The Complete Stories (Page 18)
Not a word. Not a sound. Not a breath. They were all past any demonstration.
"Don’t stare like that," cried Nimmo. "Don’t you see my point? I had popular publication rights. Jonas will admit that. I knew he couldn’t publish scientifically in any legal way. I was sure he was planning to publish illegally and was preparing the safety-deposit box for that reason, i thought if I put through the details prematurely, all the responsibility would be mine. His career would be saved. And if 1 were deprived of my science-writing license as a result, my exclusive possession of the chronometric data would set me up for life. Jonas would be angry, I expected that, but I could explain the motive and we would split the take fifty-fifty. . . Don’t stare at me like that. How did I know-"
"Nobody knew anything," said Araman bitterly, "but you all just took it for granted that the government was stupidly bureaucratic, vicious, tyrannical, given to suppressing research for the hell of it. It never occurred to any of you that we were trying to protect mankind as best we could."
"Don’t sit there talking," wailed Potterley. "Get the names of the people who were told-"
"Too late," said Nimmo, shrugging. "They’ve had better than a day. There’s been time for the word to spread. My outfits will have called any number of physicists to check my data before going on with it and they’ll call one another to pass on the news. Once scientists put neutrinics and pseudo-gravities together, home chronoscopy becomes obvious. Before the week is out, five hundred people will know how to build a small chronoscope and how will you catch them all?" His plum cheeks sagged. "I suppose there’s no way of putting the mushroom cloud back into that nice, shiny uranium sphere."
Araman stood up. "We’ll try, Potterley, but I agree with Nimmo. It’s too late. What kind of a world we’ll have from now on, I don’t know, I can’t tell, but the world we know has been destroyed completely. Until now, every custom, every habit, every tiniest way of life has always taken a certain amount of privacy for granted, but that’s all gone now."
He saluted each of the three with elaborate formality.
"You have created a new world among the three of you. I congratulate you. Happy goldfish bowl to you, to me, to everyone, and may each of you fry in hell forever. Arrest rescinded."
The Foundation of S.F Success
(with apologies to W. S. gilbert)
If you ask me how to shine in the science-fiction line as a pro of luster
bright, I say, practice up the lingo of the sciences, by jingo (never mind if not
quite right). You must talk of Space and Galaxies and tesseractic
fallacies in slick and mystic style, Though the fans won’t understand it, they will all the same demand it
with a softly hopeful smile.
And all the fans will say,
As you walk your spatial way,
If that young man indulges in flights through all
the Galaxy, Why, what a most imaginative type of man that type
of man must be.
So success is not a mystery, just brush up on your history,
and borrow day by day. Take an Empire that was Roman and you’ll find it is at home in all the
starry Milky Way. With a drive that’s hyperspatial, through the parsecs you will race, you’ll
find that plotting is a breeze,
Copyright © 1954 by Fantasy House, inc.
With a tiny bit of cribbin’ from the works of Edward Gibbon and that Greek, Thucydides.
And all the fans will say,
As you walk your thoughtful way,
If that young man involves himself in authentic history,
Why, what a very learned kind of high IQ, his high IQ must be.
Then eschew all thoughts of passion of a man-and-woman fashion from
your hero’s thoughtful mind. He must spend his time on politics, and thinking up his shady tricks, and
outside that he’s blind. It’s enough he’s had a mother, other females are a bother, though they’re
jeweled and glistery. They will just distract his dreaming and his necessary
scheming with that psychohistory.
And all the fans will say As you walk your narrow way, If all his yarns restrict themselves to masculinity, Why, what a most particularly pure young man that pure young man must be.
Linda, age ten, was the only one of the family who seemed to enjoy being awake.
Norman Muller could hear her now through his own drugged, unhealthy coma. (He had finally managed to fall asleep an hour earlier but even then it was more like exhaustion than sleep.)
She was at his bedside now, shaking him. "Daddy, Daddy, wake up. Wake up!"
He suppressed a groan. "All right, Linda."
"But, Daddy, there’s more policemen around than any time! Police cars and everything!"
Norman Muller gave up and rose Wearily to his elbows. The day was beginning. It was faintly stirring toward dawn outside, the germ of a miserable gray that looked about as miserably gray as he felt. He could hear Sarah, his wife, shuffling about breakfast duties in the kitchen. His father-in-law, Matthew, was hawking strenuously in the bathroom. No doubt Agent Handley was ready and waiting for him.
This was the day.
To begin with, it had been like every other year. Maybe a little worse, because it was a presidential year, but no worse than other presidential years if it came to that.
The politicians spoke about the guh-reat electorate and the vast electuhronic intelligence that was its servant. The press analyzed the situation with industrial computers (the New York Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had their own computers) and were full of little hints as to what would be forthcoming. Commentators and columnists pinpointed the crucial state and county in happy contradiction to one another.
The first hint that it would not be like every other year was when Sarah Muller said to her husband on the evening of October 4 (with Election Day exactly a month off), "Cantwell Johnson says that Indiana will be the state this year. He’s the fourth one. Just think, our state this time."