[LMB] OT: unicyclos and wheelbarrows

Matija Grabnar lmb at matija.com
Sun Jul 25 11:31:51 BST 2021

On 25/07/2021 08:37, Markus Baur via Lois-Bujold wrote:
> sorry - i do not get the reference ..
> please explain

*** Spoilers for story published in 1956 ***

It's a reference to a short story Allamagoosa by Eric Frank Russel.

In the story, they are doing an inventory check of a spaceship, and they 
realize they are missing an Offog. Nobody knows what on Offog is, just 
like we don't know what "Unicyclos" was. But they need to explain why 
they no longer have it. They try various stratagems, but in the end they 
notify HQ that their Offog was destroyed in an anomalous gravitational 

Shortly after they send that message, the whole fleet gets grounded for 
a major safety incident (a very big deal), and they get directed to 
immediately assist in the investigation: Offog was a typo, it should be 
"Official Dog", and HQ needs to immediately determine how an official 
dog could get disintegrated in an anomalous gravity field.

I wish there was an unspoilerly way to tell you about it, so you could 
conceivably track down the story and enjoy the final reveal, but the 
phrase official dog was in the original message, and that very phrase is 
the spoiler.

> servus
> markus
> Am 25.07.2021 um 08:17 schrieb Matija Grabnar via Lois-Bujold:
>> On 25/07/2021 01:55, Batwrangler wrote:
>>> Unicyclos could have been the name of the official dog? ;)
>> I got that reference! I laugh every time I think of that short story.

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