Dozois Gardner - SeaSerpents! / Дозуа Гарднер - Гигантские морские змеи! [2013, EPUB, ENG]

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Gardner Dozois & Jack Dann - SeaSerpents!

Название: SeaSerpents! / Гигантские морские змеи!
Год выпуска: 2013
Под редакцией: Dozois Gardner & Dann Jack / Дозуа Гарднер & Данн Джек
Издательство: Baen
eISBN: 978-1-62579-116-0
Формат: EPUB
Качество: eBook
Язык: английский

Еще одна антология Гарднера Дозуа и Джека Данна из "мифологически-звериной" темы. В этот раз гигантские морские змеи. В отличие от остальных, насчет которых никто не сомневается в их мифичности, куча народу и сейчас уверена в их существовании. Кто знает, может они и правы ab
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    Grumblefritz An Open Letter to Readers Living in Manhattan by Marvin Kaye
    The Devil of Malkirk / Дьявол Малкирка by Charles Sheffield
Grumblefritz An Open Letter to Readers Living in Manhattan
by Marvin Kaye

Dear Fellow Gothamites,

Forgive me for interrupting your leisurely perusal of improbable literature. I do not do so lightly, but the situation is desperate. We New Yorkers are in danger of losing one of our most precious natural resources.
I refer to the sea serpent who lives next to the Statue of Liberty. His name is Grumblefritz. He's my friend.

You will appreciate, I hope, that I approach this topic with diffidence. On several occasions, I have exchanged heated words with family members on the subject of my acquaintanceship with Grumblefritz. So you may readily imagine how much more difficult it is for me to broach the subject to total strangers. But in the face of imminent crisis, I am forced to set aside my customary reticence.

I first met Grumblefritz one night while I was flying over Manhattan. [I was not in an airplane. I was just flying.]
There was a bright, clear moon in the sky. It shone through the shades of my bedroom on the twelfth floor of my apartment building, not far from the Hudson River. It was shortly past midnight, but I wasn't tired, so I rose gracefully to the ceiling, floated to the southwest window [it's much easier to flow through than the one facing due south], and glided gently forth above 85th Street.
There was a light mist in the air that felt refreshingly cool upon my astral cheeks.
For a while, I lolled lazily over the West Side, then, wishing a bit of exercise, shot due west, veered south and followed the silver line of the river as it flowed down toward The Battery. I showed off a little, I confess, looping-the-loop over and around the World Trade Center. At length, I swooped out past the Hudson basin and into Upper Bay where the Statue of Liberty glowed like some great green troll haunting the depths.
My energy began to flag. Thinking of the invitation carved upon Dame Liberty, I determined to employ her as a resting-place. So I wafted down and lit on her torch. [No pun intended.]
The evening dew, combined with the water-mist, dampened my hair and skin, but not my spirits. I delighted in the orange glow illuminating the sky above my island home: a magic nimbus that vaguely recalled earlier times when my ambitions were not blunted by the dull tread of the years.
It must have been that ghost-scent of muted goals that tickled my friend's palate, for that is when the back of my neck bristled. My scalp started tingling. A riot of goose-pimples prickled the skin of my legs and arms.
Something was watching me, I was sure of it. Yet I couldn't imagine what. I am practically invisible when I indulge in nocturnal aviation.
I glanced about but saw nothing. I squinted my eyes half-shut, thinking perhaps some fellow traveler, hopefully a feminine itinerant, hovered nearby . . .
And then a gentle breeze that smelled like a mixture of cotton candy and cinnamon teardrops tousled my hair. I craned my head up and got my first glimpse of Grumblefritz. Or, to be precise [for it is only by attention to minutiae that I may hope to gain credence], I spied a single portion of Grumblefritz.
One yellow eye.
I gawked. The mammoth orb blinked once, then crinkled down at me with an air of weary benevolence.
"Welcome, wee morsel," said a deep, mellow voice. "What brings you here, to the Isle of Grumblefritz?" The musical tone was reminiscent of the clear lilting English spoken in Dublin.
However, I was not reassured by "morsel," so I floated some distance away before replying.

As I tread air, I studied the newcomer. Though he was tall and suggested great hidden bulk, his skin wrinkled sadly, as from undernourishment. Half his reptilian body remained concealed beneath the waves of the bay, but his crimson-crested head blinked benignly down from a height some twenty stories above the topmost flametip of the Statue of Liberty.
"Greetings, O Surprising Entity," said he. "I am Grumblefritz, and this is my domain. You are the only dream I've seen these many months, and you seem a mite insubstantial. How did you come here? Did a wayward spell waft you to Grumblefritz?"
"Your Mighty Serpentship," quoth I, "permit me to correct you. I am no wispy dream, merely a disembodied dreamer."
He sighed so deeply that his emerald scales rattled and clanked against one another. "Ah, I should have guessed as much. Few dreams remain, and those there are must be coaxed forth."
Although the serpent's body, were it fully revealed, must be huger than a megalosaurian, he seemed the mildest of creatures. I found his rueful smile oddly appealing. Therefore, I drew nearer.
"O puissant water-sprite," saith I, "what use make you of dreams?"
"Sweet stripling," he smiled bleakly, "I do not deign to dine on people, fish, or fowl. Grumblefritz eatteth nothing coarser than granulated dreams."
"But in that case, and considering where we are, don't you get awfully hungry?"
"You better believe it!" Grumblefritz snorted.

He and I soon became fast friends. We spent the better part of the night sharing our loneliness and commiserating on the way the world ignores its artists and sea serpents. Before I flew home, I vowed to search out some goodies for him to eat.
But I did not reckon on the difficulty of the assignment. In the past few weeks, I have expended colossal stores of energy trying to fish up palatable dreams for Grumblefritz to grow fat on. But he is the fussiest of connoisseurs.
For instance, I brought him a few hopes skimmed off the surface of the Hudson in my neighborhood, but he complained they were too green. So I waited down by the base of Battery Park, thinking to garner the riper wishes as they flowed into the bay, yet when I brought some to Grumblefritz, he haughtily turned up his nose. "You picked those where the waters of the Hudson merge with the East River. Pfui! They are tainted with those slivery cauchemars that wriggle their way down from Yorkville!"
I've plucked daydreams from Wall Street, but Grumblefritz says they are too stale. I flew north to the Harlem River, but he worries the spicing might inflame his gall bladder. Once I even zoomed all the way out to Far Rock-away because Grumblefritz sensed there was a teenager there with a Cindarella wish.
He was right. A fifteen-year-old with acne stared at her mirror and squinted away the wens. I sneaked up behind her and tried to steal her dream, but she fought desperately to keep it. So I relinquished my hold and waited till she was asleep. Only by then, her dream had changed into something a bit slimy, like those crawly fantasies on Eighth Avenue that Grumblefritz says he'll die before eating.

"Look," I protested one night, "I can't bear to see you waste away like this! It's not much, but I am going to make a sacrifice to you of my one remaining dream!"
He wrinkled his upper lip suspiciously. "Wee one," the sea serpent addressed me, "I hope you are not referring to that tawdry hope of yours that someday you will shout SHA-ZAM! and immediately be lightning-blasted into becoming Captain Marvel?"
Hanging my head, I admitted it was so.
"I appreciate the gesture," Grumblefritz said, "but you can keep that dream. I can't swallow anything but Prime, and that isn't even Grade A."

I'm really worried about my friend. It's almost impossible to find anything he'll condescend to eat, and meanwhile, he grows thinner and thinner. Last night, in desperation he muttered something about moving to Philadelphia or perhaps Washington, but we both know that Delaware River water will rot his scales [he's half-dragon on his mother's side], while anything he finds in the Potomac will just be empty calories.
"The real trouble," he moaned weakly, "is that I am used to dining on Big Dreams, my tiny traveler! Collective Dreams! Not these safe and selfish little reveries that no one—not even the dreamers themselves—truly prize."
I patted Grumblefritz, trying to comfort him, but at last, his protracted fast turned him delirious. "I remember!" said he, rolling his great head from side to side on the stones of Liberty Island, "How well I remember when Broadway attracted the brightest of dreams! In those days, ah, what feasts! Such delicacies! Ambrosial!"
And he fainted from hunger.

O my friends and fellow New Yorkers! Think about it! Do you recall the Great Dreams of our youth? Well, if it hadn't been for Grumblefritz's appetite, we would all still be slogging through tons of discarded ambitions and tarnished talents and tired-out potentials.
Now that dreams are scarce, we must do something! Out of sheer nostalgia, or gratitude, if you will, can't we New Yorkers make a single concerted effort and strive to produce one last Great Dream so Grumblefritz will not starve?
S.O.S., my friends! S.O.S.!
Save Our Sea Serpent!

Hopefully, M.N. Kaye
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