Fourth in a monthly series of excerpts from The Book of All Cities.
Amea Amaau -- or Double-A, or Dub, or Dub-Bub, or DB, or Popstop, as it is also sometimes called -- is a new and gleaming city in a matrix of six hundred and forty-three thousand cities exactly like it, somewhere in the terribly exciting part of the world. The citizens of Popstop -- but there are no citizens, for everyone who slept in Amea Amaau tonight will be moving on in the morning. They will roll out of silver water beds, vacuum the night's spit and eye goo and wrinkles from their faces with the handheld vacuums considerately installed in every wall, leave the dwelling they arbitrarily chose for last night, embracing and saluting the companions they arbitrarily chose for last night; and they will go to the chute drop and each hop into a chute, any chute at all, to be swept off to do one of the very exciting things there are to do in the world, perhaps (just perhaps) in Double-A itself, but more likely in Fairlanes, or Kingdom X, or Paunax, or Olam Chadash, or Gopferdelli, or Sang Froid, or Triple-B or Marley or Snackpack.
And before she hops down the chute, perhaps one of them will pause, looking at the rotating silver statue of Amea Amaau's namesake waving a mechanical good-bye at the top of the chute drop station. Perhaps she will stop and wonder about Amea Amaau for a moment -- before she plunges on into the chute, ready for adventure, ready for anything.
Copyright © 2001 Benjamin Rosenbaum
Image © 2000 Lee Moyer.
Benjamin Rosenbaum lives in Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and baby daughter, where in addition to scribbling fiction and poetry, he programs in Java (well) and plays rugby (not very well). He attended the Clarion West Writers' Workshop in 2001 (the Sarong-Wearing Clarion). His work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Writer Online. His previous appearances in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. For more about him, see his Web site.