The Rewilder wakes and finds himself alone, residence cube dark. He dresses in a white jumpsuit as the walls brighten. The plasma-touch system displays the date, time, and weather conditions (haze and dust will be thick today, and air acidity is up 200 PPM). With a tap he turns the panel before him reflective, with another he summons the news. He shaves morning stubble hearing about tensions between East Dome and West Dome. He brushes his teeth watching trailers for new Sense-Sim™ games and interactive movies. He thinks about sending Molly a message, but looks at the chat box too long and regrets having sent her three the night before. She has yet to respond.
Dad was always the strong one. The one who held the family together, the one who kept Mom from going over the edge when Katherine disappeared. Dad coaxed her back out of herself, out of the valium fog. Got her to walk, got her to read, to take two bites of a six-hour meal. Dad was the rock on which we built our whatever. It must have been his hobbies—piles of Hemingway, half-drafted blueprints, sawdust and woodwork, an endless succession of fly rods. He could center himself and bring us into orbit.
So I guess we should have noticed. When he started me tying his flies, stopped carving and then left his shop altogether, when he started The Old Man and the Sea at breakfast and hadn’t made it to the marlin by dinnertime. I know I should have noticed. Not that it would have helped.
I was lucky enough, though, coming back when I did.
Somewhere in rural America, mother and child enjoyed great outdoor scenery–ravishing rolling grasslands nestling a sparkling clean river. Mother laid down her giggling infant, wandered off barefoot to explore the soothing caresses of the river’s cool waters, blissfully unaware of unfamiliar things lurking behind her, inexorably honing in on her child.
It was Eighthday night, and the card tables in the seedy Rift Beta Niner casino were hopping. Martin “Cutshanks” LeCroix looked down at his chips and grimaced through his funjuice buzz. The stocky, gray-haired space pirate had only enough chips for one more hand, and nowhere enough to cover the credit he’d been advanced by the house. If he busted this round, he was out, and flat broke. In the lawless Rift Zone, that meant only one thing: indenture.
Walk as though you are accustomed to firm ground beneath your feet. Shake your hair loose. Let your arms swing away from your body. Increase the length of your strides as though you’ve spent your entire life surrounded by abundant space, more space than could ever be explored or exhausted—but keep your head down, because here on Earth you are not a free woman of the New Cities; you are a subject of the Perpetual Empire.
The clown, the clown of Hartford Downs,
Give him a smile, he’ll come on around.
My name is Charles Pierce, and I hunt clowns.
Allow me to explain.
The submersible floated down through the midnight-blue depths like a falling star. Unlike Earth, the waters of Tethys were still pure and unpolluted. With no habitable land to speak of, it remained untouched by the surge of humanity settling new worlds, of interest only to scientists and prospectors.
“Look.” Jon tapped the screen showing the view from the front cameras.
Waking up with someone pounding on your door is never pleasant, especially when it’s the police. Granted, the sun was climbing toward noon and most decent people were awake, carrying on with their mundane lives, but when you’re the low woman on the physics supercomputer access list you take your research hours where you can find them. Even if that means working until four in the morning.
The wizard Atlas Sparks was lounging around his apartment on East 11th Street listening to records. In a few hours, he would be kicked out of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark’s Place for trying to destroy the world. Continue reading STRANGE REMEMBRANCES — Frank Smith
While she sleeps she dreams of cold. Deep cold that clings to the nostrils and whiskers, cold that seeps into the ears. Not the cold of home, but the cold of the between place. The dark place, with its distant, tiny lights. She moves through the cold, but it is not her cold. It is a cold without snow.