Locus Online
Tuesday 1 April 2008

Howard Waldrop Upgrades to Steam-Powered Typewriter

by L. Ron Creepweans

Saying it was finally time for an upgrade, award-winning science fiction writer Howard Waldrop announced that he had ditched his old manual typewriter for a steam-powered model.

"People keep trying to give me IBM Selectrics and whatnot, but I don't trust that newfangled electricity," said Waldrop from his home in Austin, Texas (or, as he calls it, La Segunda Castillo de la Fantasmas). "I don't think they've quite worked all the kinks out yet."

Waldrop's new typewriter, the PhaetonScribe, was manufactured in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1894. It weighs 800 pounds and requires 3 hours of warm-up time and 5 pounds of coal a day to run properly. "But once this monster gets up to full speed, there's no stopping it! In fact, the carriage return mechanism alone delivers 650 pounds of torque. If your hand is in the wrong place when you hit the return key, it will take it clean off!"

"This sucker is going to increase my productivity 3-fold! Get ready, world, I, John Mandeville is coming your way!"

While Waldrop said the PhaetonScribe would be used on all submitted manuscripts, he indicated he would still carry out his voluminous personal correspondence in the same way he always had, using a goose quill and squid ink.

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