Сергей Красиков (eska) wrote,
Сергей Красиков

good old days

"After dinner, he asked me into his study. The aunts didn’t look happy about it, but they didn’t say anything. The study was a complete surprise, because it’s full of books. From the rest of the house, I’d have expected neat old leatherbound editions of Dickens and Trollope and Hardy (Gramma loved Hardy), but instead the shelves are chockablock with paperbacks, and masses of them are SF. I actually relaxed for the first time in this house, for the first time in his pr esence, because if there are books perhaps it won’t be all that bad.
There were other things in the room—chairs, a fireplace, a drinks tray, a record player—but I ignored or avoided them and walked as fast as I clumsily could to the SF shelf.
There was a whole load of Poul Anderson I haven’t read. Stuffed on the top of the As there was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonquest, which looks as if it’s the sequel to “Weyr Search” which I read in an anthology. On the shelf below there was a John Brunner I haven’t read. Better than that, two John Brunners, no, three John Brunners I haven’t read. I felt my eyes start to swim.
I spent the summer practically bookless, with only what I took with me when I ran away from my mother—the three-volume paperback Lord of the Rings, of course, Ursula Le Guin’s The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, Volume 2, which I will defend against all comers as the best single author short story collection of all time, ever, and John Boyd’s The Last Starship from Earth, which I’d been in the middle of at the time and which hadn’t stood up to re-reading as much as one might hope. I have read, though I didn’t bring it with me, Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and the comparison between Anna bringing a new toy instead of the loved Pink Rabbit when they left the Third Reich has been uncomfortably with me whenever I’ve looked at the Boyd recently.
“Can I—” I started to ask.
“You can borrow any books you want, just take care of them and bring them back,” he said. I snatched the Anderson, the McCaffrey, the Brunners. “What have you got?” he asked. I turned and showed him. We both looked at the books, not at each other.
“Have you read the first of these?” he asked, tapping the McCaffrey.
“Out of the library,” I said. I have read the entire science fiction and fantasy collection of Aberdare library, from Anderson’s Ensign Flandry to Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness, an odd thing to end on, and one I’m still not certain about.
“Have you read any Delany?” he asked. He poured himself a whisky and sipped it. It smelled weird, horrible.
I shook my head. He handed me an Ace Double, one half of it Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany. I turned it over to look at the other half, but he tutted impatiently, and I actually looked at him for a moment.
“The other half’s just rubbish,” he says, dismissively, stubbing out a cigarette with unnecessary force. “How about Vonnegut?”
I have read the complete works of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., to date. Some of it I have read standing up in Lears bookshop in Cardiff. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is very strange, but Cat’s Cradle is one of the best things I’ve ever read. “Oh yes,” I said.
“What Vonnegut?”
“All of it,” I said, confidently.
“Cat’s Cradle?”
“Breakfast of Champions, Welcome to the Monkey House…” I reeled off the titles. He was smiling. He looked pleased. My reading has been solace and addiction but nobody has been pleased with me for it before.
“How about The Sirens of Titan?” he asked, as I wound down.
I shook my head. “I’ve never heard of it!”
He set down his drink, bent down and got the book, hardly looking at the shelves, and added it to my pile. “How about Zenna Henderson?”
“Pilgrimage,” I breathed. It is a book that speaks to me. I love it. Nobody else I’ve met has ever read it. I didn’t read it from the library. My mother had it, an American edition with a hole punched in the cover. I don’t even think there is a British edition. Henderson wasn’t in the library catalogue. For the first time, I realised that if he is my father, which in some sense he is, then long ago he knew her. He married her. He had the sequel to Pilgrimage and two collections. I took them, very uncertain of him. I could hardly hold my book pile one-handed. I put them all in my bag, which was on my shoulder, where it always is.
“I think I’ll go to bed and read now,” I said.
He smiled. He has a nice smile, nothing like our smiles. I’ve been told all my life that we looked like him, but I can’t see it. If he’s Lazarus Long to our Laz and Lor, I’d expect to have some sense of recognition. We never looked anything like anyone in our family, but apart from the eye and hair colour I don’t see anything. It doesn’t matter.

I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books".

Логично, что роман papersky получил Хьюго и Небьюлу.

promo eska november 24, 2013 23:55 Leave a comment
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