There were several dead refugees, one dead horse, and the dying cavalry officer who was pinned under the horse. At intervals the cavalryman awoke and faintly screamed. Now he screamed for Mother, and again he screamed for a priest. At times he awoke to scream for his horse. His screaming disquieted the buzzards and farther disgruntled the Poet, who was feeling peevish anyhow. He was a very dispirited Poet. He had never expected the world to act in a courteous, seemly, or even sensible manner, and the world had seldom done so; often he had taken heart in the consistency of its rudeness and stupidity. But never before had the world shot the poet in the abdomen with a musket. This he found not heartening at all.
from A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.”
“I see.” The girl regarded him uncertainly, not knowing whether to believe him. Not sure if he meant it seriously.
“There’s the First law of Kipple,” he said. “‘Kipple drives out nonkipple.’ Like gresham’s law about bad money. And in these apartments there’s been nobody there to fight the kipple.”
“So it has taken over completely,” the girl finished. She nodded. “Now I understand.”
“Your place here,” he said, “this apartment you’ve picked – it’s too kipple-ized to live in. We can roll the kipple-factor back; we can do like I said, raid the other apts. But-” He broke off.
Isidore said, “We can’t win.”
Do androids dream of electric sheep, Philip K. Dick
My story “Out-of-town Harry” is just out now from In Short Publishing, a brand-new venture out of Australia that publishes stories as pretty standalone chapbooks.
They have free postage world-wide for order of five chapbooks or more.
I’ve read only one other story so far (out of the first 18 published), Ramon Loyola’s, and it was really good.
Mine has a slight SF slant, going between present-day London and a post shit-storm one, and features a musical invention/installation I’ve been thinking about for years. There, that’s all I’m gonna tell ye.
Holding a table for half and hour right in the middle of the lunchtime crowd – “I’m waiting for somebody” – “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for somebody” – and so nobody comes and nobody comes, and so finally she had to order and shove the stuff down in a big rush, and so now she’d have heartburn. On top of pique, umbrage and ennui. Oh, the French diseases of the soul.
– from The Lathe of Heaven
[This is actually the first thing I ever read by Le Guin*. Which is shocking, because it is brilliant, a very nicely done novel on very perilous writing grounds. Le Guin handles George Orr, her anti-hero who changes the world when he dreams, wakes up to a Portland fucked up in various oneiric ways, like a boss. I don’t know how else to say it. The Lathe of Heaven is the kind of book that makes you want to leaf back a couple of pages as you read, in the best possible way, to check out all the foreshadowing and clues you no doubt missed.]
*[Can this be blamed on some “literary” fiction scene prejudice thingy, ignoring major works because they happen to have a stray robot, or alien, or something in them, rather than on my own flaws? I hope so.]