So I have a new short story, 'Bruce Springsteen', in the latest edition of Asimov's SF Magazine. It's one of the Jackaroo series that I've been working on for the past few years ('City of the Dead' is another), and is a kind of existential road trip that takes in a Chinese version of Las Vegas, aliens who collect human stories, and a mysterious necropolis. Starts like this:
‘I like your philosophers,’ the alien said. ‘Most were unintentional comedians, but a few
were on to something. Baudrillard, for instance.’
I said that I wasn’t familiar with Mr Baudrillard’s work.
‘His speculations about things standing for things that do not exist were relatively sophisticated. Perhaps you will resurrect him one day. He and I would talk about where his ideas fit in the spectrum of simulacrum theory.’
I said it sounded interesting.
‘You are being polite because part of your profession is to listen to the confessions of strangers. But you do not know what I am talking about, do you? It does not matter. I am mostly talking nonsense. I am free-associating. An effect of this interesting drink.’
‘Are you ready for another?’
‘This one is still working on me,’ the alien said.
A shot glass of neat Seagram’s was balanced on top of his tank. Somehow, elements of the whisky were making their way out of the glass and into whatever was inside. According to the alien, a teeny-tiny demon was influencing space-time, inflating the usual, vanishingly small chance that certain molecules would be somewhere outside the glass. Not molecules of alcohol, but what he called congeners. He was getting a buzz on the complex chemicals that gave the whisky its unique taste.