Dozois Gardner - Future Crimes / Дозуа Гарднер - Преступления будущего [2013, EPUB, ENG]

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Название: Future Crimes / Преступления будущего
Год выпуска: 2013
Под редакцией: Dozois Gardner & Dann Jack / Дозуа Гарднер & Данн Джек
Издательство: Baen
eISBN: 978-1-62579-112-2
Формат: EPUB
Качество: eBook
Язык: английский

Вечная гонка вооружений между преступниками и защитниками закона продолжается и в будущем. Один из самых знаменитых составителей антологий фантастики (20 премий "Локус" за лучшую антологию!) Гарднер Дозуа представляет подборку лучших рассказов и повестей в жанре "фантастичесий детектив" ...
    Preface / Предисловие Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann
    The Dog Said Bow-Wow / Пес сказал гав-гав (= "Демоны из сети"; Демон из сети) Michael Swanwick
    A Scraping at the Bones Algis Budrys
    The Retrieval Artist / Мастер возвращений Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    Time Bum C. M. Kornbluth
    Mercurial Kim Stanley Robinson
    Taking the Piss Brian Stableford
    Death of Reason Tony Daniel

Brian Stableford

Modern town centers are supposed to be very safe places. There are CC-TV cameras everywhere, in the street as well as in the shops, all of them feeding video tapes that can be requisitioned by the police as soon as a crime is reported. Unfortunately, the promise of safety draws people to the High Street like a magnet, in such numbers that mere population density becomes a cloak sheltering all manner of clandestine skullduggery. Which was how I came to be kidnapped in broad daylight, at two o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, as I came out of Sainsbury's clutching two bags of assorted foodstuffs.
If I'd had any warning, I might have been able to figure out how to handle the situation, but who could possibly expect a dumpy and lumpy peroxide blonde with a Primark raincoat draped over her right arm to snuggle up to a well-built lad beside the trolley-rack and stick an automatic pistol under his ribs? It's not the kind of situation you rehearse in idle moments, even if you have been warned that you might be a target for industrial espionage.
"Make for the parking lot, Darren," she whispered. "Nice and easy." The woman looked almost as old and homely as my mum, but the gun barrel digging into my solar plexus seemed to me to be more a wicked-stepmother kind of thing.
"You have got to be joking," I said, more stupidly than courageously.
"On the contrary," she retorted. "If I weren't extremely serious, I wouldn't be taking the risk."
I started walking toward the parking lot, nice and easy. It was partly the shock. I couldn't quite get my head together, and when your thinking engine stalls, you tend to follow ready-made scripts. I'd never been kidnapped before, but I'd seen lots of movies and my legs knew exactly how scenes of that sort were supposed to go. On top of that, it was exciting. People talk about going numb with shock, as if that were the usual effect, but I didn't. Once my thinking engine had restarted after the momentary stall, it told me that this was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. In my twenty years of life I'd never been able to think of myself as the kind of person who might get kidnapped, and actually being kidnapped had to be perceived as a compliment. It was like a promotion: I felt that I'd leapt a good few thousand places in the pecking order of human society.
Parking lots are lousy with CC-TV cameras, so I wasn't particularly astonished when a white Transit slid past the exit barrier as we approached and slowed almost to a halt as we neared it. The side door opened as it eased past us, and the blonde reached out with her free hand to force my head down before using the concealed gun to shove me forward. Two hands reached out from the dark interior to haul me into the back of the van, without the least care for elegance or comfort. The woman slammed the door behind me. I presume she walked on, a picture of innocence, as if she hadn't a care in the world.
By the time I'd sorted myself out and got myself into a sitting position on the hardboard-covered floor, I'd taken due note of the fact that the hands belonged to a stout man wearing a Honey Monster party-mask. His ears stuck out from the sides, though, and the way they'd been flattened suggested to me that the guy had probably gone more than a few rounds in a boxing ring, maybe one of the unlicensed kind where the fighters don't wear gloves. I'm no weed, but I figured that he probably didn't need a gun to keep me in line.
I was tempted to tell him that he must have got the wrong Darren, but I knew I wouldn't like hearing the obvious reply.
"You could have tried bribery," I said, instead. "Kidnapping's not nice."
"I don't do nice," the masked pugilist informed me. "But don't wet yourself yet—there'll be time for that later."
The back of the driver's head was stubbornly uninformative, and from where I was sitting, I couldn't see his face in the mirror. So far as I could tell, though, his was also the head of a man who didn't do nice. The van was still crawling through the heavy traffic, and I figured it would take us at least fifteen minutes to get out of town. We were headed north.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
The only answer I got was painstakingly measured out in duct tape, with which the Honey Monster sealed my wrists and mouth as well as my eyes. I wasn't surprised. I guessed that the conversational skills of bare-knuckle fighters were probably a bit limited, and that he was more deeply embarrassed by the fact that he cared to admit.
My head was relatively unscrambled by then, so I was able to wonder whether the dumpy blonde would actually have shot me if I'd screamed blue murder and yelled "Look out, she's got a gun!"—assuming, that is, that the gun was real.
Maybe not, I decided, but I'd probably have been trampled to death in the shoppers' stampede. It was only a fortnight since some prion-perverted maniac had gunned down thirty-five outside a McDonald's in one of the side-streets off Shaftesbury Avenue.
As soon as the Honey Monster's busy hands were withdrawn, I began to feel a growing need to take a piss, but that was only natural.
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