Short Story Highlight: “His Master’s Voice” by Hannu Rajaniemi
Before the concert, we steal the master’s head.
The necropolis is a dark forest of concrete mushrooms in the blue Antarctic night. We huddle inside the utility fog bubble attached to the steep southern wall of the nunatak, the ice valley.
The cat washes itself with a pink tongue. It reeks of infinite confidence.
“Get ready,” I tell it. “We don’t have all night.”
It gives me a mildly offended look and dons its armor. The quantum dot fabric envelopes its striped body like living oil. It purrs faintly and tests the diamond-bladed claws against an icy outcropping of rock. The sound grates my teeth and the razor-winged butterflies in my belly wake up. I look at the bright, impenetrable firewall of the city of the dead. It shimmers like chained northern lights in my AR vision.
I decide that it’s time to ask the Big Dog to bark.My helmet laser casts a one-nanosecond prayer of light at the indigo sky: just enough to deliver one quantum bit up there into the Wild. Then we wait. My tail wags and a low growl builds up in my belly.
Right on schedule, it starts to rain red fractal code. My augmented reality vision goes down, unable to process the dense torrent of information falling upon the necropolis firewall like monsoon rain. The chained aurora borealis flicker and vanish.
“Go!” I shout at the cat, wild joy exploding in me, the joy of running after the Small Animal of my dreams. “Go now!”
The cat leaps into the void. The wings of the armor open and grab the icy wind, and the cat rides the draft down like a grinning Chinese kite. – continue reading.
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