By: Tim Pratt
Read by: Mat Weller
Originally published in the Subterranean Press Newsletter, 2008
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Tim Pratt
All stories read by Mat Weller
Rated PG-13: For language, two F bombs, and some parasitic details…
- Feedback for Episode 268: Advection
- Next week… Rejiggering stuff – really, this time.
On a Blade of Grass
By Tim Pratt
“Interstellar war is about as exciting as playing chess by mail.” The guy who said that had been leaning into the bar for so long I thought his chest might fuse with the wood. I drifted over, because he wasn’t a regular, and I was bored with all my regulars and their regular bullshit.
“Who plays chess by mail anymore?” I said. “With the ‘net and all.”
“Nobody. Guys in jail maybe, I don’t know. Because it’s boring. My point. Inefficient and slow. Just like this war.” He tapped his glass meaningfully. He was rumpled and sleep-creased and middle-aged and smelly, but a better class of smelly than my usual crowd — like working-all-night-sweaty smelly, not sitting-around-all-day smelly. Long enough tending bar and you can tell the difference.
I refilled his glass. He was a pretty good drinker, but the little guys often are. “They say by the time our warships get out there, to their homeworld, the Phages might even be extinct. Like, just from natural processes, long timescales, like that. Or they might’ve evolved into something new, something that doesn’t… you know…”
“Want to eat us?”