On 20468 Petercook by Andy Duncan
My rating: 4/5 cats
“All I’m saying is, when one looks at it from the point of view of audience, one does not immediately discern the full dramatic potential of reflective sheet adjustment. I ask you, Stanley, who would read a story on that?”
weeeee would—we miners of the free tor shorts, chipping away through the already-reads to excavate this funny little nugget from 2012.
it’s wodehouse-in-space; a bit of absurdist british humor, with wordplay, good manners, rude gestures, and tea, featuring two chaps performing a necessary, but dull, job in order to keep earth safe from any dratted asteroids.
they are intrepid, heroic, and…easily distracted.
Stanley turned from the porthole. “I say, George.”
“Speaking of light effects.”
“Speak away, Stanley.”
“From my vantage point, there seems to be a red light on your screen, appearing and disappearing with some rapidity. Were I asked to describe it, I might be so bold as to say it is flashing.”
“‘Flashing’ would be quite a good word to use here, Stanley. It is the mot juste, I daresay. Well done.” He silently toasted his shipmate with his flask, and Stanley returned the gesture with a smile. They companionably sipped their tea.
Eventually Stanley bestirred himself.
“Well what, Stanley?”
“Are you going to answer it?”
George shook his head in fond indulgence. “It’s very generous of you, Stanley, to give me the opportunity, but there’s simply no need. The mot juste can have no answer. There’s no topping it, you see. By definition. It’s the last word on the subject. No, that’s one in your column, Stanley, and no mistake.”
“I meant answering the, um, urgent message.”
it’s fun and silly and short and free, and as a bonus, you will learn why isaac asimov is one of science fiction’s notable masters of sensuality.
read it for yourself here
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