the entire Harry Potter series, almost twice now. As for non-literary influences, we digest and consume all manner of video games, TV shows and films. I suspect (read: outright know) that this might even show in our story!

One of our inspirations for self-publishing this on the web is the very good book John Dies at the End (Google it!), which started out as a web serial and ended up being made into a movie. Pretty cool! I don’t think we’ll ever get that far – we just want to share.

We’ve also got some drafts of sequels to the Mercenaries’ Tale which we intend to revisit and polish, because why focus on just the one story?

Why should I read your stories?

You shouldn’t – reading text for prolonged periods on a screen can contribute to damaging your eyesight. However, if you’re not worried about that sort of thing, then please do have a good read and try to enjoy it. Comments and criticism can be directed immediately to us via the comment forms on every page – you can login using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Discus.

Hahahah! I’ve made a copy of your story and I’m going to get it published under my name!

Good luck with that, hope you enjoy covering the editing and printing costs, and never mind finding an industry agent who’ll read the damn thing. Then there’s the small fact that Sam and myself have pages and pages of concept material, along with uncountable draft files that all pre-date the versions going up here. Frankly, you’re better off trying not to make a quick buck! It’ll be cheaper for you in the long run.

Oh alright, you got me there. Can I get on with reading this thing then?

Certainly. Get comfy! Sit back, and enjoy. Click the links on the side or above and dig in!

Oh! One last thing – as the internet is an interactive medium, we’re going to take advantage of the massive amounts of illegally uploaded content on YouTube and provide musical accompaniment to many of the pages, and there will be some pictures from Sam and some other neat stuff that I want to try out. Proceed!

Yours Faithfully,

Sean P. Payne



Sean Payne, Wannabe Author


Post by | October 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm | | 2 comments