Posts Tagged ‘Isolation’

PseudoPod 486: Hinterlands


by William Gibson

When Hiro hit the switch, I was dreaming of Paris, dreaming of wet, dark streets in winter. The pain came oscillating up from the floor of my skull, exploding behind my eyes in wall of blue neon; I jackknifed up out of the mesh hammock, screaming. I always scream; I make a point of it. Feedback raged in my skull. The pain switch is an auxiliary circuit in the bonephone implant, patched directly into the pain centers, just the thing for cutting through a surrogate’s barbiturate fog. It took a few seconds for my life to fall together, icebergs of biography looming through the fog: who I was, where I was, what I was doing there, who was waking me.

Hiro’s voice came crackling into my head through the bone-conduction implant. “Damn, Toby. Know what it does to my ears, you scream like that?”

PseudoPod 485: Softly into the Morning

Show Notes

The title and the story were inspired by Sarah McLachlan’s song “Answer.” The line “Cast me gently into morning, for the night has been unkind” struck her as especially powerful. Being a speculative fiction writer, it inspired thoughts of what might constitute a truly “unkind” night and what the morning might bring. From there, the story took its own twists and turns as she wrote it.

Softly into the Morning

by Liz Colter

The shimmering glow of Sol appeared at the edge of Mercury. Jack watched the growing crescent of fiery gold from the best seat in the house, the center console of the large forward window. The privilege had been coincidental, the consequence of a flight engineer needing less space for screens than the captain or navigator.

The window tinting wasn’t keeping pace with the increasing light and Jack’s eyes watered from the intensely focused brightness. Still, he couldn’t turn away from that life-giving light amidst all this vast darkness. Dawn had always affected Jack. Even at home in the Florida Keys he never failed to be up in time to see the sunrise. And today he was closer to the sun than any human in history.

“Time to earn our pay,” Wainwright said. The captain had been standing at Jack’s left to watch the spectacle, but tugged himself now into his chair and snapped his harness into place. A muscle twitching below one eye was the only telltale that the unflappable Edward Wainwright was as tense as his crew.

Earning their pay was the least of their worries, Jack knew; if the sails didn’t deploy, it was doubtful any of them would live to see Earth again.