Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.
Author: Network ArEG
A small [12K] damaged data file, proton-coded using a simple variant of Sless26′s Algorithm, was found in a stasis module of Principalian age. This was the only surviving item in the module. The code format was previously unknown, but maximum-parsimony analysis suggests it is close to the root of Sless26, rather than a derived form. A transcript of the file’s contents follows.
“The Kielbasa Machete,” by Sycamore Hudson, is a deceptively simple novel of sophont trafficking on a decaying L-point habitat. Reference to traditional human food and agricultural implements in the book’s title is meant to convey the persistence of cultural artifacts from one society to its successors. The author, an historically referenced construct, was instantiated by IBQ a.u., which first incorporated in the Sol system.
In this, its 6th novel, Hudson continues exploring the world of the Relevancy, a time now more than 3 centuries past. We return to Canis Miner, the mineral-extraction a.u. staffed primarily by uplifted canids. The protagonist of “Riding the GM” returns, but as an elder statesbeing. Helena Malamute-Wong is a VP of CM. The protagonist of TKM is Loh Neptune, a tool designer from the Oort Republic.
Neptune has lost his backup to a bolide that perforated a vault belonging to the First Memory Bank of Centaurus. All he knows about himself comes from the last 2 years. He broke up with his life partner, a felid (!), on their anniversary. Why? He doesn’t know. His quest to recover the romantic ruin that is his life leads him to the most dangerous sections of the habitat, and plunges him into the midst of a shadow economy fueled by ruthless exploitation. Ultimately, he stumbles onto evidence for a plot aimed at the heart of the Relevancy itself, and makes himself a target for every trafficker and kidnap-for-hire ring in the system. And so on.
A good read, TKM is lacking in accuracy: Hudson has bent history in service of plot. For instance, Neptune uncovers evidence of a zygote robbery that included the last 9 frozen humans. These zygotes, if they ever existed, would have been destroyed long before the even1Sq366,#
–end of file–
Analysis of this document has just begun, but it may be a part of the Organic Litsum, thought to have been lost in the Second Nanobreak. Analytical results will be presented at the next Conflex.
Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.
When another hour passed without word, and the automatic voice that answered for his lawyer still repeated the generic message that meant it either didn’t recognize the caller or it did, but didn’t have any news he’d want to hear, Javad Azaizeh decided to go out for a walk. He wrapped the scarf around his neck, turned up the collar of his jacket, and pulled on his warmest hat. It would be ironic to have made it unscathed through half a Kharbarovsk winter only to catch a cold just when he might be back in front of crowds who wanted to hear his voice.
Javad’s ears popped as he door of his building shut behind him. The light, filtered by the blue plastic of the snow tunnel walls, was twilight-colored and noon-bright.
A scrap of paper, scuttled along by the wind, stayed just ahead of his feet. Midway through the second block, words appeared, lines in Korean script. A menu, to judge by the pictures of bulgogi and bibimbap — smart paper, a page set for a local frequency, that had come loose of wherever it had been posted originally. Another three steps, and the menu faded to a flyer for the jewelry store Javad was passing, then to a teaser for that day’s Tikhookyeanskaya Zvyezda. For a few seconds, under the concrete arch of a bike lane, the scrap showed nothing but crawl-scrolling gray-pink snow.
He followed the page, even when the tunnel wind took it off his usual route. Flickering false-3D ads melted into handwritten daily special lists, which morphed into tables of apartment dwellers meant to accompany banks of buzzer-buttons. Javad forgot the courtroom in Brussels, the message he hadn’t gotten. When he passed a school where a chorus must have been practicing, a few staves of whatever the folk song they sang sketched themselves across the wrinkled, dirt-smeared paper, and, before he could catch himself, he hummed the first notes.
He felt the vocal lock tighten in his throat. The lawyer must not have been successful; Javad still didn’t own the performance copyright to his own voice.
Wincing with shame more than pain, he leaned against the wall, feeling the chill of hard-packed snow through the plastic. He took thin breaths and let the paper continue tumble and change without him.
There’d be a message now, one telling him about the fine he’d just incurred.