I found my friend Desmond Kean at the northeast corner of the penthouse viewing terrace, assembling a telescope with which to look at the world below. He took a metal cylinder holding a lens and screwed it into the side of the telescope, then put his eye to the lens, the picture of concentrated absorption. How often I had found him like this in recent months! It made me shiver a little; this new obsession of his, so much more intense than the handmade clocks, or the stuffed birds, or the geometric proofs, seemed to me a serious malady.
My mother was a colony ship. For one revolution of the galaxy, a quarter of a billion years, she carried her creators between the stars. At the end of that time, all the creators had died. My mother drifted aimlessly through space. After a hundred million years of traveling alone and empty, her drifting brought her to Earth.
People in modern times don’t like to acknowledge that some of us Radicals are nomad. They interpret that as rogue and dangerous. If you think it’s hard for us now, it was much worse during the turf wars—especially if you weren’t integrated. When Tommy died I became uni—unintegrated—and that usually means nomad. I belonged to no Streak, had no chief and no Fuses to protect me. It wasn’t overnight.
Sitting on the sun-warmed step at the end of her workday, Birha laid her hand on the dog’s neck and let her mind drift. Like a gyre-moth finding the center of its desire, her mind inevitably spiraled inward to the defining moment of her life. It must be something to do with growing old, she thought irritably, that all she did was revisit what had happened all those years ago.
Something is eating the starship Stephen W. Hawking, chewing it slowly and efficiently to pieces. Hurtling through hyperspace, or merely hanging suspended therein (who can really tell about hyperspace?), the vessel has become entangled with an unknown entity that exhibits at least one recognizable attribute: curiosity.stev
Ella sat by Nana’s body for two days before she pushed it out the window. She had spent the first half-day realizing what death was, the next half-day grieving, the following morning waking and feeling reverent if somewhat nauseated, and trying to decide what to do. It was three in the morning when she finally did it, and it was almost the season of electric rains.
I wait outside the speaking chamber, where the young Speakers learn to Hear and Speak. The walls and carpeted floor are purest white, the color of this God place and the Speakers who live here walk by, all dressed in white like the walls and the floor, their palms on the shoulders of their guides.
You remember the day they came. The shady corner behind the store smelled of Lou’s cigarettes and the dumpster down the alley, just shy of pick-up day and overflowing already. You chewed your sandwich and stared at the weeds growing through the asphalt. The day was stifled by summer heat and suffocating humidity, too bright and too hazy all at once. A shadow passed overhead. You looked up.
Carefully, with gloved hands, she removed the object from its stone niche, where it had rested for centuries deep underground, inside the dormant volcano where the mysterious Icelandic cult that guarded it made its home. It hardly weighed anything.
The driver, head covered by a half-assed turban, smiles a little too much, and when he yes-ma’ams you and no-ma’ams you, you can be lulled into thinking he actually works for you.