The best chatting cybersite

I only live here because on the summit the air is a little cleaner and I have enough room to raise dogs.

This is how the future will look--beautiful, elegant & informative. air Angelo I Rosas ([email protected] [email protected]) Victorville, CA USA - Friday, April 19, 1996 at At first glance, is PROFESSIONALLY done.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. BAEN BOOKS by Spider Robinson By Any Other Name The Star Dancers (with Jeanne Robinson) Starmind (with Jeanne Robinson) (forthcoming) Deathkiller Lifehouse User Friendly Telempath (forthcoming) FOREWORD Perhaps a story collection should be allowed to speak for itself.  Joe had been right: the sight of half a fat man being dragged across the sidewalk by a twelve-year-old with ashes on his upper lip aroused no reaction at all in midtown Manhattan on a Friday night.

A Baen Books Original Baen Publishing Enterprises P. Box 1403 Riverdale, NY 10471 com ISBN: 0-671-31974-4 Cover art by Richard Martin Interior art by Rocky Coffin First printing, February 2001 Distributed by Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 Production by Windhaven Press, Auburn, NH Printed in the United States of America For my friends Ted and Diana Powell —and for Ben Bova, without whom all this would not have been necessary . That was my original intention; I submitted this book to Toni Weisskopf without a foreword. One out-of-towner on his way to the theater blinked a few times, but his attention was distracted almost immediately by a midget in a gorilla suit, wearing a sandwich sign advertising an off-off-off-Broadway play about bestiality.

It was, if memory serves, the third story I ever tried to write for money. Then from somewhere came “By Any Other Name,” and I just knew this one was going to sell. All thirteen of those editors, I decided on the spot, were wrong. I mailed the story, unchanged, to Ben Bova at Analog a second time. “By Any Other Name” was my first Analog cover story. An airliner had just fallen into the sea, and all the media believed it had either been terrorist sabotage, or just possibly a covered-up acci¬dental missile launch from a U. No help for it—she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquility as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. eyeball request.” When the car landed she cleared and then opened her window, presented her pass and I. to a Marine in dress blues, and was cleared at once. They’re making future—you can’t go back to the moment you left ’cause time is going on after it already. “Awright,” the mechanic said at last, “the warranty’s still good. Come on over inna light.” Moving with sadistic slowness, he acquired a device that seemed something like a hand-held fluoroscope with a six-inch screen, and began running it around the belt. Come on now, cut it out.” Joe, his face in his hands, shook his head and kept on sobbing. I’ll figure out some other way to get the scratch—with the belt workin’ again it shouldn’t be too hard.” Spud laughed and shook his head. “That’s really nice of you, and I appreciate it—but ‘figuring out’ isn’t exactly your strong suit. If I won fifty bucks shooting pool, that’d make me happy—I’d be proud, I’d’ve earned it.

I’d sent my first one to the most popular magazine in the field, Analog—talk about irrational optimism—and miraculously, it sold. Perhaps it’s weird to call it an optimistic story, since it posits the total collapse of technological civilization—but it also suggests that humanity will ultimately survive just about any collapse. It was a perfect act of irrational optimism, of benign delusion. (Jack Gaughan’s splendid painting for that cover hangs in my home today; God rest his generous soul.) It won my first An Lab, the monthly Analog reader’s poll. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. but when you balance it all on a half hour of talk, it’s like balancing a stereo cartridge on a needlepoint: It only takes a gram or so of weight to wear out a piece of diamond. Rather than clear a window and watch Washington, D. roll by beneath her car, she turned on the television. At the Marine’s direction she re-opaqued the window and surrendered control of her car to the house computer, and when the car parked itself and powered down she got out without haste. “Dorothy, it’s good to see you again.” “Hello, Phillip. ” “Your legs are back in 2007, sitting on the sidewalk, right? So if you don’t get back soon, the sun’ll come up and some blood-thirsty nut’ll kill your wife.” Joe blanched. “I think you’re right.” He glanced at a passing sign, which read, MANHATTAN—10 MILES. Lucky you didn’t come ta me a week from now.” “The speed you’re goin’, maybe I have,” Joe snapped. Get me my legs back—I ain’t got all night.” “Take it easy,” Dinny said with infuriating glee. He stopped, gazed at the screen for a full ten seconds, and sucked his teeth. Spud thought furiously, and suddenly a light dawned and was filled with a strange prescience, a déjà vu kind of certainty that startled him with its intensity. Stepping close to Joe, he bent at the waist, swung from the hip, and kicked the belt as hard as he could, squarely on the spot Dinny had last examined. But to make twenty-thousand on a fixed game with no gamble at all—that’s no kick.

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But I was somewhat surprised at just how my speculations were wrong: over and over, it seems, I was too optimistic. If they do catch your interest, as of this writing I’m still producing a column a month for The Globe and Mail, and two columns a month for David Gerrold and Ben Bova’s new cybersite Galaxy Online ( After all this talk of optimism, naturally the first story in line, which won the 1983 Hugo for Short Story, is one of the gloomier prognostications I’ve ever made. The year “Melancholy Elephants” is set in has not arrived yet—maybe this time the real future will turn out brighter than the one I dreamed. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. Spud glanced in the mirror, located the whirling gumball machine in the rear-view mirror, and groaned aloud. “Maybe I can go back and talk to them before they see you,” he said to Joe, and began to get out. By the time, with the Series and the Bowl games and maybe a little Olympics action, we can split, say, fifty grand. ” “Whaddya expect at nine thirty on a Friday night, the regional manager? “I hope he knows what he’s doing.” “Me too, but I can’t wait for somebody better, dammit. ” He ¬began to caper around the room in a spontaneous improvised goat-dance, knocking equipment crashing in all directions, and Spud danced with him, laughing and whooping and for the first time in this story looking his age.

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