He was a libertine, and this was his particular art: After each seduction he returned to his potter’s shed, closed his eyes and, working by touch, reproduced her every curve, fold and blemish with perfect accuracy. The woman was celibate thereafter, preemptively satisfied. Each cuckolded rival eventually came knocking on the door of the shed, willing to pay any price for a facsimile of his lost love. After a few years births grew rare and the city grew old and small, silently mourning the death of each jaded lover or patron of the arts.
When he was fourteen years old, Wai Shou fought the seasoned warrior Lao Xiong, whose left arm was strong as a bear’s. It took Wai six hours and a quart of blood before he was able to beat Lao. As the older man was dying among the trampled wheat stems, Wai struck off his own left arm and replaced it with Lao’s, and a village girl named Lianmin covered the joint with limestone paste.
When he was sixteen Wai bested the bandit Li Yeying, even though Li’s right arm was swift as a nightjar. Wai replaced his right arm with Li’s and slunk into the forest to recover from his wounds.
When he was eighteen Wai was challenged by Li Tiaozao, who could leap like a flea and was believed to be untouchable. But even a flea eventually tires and Wai’s dagger pierced Li’s belly. With his last breath Li bequeathed Wai his legs, and Wai hired Old Mother Chen to bathe the fresh grafts in seawater.
When he was twenty Wai found the handsome Han Shuai in bed with his woman, and this is the reason Wai’s children all bear the surname Han.
We had been mates since we could walk but this was the first time Dierdre had put a gun to my head.
“You could have just asked,” I said.
“Couldn’t chance it,” she said.
“What’s to chance?” I asked. “We’re best mates.”
“They’ve got Nigel,” she said.
“Let’s go,” I said.
Welcome to the New Neolithic: Telecommuting meets Time Travel
by Sean Murphy
Stoned 77/July 1999
Mountain View, California
The three technicians stare at the screen.
Yes! There it is again: a transmission that seems to originate from somewhere in the Mierda de Caballo mountains of northern New Mexico.
The woman at the keyboard types a command, beginning the decryption process. The transmission appears to be some kind of video feed. Faces press closer around the screen.
I’m a fixer for Al Jazeera. It says so on my card: FIXER. That level of candor is what I like about the job. Any other place I’ve ever worked, I’ve had euphemistic titles like “compliance engineer” or “special assistant to the president.” Since I’m paid to cut the bullshit, bullshit titles really kill me.
When the ThoughtForm Revolution broke out in Tibet, my employers in Qatar sent me to recruit the world’s best-known thoughtform as their special correspondent. But since when does William Gibson do freelance journalism?
I took the redeye to Vancouver. Continue reading
And here is Jack Move editor Emma Alvarez Gibson’s interview William Gibson on Wa-Wa Pedals, Emotional Bandwidth and Space Castles. READ IT!
In the years before the drought, it was a joke. The river was sweet, the lake was salt. Heaven to the west, hell to the east. We were caught in the middle. Continue reading
Per pushed the scrap of paper onto the floor and stared at the remains of his chili.
“You dropped this,” the waitress said, handing the paper back.
“It’s not mine,” he said.
She shrugged and carried it off with her armload of dirty dishes. Continue reading