0 words. Running total is still 50,067 words.
Alright so since I was past the word count I felt like doing something intentionally constrained. This story arguably sets a new world record for "World's shortest science fiction story", which was previously held by Forrest J. Ackerman, whose 1973 story entitled "Cosmic Report Card: Earth" read, in its entirety:
Well... actually it depends how you count it. Using the same word counting option in Notepad++ I've been using this whole month, this story supposedly counts as 5 words, because the HTML tags count. But that also means every other story this month has been overcounted too? So I might need to actually do some more writing and recount?
The hard part with this one was the title, naturally. I went through a few dozen possibilities and I still wouldn't say I'm 100% committed to this one. There are some constraints on the superscript number: in many fonts, particularly the font used here on qntm.org right now, the superscript digits ⁰¹²³⁴⁵⁶⁷⁸⁹ do not all look the same!
I also considered presenting this as a 17776 parody, entitled "What Will Football Look Like In 10¹⁷⁷⁷⁶?" or something, but although "17776 fan fiction" is an item on my potential list of ideas, I think the joke would be a little too cheap.
Agree that this one didn’t seem to go anywhere. But I do think it shows promise and could still have a useful offshoot that might develop into something interesting. I mean the _concepts_ are great but I just felt that the plot dragged, and the writing didn’t really carry it along well.
If I were to make a first suggestion, it might be simply adding some letters and words
I think https://qntm.org/joke is a bit funnier than this because the punchline doesn't take as long :P
Next step: Is it possible to write a story with -1 words?
Incidentally, I was reminded a bit of this https://joshworth.com/dev/pixelspace/pixelspace_solarsystem.html
I'm suddenly imagining something like the exploding unstable minos in Tetris Effect Connected (https://youtu.be/olQFfRjCOz0?t=32), except instead of removing blocks, it's removing words from the title and navbar :P