13 snippets

Since I should be writing tonight (I got 6,000 words while we were in Edmonton, and not a letter since), I’m going to dip into my works-in-progress file for tonight’s 13, and present:

13 snippets from works in progress

Hopefully each and every one of these bite-sized morsels from short fiction or novels-in-gestation will make you slaver to read the complete, finished work. Let me know, if you so desire, what works for you, and what doesn’t.

  1. Demoiselle Noir was younger than Riley had expected. Only the pallor of her skin spoke of her present condition; her hair was the color of honey, dressed up in ringlets, and her clear eyes were the grey of a storm at sea. Here in her office she wore a dark blouse of some material that shone like silk and loose flowing trousers in a color that reminded Riley of the foam that crested whitecaps. (from Everything that Never Happened)
  2. Tommy, though, his specialty was church songs. There were a few that the rest of us would join in on, like “Amazing Grace”, but for most of them Tommy was on his own. He didn’t sing them often–he’d get an embarrassed look when we’d request them, like we were maybe going to make fun of him–but when he did sing one it was unreal. His voice was a perfect instrument, not something you’d expect from a gangly kid who spoke with a lisp, and when he’d belt out the chorus with the firelight flickering across his face, letting his voice rise with the smoke, coiling upwards past the whispering trees to the stars themselves, I’d feel a shiver crawl up and down my spine. (from “Three Months and Two Days”)
  3. “I understand you’re on the way to kill your brother,” said the dog. “Sure you’ve got it in you?” (from “The Flood”)
  4. A girl met Yakoub at the door, naked as birth. A gryphon rampant marched across her chest, tattooed in gold and red and black, its tufted lion’s tail held high, one paw reaching for her left breast. Her hair was blonde, falling in soft waves to her bare shoulders. (from Salyx)
  5. Ghost-captain Muir summoned me to his office. The room was a palace of the imagination, floored in pale marble, with ludicrous columns and spires reaching for a ceiling lost in mist. Rainclouds had formed over by the west windows, and a slow but steady drizzle watered his forest of tropical bonsai. (from “Outside, Looking In”)
  6. Toi and Chadow slept in the roots, twining their sleeping bags into the fine white capillaries that branched off from the main systems. Toi lay on his stomach, waking to face the tiny dots of light that were uncountably distant, unimaginably vast families of stars. Chadow prefered to lay on her back, facing the dark undersides of leaves through which, sometimes, she would catch a glimpse of filtered sunlight. (from The Tree)
  7. In a bowl carved from the burl of a cherry tree sat a sphere the color of cognac, a stone from Earth herself. Grzgy picked it up, careful not to let his claws scratch its surface, and rolled it around in his palm. Its cool heft had a calming effect on him. (from Earth Fleet)
  8. Finally, in a narrow shop wedged between a bistro and a bookstore, she found a tiny Pekingese hand-carved from a piece of Chinese jade. The thing was ancient, and the price made me weak in the knees, but Zdama slapped her credit card down on the spotless glass counter and the clerk carefully wrapped the tiny dog in strata of white tissue paper. (from “Between Heaven and Earth”)
  9. Imry glanced at the calendar tacked above the eye; Miss September, in the best tradition of men’s magazines from a previous millennium, had a look about her that was simultaneously hummingbird-shy and hard-core slutty. “D’you suppose it’s September? Out there?” (from “The Long Fall”)
  10. Overnight someone had planted a garden. It had to have been one of the AIs, or one of the robots, and they probably had used time shapers, something Lady Schrone was certain she’d marked down as proscribed. But it was hard to be angry, because the garden was beautiful: flowers, flowers of all descriptions, radiating away from a central point like the spokes of a great wheel, and at the wheel’s center a tree reached for the heavens. Leaves the size of her body unfurled themselves at the tree’s top, nearly twenty meters from the ground. They were sharp and green against the blue of the sky. (from “The Parley”)
  11. Someday, he hoped, he’d find a tower tall enough to show him the part of the world without snow. He was convinced it must exist somewhere. Surely the whole Earth couldn’t be covered in twenty feet of snow. Could it? (from “Fimbulvetr”)
  12. For nine days the sky itself had burned, and even now, five years later, John didn’t like sunsets. But Miko did, and he wasn’t stubborn enough to argue his way around her insistences, so they sat on the blackened concrete stoop and watched the sky light up all over again. (from “After the Missile Rain”)
  13. “I know a great many things. My web of thought spans galaxies.” She was a group mind, he knew, a galaxy-wide entity that shared a common name and a common outlook. Her thought was networked in an instantaneous communication web; somehow, though the physicists and xenobiologists had yet to explain it, what one Yasht knew, every Yasht knew. (from “Yasht”)

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3 thoughts on “13 snippets

  1. Hmmm… Interesting, Doug. That particular story might be the nastiest thing I’ve ever written. Someday, when I’ve given it an editing pass, I’ll post it somewhere, and you can see what I mean.

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