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by Neal Barrett, Jr.

part 2


"Demon's Belly," Tomm said, "if you didn't like the food you could've left it alone. Now you got a seer all irritated, an' we'll never find a way out of here."

"You can't blame Phideaux," Fyra said, "he didn't know that person was a seer, he had no idea."

"Please, you make zumting out of nudding, Hooman. I haff seen bedder magik than dat at ze county fair. Ziss is a fellow mit a few sleezy triks up his sleef."

"You think he couldn't of turned you into a pile of soot instead? A— a Bowser's gotta yap, he can't keep shut like ordinary folk…"

"Ah, now iss comin' out. A perzon issn't Hooman, he iss no good for nudding."

"You got to admit," Lyra said, "that food was awful. I swear it was movin' about. I near threw up, I did."

"So did I, but I didn't. And I kept shut about it, too."

"Geschök-geschïk-geshük," Phideaux muttered, or words to that effect. He stood, glared at Tomm, and pulled his cape about his shoulders.

"Zitt here, make phun of Bowser hats. I don't gott to lizzen to you."


Fyra tried to call him back, but he was out of the carven hollow and into the night.

"Shoot. He gets like that, it'll take me forever to cool him down."

"Sorry. I didn't mean what I said."

"Yes you did, too. Persons seldom say things they don't mean. That's one thing I've learned in my life."

"In your life snatching purses, taking other folks' goods. What kind of life is that, Fyra?"

The words had come spilling out, and there was never taking them back. That much he had learned in life.

"Fyra, I've got a big mouth, too."

"Good night, Tomm. I don't want to talk to you. I'm only a Mycer girl. A Newlie person and a thief. I can't help it, that's what I do…"

Tomm felt awful. Stricken with remorse. He was so taken with her, so charmed by her beauty and her grace. He had felt he might lift her from the depths of the outlaw persuasion into— What? Someone who was just like he wanted her to be? And what would she be then? Certainly not the Fyra he so adored now…

Full of misery and regret, he glanced at her sleeping form, etched against a small oil lamp, and walked outside the carven hollow where the miner folk had put them for the night.

The great tree itself was a blur, a dark and endless wall, and it made him dizzy just to think of its incredible size.

It had rained while they were inside, but only a mist had filtered down below. Far above were the lightning-struck branches that had snagged the Prinz Unglüksbote, and others of its kind. Giant balloons, foolish gamers, who had lost more than their purses and their shirts some dreary night.

Finally, weary and sore to the bone, Tomm returned to the hollow and lay down to rest. He was sure he would not sleep at all, but certain he'd better be ready for the morrow.

The first thing he'd do, was make amends to Llott, and the seer who had taken such offense to Phideaux Hoch-Hunder. Maybe a word or two would help.

He glanced at the sleeping form across the hollow. So near, and yet so far, as the saying goes. Certainly, she could have no interest in him now, if ever such a thing could have been.

It was Tomm's last thought as sleep pulled him down and took him deep-deep-deep—
— then jerked him up rudely awake, as if no time had passed at all. Pale morning light crept into the hollow, and the Bowser loomed above him, kicking him none too gently in the ribs.

"Up, Hooman," he said, looking somewhat frazzled and intent. "Ve iss leavin' now, geddin' out uff here fast— the faster the bedder, trust me on ziss!"

Fyra sat up, awake at once. "You didn't," she said, with a look that struck the fellow between the eyes. "Tell me you didn't, please."

"A liddle cards iss all. Nuzzing more."

"Oh no, no, no."

"I be tellin' you, doss miners, dey is better dan you'd tink. Zhat magiker fellow, he hass played a few hands before, I promise you dat…"


—  NINE —

Not for the first time in his life, Tomm was certain murder was more than justified. Pushing the Bowser off the tree, content to know he had a good half mile to go, seemed a righteous thing to do.

Not that it would help. Fools like Phideaux — alive, maimed, shackled or dead — left havoc in their wake.

"You said down was bad," Fyra said, containing her fury as best she could, for the angry shouts of their pursuers said they were not far behind. "You said, down was no place to be on Grün. You said—"

"I know vhat I said, Fyra. Dhat vas then, diss iss now."

"You've killed us, you have flat done us in, and I will never, ever forgive you for that."

"Neither will I," Tomm said.

"You keep out of this. I don't intend to talk to you."

Tomm kept his misery to himself. The bark of the tree was like bark anywhere, but here, in the Grün, it was magnified to incredible size. Walking on it was a chore. Crawling through it was something else.

Like frantic bugs, the three made their way through rough fissures between shingles of bark which loomed several stories overhead.

It was treacherous going, and it was dark. Worse still, they often disturbed flocks of small, loathsome creatures, who wailed, squealed, skittered out of the way, leaving a horrid odor behind.

Tomm's stomach did a flip when he recognized the smell, the pale, mottled flesh of these things. He was certain he had seen a moist and jellied bite of such a creature on his plate the night before. Now, he knew what these miner folk "mined." Likely, they traded this noxious flesh to other clans about, and kept enough delicious morsels for themselves.

And, the gods help me, I was famished and asked for more…!

If Phideaux or Fyra made this gross connection they kept it to themselves. Fyra wouldn't speak at all. The Bowser was busy in his role as leader of this hapless pack — cursing in his yippy Bowser tongue.

Now and then, a bolt of fiery blue from the seer's long finger sizzled against the wall of bark. Sharp and spiky missiles rattled, thunked against the wood, but none came close enough to harm. For the most part, the miners spent their energy in angry shouts of





And, from one raucous miner:


Which, Tomm thought, hit the mark quite well.

Ever downward, sometimes leaping across a yawning crevasse with nothing down below. They could as well be scaling a treacherous mountain. The fear, the danger was the same.

He knew the sun was up, but its light was diminished before it got past the limbs and tangled foliage above. Still, his wood vision was getting some better. He could sense the whole pallete of subtle tones and shades, a thousand greens and yellows, russets and browns. There were flying things, chittery things, crawly things about. He heard their presence, but seldom caught more than a glimpse of motion in the shadowy world of the Grün. How far had they gone, he wondered, when would they reach the ground? And, what would they find down there?

He wasn't sure when he noticed the sounds of their pursuers were gone. He stopped, craned his head to listen, saw Fyra and the Bowser were aware of this as well.

"They've given up," Fyra said. "I think we're all right." Still, her voice was strained, and she continued to search the shadows about.

A rare, straw-colored beam of light no thicker than a twig stabbed through the heavy growth and, for an instant, touched the Mycer's face. Her skin turned citron-yellow in the dim and filtered light. Her hat, a cheery red with a feather on the top, looked out of place in this world of mottled greens.

"What you looking at, Tomm? You got nothin better to do?"

"Maybe I'll tell you when we get down from here."

"Maybe you vill nod be zo egzited ven you getting zere, Hooman. Maybe you vant to be climbin' back up."

Tomm looked decidedly annoyed. "What's that supposed to mean? You don't know what's down there, you're just yapping, which is all you ever do."

"Zum tings I know, zum tings I don't. Vhat I am knowing is dose miner perzons, dey are not vollowing us no more, yes? Vhat Phideaux iss hearing about ziss place, is nobody in zee Grün be goin down zere…"


—  TEN  —

Tomm ached, hurt, throbbed all over. Every step brought a kink, a hitch, a cramp or a crick. He couldn't go on, knew they couldn't stop. Phideaux said the miners had called off their chase. But what did he know?

It was Fyra who finally called a halt. With silent thanks, Tomm dropped to the wooden path. His arms, legs, everything twitched, and he couldn't make them stop.

Phideaux didn't speak. He curled up and snored.

"I think we'll be safe for a while," Fyra said. "We can't go on like this."

"I'm fine," Tomm said.

"Sure you are. Go to sleep. We'll go on when we can."

She leveled a patch of dry moss, turned over and faced the other way.

Most of the time she was rude and snappy. When she was tired, though, her voice was soft and kind. Enjoy it, he thought. She'll rest and be her old obnoxious self again.

"I'm telling you, I do not trust your companion at all. He said we should not go down. Well, that's where we're going now. I think he knows something, Fyra."

Fyra sighed. "Phideaux lies, Tomm. Don't you understand that? That's his job, an' when he's not on the job, he can't stop. He don't know how."

"That's your job too, isn't it? Lying and stealing, robbing folks of their goods?"

"Yes, Tomm, it is. How nice of you to bring it up again. Only I don't have to lie when I'm not on the job. Phideaux was born to the criminal persuasion. He is what he is. He can't act anyway else."

"But you can. You could if you wanted to. I know you could. And— I'd help, I'd do anything I could. I know that doesn't mean anything to you, but I would…"

Tomm waited. In a moment, he could hear the even sound of her breathing. He sat and looked into the night. He took off his shirt and wiped the stinging sweat off his face and chest. The air was dank and oppressive, like breathing underwater. You gasped like a fish, filled your lungs with searing air.

He sensed the ground wasn't far. There was a heavier, thicker scent now, the smell of ancient earth, darkness, corruption and decay, the smell of live things dying, crumbling, falling away.

And, as these strong, near visible odors seized him, numbed his senses, sleep came and carried him down, down, deep into horrid dreams, dreams full of terrible, ghastly things who smothered him 'neath their rotting forms, choked him with their foul and fetid breath.

He dreamed the bile rose in his throat, dreamed these creatures lifted him, carried him away, that he heard Fyra scream, heard Phideaux curse in the yappy tones of the Bowser kind.

The good news was, there was nothing left in his gut to toss up. The bad news was, he knew, of a sudden, this was terribly real, and not a dream at all…


—  ELEVEN  —

Phideaux was shaking him, poking at his head, and none too gently at that.

"Damn you, I'm awake, I don't need any help from you!" Tomm took a swing at the fellow, but the Bowser scooted away.

"A fine vay to tank you friend, who iss tryin to help iss all."

"Good. You've helped. Leave me be." Tomm sat up and sniffed. "Demon's Toes, it stinks in here. Where are we? What happened? We're somewhere else, we're not in the tree. Don't tell me, please. I really don't want to know."

"Tell him, Phideaux. Tell him we're not in the tree. Tell him to shut up, please."

Tomm squinted past the Bowser. Fyra was there, in the dark somewhere.

"Fyra? Are you all right? Are you hurt, bruised, maimed in any way?"

"No, I am not. Yes, we're on the ground. Yes, those things caught us and brought us here. They are filthy, ugly as can be. Human, I think. Only not the same as you."

"Have you talked to them, told them we're castaways, and mean them no harm?"

Phideaux laughed. "You haff nodd seen dem, Tomm, or you vould nodd ask der shtubid qvestions."

"Whatever they are, I hope you haven't tried to steal anything, or get them in a game of cards. From the little I saw, I expect we're in enough hot water as it is—"

Don' be knowin what is hahd-wadder, but you be in Ghorhasst, is where you is. An' if I bein' you folk, I watch what I says 'bout ugly and talk like that. You is a fair gross lookin' bunch youselves…"

Tomm sucked in a breath. A pale yellow light lit a corner of the room, and in that light he looked upon a being more awesome than anything he'd ever seen before. It might have been human, but little of the human part showed, for the fellow was covered in a thick coat of muck, moss, mushrooms and mold. Spores, worts, puffballs and green, lichenous growth covered every inch of his features and form.

Worse still, as Tomm grew accustomed to the lemony light, he could see a host of crawly things darting in and out of boggy hidey-holes, twisting, squirming, this way and that.

"I'm— Tomm," Tomm said, forcing the words past the taste welling up in his mouth. "This is Phideaux, and that's Fyra over there. We're lost. We had an accident. Actually, we fell out of the sky—"

"Skie? An' jus what'd that be?"

Uh-oh. A little problem here.

Even though the thing's features were hidden under hideous growth, Tomm could read the confusion in his voice.

"Sky is what's up high," Fyra broke in. "What Tomm means is, we're running from some folks who don't like us much. That's why we come down here. I hope this doesn't inconvenience your people at all."

Once again, Tomm read emotion, surprise in the fellow's eyes.

"You not bein' some of them? You be sayin' that?"

"No, we're definitely not," Tomm said quickly. "Does that mean we might— count on your friendship, then?"

"'Course you cans. No question 'bout that."

The creature stuck out his hand. Tomm cringed, as his fingers closed around a fist full of mush.

"My name is bein' Hadarupp. Welcome to Ghorhasst. We be treatin' you right, here. Put you up an' feed you proper we will."

"We certainly appreciate that," Fyra said.

Hadarupp looked at Fyra, then at Phideaux. He held his gaze on the pair for some time.

"You folk gotten some kinder goods to trade? Wormwine, tikfat, maybe a Topper blade or two?"

"I'm, uh, sure we can do some business," Tomm said.

"Gooder fine," Hadarupp said, shaking a wort off here, a crawly thing there. "I best go tellin' the others 'bout this. They got fires goin ', soon as we bringin' you down. Won't need 'em now. Hadadrupp seein' you not of the Topper persuasion, an' here in Ghorhasst, we doesn't be consumin' our friends…"


—  TWELVE  —

Hadarupp's words didn't really sink in until the three were rested, fed (no one asked what) and guided out into the open again.

Open, Tomm thought, hardly described this awesome sight. Here, in the abyssal depths of Grün, was a world he could scarcely imagine, nor wholly believe with his eyes.

It was black, black as a demon's heart. Only the wicker cages of light, which the creatures carried about, pierced the gloom at all. The light, Tomm learned, came from luminous beetles, who swarmed about inside. When the beetles grew dim, one shook the cage about. This so enraged the crawlies that they buzzed, rattled and glowed with fierce intent.

There were larger cages, too, hung above the maze of floating walkways that linked the Ghorhasst's wooden huts. The maze of walkways, covered by crude thatch awnings, seemed to vanish in the ever-present night. And, Tomm guessed, into the gloom of another great tree, somewhere out of sight.

"I do nodd like it here," Phideaux said, looking about with a baleful eye. "You vish to blame me for diss, fine. I know lotts about ze world. But even I did nott know diss."

"Just don't get near 'em," Fyra said wearily, "all right? These folks never seen a Bowser, an' I guess you notice they got an eye on you."

Phideaux hunched his shoulders and shook his saggy jaws. He knew she was right. He had caught the curious looks of Ghorhassters passing by.

"You are a Newlie perzon, too. I don't tink dey like you either, yes?"

Tomm had to grin. "She's a Mycer, and she looks more human than you. Also, she doesn't have the, ah— volume, the plentitude of flesh that you possess. Which these folks value, I believe."

Phideaux showed Tomm a murderous glance.

"Dey do nott consume der vriends. You heard dem say dis. I am a vriend, zame as you!"

"You know that, and so do I. But they keep those cookfires burning in case a careless Topper loses his footing up there."

"That's enough, Tomm." Fyra's voice had an edge like a newly-honed blade. "No one's going to eat Phideaux. He doesn't look like a— a Topper at all."

"True. But a Topper hasn't fallen in quite some time. Hadarupp told me so."

Phideaux didn't stay to listen. He shook his cage of beetles until they glowed in a fierce blaze of white, then stalked off alone.

"I hope you're proud of yourself," Fyra said.

"Not much. But there's truth in what I say. They do eat their enemies. That's why the miners didn't follow us here. Fyra, this bunch never even heard of the sky."

"Fine. Stand here and mutter to yourself. I'm going to figure what we might trade to buy our way out of here. Something besides Phideaux, all right? They do think he's different. They maybe feel I am, too."

"You mustn't even think about that."

"No?" She gave him a thoughtful smile. "Fyra has kept herself alive for some time, thinkin' stuff just like that…"



He imagined, for a while, it was simply errant drops of rain that had made the near impossible trip through the foliage far above. He stuck out his hand, waited a moment, felt the splat! of something not rain at all, and the foul, noxious smell after that.

He wiped the stuff off and nearly threw up. So, two more facts about Hadarupp's world: There was a reason everyone walked beneath the thatchway overhead. Everything, anything one might imagine, fell from the dense world above. Whatever human, animal, bird or bug didn't want, it ended up here. Everyday garbage, everyday trash. Everything filthy, ejected or expelled. Bones, teeth, broken plates and jars. Everything lost, everything loose, everything defiled. And, on occasion, a lout who tried to pee in the dark, or some poor soul full of bugspit ale.

Not everything made it to the ground, but enough to make awnings worthwhile. No wonder Hadarupp's people had little use for their neighbors upstairs.

Some time later, he made yet another discovery about this land below the Grün. The ground wasn't truly ground at all, for that lay somewhere in the depths below uncounted years of leaves, muck, and other ghastly debris, leaving the surface a sludgy sea. More than once, he saw something rise, roll, and vanish again. The sight made the hairs rise up on Tomm's neck, for the creatures were grubs, slugs, leeches, maggoty horrors bigger than a man…

"Is great delight, is it not? You are havin' such beauty where you be comin' from?"

To his credit, Tomm didn't jump out of his skin.

"Ah, no. Nothing as— delightful as this."

Beneath his sprouty features, Hadarupp possibly smiled. "Well, is good you be gettin' to see all this before you leave."

Tomm tried to hide his relief. They would leave, then, these people would let them go…!

"If you be stayin' long , I showin' you a wonder you never sees before. I tellin' you, is bein' worth it, Tomm."

"Oh, I wish I could," Tomm said quickly, "got to get back."

"It take only— what? Halfa you life, maybe less 'n that."

"Sorry. I don't understand."

Hadarupp shook his weedy head. "Is THE FALLING, Tomm. I not be telling you that? We nearly through it now. Ghorhasst be way ahead of every clan in the forest. We dropping three big ones. Only takin' two thousand seventeen seasons. Ghorhasster's is not sitting ' round, I tellin' you that."

Tomm felt his mouth go dry. "We're talking about— trees here, right?"

"What you think, huh? " Hadarupp's mossy eyes seemed to glow. "An' when they fallin', oh , they be Topper parts coming down ever'where. Plenty for ever'one. Hadarupp hopin' he live to see the day."

"Yes, well…"

"I liking you, Tomm. You not looking like me, but you not the Topper kind. You not dropping stuff on ever'one."

"I shall never forget you either, friend."

"An' you don't being mad with Hadarupp 'bout this other thing? You not unhappy, you leavin' without you friends?"

Tomm stared. "What— what do you mean, what are you talking about?"

"Maybe I not mention this, yes?"

"Hadarupp, you never mention anything to me. I don't know what you're up to, but I am not leaving without my friends!"

" They not looking human, Tomm. They some kinder animal folk, not like you an' me."

He doesn't know…he's never seen a Newlie, he doesn't even know….

"Listen, maybe you feelin better I telling you they not goin' to be consumed. Ghorhasster s don' eat beasts of any sort. They just stop 'em being, don't hurt any at all."



Fyra stood rigid, dark eyes wide with fright. Her red hat was crooked on her head, and the feather was slightly bent. Phideaux looked as if he simply wasn't there.

"You aren't honest folk," Fyra said, fury overcoming her fear. "You said we'd trade. I got stuff here, you see?" She held out coins, gold dull as dirt in the gloomy light. "I got a comb, he's got a nice buckle, too."

"I haff very fine boots," Phideaux said. "Dey iss made by perzons learned in dere kraft."

Hadarupp spread his mouldy hands wide. "You gots nothing any good. Gorhassters got no use for such things."

"No, that's not true," Tomm said, "it's not!"

"Don't," Fyra said. "He doesn't care. He's not listening, don't you see that?"

Tomm was uncertain what he saw, but he knew something was wrong, something he didn't understand. He'd sensed it the moment Hadarupp told him the fate of his friends. Now, the two stood hopelessly before him, backed by a dozen spongy creatures wrapped in rot, crawlies and vegetation of every sort.

"She tellin' you true, Tomm. You don' be getting into this."

"Damn it all, I will get into it. You've gone back on your word. I trusted you, I never took you for a cheat."

Haradupp looked as if Tomm had hit him with a club. Whatever Tomm had said, it had struck something deep. Tomm saw this, and struck home again.

"You don't care what they look like, do you? That's not it at all. You want something, but you don't want to pay for it, right? You are what I said. A cheat, a liar, a bilker and a fraud.

"I'm not wearing a coat of muck, and a great variety of plants and creepy things. Still, I am a man, as you are, and a real man doesn't lie, he stands up for what is right. You can't continue this mockery and face yourself, or the members of your clan. I think you're bigger than that. I think you want to make an end to this now…"

"No, you not be saying this, it not be so!" Hadarupp clenched his fists until mud dripped to the ground.

"Yes, it is and you know it. Stop, before you do something terrible here."

"You takin' sides with a beast person, Tomm. That not be right to do! It's not, no…!"

Someone stepped forward, someone older, shabbier than Hadarupp himself. He spoke to Hadarupp, leaned in close, gripped the creature's arm.

Hadarupp trembled, shook his head violently from side to side. He tried to break away, but the older man held on.

Finally, Hadarupp dropped his chin and went limp. He looked as if he might fall apart on the spot.

"My friend Tomm is right. I am all these things he has said. I have shamed myself. I have given in to falsity and greed. I am not worthy to be called a man."

Tomm glanced quickly at Fyra, then back to Hadarupp again. "What is it, though? What drove you to this? Whatever you want, I'm sure there's a way we can work it out…"

"No, there is not. I think 'bout this, with much pain in my heart. I knew there could be no nothing else. There is no way you would agree to a trade."

"Surely that's not so. What do you want so badly, that you had to resort to this?"

Hadarupp looked at Fyra and Phideaux, and Tomm could see there was still a touch of longing, of regret in his dark and crawly eyes.

"These things are not like us. They have pretties, lovely, wondrous parts, growin' out their heads. You and I be humans, Tomm. We not having such things. Why can a beast person have this, and not you and me? Can you be blaming me for this? Have you not wished you could grow these things for yourself? Surely such a thought has crossed your mind!"

Tomm was bewildered, puzzled by the creature's words. What was this great lout talking about? Was he bonkers, unhinged to some degree? Or simply a liar and a cheat? And, if neither answer were so…


"What?" Tomm turned to Fyra. "What did you say?"

"Hats, Tomm. He wants our damned hats. He thinks they're growing up there."

"No, nonsense. Who'd think that?"

"Foolish," Phideaux said. "Efen diss fellow iss not as dumb as dat."

"No?" With the smallest hint of a grin, Fyra reached up, yanked off the Bowser's straw boater, pulled off her own red hat with the feather on top, and tossed them both to Tomm.

"Ask him. Ask your soggy human friend what he thinks about that?"



"I can see how he'd be quite surprised," Tomm said, "but simply— toppling over like that, I was totally stunned. Poor fellow. Never had a chance. Went right to the bottom, I expect. There is a bottom, I guess. Or, more likely, one of those wretched, slimy things got him on the way. An ever-present danger among those folk. Very interesting lot, the Ghorhasst. There's a place for everyone in this strange world of ours, I suppose…"

"Do you s'ppose you could simply shut up for a while?"

Fyra said. "Do you know how annoying you can be?"

"I guess I can. People have mentioned this before."

To be quite honest, he was somewhat weary himself. But there was not much to do, not until the walkway ended, and the land got drier, and — the older Ghorhasster wasn't sure, as no one in the clan had ever left the woods — it might lead out of the Grün somewhere.

It was talk to Fyra, or catch up with Phideaux loping ahead, and that was not a pleasant idea.

"I guess there could never be anything between us," Tomm said. "I get the idea you don't have a lot of feeling for me."

"It's not that, Tomm. You're an honest fellow, a fairly level-headed man, and I'm a bad-tempered Newlie thief. I don't see much comin out of that."

"Well, nothing very lasting," Tomm said. "I was thinking more of a temporary thing."

"A temporary thing."

Yes, something like that."

"A chance encounter, a magic moment, that what you talkin about?"

"And not up in the air. Not in a vessel of any kind. We could meet somewhere that kept still."

"I guess," Fyra said, her eyes dark as night, darker than any opal Tomm had ever seen. "I've been known to rob and steal in places like that, places that wasn't hardly moving at all…"



[ Part 1 ]  [ Part 2 ]

Neal Barrett, Jr., the Silver Fox of Texas Gonzo, entered the science-fiction field in 1960, with four stories published that single year. "Being a reasonable person," he says, "I knew from these successes that I had landed on Easy Street." His 42 years of soft living in the fiction-writing business have produced about four dozen stories and over fifty novels, both under his own name and under a variety of pseudonyms, some more famous than God.

"A lot of 'Grünwelt!' grew out of the two fantasies I did for Bantam — The Prophecy Machine and Treachery of Kings. A few years ago I thought I was venturing into fantasy from SF. Some people tell me I've had one foot in both genres for some time. Fine. I think so too."

Neal's most recent book, Piggs, delivers high concept (and, no doubt, lots more): "If the Sopranos didn't wear shoes, and lived in Mexican Wells, Texas...." Forthcoming is The Prince of Christler-Coke, which he says is "all about corporate empires in the future, crooked CEOs. It couldn't happen, but this is SF."

Neal's short-story collection Perpetuity Blues (Golden Gryphon, 2000) is already a classic and a collector's item, and it should be read by everyone who aspires to being funny and meaningful at the same time. You can buy these books directly from Neal.

Nick Gevers conducted a great interview with Neal on the excellent webzine Infinity Plus. (No relation to The Infinite Matrix, except a shared sensibility.) Check it out.

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