Friday, October 12, 2012

Random And Wildly Beautiful Patterns (Isak)

Maui wasn’t much different from the farm rock where I’d spent my early childhood. A dwarf planet about three hundred kilometres across, just large enough to have been pulled into a sphere by its own gravity: a rough ball of water ice accreted around a core of silicate rocks, contaminated with pockets of methane and nitrogen ices, coated in layers of primordial carbonaceous material and spattered with craters, one so big that material excavated by the impact covered half Maui’s surface with a lightly cratered debris shield. Two fragments lofted by that impact still circled Maui’s equator, a pair of moonlets kindled into sullen slow-burning miniature suns by Quick construction machines during the short-lived world-building era immediately after their seedship had arrived at Fomalhaut.

The Quick machines had extensively gardened the worldlet too, planting vacuum organisms in seemingly random and wildly beautiful patterns utterly unlike the square fields of my foster-family’s farm. Huge tangles of ropes, crustose pavements, clusters of tall spires, fluted columns and smooth domes, forests of wire. Mostly in shades of black but enlivened here and there with splashes and flecks of vivid reds or yellows, sprawled across crater floors, climbing walls and spilling their rims, spreading across intercrater plains, sending pseudohyphae into the icy regolith to mine carbonaceous tars, growing slowly but steadily in the faint light of Fomalhaut and Maui’s two swift-moving mini-suns.

Once, when the Quick had been the sole inhabitants of the Fomalhaut system, these gardens had covered the entire surface of the worldlet, inhabited by only a few contemplative eremites. Now, they were scarred by tents built to house refugees, the monolithic cubes of fusion generators, landing stages, materiel dumps, missile emplacements, strip mines, refineries, and maker blocks. My transit pod was flying above a region scraped down to clean bright water ice when my security delivered a message. Report to the Redactor Svern when you are finished.

From In The Mouth Of The Whale


Anonymous Cristian Tamas said...

Excellent article,"Rip It Up And Start Again", sir !

I'm Cristian Tamas from the Romanian Science Fiction&Fantasy Society (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the SF&F genres.
I'm kindly asking you to give me your permission to translate your article "Rip It Up And Start Again" into romanian and to post it on our site.
You'll be credited as the author, we'll mention your permission and we'll insert a link towards the original.

Yours respectfully,
Cristian Tamas

October 18, 2012 6:47 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Hi Cristian,

Sure, go ahead. And please do send me a link when it's up.

October 19, 2012 11:04 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts