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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Gray Matter" or "Their Thousandth Season" by Edward Bryant

Originally appeared in Clarion II.  Reprinted in Terry Carr's Best Science Fiction of the Year.  Also in Bryant's own collection, Cinnabara strange city of the far future.  A purchase will help the author as he is enduring financial and health problems (see Friends of Ed Bryant).

The story opens, "The city.  Forever the city.  Within it rots the tissue of dreams."

In decadent Cinnabar, the immortal residents have little to do on their own except sex--at least in this story--breeding ennui.  Popular program "Jack Burton--Immortal" has been renewed for its thousandth season (see above title), but few really care.  Books write themselves.  Conversations are predictable.  Memories are erased.  They encourage one another not to think.  Poetry is written but no one bothers to send it in anywhere.  Reality is confused where a number of characters are character in the fantasy of Tourmaline Hayes, a long, green haired sex star.

The first, more interesting title--which comes with the collection Cinnabar--alludes to the brain or nebulous matters that exist between extremes--black and white--which is fitting here where the immortals have little moral pressures as when the author says a book he's had a computer write called Brothers and Sisters and is suggested that this be erotic.

Great quote that sounds like one thing but transforms into another:
"I'm well into the new novel....  [It's about] Brothers and sisters.  That about all I can tell you at this point.  The book's writing itself.  I've got very little to do with the process, aside from feeding in the paper."

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