Rudy's Blog

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Links to Sterling, Termes, Hrdlicka, COOP. Scene from Mathematicians in Love.

Some readers report that Bruce Sterling linked to my jellyfish pictures. He and I wrote a story about flying jellyfish called “Big Jelly” about ten years back. Here’s a picture of Bruce, Richard Kadrey, and Rudy Jr. on my back porch taken in that era. Three bad dudes.

My sphere-artist friend Dick Termes has gotten into 3D drawings with the help of his friend Larry Lohrman. You click and drag to look around inside the image. This is a lot like the vlog interface I’ve been talking about on my blog. It seems there’s a whole new QuickTime Virtual Reality technlogy growing up.

There’s out there, and there’s waaaay out there. MatheMagician Jeff Hrdlicka sent me a link to a novel called Journey To The Great Central Sun by a fellow who says he’s enjoyed some quality time with aliens.

Juxtapoz artist and hotrod fiend COOP has a cool blog. I wonder if he can get me a 1972 Gran Torino wagon with the small block V-8 351 Cleveland engine like in this next scene.

I'm talking about the scene I wrote yesterday with the Gran Torino, Bixby Bridge and Rowena the flying alien cone shell. Bela, Paul and Alma are speeding south on Route 1 in Big Sur on their way to hampajump at Pfeiffer Beach, pursued by some bad guys in an Audi, the minions of Congressman Van Veeter, who wants to take away their hypertunnel-making paracomputer.

***

The road was pretty straight and I was going a hundred. The Audi was well behind us. But my suspension and alignment weren’t the best, which meant that the view out the front window was a blur. We came up on a pair of camper vans like they were standing still. I fishtailed around them in one smooth motion, getting back into our lane just ahead of an on-coming line of cars.

“Sweet,” said Alma, looking back. “I have an idea. There’s this gravel road that loops inland just before the Bixby Bridge. The bridge is only about a mile ahead. It’s the Coast Road you want; it branches off the left; it’s cut into a tall embankment. We’ve got such a big lead now that you can whip into the Coast Road and Veeter’s guys won’t even see. They’ll drive past. And then we take the Coast Road down about ten miles, and while we’re doing that, they give up and go home.”

“They’ll just wait at Pfeiffer Beach,” said Paul. “Slow down. We’re gonna crash.”

“I don’t think we ever said Pfeiffer Beach on the phone,” said Alma. “Get ready to turn left, Bela.” I was up to a hundred and ten.

I slowed down, but not all that much. The main road was a little sandy, and the Coast Road was gravel, so I figured I could do a controlled drift for my turn. I’d slide sideways into the pocket. The trick would be to start the turn early.

I think I would have made it if it hadn’t have been for the two bicyclists. They came wobbling out of Coast Road about a quarter second after I entered my drift some two hundred feet north of the actual turn. If I kept going, the car’s right side would swat them like gnats. So I tried to bail, giving the car a bit more power, and twisting the wheel back to the right.

But I overcompensated. Error. My overpowered squinty whale shot through the guard rail to the right of the bridge, and out into the achingly beautiful gorge where Bixby Creek meets the Pacific.

Time went very slow. I looked at Alma, at Paul, and at Alma again.

“Bela,” she said. “Bela.” I took her hand.

We were in free-flight, right at the high point of our arc. Slowly the squinty whale began tipping forward, following the weight of the big engine. The aquamarine and ink-blue water was so exquisitely shaded, the traceries of white foam so delicate. My last sight.

But then something thudded against the car’s roof with a resonant splat. The car shuddered, swayed, and began to rise, slowly and then faster. I myself felt lighter — I was bobbling on the seat.

“Rowena!” shouted Paul. Alma and I began to cheer.

Yes. Rowena the flying alien cone shell snail had fastened her great foot onto us! Her eyestalks bent down to peer in at us through the windshield. We waved and cheered some more. Our arms flew about like crazy rags; Alma’s medallion danced in the air. Rowena had some kind of antigravity thing happening for us. Her red-and-white-striped mouth tube curved around to poke into my window.

“You point Pfeiffer Beach,” she said. We leveled out at maybe a thousand feet and followed the Big Sur coast south.

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