David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Archive for the ‘System Tour’ Category

Belter Skelter

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Driven. Obsessed. Fixated. Those words seem weak when applied to David Mattucio Paradise. Sure, you’ve heard of him. Everybody has. He’s the poor little rich boy who grew up sculpting asteroids.

It started thirty years ago when he turned twelve. All seven of his parents gathered for his birthday, and just before he got there a shield generator failed and they all got sucked out to space and died. Made him faboo wealthy, of course; they were Reagans and Gateses, Murdocks and Rossums, and like that.

David took it a bit badly.

As soon as he held the reins, he repurposed entire divisions of many of his companies. Design, fabrication, IT, transport, demolition–he called for quite a lot of demolition.

The first seven asteroids were reshaped within a month into busts of his seven parents. They were designed to rotate in a circle fifteen klicks in diameter. Not satisfied, he moved on to transform another ring of rocks into famous ancestors. Movie stars were next: Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx. Then presidents, then musicians. He’s got forty thousand asteroids over a half-mile wide to work with, so I figure he’ll be down to plumbers before he’s done.

Just to show he hadn’t entirely lost his marbles he transformed the largest asteroid, Ceres, into the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe and hollowed her out to make a hotel. It’s phenomenally popular.

That’s where I come in. Patrick Pindaccio Paradise. David’s younger brother. I was ten when mom and mom and mother and dad and dad and father and Laura died. Where David was calm I was the wild one. Where losing his parents drove him crazy, it drove me sane. I graduated from playing with shield generators, for one thing.

Now, I play with English. ‘English’, as in snooker. In my armored darksuit I carom off asteroids in carefully computed strikes. Hit one just so and in eight months its orbit is perturbed enough to collide with another asteroid, then they bounce off two more. I’ve already ruined Russell Crowe and Frank Sinatra. David’s got his goons out searching for me, but it’s too late.

Four years down the line Marilyn’s history.

System Tour: The Moon

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Cinderella’s castle in Lunar Disneyland is a latticework of thin metal rods with nanodots that cycle through a thousand color changes a day. Right now it’s purple near the base, shading into pink with white starbursts above.

Right now it’s all blue with an animated Tinkerbell swooping in and out the tower windows. That’s how fast it changes.

Park Hoppers are a constant nuisance, teens in spacesuits leaping over the fences. They carry resonating jammers that opens holes in our forcedome just big enough, just long enough, for them to pass through. The computer feels this and notifies me of their trajectory. Usually I’m there before they touch down, zipping through underground tunnels in my bullet car. I read them the riot act about loss of atmo, about endangering park guests, about paying their entrance fee. I tell them a fable about the kid who landed on the Matterhorn tracks and got run over by the bobsled. Then I have my robo-Pluto sniff their DNA and bill their families.
Everybody’s got a robo-Mickey, or robo-Donald, or robo-Goofy. Part tour guide, part guard, part shill, they ensure that no part of the park gets overcrowded. “Let’s go visit Main Street,” they’re always saying. That’s where most of the shops are.

Lunar Disneyland has the largest dome in the solar system. It’s visible from Earth, but of course there’s nobody down there to see it any more. From the outside it’s opaque: white to reflect the sun, cycling to black in the shade. Inside it’s all puffy clouds and flying horse-ladies. Pegasi with women’s torsos and heads. You know, from Fantasia.

Guests come from all over to visit the park. Spindly Martians, half-gaseous Venusians, bulky Uranians. They’re human inside, where it counts, and mouse ears come in all sizes.