“With a deft and elegant hand, she creates an astonishing range of new worlds, each one utterly familiar and utterly strange. Marta Randall is a reader’s writer.”
Katharine Weber, author of Triangle
“Marta Randall shows us new marvels at the heart of our own world or in the world of our own heart. The journey is always a surprise.” Kate Maloy, author of A Stone Bridge North
THESE STORIES, and others, can be found in Collected Stories.
THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
April, 1980 (Nebula Award finalist)
THE LOOSENING OF THE FOURTH-QUADRANT stabilizer leads plate was more of an annoyance than a crisis, but it could not be fixed in tau. The backup stabilizer, whining in protest, took most of the strain. Jes slapped temporary patches on the inner hull beneath the loose plate, magnetized the patches, confirmed that they held the plate to the hull and, cursing, instructed the navigational computer to home for the nearest grabstation. And so, two weeks out of Estremadura on a solitary flight to MarketPort to meet his ship, tauCaptain Jes Kennerin brought his limping sloop to Priory Main Grab and requested entry.
The View from Endless Scarp
THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION,
THE LAST SHIP NOSED UP THROUGH THE THIN CLOUDS. It was still in sight when Markowitz sprinted from the boulders and leaped about the landing field, throwing her arms in the air, screaming, weeping, begging the ship to return. By the time it disappeared she lay exhausted on the hot black setdown, fingers scrabbling, muttering to herself. The departure hadn’t gone as she’d planned but the results were the same, and Markowitz, wretched in the dirt, remained perhaps the only human being on planet.
THE NOISE WOKE ME; I LAY IN BED, LISTENING TO THE BRIGHT SOUND OF LEAF ON LEAF. Another lapidary night, cracking leaves in the forest around the house. In the morning shards of emerald lay on the deeper emerald of the grass, or pierced the faceted violets. Another extravagance of jewels, littering my small clearing. I stirred them with one slippered foot, admiring their fire. Useless for my purposes, of course. Hawkins paid for perfection only: the unblemished beryl rose, the symmetrical ruby anemone. Or insects: moths, spiders, butterflies so delicate that too often they shattered in the collecting. Two years ago I found something that looked like a squirrel, black jet eyes bright and peering, the glory of a tail caught ruffled and raised. Hawkins took it eagerly and appeared the next week with a cage full of cats — scarce commodities on Suledan. I refused them. My adamantine goddess was not pleased.
Bantam Books 1985
FIRST THING FIRST, IN BIG DOME IT IS ALL TIMES WITH DANGER. There are light boxes up high on top like in Safe Place but in Big Dome it makes light sometimes and sometimes not, you can’t tell. In Big Dome it is raining at all times but the most of danger in Big Dome is the growing stuff that eats, it is called Weed I hate it because it kills. Also are moving-by-themselves things, they are creatures they eat growing stuff and sometimes they try to eat me but I am crafty-fast and sometimes I eat them. I do not hate them but I hate Weed because it tries to kill me more.
NEW DIMENSIONS 6, Harper & Row, 1976
SHE HAD SOMETHING OF HIS, SEWN UNDER THE SKIN OF HER THIGH. Kept warm and secret, although it demanded neither. Perhaps he no longer needed it, certainly had forgotten it might have existed, but she had it and wanted to give it to him. Besides, she loved him.
NEW DIMENSIONS 10 Harper & Row, 1980
THE HANDS LOOK REMARKABLY LIKE OUR OWN, BUT ARE, OF COURSE, DIFFERENT. The print is too old and too faint to allow the scoop to work on any other part of the figure; only the hands are in focus sharp enough for the scoop to extend its invisible filaments into them and run an analysis. The print is a tool; this much is clear. But the contents of the print, at first, baffle us. The hands move without hesitation, continuously, spinning twelve shining balls through the air. Vaguely discernible behind the moving balls is the face of the juggler. The expression is neither happy nor solemn; the eyes are softly unfocused, the brow unlined, the lips straight and full – it is an expression of total concentration. Gradually the print dims even further, the face dissolves completely, and in the last few seconds the hands, too, disappear, leaving the ball dancing alone against a dark, static-smudged backdrop. The flight of the balls, graphed in continuous lines, is complex, and describes a symbol for the death of the universe.
The State of the Art on Alyssum
NEW DIMENSIONS 7 Harper & Row, 1977
GREZE, WHO IS NOT THE SANEST OF US EVEN AT THE BEST OF TIMES, has advised me to cease and desist. Himmel believes that I should continue in my plans, but has warned me not to associate any names with it whatsoever, foremost among them, Himmel’s own. Nort, of course, says nothing. All of this is excellent advice, particularly Nort’s.
On Cannon Beach
ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE 1984
THE DRIVE SOUTH WAS DEPRESSING. Small, sad towns littered the sides of the collapsing highway, their empty buildings and icy streets interrupting blasted brown fields or the skeletons of forests. Neither roads nor habitations had been built to withstand great cold and the ice had come quickly … by next January this land, too, would be under the ice.
TWILIGHT ZONE MAGAZINE, 1986
IF HE DIED BEFORE SHE DID, HE’D HAUNT THE HELL OUT OF HER. She deserved it. She’d always had more respect for the dead than for him anyway.
A Scarab in the City of Time
NEW DIMENSIONS 5 Harper & Row, 1975
I’M A SOCIOLOGIST. I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ANY OF THIS.
ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE, 1985
The things he knows or remembers, and the things he doesn’t, bewilder me. Plates make sense to him, but not forks. Clothing escapes him completely. He sits in the sun, bare-assed, while light pours over his smooth skin. He resists walking and when he must he minces, grimacing with pain. He must be hurt somewhere, but when I try to put my hands to him he bolts into the hut, dives under the sack, covers everything except his eyes, and glares at me.