Authors: John Brunner
THE SHEEP LOOK UP
To Isobel Grace Sauer (nee Rosamond) 1887-1970
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
NOT IN OUR STARS
A ROOST FOR CHICKENS
ITS A GAS
THE OPPOSITE OF OVENS
THE BLEEDING HEART IS A RUNNING SORE
THE ROOT OF THE TROUBLE
IN SPITE OF HAVING CHARITY A MAN LIKE SOUNDING
SPACE FOR THIS INSERTION IS DONATED BY THE
PUBLISHERS AS A SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
HOUSE TO HOUSE
THE MORAL OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
ABOVE THE SOUND OF SPEED
NO BIGGER THAN A MAN'S HAND
AHEAD OF THE NEWS
THE TINIEST TRACE
AND IT GOES ON
THIS HURTS ME MORE
THE CONTINUING DEBATE
FIRE WHEN READY
THE NATURAL LOOK
POSSESSION IS NINE POINTS
THE OFFER OF RESISTANCE
THE INDISPENSABLE ASSISTANTS
EAT IT IN GOOD HEALTH
THE STRONG CAME FORTH
MY FINGERS ARE GREEN AND SOMETIMES DROP OFF
THE REARING OF THE UGLY HEAD
NOT MAKING HEADLINES
A CALL TO ALMS
A SIFT OF INSECTS
A STRAW TO A DROWNING MAN
THE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE
PICK YOURSELF UP AND START OVER
THE MARVELS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION
A VICTIM OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
BEFORE WE ARE SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED
BLEST ARE THE PURE IN BOWEL
THE TRIAL RUNS
THUS FAR: NO FATHER
THE ILL WIND
FROM THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH
THE DOG DAYS
A PLAN TO MAP THE PLANET
BURNING YOUR BRIDGES BEFORE YOU COME TO THEM
THE UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT
BY THE DEAD SEA
A VIEW STILL EXTREMELY WIDELY ADHERED TO
STEAM ENGINE TIME
IF IT MOVES, SHOOT IT
A PLACE TO STAND
THE GO SIGNAL
RIGHT ABOUT NOW
COMPANIONS IN ADVERSITY
BUILDUP OF FORCES
OUT IN THE OPEN, SHUT UP
THIS ISN'T THE END OF THE WORLD, IS IT?
PRIME TIME OVER TARGET
BACK IN FOCUS
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS BROWNER
HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THESE INSECTS?
UNABLE NOW TO SEE THE MOUNTAINS
CHECK AND BALANCE
THE END OF A LONG DARK TUNNEL
THE GENUINE ARTICLE
INSUSCEPTIBLE OF RIGOROUS ANALYSIS
A SHIFT OF EMPHASIS
MINE ENEMIES ARE DELIVERED INTO MY HAND
TO NAME BUT A FEW
THE DESCENT INTO HELL
THE REFERRED PAIN
OUT OF HAND
STATEMENT OF EMERGENCY
THATS TELLING 'EM!
THE ROUGH DRAFT
WORK IN PROGRESS
MAKING A GOOD RECOVERY
THE LATE NEWS
WHEREWITHAL SHALL IT BE SALTED?
THERE IS HOPE YET
THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION
THE RATIONAL PROPOSAL
THE SMOKE OF THAT GREAT BURNING
-Sign pictured in
God's Own Junkyard,
edited by Peter Blake
The day shall dawn when never child but may
Go forth upon the sward secure to play.
No cruel wolves shall trespass in their nooks,
Their lore of lions shall come from picture-books.
No aging tree a falling branch shall shed
To strike an unsuspecting infant's head.
From forests shall be tidy copses born
And every desert shall become a lawn.
Lisping their stories with competing zest,
One shall declare, "I come from out the West,
Where Grandpa toiled the fearful sea to take
And pen it tamely to a harmless lake!"
Another shall reply, "My home's the East,
Where, Mama says, dwelt once a savage beast
Whose fangs he oft would bare in horrid rage-Indeed, I've seen one, safely in a cage!"
Likewise the North, where once was only snow,
The rule of halls and cottages shall know,
The lovely music of a baby's laugh,
The road, the railway and the telegraph,
And eke the South; the oceans round the Pole
Shall be domestic. What a noble goal!
Such dreams unfailingly the brain inspire
And to exploring Englishmen do fire…
-"Christmas in the New Rome," 1862
By wild animals?
In broad daylight on the Santa Monica freeway? Mad! Mad!
It was the archetype of nightmare: trapped, incapable of moving, with monstrous menacing beasts edging closer. Backed up for better than a mile, three lanes trying to cram into an exit meant for two, reeking and stalking and roaring. For the time being, though, he was more afraid of running than of staying where he was.
Bright fangs repeating the gray gleam of the clouds, a cougar.
Claws innocent of any sheath, a jaguar.
Winding up to strike, a cobra.
Hovering, a falcon. Hungry, a barracuda.
However, when his nerve finally broke and he tried running, it wasn't any of these that got him, but a stingray.
The radio said, "You deserve security, Stronghold-style!"
Blocking access to the company parking lot on the left of the street was a bus, huge, German, articulated, electric, discharging passengers.
Waiting impatiently for it to move on, Philip Mason pricked up his ears.
A commercial for a rival corporation?
The unctuous voice went on, backed by non-music from cellos and violas. "You deserve to sleep undisturbed. To go on vacations as long as you can afford, free from worry about the home you've left behind.
Don't they say a man's home is his castle-and shouldn't that be true for you?"
No. Not insurance. Some dirty property developer. What the hell was this bus stopped here for, anyhow? It belonged to the City of Los Angeles okay-right color, name painted on the side-but in place of a destination board it just had a stock sign, ON HIRE, and he couldn't see details of its occupants through its grimy windows. But that was hardly surprising since his own windshield was grimy, too. He had been going to hit the horn; instead, he hit the wash-and-wipe stud, and a moment later was glad of the choice he'd made. Now he could discern half a dozen dull-faced kids, three black, two yellow, one white, and the head of a crutch. Oh.
The speech from the radio continued. "What we've done for you is build that castle. Nightly, armed men stand guard at all our gates, the only points of access through our spike-topped walls. Stronghold Estates employ the best-trained staff. Our watchmen are drawn from the police, our sharpshooters are all ex-Marines."
Of whom there's no shortage since they kicked us out of Asia. Ah, the bus signaling a move. Easing forward past its tail and noting from the corner of his eye a placard in its rear window which identified the hiring organization as Earth Community Chest Inc., he flashed his lights at the car next behind, asking permission to cut in front. It was granted, he accelerated-and an instant later had to jam the brakes on again. A cripple was crossing the entrance to the lot, an Asiatic boy in his early teens, most likely Vietnamese, one leg shrunk and doubled up under the hip, his arms widespread to help him keep his balance on a sort of open aluminum cage with numerous straps.
Harold, thank God, isn't
All the armed gate-guards black. A prickling of sweat at the idea he might have run the boy down under the muzzles of their guns. Yellow means honorary black. It is sweet to have companions in adversity.
And, thinking of companions-Oh,
"There's never any need to fear for your children,'" mused the radio.
"Daily, armored buses collect them at your door, take them to the school of your choice. Never for a second are they out of sight of responsible, affectionate adults."
The boy completed his hopping* journey to where the sidewalk resumed, and Philip was finally able to ease his car forward. A guard recognized the company sticker on his windshield and hit the lift for the red-and-white pole that closed the lot. Sweating worse than ever, because he was horribly late and even though that wasn't his fault he was perfused with abstract guilt which made him feel vaguely that
today was his fault, from the Baltimore bombings to the communist takeover in Bali, he stared around. Oh, shit. Packed solid.
There wasn't one gap he could squeeze into without guidance unless he wasted more precious time in sawing back and forth with inches to spare.
"They will play in air-conditioned recreation halls," the radio promised. "And whatever medical attention they may need is on hand twenty-four hours per day-at low, low contract rates!"
All right for someone earning a hundred thousand a year. For most of us even contract rates are crippling; I should know. Aren't any of those guards going to help me park? Hell, no, all going back to their posts.
Furious, he wound down his window and made violent beckoning gestures. At once the air made him cough and his eyes started to water.
He simply wasn't used to these conditions.
"And now a police flash," said the radio.
Maskless, his expression revealing a trace of-what? Surprise?
Contempt?-something, anyway, which was a comment on this charley who couldn't even breathe straight air without choking, the nearest guard moved toward him, sighing.
"Rumors that the sun is out at Santa Ynez are without foundation,"
the radio said. "I'll repeat that." And did, barely audible against the drone of an aircraft invisible over cloud. Philip piled out, clawing a five-dollar bill from his pocket
"Take care of this thing for me, will you? I'm Mason, Denver area manager. I'm late for a conference with Mr. Chalmers."
He got that much said before he doubled over in another fit of coughing. The acrid air ate at the back of his throat; he could imagine the tissues becoming horny, dense, impermeable. If this job's likely to involve me in frequent trips to LA I'm going to have to buy a filter-mask. And the hell with looking sissy. Saw on the way here it isn't only girls who wear them any more.