Read Near + Far Online

Authors: Cat Rambo

Tags: #Science Fiction, #Short Stories (Single Author)

Near + Far

Near + Far

Stories
of the
Near Future
and the
Far

Cat Rambo

Hydra
House

Near + Far

Copyright © 2012 by Cat Rambo

All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in a newspaper, magazine, radio, or television review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Author or the Publisher.

978-0-9848301-4-5 (print)

978-0-9848301-5-2 (ebook)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012943112

Hydra House

2850 SW Yancy St. #106

Seattle, WA 98126

http://www.hydrahousebooks.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, situations, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cover art by Sean Counley

http://www.seancounley.com/

Cover design by Tod McCoy

Illustrations by Mark W. Tripp

http://www.spiderpig.com/

Text design by Vicki Saunders

Praise for Near + Far

Five reasons to read Cat Rambo:

  1. If you like stories about strange places and strange creatures
  2. If you like stories that leave you yourself feeling a little strange
  3. If you like a good love story
  4. especially one with talking cats, deadly mermaids, mind-altering technologies, live coats, detachable limbs, gorgeous descriptions and great leaps of imagination, wit and power
  5. plus travel through space and time

Then this is the book for you.

Karen Joy Fowler

Cat Rambo's futures are complex, and often dissonant and eerie—they evoke the familiar in their careful world-building, intricate detail and recognizable characters, while simultaneously constructing futures flavored with the strange. Her futures are often unsettling, but never so simple as to be dystopic; her stories inhabit complex, ambiguous worlds. Her simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar settings sharpen her portrayals of human relationships. By recasting core experiences against disjunctive backgrounds, she causes the reader to appreciate them anew. People are always at the center: they fall away from each other, cope with betrayals, seek connections. While the inner eye marvels at her immersive images, the body resonates with the subtle, deft emotions imbued in her characters. Cat Rambo's finest stories shimmer in the memory like the lights of the Aurora Borealis: vivid and eerily illuminating.

Rachel Swirsky

Cat Rambo's stories never go where you expect them to. They twist and turn and end up in strange places—sometimes very strange indeed. Both the stories set on the Earth we know (or think we know) and those set far away will surprise and delight you.

Nancy Kress

Cat Rambo's newest collection shows two sides of her fiction. Powerful prose, coupled with telling details. Not only does the collection flip, physically, it will also turn you on your head. Read with caution: these stories are only safe in small doses.

Mary Robinette Kowal

Near + Far is a survey of the terrain of Cat Rambo's imagination, ranging from small fantasies of the moment to vest pocket planetary romances. She tends to the quiet, internal, disturbing reflection, far more Bradbury than Heinlein. Moving, thought-provoking literature in nicely comestible chunks.

Jay Lake

An exemplary short story collection in both senses of the term—excellent and also a model of what the range of the career of a speculative short story writer should be, and these days unfortunately so rarely is. Wide in its subject matter from the immediate future to the wide open spaces, deep in its psychological characterization when that is the central point, speculatively amusing when it isn't, well-realized almost all of the time, and always entertaining.

Norman Spinrad

     NEAR Table of Contents

Near + Contents

The Mermaids Singing, Each to Each

Peaches of Immortality

Close Your Eyes

Therapy Buddha

Ms. Liberty gets a Haircut

10 New Metaphors for Cyberspace

Memories of Moments,
Bright as Falling Stars

RealFur

Not Waving, But Drowning

Vocobox™

Long Enough and Just So Long

Legends of the Gone

Introduction

I
f you're holding the physical copy of this book, you're seeing the outgrowth of my theory regarding how electronic publishing will affect books. The book is more than a delivery mechanism for text: it should feel nice in your hands if we've done everything right. You can flip it to find a second set of stories, which I find downright cool. Attention's been paid to the art, both exterior and interior, and we've proofread the heck out of it, so there should be very few typos to distract the reader. It's an object that can be prized in its own right.

This is how, I think, physical books may survive, as objects that are aesthetically pleasing or entertaining in their own right, and which add something to the text they hold. Look at Subterranean Press' strategy of making beautiful, collectible books: I've got more than a few of those on my shelves and I'll keep buying them periodically, despite the fact that I do most of my reading now on the Kindle. That's the kind of book we've tried to put together.

If you're reading this electronically, we've tried to make the most of that as well. You'll find there's an accompanying mobile device app (or will be, Goddess willing, by the time this comes out) that lets you access extra material, including audio recordings of several stories.

I am incredibly pleased with this book. It's allowed me to work with some of my very favorite people, and particular shouts should go out to: Tod McCoy, without whom this book would not have been possible; Vicki Saunders, for incredible design skills and meticulous work; Mark W. Tripp, for allowing me to use some of the art he's been showing me for over a decade; Sean Counley, for his gorgeous cover art; Jo Molnar, who kindly pruned typos and corrected embarrassing misspellings; and Wayne Rambo, who provided support, encouragement, and occasional nagging. You guys rock, and you rock hard.

The stories themselves come from close to a decade of writing. Sometimes when you're writing, you feel you're leveled up, that you've moved through some plateau and jumped to a new degree of skill. Some of these stories are ones that let me know I'd leveled up. I hope you enjoy them all.

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