Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

  • Music:

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, My Love, and Selling Fiction.

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.

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