Wednesday 26 October 2011
It’s a terrible and beautiful thing I’ve done.
I suppose I already had it in mind, when the last uplink came in. Not that I’d come close to voicing the possibility to myself. If I’d been honest about the course I was on, I might well have requested immediate committal to stasis.
The right thing to do, in hindsight. And maybe we’d be on our way home now, back to the gratitude of a thousand worlds. Our house would have crumbled into the sea by the time we got back. But we could always have built a new one, a little further from the headland.
Let me tell you something about myself, while there’s still time. These words are being recorded. Even as I speak, my suit’s mouse-sized repair robot is engraving them onto the suit’s exterior armour. Isolated in this cavern, the suit should be buffered against the worst excesses of cosmic ray and micro-particle damage. Whether the inscriptions will remain legible, however, or whether in some sense you’ve already read them, I won’t begin to speculate. There’s been enough of that already, and I’m a little burned out by it all. Deep futurity, billions of years – the ultimate futility of any action, any deed, enduring for the smallest fraction of eternity – it’s enough to shrivel the soul. Vashka could handle that kind of thing, but I’m made of less sterner stuff.
Imminent, on both sides of the Atlantic, is Solaris Rising, the new all-original SF anthology edited by Ian Whates. It includes my 7000 word story "For the Ages", about diamond planets, pulsars and the ultimate knowledge limits of cosmology.
"A Smart-Mannered Uprising of the Dead" by Ian McDonald
"The Incredible Exploding Man" by Dave Hutchinson
"Sweet Spots" by Paul di Filippo
"Best SF of the Year Three" by Ken MacLeod
"The One that Got Away" by Tricia Sullivan
"Rock Day" by Stephen Baxter
"Eluna" by Stephen Palmer
"Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?" by Adam Roberts
"The Lives and Deaths of Che Guevara" by Lavie Tidhar
"Steel Lake" by Jack Skillingstead
"Mooncakes" by Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom
"At Play in The Fields" by Steve Rasnic Tem
"How We Came Back From Mars" by Ian Watson
"You Never Know" by Pat Cadigan
"Yestermorrow" by Richard Salter
"Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions" by Jaine Fenn
"Eternity's Children" by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke
"For the Ages" by Alastair Reynolds
"Return of the Mutant Worms" by Peter F. Hamilton