Thursday, August 27, 2009

Listen to a reading of Jay Lake’s 2008 short story “Skinhorse Goes to Mars”

Thanks to Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine, I just finished listening to Mike Boris read “Skinhorse Goes to Mars” (36 mins.), a short story written by award-winning SF&F author Jay Lake that
was first published in the #15, Summer 2008, issue of Postscripts magazine. Although this R-rated, scientifically syrupy story about a philosophical being named Skinhorse who goes to Mars on some kind of a genetic mission didn't appeal to me, here are the opening lines:

When I met Skinhorse, my first thought was old. Which was weird. Nobody gets old these days. We all die young, some of us after living a long time, if we’re lucky.

He was in Piet’s Number Seven, a bar-cum-caravanserai in an illegal orbit trailing far enough behind Vesta to be ignorable. Piet’s had been instantiated in an old volatiles bladder that had done the Jovian run a few too many times before falling into the surplus circuit. You could store entire cities in Piet’s cubage, which made for a somewhat attenuated bar experience. Plus the place had one of those gravity cans -- yes, those gravity cans -- which meant your drink stayed stuck down long as you were near a Higgs carpet. ...

Now I understand what critic Lois Tilton meant when she reviewed “Skinhorse Goes to Mars” for the Internet Review of Science Fiction in 2008: “This is a story strongly driven by its prose, by its energetic and evocative language. The pace moves so rapidly that [...] the reader is just supposed to hang on for the ride with eyes closed and not ask questions. Lose the momentum, like a bicyclist, and it all falls down.” Unfortunately, I fell down.

[via Dave Tackett of QuasarDragon]

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