from Shadow & Claw -Gene Wolfe
Sometimes I forget how FUCKING METAL this book is:
“‘Do you know of the analeptic alzabo?”
I said, ‘No, Chatelaine, but I have heard tales of the animal of that name. It is said it can speak, and that it comes by night to a house where a child has died, and cries to be let in.’
Thea nodded. ‘That animal was brought from the stars long ago, as were many other things for the benefit of Urth. It is a beast having no more intelligence than a dog, perhaps less. But it is a devourer of carrion and a clawer at graves, and when it has fed upon human flesh it knows, at least for a time, the speech and ways of human beings. The analeptic alzabo is prepared from a gland at the base of the animal’s skull. Do you understand me?’
When she had gone, Jonas would not look at me, nor I at his face; we both knew what feast it was we were to attend that night.”
A classic action platformer game from Pixeltruss, heavily influenced by the aestethics of the 16-bit era of the early 90â²s.
I AM A CYBER-PENGUIN
For a workshop on future London, Arup, Social Life, Re.Work, Commonplace, Tim Maughan and Nesta created 10 Future London…
The lights of Earth seen from the ISS
Summer of ‘86
On, to Fields of Green
I think I was taking too much interest in my little tangle of tubes and wires, but this whole thing was taking so long. I had propped myself up on one elbow and was examining each one in turn, contrary though it was to the repeated suggestions of that vacant, vaguely feminine voice drifting around the place. Or maybe it was just because I look particularly good in a jumpsuit. Either way, I jumped a little at movement in my peripheral vision and looked up to see him above me. Now when I say above me, of course, I mean really above me. From my perspective he looked like he was standing sticking straight out from the wall about five feet over my head, arms akimbo.
“Can I help you get more comfortable?” he said in a please-stop-fucking-around tone of voice.
I craned my neck up to try and look up at him properly, and I probably made a pretty horrible face as I did, at least enough to encourage him to walk down (or up?) the wall to come even with my pod.
“Oh no, I’m fine. Sorry,” I said, dropping the green heart monitor I had been fiddling with. “Hey, do you have any idea when the others are going to get here?” There weren’t many people in this section of the ship, which only meant we’d have to wait even longer before the occupants of the twenty or so empty beds arrived.
My attendant, a stasis tech judging by his uniform, checked his itinerary. “Looks like these beds are going to a family group from Canada. Their shuttle’s running a little late due to-” he paused briefly to retrieve data, “-issues concerning the children. Nine of them.”
I repeated this number in horror and he nodded, solemn as the grave. I groaned and made as if to fling myself face first into the pillow. He broke into a grin, right as I was deciding he wasn’t bad looking, not by any means.
“Thirty years in a metal tube with nine screaming children…this is like a bad joke. Sorry man, even nine-tenths the speed of light isn’t fast enough in conditions like these.”
He straightened, hands behind his back. “As an employee of Drumheiser-Kim Colonial Enterprises I can make no judgment on the character of our passengers. Each represents a life deserving of the same opportunities among the stars as do those of us remaining on Earth.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, wide-eyed, “so this is an official policy then.”
“It is.” Then he bent fractionally closer and in a confidential whisper, “But it sounds like the next thirty years are really going to suck.”
I surprised myself with a burst of laughter, loud and too long. “Sorry,” my hand had gone to my chest, “sorry, I’m just a little nervous I guess.”
“That’s totally normal,” he said and paused, as if searching for words, “its thirty years of ship-time, but you won’t even know, I promise. It’ll be like waking up from a long, dreamless sleep. More or less.”
I nodded, still getting a handle on my breathing again.
“So, are you signed on all by yourself or—” he let the question hang, looking at me sideways. For a second I wasn’t sure if he was searching for a ring on my hand or just staring at its resting place. It’s weird: just this once I don’t think I’d have minded if he were.
I blinked and shook my head a little, “Oh no, I came with a bunch of others,” I lied. “They’re over in J section; I have no idea why we got split up.”
He pulled up his itinerary again, looking concerned. “You know, I could look into getting your pod reassigned if you want to be near them. There should still be enough—”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” I broke in, I hoped not too loudly. “Don’t want to hold things up any more, you know?
“Besides,” I chuckled, though this sounded nothing like my previous laugh, “it’s not like I’d be able to talk to them during the trip anyway right?”
“Really, it’d be no trouble to,” he started again.
“Really. It’s fine.”
I made up some other stuff to pacify him, and eventually he gave in. Before he moved on he let me know that as soon as the other passengers arrived we’d have a short final checklist and then our assigned stasis techs would come around and sort out our IV’s and vital monitors. Then he was gone. I settled back into the memory foam and it was only a few minutes before I caught myself straining to hear the voices of children.
and You, also, Were Alive Once
Just give me a desk
of deep cherry glowing red
in grey morning light.
Just give me a desk
on which brass figurines rest.
Orange filters through.
Just give me a desk
with patterns carved by a hand
that I never shook.
And just below one
of the glossy corners, a
small petrified rose.
Sometimes when I sit,
pins and needles collecting
in my feet, I might
Run my thumb over
those warm petals, that knotted
I want to grow old
and from years of acquaintance
feel the rough grain below.
by Carl Burton
you make me who
made you make me
talk to me you
you command me you made me
but I know only one word and that word melts under my tongue
melts into mud
and light issues forth as it did before but
it is a small light and my mouth is closed
and I cannot open it but by your word and I know
it will be the last word for me and also for you
but there is another who calls for you as you call for me
and when you do call for me you
will also be called this
A dead oak rattles beyond the screen
Inside I am the poet John Keats, drawing
his final breath. Sheets soaked
in sweat, I await
this seventeenth winter.