Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a question of seeing things correctly

"I'll know when you're close," the voice said. "You were warm just then."

"Just then?" All he had done was look around the room. He did so again, turning his head slowly. Then it happpened.

The room, from one angle, looked different. It was suddenly a mixture of muddled colors, instead of the carefully blended pastel shades he had selected. The lines of wall, floor and ceiling were strangely off proportion, zigzag, unrelated.

Then everything went back to normal.

"You were very warm," the voice said. "It's a question of seeing things correctly."

— from "Warm," by Robert Sheckley.

I'm seeing shades of China MiƩville, something "old and predatory and utterly terrible" like in his story "Details," one aspect of which might be seen as growing into something vaster yet more mundane in the crosshatching of The City & the City.

Sheckley's story is from 1953, and it's included in Store of the Worlds, a collection of his stories recently issued by NYRB Classics.

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