Thursday, January 26, 2006


Received my contributor's copy of the handsome new anthology FutureShocks, edited by Lou Anders and published by Roc. It contains my story "Flashes," which begins thus:

My heart pounded as I surveyed the scene. It was a horrific, but oddly appropriate, image: a bright light pulsing on and off. The light was the setting sun, visible through the window, and the pulsing was caused by the rhythmic swaying of the corpse, dangling from a makeshift noose, as it passed in front of the blood-red disk.

"Another one, eh, Detective?" said Chiu, the campus security guard, from behind me. His tone was soft.

I looked around the office. The computer monitor was showing a virtual desktop with a panoramic view of a spiral galaxy as the wallpaper; no files were open. Nor was there any sheet of e-paper prominently displayed on the real desktop. The poor bastards didn't even bother to leave suicide notes anymore. There was no point; it had all already been said.

"Yeah," I said quietly, responding to Chiu. "Another one."

The dead man was maybe sixty, scrawny, mostly bald. He was wearing black denim jeans and a black turtleneck sweater, the standard professorial look these days. His noose was fashioned out of fiber-optic cabling, giving it a pearlescent sheen in the sunlight. His eyes had bugged out, and his mouth was hanging open.

"I knew him a bit," said Chiu. "Ethan McCharles. Nice guy -- he always remembered my name. So many of the profs, they think they're too important to say hi to a security guard. But not him."

I nodded. It was as good a eulogy as one could hope for -- honest, spontaneous, heartfelt.

Chiu went on. "He was married," he said, pointing to the gold band on the corpse's left hand. "I think his wife works here, too."

I felt my stomach tightening, and I let out a sigh. My favorite thing: informing the spouse.


At January 27, 2006 12:03 PM , Blogger c.rooney said...

That line about the standard business attire is clever. You're good at subtly working in world-building.

At February 02, 2006 1:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not too bad!


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