The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg - Cora Buhlert - ebook

Bertha and Alfred, married for twenty years, enjoy all a truly science fictional life in the twenty-first century. But in spite of all the technological marvels surrounding them, an argument at the breakfast table about egg boiling times escalates and threatens to end their marriage.This parodistic piece is a mundane short story of 3500 words, written in the style of science fiction's "golden age" of the 1940s and 1950s.

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The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg

by Cora Buhlert

Bremen, Germany

Copyright © 2015 by Cora Buhlert

All rights reserved.

Cover photo by greschoj

Cover design by Cora Buhlert

Pegasus Pulp Publications

Mittelstraße 12

28816 Stuhr



The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg is a parody, intended to poke fun at the conventions of a certain kind of science fiction story.

This story was written in response to the Not Really SF Short Story Challenge instigated by science fiction and fantasy writer E.P. Beaumont.

The challenge was a response to complaints by some more traditionally minded science fiction writers and fans that science fiction had been invaded by literary writing and that the virtues, values and scientific rigour of science fiction’s so-called “golden age” had been forgotten.

In response, E.P. Beaumont proposed launching a counter invasion of literary fiction by science fiction. The challenge was to write an entirely mundane and realistic short story in the style of science fiction’s “golden age”, complete with clunky overexplanation of every single piece of technology, no matter how mundane, with which the characters interact.

The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg is such a story. It is the story of a couple arguing at the breakfast table told as if it were a hard science fiction story of the 1950s.

I would like to thank Wikipedia and the Internet for providing an overview of the science and technology behind many common household objects.

I would also like to apologise to the brilliant German comedian Vicco von Bülow a.k.a. Loriot for borrowing the plot of his famous skid Das Frühstücksei (The Breakfast Egg). However, since the borrowing was done for the purpose of satire, I suspect Loriot would not mind. Perhaps he would even smile.

The Four and a Half Minute Boiled Egg

A Not Really SF Short Story

Bertha awoke to the shrill beeping of her alarm clock. She opened her eyes to see the numbers six zero zero edged into the clock face, in truth a display of so-called liquid crystals, that is matter in a state which has properties between those of conventional liquids and solid crystals.

What was more, the alarm clock was so accurate that it would neither gain nor lose a single second in an estimated one hundred and thirty eight million years, for it was controlled via a radio signal received from an atomic clock which measured time using the microwave signals that the electrons in a caesium atom emitted while changing energy levels at near absolute zero temperatures.