Sunday, July 11, 2010

“Big Chair” a 1992 Desolation Road story by Ian McDonald

Thanks to the generosity of award-winning British science fiction author Ian McDonald, you can read his short story “Big Chair” (1992). Set in the vicinity of the town of Desolation Road on a future colonized Mars, this story of magical realism revolves around two boardrunners, Jammer and Safarside, who ride the winds across a vast Martian desert, each on his/her own pilgrimage. Here are the opening lines:
THEY WAKE in the morning to dust. Red dust, drifted in long plumes behind the upright windboards in the lee of which they lay down to sleep the night before. Dust in the desert bags. Dust in the ear, dust in the corner of the eye, in the corners of the mouth. Dust clinging to the sweat of the night like a red crust. As he prepares breakfast, she surveys the forward horizon with her scanshades. The sun is well up, already the heathaze is flowing and running and filling the land with illusions and uncertainties. She thinks she sees a darkness in the liquid haze, dark discordant shapes, sharp and thrusting. About a day's sail, she thinks. Surely they must be getting close, she thinks....
“Big Chair” was written for ConFuse 92 and later published in Interzone #66 (December 1992).

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