On the evening of June 15, I will be reading some short fiction at the KGB Bar in New York City, as part of their monthly “Fantastic Fiction” series. Also appearing is Daniel Braum, whose new collection The Night Marchers looks pretty cool. Maybe I will see you there…or will I? (I always hide in a dark back corner and read in a sourceless voice.)
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“The Finest, Fullest Flowering” has been slated to appear in the June issue of Nightmare Magazine.
Here is the opening:
A sour note shrieked from the limousine’s speakers, making Milston’s fingers curl in his lap. He took a moment to compose himself before rapping precisely, and with a now steady hand, on the glass separating him from the driver. The tone had droned into a hum that tunelessly dreamt of someday becoming hypnotic. “What is this we are listening to, and is there any way to turn it off?”
“Down, sir, but not off, I’m afraid.” The driver lowered the volume to a level barely audible; this was in some respects even more annoying. “Part of the colony’s ambiance, sir. Part of the design. Won’t be much longer though, sir. We’re almost there.”
Baby’s first words: “Reporting for duty!”
–“How many of your memories of the world beyond the border are verifiable?”
–We were the 12th expedition.
—“How calm do you think you might be in an emergency?”
–There were four of us.
—“When I snap my fingers, you will have no memory of this conversation, but will follow my directives.”
–Our mission was simple.
…In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe…
—The brightness washed over me in unending waves and connected me to the earth, the water, the trees, the air, as I opened up and kept on opening.
–Emerging from that space was a foot and the end of a leg, amid a flurry of disrupted sand.
–The sea was ablaze with light, but nothing beautiful here fooled me anymore.
–Vaguely, from some far-off place, I realized that the words on the wall were being infused with sound as well, but that I had not had the capacity to hear it before.
–The smell of lime and mint unexpectedly arose, cutting through the must, the loam.
–We stopped calling back when the intensity of its moans heightened in a way that suggested anger, as if it knew we were mocking it.
–By the time we were ready to cross the border, we knew everything… And we knew nothing.
–I could no more have turned back than have gone back in time.
–I’d had experience enough with lighthouse keepers to know one when I saw one.
–Of all my answers, “Breakfast” annoyed her the most.
–I could not deny that these habitats were transitional in a deeply unnatural way.
–No one ever explained what form “extraction” might take.
–They did not have the will or inclination to clean the kidney-shaped pool.
–I suppose I should have reared back from the microscope in shock.
–“It is a body?” the surveyor said.
–Perhaps it is “merely” a machine.
–The map was the first form of misdirection, for what was a map but a way of emphasizing some things and making other things invisible?
—Consolidation of authority.
–We had all been given self-destruct buttons, but the only one who could push them was dead.
–I’m well beyond you now, and traveling very fast.
(Textler by Marc Laidlaw, based on Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, February 2014)
“The truth is that the Thern have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate the green-skinned Thark and copper-skinned humans of Helium. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of Thark and egg-bearing humans throughout the Martian world.”
That one. That one. That one. That one. No, not that one, that one. The other one. That. Yes. That one. That one. That one. That one. That one was the best. (I know I’m forgetting one.) (Third place was a tie between that one and that one.)
PCG is pleased to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of Poker-Cheating-Ghost Systems: Theory and Application, edited by Professor Ghostmurderer (Institute for Poker-Cheating-Ghost Systems Studies, Nanjing University of Eerionautics and Psionautics, China).
Poker-Cheating-Ghost Systems: Theory and Application is devoted to the international advancement of the theory and application of Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems. It seeks to foster professional exchanges between scientists and practitioners who are interested in the foundations and applications of Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems. Through the pioneering work on Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems completed during the past years, Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems theory has become an important ingredient in the development of information processing.
Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems-based techniques are powerful tools in addressing those systems in which information is partially known and partially unknown, by relying on ghosts willing to leak information to which only ghosts are privy. The theory of Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems now encompasses a rich corpus including Poker-Cheating-Ghost programming, system analysis, Poker-Cheating-Ghost generating, Poker-Cheating-Ghost modelling, Poker-Cheating-Ghost prediction,Poker-Cheating-Ghost decision-making, and Poker-Cheating-Ghost control. Articles that appear in the journal will contain theory and applications of Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems as well as various contributions of hybrid approaches combining Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems with other theories for tackling uncertain information more effectively and efficiently.
The first issue contains eight excellent articles, written by some of the leading academics in the Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems theory and application field:
- Novel models of Poker-Cheating-Ghost relational analysis based on visual angle of similarity and nearness (Liu Fantom, Xie Spooking, Scary Forrest)
- Complete analysis of bankruptcy syndrome using Poker-Cheating-Ghost systems theory (Emil Scaredycat and Camelia Cardtrick)
- Application of Poker-Cheating-Ghost theory approach to evaluation of organizational vision (Scariborz Rahimnia and Scaredi Moghadasian)
- Poker-Cheating-Ghost system model with time lag and application to simulation of karst spring discharge (Boo Yonghong, Wang Nightcrie, Zhao Ghostjuan and Eeri Huamin)
- Reliability of operations of Poker-Cheating-Ghost numbers using kernels (Yang Fright and Liu Haunt)
- p-moment exponential robust stability of Poker-Cheating-Ghost neutral stochastic delay systems (Bu Chunhua)
- Research on generalized non-equidistance GM (1,1) model based on matrix analysis (Xiao Chilz and Peng Terror)
- Research on location-routing problem of reverse logistics with Poker-Cheating-Ghost recycling demand based on PCG (Var.)