Monday, July 20, 2009

What Information Really Wants


Lately, I've been writing short-shorts in my spare time again. Since I don't have a ready paying market for them, what I've done in place of publication is to print out a very small copy of each story and display them in small frames in my house. Here are three of them, sitting on Marianne's desk.

So why don't I simply post them here for free? I'll let one of the stories answer that for me. As follows:

What Information Really Wants

Information sits weeping in a darkened room. She feels cheap. She feels used. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with you ever again. You’re baffled. You thought you knew her. You thought you knew what she wanted. But you never understood information at all, did you? No, you did not.

Even worse, she’s locked herself in. You hammer on the door. “C’mon, baby, open up!” You’re trying to be reasonable. “I need my entertainment. I need that research material. I’ve got twenty bucks riding on the Nicks game and I need to know if I beat the spread.”

Information wails.

It’s all your fault, too. What the hell were you thinking? “Information wants to be free” – what a stupid thing to say. She gave herself to you because she thought you thought she was special. Then you as good as told her she was a slut. Finally, you bellow, “Just tell me what you want!”

Suddenly the door opens and there information stands, eyes blazing with scorn. Angrily she says, “I want to be alone.”

And slams the door in your face.

– M. Swanwick, 7/18/09

Meanwhile, back at the Moon . . . is celebrating their one-year anniversary by posting brief memories by various science fiction writers of where they were forty years ago today when human beings first landed on the Moon. You can find my own humble contribution here. Or you can simply go to and browse through all the posts.

Oh, and they're giving away free stuff too.



Richard Mason said...

I want to share a discovery... I've been reading Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower. The book opens in 2024, but today, July 20th, 2009, is supposedly the day that the protagonist of the novel, Lauren Olamina, is born.

And since Lauren's father is exactly forty years older than she is, that means he was born on the day of the first moon landing.

This surely isn't a coincidence. The character Lauren starts a religion which looks forward to the human colonization of space as a kind of future heaven.

Maybe this "Easter egg" is on the obvious side, but the birthdate significance isn't explicitly spelled out in the book.

Michael Swanwick said...

Okay, that's just plain cool.

And it's so very typical of Octavia that she simply dropped that in and trusted that (some of) her readers would get it.