The Inevitability of Earth
By David Nickle
When Michael was just a kid, Uncle Evan made a movie of Grandfather.
He used an old eight-millimeter camera that wound up with a key and
had three narrow lenses that rotated on a plate. Michael remembered
holding the camera. It was supposedly light-weight for its time, but
in his six-year-old hands, it seemed like it weighed a ton. Uncle Evan
had told him to be careful with it; the camera was a precision
instrument, and it needed to be in good working order if the movie was
going to be of any scientific value.
The movie was of Grandfather doing his flying thing — flapping his
arms with a slow grace as he shut his eyes and turned his long,
beak-ish nose to the sky. Most of the movie was only that: a thin,
middle-aged man, flapping his arms, shutting his eyes, craning his
neck. Grandfather’s apparent foolishness was compounded by the face of
young Michael flashing in front of the lens; blocking the scene, and
waving like an idiot himself. Then the camera moved, and Michael was
And so was Grandfather.