“Some enthusiasts favour inflation. It's cheap, simple and as near as your local filling station. But there's a very serious risk of being carried away, as many inflation writers have discovered. Many promising young ladies have exploded at the hands of the inflation addicts. That's if they haven't drifted away over the rooftops…”

     Research and Development newsletter, Issue #1

A shocking state of affairs, to be sure, but largely apocryphal. Best as I've been able to determine, this issue went out sometime around September, 1995. At the time, popping stories were pretty much non-existent. Certainly there was a lot of talk about it, and writers would often hint that an explosive outcome was a possibility, but it never actually happened. The first popping stories wouldn’t appear until 1997.

Nailing down the timing of various “firsts” in the inflation community is admittedly tricky. In many cases I’m writing purely from memory, since I have very few records of what happened twenty years ago. So I’ll do the best that I can, and I fully acknowledge that the passage of time has likely introduced inaccuracies into my account.


“Where’s the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!”
    — Marvin the Martian


It wasn’t until I met Champagne Moon that I seriously considered writing a popping story. Miss Moon was a big fan of popping and quite disappointed by the lack of such stories. We discussed the subject at length, covering much of the same ground that I had with others in the past.

Inflation fiction was rife with mechanical malfunctions, magical mishaps, accidental overdoses, and other unfortunate happenings that resulted in people blowing up to absurd sizes. It seemed odd that none of these situations resulted in anyone doing what overinflated balloons so often do. Despite so many instance of people inflating out of control, control was always regained before anything too unfortunate happened. There were definitely people interested in such stories, but the subject was controversial enough that nobody was willing to cross that line.

At least that was the case until I encountered Champagne Moon. She had written several stories already, although she hadn’t posted any publicly at that point. She asked me for feedback on her work. The first story she sent me was The Reunion. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already, as it’s a wonderful piece and spoilers lurk ahead. Although if you haven’t read it in the nearly two decades since its release, you’ve nobody but yourself to blame.

She asked me if she’d made it clear enough that Jamie was going to burst. I had to go back and reread it. In retrospect, the hints at Jamie’s impending explosion barely even qualified as hints; it was pretty clear that Bob was out for revenge and Jamie was going to go boom.

What shocked me was that I’d completely missed it. Despite the obviousness of it, it never occurred to me that Jamie might burst because that simply never happened in inflation stories. Any indication that a character might burst carried no weight at all; it was a threat that no author would follow through on.

I encouraged her to release her stories. She encouraged me to write a popping story. In the end, we both prevailed. I convinced her to let me post one of her stories anonymously (eventually she would let me add her name to it). The Ballad of Joe and Moira became the site’s first popping story. She convinced me that popping was a subject worth tackling, helped to a great extent by my reaction to The Reunion. When someone shouted, “Look out, she’s going to explode!” I wanted my readers to be concerned that it could actually happen. This resulted in The Stargazer, the site’s second popping story.

That's how it got started. Afterwards, popping stories began to appear fairly regularly. The rest, as they say, is history.

Average: 5 (7 votes)
85nobdss (not verified)
Articles like this remind me

Articles like this remind me of how young this fetish is. When did it become a thing?

The first story that I

The first story that I remember was one called Bathtime on Wren Spot, if anyone remembers that place. 

I remember popping on Champagne & Balloons

I definitely wrote some stories about it there, but I don't know how many years it has been since that forum was a place people frequented. I wasn't the first though - not even close.

firnov's picture
Intresting post

Intresting post

And boom goes the inflatee

You forgot the colon on the

You forgot the colon on the link to R&D1, causing some browsers to redirect to a possible attack site.

LutherVKane's picture
Thanks. Fixed.

Thanks. Fixed.

Let It Burst: art's revival of tatters

The concept of using tatters to create art has gained even more prominence in the past few years.

Since the 1970s, many art forms have touched on the subject of popping, attempting to subvert societal discomfort with a physiological experience most women have. Coinciding with the women’s liberation movement, pieces such as J.C.’s photolithograph of a woman’s hand touching a shimmering skin stretched to translucency, provoked both awe and disgust.

The show’s thesis is based on work by the radical anthropologist C.K., who, drawing on the ideas of F.E., claims that the transition from primate to human culture was through the discovery of female solidarity. As women supposedly synchronised their poppings to the cycles in tribe's life, men were, in theory, able to go hunting knowing their women wouldn’t be popped by other men.

Looking at this research, you can come to the conclusion that the idea of witches came from these events, where women came together on the dark moon to seclude themselves and pop.

“The first time I poked a person with my pin, I noticed how their tatters interacted with the gust of air. As someone who studied art, I started thinking about Jackson Pollock, so I asked my husband if he could help me photograph it,” she says. The result is an ongoing series of photographs of her popping volunteers creating scattered shapes. She calls it Beauty in Burst.

Lewis wants her photographs to be the starting point for people to confront the stigma that has surrounded popping for decades.

“We are playing with the idea that popping is magic,” says Carn.

Vanessa T. coined the term “burstrala” in 2000 to describe her paintings that used powdered tatters. She echoes what Carn. says about the importance of popping in cycles of renewal. The phrase rhymes with “mandala”, which fits well with the idea of taking in the sky making us whole with the sky, she says, hoping that the name will become a way to unify bursting artists.

(The Incredible Bursting Woman)