Speak to me only in Science Fiction

His father used to say that the future is written on flowing water with a pitchfork.

“You’re lying. Nobody can see the future. We are given only the present.”

“Well of course. But if you look closely enough at the present you can find loose bits of the future just lying around.”

In my own case, I employed this experiment mainly in order to seek for the barrier, if any, which divides our knowledge of the past from our knowledge of the future. And the odd thing was that there did not seem to be any such barrier at all.

The lizard he had just killed had crossed the barrier, still alive. It had come from the Roller’s side; the Roller had pulled off its legs and then tossed it contemptuously at him and it had come through the barrier.

The car was only partway submerged; David must have regained control enough to brake before driving all the way into the water. But from Charlie’s vantage point it looked like the lake stopped the car, as if the water wasn’t water but an impermeable barrier the luxury automobile didn’t have the strength to shatter.

Seventeen minutes later the car surfaced in a pool which occupied much of an artificial cave. When the car was beached, Mary got out, said hello to the guards and went on through a tunnel into a large underground room where fifty or sixty men and women were seated. She chatted until a clock announced midnight, then she mounted a rostrum and faced them.

“I am,” she stated, “one hundred and eighty-three years old. Is there anyone here who is older?”

“The only two men we could be relatively certain knew what had happened were both dead. And, just to make matters worse, they’d both died in air car accidents . . . which just happened to have been State Security’s favorite means for removing ‘inconvenient’ individuals.”

I feel . . . it’s hard to describe, but I feel weirdly outside of time. Ever since the accident I’ve had these moments when I felt like a visiting guest in this world, not a permanent resident. Like sometimes I look in a mirror and I feel like I can almost see through the version of me on the other side of the glass.

“Distance?” he asked.

I tchecked my screen. “Two point four meters.” Proximity readouts are a frilly feature for cars on Earth, but critically important for lunar rovers. Crashing your pressure vessel into things is bad. It can lead to unscheduled dying.

Everything silences, even the screams and shouts from the people on the other side of the metal door, the crashes that I pray aren’t bodies, the hissing of rockets, Elder’s cursing, my pounding heartbeat. I feel nothing—not the seat belt biting into my flesh, not my clenching jaw, nothing. My whole body is numb.

Hate pushed back some of the fear, but that was a mixed blessing. The paralysis eased, yet that only made the strobes of his panic sharper, more terrible in the clarity with which he perceived them. Sweat oozed down his temples in fat, oily snakes, and the air felt suddenly colder. The automatic pistol weighed his right hand like an anchor when he took it, and the fingers of his left hand were so numb he almost dropped the magazine Stefan handed him.

I’m afraid I don’t quite take fear seriously.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Not a woman to take lightly, Shavarshyan decided. Particularly not after the exchanges between O’Shaugnessy and Crandall. In fact, her obvious self-control only made her more dangerous. And if anger sparkled in the depth of those eyes, there was no more sign of fear than there’d been in O’Shaughnessy’s, as far as he could see. Indeed, she looked much too much like the matador, advancing into the ring only after her picadores had well and truly galled the bull. Which, given that she was clearly not an idiot and had to be aware of the minor fact that she had nine obviously hostile squadrons of ships-of-the-wall deliberately violating her star system’s territoriality, made Hago Shavarshyan extremely nervous.

(If I got angry at myself for being angry I would be angry constantly and I wouldn’t have time to think about anything else.) (Wait, I think I am angry constantly. That might explain a lot.)

If I jumped every time a light came on around here, I’d end up talking to myself.

I don’t know what a supernova is, but If it’s anything like my old Chevy Nova, it’ll light up the night sky!

“Don’t call me that. My name is Berry and you damn well don’t have any excuse any longer not to use it.”

He bowed, slightly, and then extended his elbow. “All right, Berry. In that case, may I escort you to J. Quesenberry’s?”

The smile that came to her face then was the same gleaming smile that had captivated Hugh Arai since the first time he’d seen it. But it was as if a star had become a supernova.

“Ice cream would be nice. Later. Right now, I’d be much happier if you’d take me to bed.”

The captain gazed through the curving plate that lapped the roof. His yellow eyes fixed Her consumptive light that pulsed fire-spots in a giant cinder. The light was so weak he did not squint at all.

My grandmother used to say that life is a great wheel. Sometimes it grinds you down to the mud, and other times it lifts you up into the light .