Last week’s celebrity six sentences were an excerpt from ‘The Scar’ by China Miéville. ‘The Scar’ is set in the world that Miéville created in ‘Perdido Street Station’ and explored further in ‘Iron Council’. Most of the story takes place on a floating city populated by conscripts and runaways from New Crobuzon (for more on ‘The Scar’, see SF Reviews.Net or Strange Horizons).
My six sentences come from the story ‘A Good Trade’. The publication in which this first appeared, ‘Staffs and Starships’, died after its debut issue, so I’m glad this story gets another chance at gaining an audience in ‘Ghosts Can Bleed’.
Nadia does not say exactly when her prophecy will be fulfilled, but then, she never does. I will not see you again, she said. My first, crazed, impulse is to thwart her prophecy by merely avoiding her company, but I cannot bear the thought of living out my remaining days hiding in cowardice from a frail and harmless woman. So I seek a glorious death, taking a small hunting party with horses, hawks and nets into the mountains in search of gryphons.
It is said that if a gryphon finds you captivating enough, it will not kill you, but will only take a little of your blood, and might even grant you a wish in return, and in one desperate corner of my mind I hope that a gryphon’s blessing might be powerful enough to override Nadia’s prophecy. I tense my neck at every sudden sound, expecting at any moment to feel talons tearing into my flesh, but the day ends without so much as a glimpse of a gryphon.
About the only link between my six sentences and the celebrity six sentences this week is that both stories feature a wife – and that should give you a clue as to the title of the latter book. It was adapted into a movie starring Eric Bana and that annoyingly perfect girl from ‘Wedding Crashers’.
Sometimes you feel euphoric. Everything is sublime and has an aura, and suddenly you are intensely nauseated and then you are gone. You are throwing up on some suburban geraniums, or your father’s tennis shoes, or your very own bathroom floor three days ago, or a wooden sidewalk in Oak Park, Illinois, circa 1903, or a tennis court on a fine autumn day in the 1950’s, or your own naked feet in a wide variety of times and places.
How does it feel?
It feels exactly like one of those dreams in which you suddenly realize that you have to take a test you haven’t studied for and you aren’t wearing any clothes. And you’ve left your wallet at home.