EXCERPT: Let’s Keep Burt Grimsby’s Head Frozen! by Heather Lindsley

Heather Lindsley’s work has appeared several times in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as in the magazines Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and Greatest Uncommon Denominator. Her fiction has also appeared in John Joseph Adams’s dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds and in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, in Year’s Best Science Fiction 12, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Talking Back, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp. She has been featured on Escape Pod as a writer and on Podcastle as a reader, and her stories have appeared in Polish, Romanian, Russian, and French translations. She currently lives in Brighton and works in London, which gives her more time to write on the train.

Let’s Keep Burt Grimsby’s Head Frozen!

Funding Canceled. Funding for this project was canceled 3 days ago.


pledged of $129,527

When a crowd can fund your dream, no project is too extreme . . . not even a water-fueled engine to #saveburtsfrozenhead

Greetings, Kickileaks community, and thanks for visiting my latest project.

Most of you know my job in GrimsbyCo’s Department of Archiving and Destruction gives me access to some interesting stuff, and thanks to your discretion and generosity we’ve been able to test a few plans I’ve rescued from the vaults.

We’ve had fun, but now it’s time to say goodbye to semi-effective mind control smell-o-vision and faulty jetpacks.

The stakes are higher now. It’s time to get serious.

I need your help to build a water-fueled engine. Not just because that’s awesome and green and will probably save the world, but because we need that energy. We need it to keep Burt Grimsby’s head frozen.

About the Project

Last week a canister turned up in the Destroy bin. We get a lot of canisters in our department, mostly unmarked and full of failed bioIP. This canister was bigger than usual and had a green light at the bottom that started to flash amber while I was checking out a symbol engraved on the side. I recognized the three adjacent circles in an inverted triangle from an alien autopsy film that landed in the Archive bin a couple of years ago.

It’s a good thing fellow Kickileaker AnonP5 was working security that evening. If I’d had to wait another day to get the canister home, it would have been too late.

As you’ve no doubt surmised, the canister contains the frozen head of Burt Grimsby. I haven’t actually taken his head out, but I swear I’d recognize that neat-as-a-pin hair parting anywhere. Apparently no one is interested in giving old Burt’s head the perpetual respect it deserves. So sad, but not surprising, given how far those bastards in charge have strayed from Burt’s vision.

Anyway, the light started flashing red so I closed the canister as fast as I could. It was pretty obvious the battery was draining. I thought about trying to get Burt’s head in my freezer, just as a stop-gap, but then I had a better idea.

I’ll spare you a repeat of my forum post about alien tech and smartphones, except to say “I told you so!”—my charger clicked into a slot at the back. The flashing red light turned steady, and after a few minutes went amber. When I woke up in the morning it was steady green. Phew, right?

Well, yes, but then I had a look at my electricity meter. It wasn’t as bad as the national debt clock or the population clock, but dear lord it wasn’t good. I unplugged the canister and the meter stopped spinning.

The canister’s light held at steady green when I unplugged it, but a few days later it went to flashing green. I’ve been taking it to a different chain coffee joint every other day to keep it charged. I figure they’ll catch on eventually, so I really need a long term solution.

Fortunately, Burt provides! Last month I took home a short film from 1951 called Build Burt Grimsby’s Superfantabulous Water-fueled Generator in Your Very Own Garage! mostly because it was narrated by Orson Welles just one week before he was found dead of an “overdose” in his Brentwood home. I watched the film again, and it turns out you actually can build a water-fueled generator in your very own garage.

Unfortunately, the key ingredient is more difficult to come by these days because it’s also a key ingredient in meth. As Vicky Vole would say, “Dag-waggly mabbit!”

Difficult, but not impossible, if we all clap our hands and kick in some cash.

I’m a true believer in Burt Grimsby’s vision. We can turn the world into his Enchanted Kingdom, but we need his help. We need his head. I need your money.

Let’s keep Burt Grimsby’s head frozen!



Read the rest in HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects!