Pointing out a Dead Horse

The August issue of Asimov’s is out now, with “Dead Horse Point” in there somewhere. Tangent Online called it “a poignant tale of love and desperation.” Full Review.

(I’m just stoked to be on the same cover as Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker — my hero — and good friend Jack Skillingstead. It doesn’t get any more fun than that.)

Gabriel McKee has an interesting discussion of the story in SF Gospel, his blog focused on “explorations of religion in science ficiton and popular culture.” He raises the point that concept of space-time in the story is similar to Augustinian eternalism. I would have mentioned eternalism in the story, except I didn’t know about it until I read McKee’s blog. I should really read the reviews commentary before I write the story—that would save time and make me look smarter.

Zweite Person Gegenwart

Pandora #1 Cover Otherwise known as “Second Person, Present Tense” in German — now appearing in Pandora #1, the “dem neuen SF/Fantasy-Magazin” .  It is to have mind blown!

Here’s the opening:

Daryl Gregory
Zweite Person Gegenwart

Wenn ihr denkt: “Ich atme”, so ist das “Ich” ein Zusatz. Es gibt kein Du, das “Ich” sagen könnte. Was wir Ich nennen, ist nichts als eine Drehtür, die sich bewegt, wenn wir ein- und ausatmen.
—Shunryu Suzuki

Ich hielt das Gehirn für das wichtigste Organ im Körper, bis mir klar wurde, wer mir das eingab.
—Emo Phillips

Als ich das Büro betrete, lehnt Dr. S am Schreibtisch und redet eindringlich mit den Eltern des toten Mädchens. Er ist nicht froh, aber als er aufschaut, legt er ein Lächeln für mich auf. “Und hier ist sie”, sagt er, wie ein Spielshow-Moderator, der den grossen Preis enthüllt. Die Leute in den Sesseln drehen sich um, und Dr. Subramaniam gibt mir einen persönlichen, ermutigenden Wink.
Der Vater fällt mir zuerst auf, ein fleckiger, quadratgesichtiger Mann mit einem straffen Bauch, den er wie einen Baseball trägt. Wie bei unseren vorherigen Besuchen blickt er nahezu finster, darum bemüht, seinen Gesichtsausdruck seinen Gefühlen anzupassen. Die Mutter dagegen ist schon am Weinen, und in ihrem Gesicht stehen wie in einem Buch: Freude, Angst, Hoffnung, Erleichterung. Es ist viel zu übertrieben.
“Oh, Therese,” sagt sie. “Kommst du nun nach Hause?”

Virgin Hammerhead Gives Birth to Shark Messiah

According to BBC News, a captive hammerhead shark, below, gave birth to the long-awaited shark messiah, stunning scientists. The mother was born without sin in the Florida keys and had never known a male of her species. 

Holy Mother of the Hammerhead Messiah 

The messiah delivered several sermons and performed at least one miracle before being impaled by a stingray at the age of 3 days.

“For my first miracle,” the precocious pup stated only 24 hours after his birth, “I shall turn my beloved handler, Dave [marine biology graduate student David Schumer] into chum.”

Word spread quickly, and attendance at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, the shark’s home, skyrocketed.

“Blessed are the children,” the pup intoned during one of his sermons to the onlookers. “Especially the elementary school kids on field trips, the ones that knock on the glass even though there’s a sign that says, Do not knock on the glass? They shall be the first to know my righteousness.”

The appearance of the saw-toothed savior took many ich-theologists by surprise. “Frankly, the ancient scriptures and the spike in recent coastal attacks led us to expect the messiah to be born unto a family of great whites, or at least tiger sharks,” said Gunter Haas, a doctor of marine divinity at the University of Southern Florida. “I guess it’s like they say, the Shark God bites where you least expect it.”

The sudden death of the pup left many of his followers shocked and saddened. Some took solace in one of the messiah’s final sermons, in which he promised that after his death he would return to extend his watery kingdom over the face of the earth. “Yea, there shall be a reckoning, oh warm-blooded air-breathers, and the water shall churn with your frantic kicking. And on that day shall be a great frenzy.”  

The stingray remains in custody.

There is something statutory about its poisonous constancy

“The waters of the Polozny never freeze. No matter how cold it gets or how long the cold lasts, they are kept warm by a cocktail of pollutants and, though the river may flow more sluggishly in winter, it continues on its course, black and gelid. There is something statutory about is poisonous constancy. It seems less river than regulation, a divine remark rendered daily into law, engraving itself upon the world year after year until its long meander has eaten a crack that runs the length and breadth of creation, and its acids and oxides drain into the void.”

—from “Stars Seen Through Stone,” Lucius Shepherd, in the July 2007 issue of F&SF.