A Soldier of the City

By some degree the best story in the book…. The constant unpacking and complexification of story casts the mind back to James Tiptree Jr. in her pomp.
John Clute, Strange Horizons
Another winner and definitely hard SF. I really love the wonderful worldbuilding in this space-Mesopotamia, the fine use made of the history and myth. The space war stuff is also well done.
Lois Tilton, Locus Online

In the moment of the blast, Ish was looking down the slope, toward the canal, the live feed from the temple steps and the climax of the parade. As he watched, the goddess suddenly froze; her ageless face lost its benevolent smile, and her dark eyes widened in surprise and perhaps in fear, as they looked — Ish later would always remember — directly at him. Her lips parted as if she was about to tell Ish something.

And then the whole eastern rise went brighter than the Lady’s House at noonday. There was a sound, a rolling, bone-deep rumble like thunder, and afterwards Ish would think there was something wrong with this, that something so momentous should sound so prosaic, but at the time all he could think was how loud it was, how it went on and on, louder than thunder, than artillery, than rockets, louder and longer than anything Ish had ever heard. The ground shook. The projection faded, flickered and went out, and a hot wind whipped over the hilltop, tearing the net from its posts, knocking Mâra to the ground and sending her football flying, lost forever, out over the rooftops to the west.

From the temple district, ten leagues away, a bright point was rising, arcing up toward the dazzling eye of the Lady’s House, and some trained part of Ish’s mind saw the straight line, the curvature an artifact of the city’s rotating reference frame; but as Mâra started to cry, and Ish’s wife Tara and all his in-laws boiled up from around the grill and the picnic couches, yelling, and a pillar of brown smoke, red-lit from below, its top swelling obscenely, began to grow over the temple, the temple of the goddess Ish was sworn as a soldier of the city to protect, Ish was not thinking of geometry or the physics of coriolis force. What Ish was thinking — what Ish knew, with a sick certainty — was that the most important moment of his life had just come and gone, and he had missed it.

One thought on “A Soldier of the City

  1. Pingback: Chrononaut » Вoйнá и Пространство

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