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The Past | The Previous

Imagine: it's 2003 and the physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard have woken up moments after the first nuclear explosion in 1945. They're disconnected, trying to figure out what has happened, and they end up meeting a librarian who is on the verge of some sort of epiphany about her life by the name of Ann (this epiphany will most likely not be a happy one). In this scene, Ann is driving Oppenheimer and Szilard around, but as stopped as the latter man has jumped out of the car, seeing someone he knows, leaving Ann and Oppenheimer to wait for him.

Someone rapped on Ann's window: a cop.
--This is a no-parking zone, ma'am, he said, when she rolled down the glass.
--I'm sorry, I was just waiting--
--Fine, but you just want to pull up and around the corner there. You see? Right there, across from the mailbox.
--Sure. OK. I'll pull up.
--And you sir, you been wearing your seatbelt?
--What business--
--He was just relaxing while we waited for--
--Make sure you do.
the cop slapped the roof of the car and she pulled around the corner.
--I thought we beat the fascists, said Oppenheimer.
--Well, it's all for--we know some things about public health we didn't know then, said Ann. --Statistics--
--It wasn't him, burst out Szilard, sliding into his seat again. --It looked like him but it wasn't. I had the feeling it was just the three of us here, but I wanted to make sure. Why'd you move the car? I thought I'd lost you.
--We were fugitives on the lam, said Oppenheimer. --The law was after us.


I think I'm in love.

Assuming Lydia Millet's Oh Pure and Radiant Heart doesn't tank out something hugely, I'm going to know I'm in love. I haven't felt this strongly about a book for ages. It's book three of my fifty for the year, by the by.




In other news, my story 'John Wayne (As Written by a Non-American)' has been purchased by Ben Payne (benpayne) and Robert Hoge for Aurealis. Some of you will probably notice a title similarity between this and 'Johnny Cash (A Tale in Questionnaire Results)', which was published last year, and that is because both take part in the Dead American Cycle, which are stories that are completely unrelated, except that they somehow feature dead Americans and are about, in one way or another, America. Anyhow, what I'm trying to say here is that if you liked 'Johnny Cash', chances are you'll like this one as well.

It's a good start to the year, at any rate.

Comments

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coalescent
Jan. 23rd, 2006 11:05 am (UTC)
Congrats on the sale.

I got Oh Pure and Radiant Heart for Christmas, and have been trying to find the time to sit down and read it ever since. Unfortunately, there's a whole pile of other stuff I have to read first ...
benpeek
Jan. 23rd, 2006 11:13 am (UTC)
yeah, i got it round xmas as well. something about it was just saying i should read it though. it's this beautifully layered thing so far, rich and textured. it reminds me a bit of james morrow, but without the dryness.
bodhichitta0
Jan. 24th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
I haven't read her yet but her George Bush the Dark Prince of Love has been on my library list for quite awhile. I just put both of them on my amazon list so I wouldn't forget. My books-to-read list needs to go electronic, I think, but I've been keeping in a notebook for so long...

Oh and congrats on the sale!
benpeek
Jan. 25th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
i use amazon.com for my to read list. it's easy, updatable, and every now and then i remember to buy the books from it :)

after i've finished pure and radiant, i plan to buy millet's other books.
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