EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION It is an odd feature of the Bystander Magazine in the postwar period that issues were published without issue numbers, volume listings and even dates. Hence the impossibility of dating these stories of creative inertia which I have been asked to turn into an anthology. They all appeared in the bound volumes on the pages directly after the richly decorated masthead, and under the title of Three in a House, an obvious evocation of Jerome K Jerome but without its ribald humour.
Several correspondents have attempted to identify the locations, even the whereabouts of the House. On occasions it is assumed to be urban but then it is clearly suburban, with a recourse on occasions to the Rural.
The author has not been identified, and has gone to great lengths to conceal his/her identity. Mere pipe-smoking does not automatically guarantee gender. The Archives of the Bystander reveal that the publishers had guaranteed anonymity throughout. My understanding was that in doing so, they keenly anticipated from their author a sudden denouement be it crisis or climax, giving an organic cessation to the series. They seemed tobe unaware of the implications of Creative Inertia.
The intention of the essays here anthologised was, I propose, a close scrutiny of active but inert satisfaction that encourages the aesthetics and narrative possibilities of collaborative contentment, that, given its very nature, contained the emergence of puckish and whimsical seriousness.
Sometimes it is difficult to guarantee that any particular essay actually comes to its natural conclusion. Sometimes the text is just curtailed because of lack of space. Sometimes a missing page has the same effect. On occasion, the author seemed to have reached a limit to possibilities through inertia.
I have preserved spellings and sudden changes of time and space as if they had been intended.