For this week’s SSS, I bring you an excerpt from On the Border, my short story inspired by a presentation by Russell Kirkpatrick, New Zealand fantasy author and self-proclaimed map geek.
“Do you know what you are asking me to do?” he said. “There will be consequences. The Book will demand it.”
Maeve bent down and whispered in his ear like a lover, her knuckles whitening around her sword hilt.
“Tell me, little man,” she said. What will happen?”
Week Three’s Famous Person’s Six Sentences come from another all-time top ten favourite novels. I remember with distinct displeasure the circumstances that led me to be browsing an airport bookstore for a time-filler (it’s a long story, involving a freak rainstorm, all land routes out of the capital city washed out, a three month old baby on one side of the main road slip and a painfully lactating mother on the other). How fortuitous that this book turned out to be so good – almost like the Universe was saying, ‘here ya go, here’s a little something to make up for the crap I’ve put you through over the last twelve hours.”
What was happening was death.
A crowd milled near the entrance to the Rainbow Lounge. All sorts of garishly coloured dittos – specialized and home-modified for pleasure or ritual combat – shifted and murmured in confusion, denied entry to their favourite hang-out by ribbons of glare tape that shimmered to eye-hurting rhythms, sending keep away messages straight to the golem fibers threading their clay bodies.
A female-shaped red stood in the entryway. Wearing dark glasses. Explaining patiently as Palloid and I drew near.
The author has won several Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and has a doctorate in astrophysics (yeah, that’s what I’d do if I had a doctorate in astrophysics, too – write kick-ass science fiction novels). The back cover blurb on this book begins – “Al Morris is a private investigator. Actually, he’s lots of private investigators. For he lives in a world of disposable clones, a world of dittos.”
The prize for correctly guessing the author and title? The satisfaction of knowing that you are right.