The Dangers of Creation; or, A Machine to Rival Man by Siri Paulson
Still Waters Run Deep Part 2 by Siri Paulson
Payut meets a stranger and an old teacher. Part two of five.
So, if you guys follow our Twitter or Facebook feeds, you'll know that a few weeks ago we had a table at a smallish scifi/fantasy literature convention called MileHiCon.
We went into this madness with our previous experience on the subject being that we had attended a couple conventions ourselves at various times, and also knowing people who had had tables themselves, though not with any details about how they had run said tables.
I've recently re-learned something about weekends that I tend to forget.
It has to do with travel. Ever wonder why a weekend (or week) away tends to feel longer than the same amount of time in one's regular routine?
Basically, you're out of your rut -- seeing and doing new things -- so you're actually noticing the world, no longer on autopilot. That means you're fully alive in every moment and experiencing every detail.
As a bonus: you're also doing more fun things (unless you're travelling for work); you've literally left the grind of work and other daily responsibilities behind; and you're probably getting more exercise (walking!) and more nature.
I've found this time-dilation phenomenon to be true of all sorts of travel, from long-weekend hops to a nearby town or city, to multi-month overseas expeditions, and everything in between. Last weekend I took a road trip through gorgeous countryside to another city, poked around a trendy street, stayed in a place I'd never been before. Earlier this fall I spent a weekend in Montreal, doing much the same things. This summer I went hiking in the Rockies for most of a week. A year and a half ago, I spent three months backpacking around Asia. All of those trips felt twice as long as they really were.
Here's the secret: you don't have to actually travel.
One, two, three,
How many will my victims be?
One, two, three, four,
How many more to even the score?
When Taro Hibiki leads a survival class into the backwoods, he has two goals: to prove himself as an instructor, and to propose to his beloved Rafe before he loses his nerve completely. In the wilds might seem a strange place for that, but it's where Taro feels most at home—and the only place the couple can escape all their other responsibilities.
BFR’s colonists claim the name stands for “Big Effing Rock,” and boast of their planet's dangers. Yet more treacherous than sight-scamps or bomb bugs is a human seeking vengeance. Soon Taro's students are dropping one by one, and no matter what Taro does, the killer stays a step ahead. Worst of all, Taro suspects the students are targets of opportunity—that the ultimate goal is Rafe. Taro would die for Rafe in a heartbeat, but who's going to take care of Rafe if he does?
As it happens, the killer has a plan for that, too.
Trust Rafe to set the scene perfectly. We huddled in the deepest, narrowest part of a canyon called Fools Rush In. Sharp grey cliffs rose all around. Rafe the Victim lay in a tangle of rocks at the base of a blank face of stone, blood smeared in a few choice locations. I’d had to limit his artistic vision on that effect. Let him have his way and the trainees would declare him DOA due to blood loss, neatly avoiding their second test. I sat beside him, flicking through the files of my first class on a borrowed handcomp. There wasn’t much. Profile pictures carefully taken to erase all hint of personality, supposedly relevant facts that meant nothing...a criminal conviction ten years ago, high scores on an IQ test, parent of a toddler. Well, that one meant something, maybe—might mean that McCarney was used to life-and-death decisions while dead of sleep deprivation, unless he let his wife handle all that.
A stingfly fluttered by; I swatted it away from Rafe. “You’re sure you’re all right?” I’d moved a lot of the rocks from his chosen spot, but he hadn’t let me move all of them, for “verisimilitude” he said.
“I’m fine, my love.” Rafe smiled under the hat shielding his eyes and scratched at a patch of red on his arm. “Have you ever known me to suffer in silence?”
“Have I ever known you to do anything in silence?”