David Brin


Copyright © 2012 by David Brin

To “Tether Joe” Carroll, who spins real space lariats…


“Doc” Sheldon Brown, who teaches time travelers…

… and Ralph Vicinanza, who helped many dreams and dreamers to thrive.



Those who ignore the mistakes of the future are bound to make them.

– Joseph Miller


what matters? do i? or ai? + the question spins

+/- as my body spins!/+ in time to a chirping window- bird

“normal people” don’t think like this -/-/-

nor aspies -/- nor even most autistics

stop spinning! -/- there -/- now back to the holo-screen -

rain smatters the clatter window -

bird is gone -/+ hiding from falling water + +

like i hide from a falling civilization

what matters then?/? progress? New minds??

after cortex, after libraries, the web, mesh, ai-grid

– what’s next ?/!

will it offer hope/doom for foolish humanity +/?

for the glaring cobbly minds +/?

or autistic-hybrids like me +/?



The universe had two great halves.

A hemisphere of glittering stars surrounded Gerald on the right.

Blue-brown Earth took up the other side. Home, after this job was done. Cleaning the mess left by another generation.

Like a fetus in its sac, Gerald floated in a crystal shell, perched at the end of a long boom, some distance from the space station Endurance. Buffered from its throbbing pulse, this bubble was more space than station.

Here, he could focus on signals coming from a satellite hundreds of kilometers away. A long, narrow ribbon of whirling fiber, far overhead.

The bola. His lariat. His tool in an ongoing chore.

The bola is my arm.

The grabber is my hand.

Magnetic is the lever that I turn.

A planet is my fulcrum.

Most days, the little chant helped Gerald to focus on his job-that of a glorified garbageman. There are still people who envy me. Millions, down in that film of sea and cloud and shore.

Some would be looking up right now, as nightfall rushed faster than sound across teeming Sumatra. Twilight was the best time to glimpse this big old station. It made him feel connected with humanity every time Endurance crossed the terminator-whether dawn or dusk-knowing a few people still looked up.

Focus, Gerald. On the job.

Reaching out, extending his right arm fully along the line of his body, he tried again to adjust tension in that far-off, whirling cable, two thousand kilometers overhead, as if it were a languid extension of his own self.

And the cable replied. Feedback signals pulsed along Gerald’s neuro-sens suit… but they felt wrong.

My fault, Gerald realized. The orders he sent to the slender satellite were too rapid, too impatient. Nearby, little Hachi complained with a screech. The other occupant of this inflated chamber wasn’t happy.

“All right.” Gerald grimaced at the little figure, wearing its own neuro-sens outfit. “Don’t get your tail in a knot. I’ll fix it.”

Sometimes a monkey has more sense than a man.

Especially a man who looks so raggedy, Gerald thought. A chance glimpse of his reflection revealed how stained his elastic garment had become-from spilled drinks and maintenance fluids. His grizzled cheeks looked gaunt. Infested, even haunted, by bushy, unkempt eyebrows.

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