AFE: He Came from Planet Faulkner: A look at the real Dr. Walters

As highly reliable History Channel documentaries often tell us, aliens are everywhere in today’s culture. While such thoughts are often shrugged off as mere fantasies, perhaps part of the reason aliens have been able to integrate into our society is because they can change their appearance to resemble our own. This allows them to infiltrate every corner of human life, even here, where we least expect it—William Jewell College. For aliens’ true forms can range from strangely colored horses to sentient gemstones that project human appearances…or even exact clones of famed Mississippi novelist William Faulkner.

On any average day, you can find English department chair Dr. Mark Walters in his office full of yellowing books. Like any professor, though, he holds office hours only at certain times, and when the Monitor set out to discover why his office closes, we found nothing remarkable. However, one of our investigators disappeared without a trace after visiting Dr. Walters’ office, which prompted further inquiry.

Many students who claim to know what Faulkner looks like say that they have seen Dr. Walters transforming into a mirror image of the late author behind closed doors. Before, it was commonly assumed that his encyclopedic knowledge of Faulkner was due to rigorous study, but our assumptions line up with the recent discovery of a new planet known as Yoknapatawpha (the ability to spell this word correctly on the first try is a surefire sign that the person you are talking to is an extraterrestrial being). Bearing the name of Faulkner’s fictional Mississippi County, NASA states that Yoknapatawpha residents are strapped into reading chambers from young ages and are consistently asked to interpret, or occasionally quote, the entire Benjy section of “The Sound and the Fury.” Any and all attempts to differentiate oneself from Faulkner, such as dying one’s hair or pursuing a career in engineering, are considered capital crimes.

While all these signs point to Walters—or “Quentin Snopes” as he is called in his home world—being a victim of a repressive system, there are still multiple questions to be answered. He is a well-respected member of the Jewell community, alien or not, and so answering these questions will not bring him any harm—and may even improve human understanding of other worlds. Why, for instance, did he escape from Yoknapatawpha to teach Faulkner at a liberal arts college? Is this an intentionally malicious act or merely a normal interplanetary exchange system on Yoknapatawpha?

And most important of all—did Yoknapatawpha really base their society on Faulkner, or was he just the first human they—


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