1107: Secret of Evermore The Novel – One Shot

Title: Secret of Evermore The Novel
Author:  Hal Emmerich
Media: Video Game
Topic: Secret of Evermore
Genre: Adventure
URL: Secret of Evermore The Novel
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Swenia

“Okay, Taco, so what have we got this- where is he? Hold on, one of his notes.”

*Swenia snags the note off the keyboard and opens it*

It’s always a good idea to break up a long fic with a one-shot break. Since you need the break more than I do, I figured I’d let you get the full effect of the one-shot cleansing and do the next few riffs solo. I’ll see you again in four to six weeks.


“I see. One moment, patrons.”

*Swenia picks the glitter covered handset off the inter-office phone bank*

“Eliza, I need to talk to Taco. Can you dig him up for me? He’s probably in Crunchy’s volcano lair. You know, the room where Crunchy keeps his sweet gaming rig. Great! Thanks, girl.”

*Swenia hangs up and moments later Taco comes flying through the door and lands in a heap*

“So, you can either keep doing your ‘compulsive-buyer challenge’ run in Borderlands Two, or you can keep your spleen.”

Hmmm… how necessary is the spleen again?

“Just get in the damn chair.”


*Taco takes his seat*

So this week we start in on one of my patented one-shot breaks. It’ll probably last about a month, as they usually do, then we’ll be right back into The Eighth Spirit to finish off the second half.

“That there is a whole half of that fic left is very depressing.”

Well, a bit more actually. The chapters start getting longer past the midway point.


Anyway, this week we’ve got a shot fic based on The Secret of Evermore, a Super Nintendo game released in 1995. The Secret of Evermore is a Squaresoft game that is regarded as the spiritual successor of Secret of Mana, though not a direct sequel. It’s one of the better games for the SNES and did quite a bit to improve upon many of the things that the Secret of Mana didn’t get quite right, such as the horrible weapon reach of melee weapons. At the time it wasn’t well received by everyone because the art style and story direction were much different from Mana (understandable given the North American development), but has since recovered from this aesthetic shock and now tends to be included when talking about the best games for the SNES. And deservedly so, because it’s a fantastic game. Maybe not top 10 on the SNES, but definitely top 50.

It’s an isomorphic action-adventure RPG that’s based in the world of Evermore, a dream-land construct created by Professor Ruffleburg. To cut the story short, since it doesn’t really matter for the fic, things go wrong and Evermore is split into several regions, each themed to one of the guests of the Professor who came to the unveiling of his invention. You play a young boy and his dog who wander too close to the remnants of the machine and are dragged into Evermore. Adventure follows.

Unfortunately it currently isn’t being offered for the virtual console, so if you want to play it your only options are either getting an original cartridge for about twenty-five dollars or using a ROM.

None of that matters for this fic though. This Fic, ostentatiously labeled “Secret of Evermore The Novel” is a one-chapter, 915-word tour de force chronicling… yeah, I can’t keep that up. This thing is just bad. It’s short, vague, and formatted horribly. Let’s just start where we always do, the summary:

When Professor Ruffelburg, reknowned eccentric genius, creates a machine to create the world of ones dreams, will it be a nightmare?

Meh, not terrible, but not great. Misspelled two words, forgot an apostrophe, and the phrasing is a bit awkward, but far from the worst summary we’ve seen here. What does the fic have for us?

Chapter 1: The Experiment

Not a bad name. Short, sweet, and to the point. Unnecessary since you can name chapters within FF.net’s chapter navigator, but not terrible. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this fic isn’t so bad.

Cast of Characters:


Yes, Swenia.

“Why is there a cast list in the first chapter?”

Oh, didn’t I mention that? All great novels have a cast list as the hook of the first chapter.


Professor Sidney Ruffelburg:


Hey, Professor. Sorry the author keeps spelling your last name wrong.

A local scientist, unknown to anyone but the local well to do who lives in a large mansion on Evermore drive in Podunk.


I know, I know. Awkward and vague as hell.

“Not to mention red-”

*Alarm blares*

“Yeah, that.”

*Swenia pulls a Maliwan plasma caster out of her shirt*

So, did the PCC give you the bra, or the whole top?

“A woman has to keep a few secrets.” *Swenia saunters out of the room*

-[One scene of cell-shaded violence later]-

*Swenia stands her gun in the corner and retakes her seat*

His uncle was a famous oil tycoon who left him his earnings after his timely demise on a visit to the estate.

“Which doesn’t seem suspicious at all.”

At least the death was punctual. I hate it when people can’t hold to the schedule.

It was suspected the uncle was murdered, but the crime went unsolved.

“It was because they did not exercise the little gray cells.”

I see you’ve been borrowing my Netflix access again.

“FrozenPoodle watches a lot of really good detective shows. I’ve been sniping her viewing history for things to watch.”

Perhaps one of the few working inventions he has on his side is the robotic butler Carltron.

The hell does the Professor’s robotic butler taking his side of things have to do with the murder!? And what IS the professor’s side of things, anyway?

“Maybe it’s not getting murdered.”

Well, that is a pretty good stance.



Hey Carltron. I’ll spoil the ending for everyone: Caltron is super-evil and is the mastermind behind everything that goes wrong in Evermore.

“The butler did it! Who would have guessed!?”

The professors robotic butler.

For crap’s sake, author! Use the possessive apostrophe!

Carltron is truely remarkable, being invented before even the ERMAC prototype computer was released.

“The hell is ERMAC?”

You got me, I don’t remember it from the game and it isn’t a thing in the real world. I’m assuming it’s something the author has added. I’m sure we’ll learn more about it.

“Oh yes, doubtlessly.”

Completed almost 2 months before Professor Ruffelburg got his riches, he is a true tribute to the genius, and perhaps eccentricity, of the Professor.

A shame that there was no way to provide this information in natural-sounding narrative within the body of the story.

Professor: Carltron, would you pass me the voltmeter?

Carltron: Affirmative

*Taco braces*


Well, not totally. It’s in that partial script, partial narrative form. You know, like how all great novels are. Just like Eighth Spirit!  I figured since we were doing one already…

“I loathe you, Taco.”

Professor Ruffelburgs android butler walked over to the other side of the now torn apart laboratory.

“It wasn’t torn apart before?”

Apparently not. Personally, I like that post-typhoon look in the workspace.

Not much to look at to the casual observer, but this was Professor Ruffelbergs latest and greatest achievement, so much moreso then that mobile, self defending toaster he had made a few years ago, or even Carltron himself.


So a disheveled laboratory is his greatest invention?

“The professor likes to keep those life-goals obtainable.”

Around the lab, cables and wires were strewn about, running mostly into a large golden, spherical instrument in the center of the room.

He invented a large gold-colored sphere?

“I’m telling you, obtainable life-goals.”

To either side were four thin towers with glass coils running up to the very top, where there was a steel ball placed.

The professor sure likes to be surrounded in balls.

*Swenia grins at Taco*

Oh shut-up.

The butler bent over and picked up a small rectangular instrument with a guage on the front of it. He adjusted a knob on it, before waddling back over and giving it to the professor.

“‘Can you polish this for me, professor?'”


“Hey, you don’t want to be on ball duty with a dirty knob.”

Oh c’mon!

Professor: Thank you Carltron

Carltron: Affirmative

Good talk.

The professor hooked it into two of the main cables running along the center of the room. The guage leapt to life and pointed to +.21.

“We’re still a whole jigga-watt away from activation!”

How much Netflix do you watch!?

“Breast-feeding gave me a lot of down-time.”

Professor: Carltron take this down, transmission interrupter line 3 is running a little hot, I need you to balance out the voltage before tonights demonstration, otherwise it could be disasterous

Carltron: Affirmative

Thrill as the author invents technobabble!

“Marvel as Carl only says the word, Affirmative!”

A loud ding echoed through the halls of the Ruffelburg Estate.

‘So, we threw the invention in the microwave to see if it would work better and for some reason it exploded.’

Professor: That would be my date squares, Carltron, I’m going to go prepare for our guests tonight, I’ve invited the well-to-do of the entire town. You stay here and fix that error while I check on the meal.

“Authors, if you ever find yourself referring to a group of supporting characters as “the well-to-do” of a town you haven’t yet established, you might have issues with vagueness.”

So, we’re transitioning from poorly described tinkering in a void-filled lab to the professor preparing a meal.

“The lack of pacing so far is to ease the audience into the fast-paced scene of the professor discovering he overcooked the date bars.”

That’s going to be wild!

With that, the professor waddled out of the lab and down a long passageway. He emerged in a large study with quantum physics books strewn across the room, and one bookshelf held out of place by a hydraulic system.

“He’s got a secret lab! He lives alone, why does he have a secret lab?”

Well, he is an eccentric old coot, so he probably just wanted to have one. To be fair, if I were independently wealthy, I’d make a secret lab.

The orange sunset light from the large arched windows cast into the room as he headed over to the side and pulled on the book “Secret passages for dummies”. With a loud hissing noise the hydraulic system started to retract, sealing the passage off concealed behind the bookshelf.


Author, that’s not how humor works.

Professor: Now where -are- those date squares!

“How do you lose something that you’re in the middle of cooking?”

Robotic oven.

The professor walked away from the bookshelf, not even noticing Elizabeth sitting in the corner of the room quietly reading a paper on prehistoric life.

Dude just critically failed a spot check.

She couldn’t help but look up to see the professor’s look of joy.


That’s creeper than I thought it’d be.

She spoke up in a sweet, yet intelligent tone.

If you have to tell the audience that a character is intelligent, then they probably come off as being the opposite.

Elizabeth: I’m a tad curious, you’ve been down in that lab day and night for the last 3 months, exactly what is it that has you so enthralled?

Gods forbid that an eccentric scientist enjoy his work.

“You know, if she’s so interested, why isn’t she down there helping? He left the door wide open!”

If she did that, we might have to be shown something.

The professor turned to her, blinking a bit in surprise but nodding knowingly.

The hell? Why would he nod knowingly to that question? I mean, of course he knows the answer, but why would he nod sagaciously to that question?

“Maybe he’s trying to confuse her enough that she drops the topic.”

He raised his finger as if to point to something.

“But he wasn’t pointing at anything because that’s how pointing works. You can point without pointing at something so long as you frmgrmlhrg.”

Professor: .. That.. my dear.. is a dream come true.

With these cryptic words he went back to his chore of remembering which room in the house was the kitchen.

See, it gets to be cryptic because, despite being a painfully obvious pun, we’re TOLD that it’s cryptic, so it tots is!

“Riting is eazy!”

Elizabeth merely blinked and went back to her novel, trying to think of the last time she had seen her grandfather act so joyfully.

You mean she went back to her novel that was previously a paper on prehistoric life? Author, it’s literally an inch above where this sentence is!

“The professor appears to be of the standard bubbly, eccentric old-man archetype. If she can’t remember the last time he was like this, then her memory must be pretty lousy.”

Back in the lab, Carltron was busy at work on the main panel.

Which panel is that one, again?

“You know, the main one. It’s next to the not main one.”

His eyes glowed red against the dim glow of the flourescent lighting in the room and the varying colors of lights found across the room.

“So the professor’s secret project is a laser-rave in his basement?”

It’s something that needs the utmost secrecy lest his neighbors discover it.

He took a quick look around, then walked over to a large towering computer the size of a car on its side, and opened up one of the panels.


So, would that be the not main panel that he just opened?

“No, silly, the not main panel is over there by the main panel. This is the big computer panel. See, it’s very distinct from the other panels.”

Slowly moving his finger over the categorized circutry, his hand came to rest on circut A-23. He moved his hand to the small lever to its left, and pushed it down, causing the board to dislodge slightly.

How can something so short feel like it’s taking so long to read!?

His mechanical hand whirred and gripped the board and pulled it out, then replaced it with a similar labelled board that was no where near the construct of the original.

Which is going to cause problems because if it’s a completely different construction, it isn’t going to interface with the backplane correctly. Not to mention all the issues with non-matched impedance and ground paths!

“This is what we’ve come to. Engineering humor.”

It snapped into place and the lever clicked into locked position. A blinking green light turned on above it and beeped for a few moments before turning red with a small buzzer sounding. After a moment, Carltron closed the panel and twisted the handle to lock it into position.

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Much generic sinister shenanigans.

“A better villain would have made this board identical to the other and behave the exact same way except when the right moment comes.”

To be fair, given the apparent lack of observational skills of the professor, this board could be out in the open and labeled “Totally not the evil board that causes the plot” and the professor would still miss it.

Carltron: The problem has been resolved

And the date bars are burning since the Professor can’t find them!

Carltron turned and headed out of the laboratory. Within his glass red eye, a small surge of electricity arced through the pupil.

“It’s just good eccentric inventor practice to include red LED’s in the eyes of your robots just in case they go evil.”

It’s all about about maintaining those standards.

Well, thats the first in my hopefully long line of the novelization of Secret Of Evermore.

“Wait, is this still the narrative?”

Uhh, I think it’s an author’s note, but there’s nothing that really sets it apart.

“So the author actually thought that this small chapter fragment counted as a full novelization?”

I… guess?

I hope i’ve peaked your interest with this first chapter.

My interest remains very valleyed.

“Mine is sink-holed.”

Please read and review, I need to know if i’m doing a good job or not :P.

You are very, very not. The emoticon just reinforces that you are very not good at author.

I know its short, but hey, size doesn’t always matter :).

“True, but the sex is better when… wait didn’t I make that joke last week?”

You did. Strange that we’d see the same sentiment from two different bad authors in adjoining weeks.

“Yeah, weird.”

“It also feels weird not having to restrain you at the end of the riff.”

Yeah, I almost don’t know what to do with myself. So, I guess… we end it for the week?

“Yeah… I guess we do.”


21 Comments on “1107: Secret of Evermore The Novel – One Shot”

  1. Herr Wozzeck says:

    All great novels have a cast list as the hook of the first chapter.


    Taco, I have a little gift for you. It’s a very… how should I say? explosive gift…

  2. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Carltron is truely remarkable, being invented before even the ERMAC prototype computer was released.

    “The hell is ERMAC?”

    You got me, I don’t remember it from the game and it isn’t a thing in the real world. I’m assuming it’s something the author has added. I’m sure we’ll learn more about it.

    Why the hell would anyone name a computer after that one Mortal Combat character?

    • TacoMagic says:

      Actually, since this fic was out before Ermac was a character, I think the more apt question is: Why are the Mortal Kombat developers naming their characters after supercomputers featured in bad fanfiction?

      • TacoMagic says:

        Actually, I had my dates mixed up, Ermac was a character before this fic was published.

        So yeah, maybe it is supposed to be a reference to the MK character. Weird link to make, but I guess we’ve seen weirder.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        One of the robot ninjas would’ve made for a better reference point, so… Yeah.

  3. Herr Wozzeck says:


    And it’s dubbed a novel, too. You have to wonder if this guy stopped writing this fic because he then picked up an actual novel and realized that his title was false advertising…

  4. Herr Wozzeck says:

    I’ve invited the well-to-do of the entire town.

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I want to himPutting’ On The Ritz now…

  5. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Author, that’s now how humor works.

    Uh, Taco, are you well? I think you went insane from the hot sauce I gave you…

  6. Herr Wozzeck says:

    I know its short, but hey, size doesn’t always matter :).

    Not that we don’t appreciate your lack of apologizing for a short chapter, but that only holds true if there’s any substance behind it. Which this one does not.

    Like, at all.

  7. agigabyte says:

    That’s creeper than I thought it’d be.

  8. GhostCat says:

    Well, he is an eccentric old coot, so he probably just wanted to have one. To be fair, if I were independently wealthy, I’d make a secret lab.

    Secret lab, secret kitchen – I’d have a whole secret house inside my regular house.

    • "Lyle" says:

      Like the Winchester Mystery House, you never know where you’ll end up if you open the right door to nowhere.

  9. "Lyle" says:

    “The lack of pacing so far is to ease the audience into the fast-paced scene of the professor discovering he overcooked the date bars.”

    When did Kronk get here?

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