- Foreword: Writing Rochester's Futures
- "Interesting Times"
- "Culinary Capital, 2034"
- "Night Bells"
- "Hollow Lives"
- "The Naked Girl"
- "Time Enough for Love"
- "Day of the Bicentennial"
- "One City at a Time"
- "Want Not"
- "The Costs of Survival"
- "Getting Wet"
- "Top 10 Headlines, Rochester, NY, 2034"
- "North Star Pipeline"
- "The 2034 Lilac Festival"
- "Scotch and Sizzlenuts on the Resolute Bay"
- "Fads (or Why Jerry Loathes the Aliens)" [FULL TEXT, AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY]
"The Naked Girl"
From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
MANDY FABER, Monday, October 31, 2033:
Here comes Dylan Preece from off-campus, marching happily into Rare Books. I’m wearing a witch’s hat and green lipcover. It’s the Halloween Scarefair intended to bring students into the library to look up frightening titles, because the library is already too frightening for them.
Dylan is twinkling with sass, good-natured mouth open to challenge me. Oh, and he’s got his kindler, ready to show me something it has on there we don’t have in here.
“Success!” he says, holding it out.
“Do you want to actually see Wilkins’ Essay Towards a Real Character and Philosophical Language? You can touch the seventeenth-century pages.”
“Mandy!” He leans in and I drop my eyes coyly, look at the pale hollow of his throat. His voice is always a little hoarse. “A book’s like more than its pages.”
“True. But in here we value the pages.”
Dylan peers at the first book in the case I’ve arranged: “So what’s The Library of Birds?”
“A long fifteenth-century poem by Kahlil Akbar.”
“Bet that’s on here, too.” says Dylan.
“Bet it’s not.”
“No, put your augs back on…” Impudently he readjusts my specs.
Bright pages riffle into the virtual air and the letters “GVVC Educational Specialist” hover over his head.
“Not on here. You win!”
“We,” I say, “have rare books.” And I close his hands over the kindler. He likes me this way, in charge, reserved, teasing. I press my smile into my green lips.
“So he’s invisible.”
“Not at all.” I take the book out of the case and open it. I’m amused by his sense of the visible. “I made him.”
“Last year. In my studio on Railroad Street.”
“To go in here?”
“Because I can do it.”
“Do they know you’re Kahlil Akbar?”
“And his translator, J.F. Sebastian. My own personal Word Press. I press the words into the page.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You can take my book-making class anytime.”
“Shit!!” Out winks the kindler and all its stored wisdom. “Lobe link issues.” Dylan fumbles with his ear; his confident smile turns angsty and I think how everything crashes, including love.
“What’s the environment, Dylan?”
“Down to green. Gonna be hot by ten tomorrow,” and he directs me to walk along the Genesee with the fall colors. “Veiled, of course.” Does he take me for a total noob, just because I work in a library? I imagine walking along the river, veiled of course, with Dylan. He never offers. He turns to me earnestly: “Maybe I could like make…not as realistic as this, but…” I look hopefully into his bright dark eyes. He adds, spoiling the mood: “Maybe you’ve seen a girl running along the Genesee? Tall, under-dressed? No veil?”
“A book for her.”
This is just a sample. To read more, order 2034 from our online store.