An award-winning novel; a fable of freedom and slavery.
- Small Beer Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 Years
Read an Excerpt
We're not against you, we're for. In fact we're built for you and you for us--we, so our weak little legs will dangle on your chest and our tail down the back. Exactly as you so often transport your own young when they are weak and small. It's a joy. Just like a mother-walk.
You'll be free. You'll have a pillow. You'll have a water faucet and a bookcase. We'll pat you if you do things fast enough and don't play hard to catch. We'll rub your legs and soak your feet. Sams and Sues, and you Sams had better behave yourselves.
You still call us aliens in spite of the fact that we've been on your world for generations. And why call aliens exactly those who've brought health and happiness to you? And look how well we fit, you and us. As if born for each other even though we come from different worlds.
We mate the stocky with the stocky, the thin with the thin, the pygmy with the pygmy. You've done a fairly good job with that yourselves before we came. As to skin, we like a color a little on the reddish side. Freckles are third best.
Your type is called a Seattle. I hope to find other Seattles to mate with you, and soon.
Your young will stay with their mothers until weaning. We'll stroke them all over to make them love us. Four months is the crucial time for imprinting you predators. And your young do love us. You all do. We're the ones with the treats. Leather straps will help keep you in line and help us keep our seat. There will sometimes be prickers on our toes. How and if these are used, and when, depends, of course, on you.
You are the recipient of our kindness, our wealth and knowledge, our intelligence, our good growth of greens. Without usyou'd not exist. Remember that. Though it's true a few of you still survive in the mountains. We care nothing for mountains. What can you grow in the mountains that's not better grown in the valleys? Or build?
There is no need for you, or any of you, to learn how to count. And why read? We like you well-muscled. Reading is not conducive to muscles. We prefer that you hook yourself to the go-round instead.
My offspring will be pleased with you. They already know good lines: Slope of shoulders, rise of chest, slim waist, more so in your females. And, and most important, sturdy legs. Legs are what we're taught to notice first. Hands last. Compared to ours, your hands are so small and weak. Then there's the look in the eye. You should have a kind eye. Many things depend on such knowledge, or else there would be more danger than there already always is.
Our young adore you. They even adore your straps and buckles. They keep your pictures above where they curl up. They hang your worn-out shoes over their doorways. They save apples for you that they feed you piece-by-piece--and strawberries and chocolate.
As we go along on your shoulders, head to head (so sweetly!), cheek to cheek, our sun hats cover you also, and our rain hats. Some of us whisper our most secret secrets into your ear as we go.
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author of Carter Beats the Devil
-- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Years of Rice and Salt
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