In the Shadow of the Towers: Speculative Fiction in a Post-9/11 World
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Writer and editor Douglas Lain presents a thought-provoking anthology featuring a variety of award-winning and best-selling authors, from Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) and Cory Doctorow (Little Brother) to Susan Palwick (Flying in Place) and James Morrow (Towing Jehovah). Touching on themes as wide-ranging as politics, morality, and even heartfelt nostalgia, today’s speculative fiction writers prove that the rubric of the fantastic offers an incomparable view into how we respond to tragedy.
Each contributor, in his or her own way, contemplates the same question:
How can we continue dreaming in the shadow of the towers?
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one, even if what Bowes has created is ultimately a realistic fiction. The author turns our attention to the past, so that what we’ve perceived before as a chain of separate events can be truly seen, to quote Walter Benjamin, as “one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage.” THERE’S A HOLE IN THE CITY Richard Bowes Wednesday 9/12 On the evening of the day after the towers fell, I was waiting by the barricades on Houston Street and LaGuardia Place for my friend Mags to
doesn’t include curt little nods that indicate something is understood. We walked in the middle of the streets because we could. “Couldn’t sleep much last night,” I said. “Because of the quiet,” she said. “No planes. I kept listening for them. I haven’t been sleeping anyway. I was supposed to be in housing court today. But the courts are shut until further notice.” I said, “Notice how with only the ones who live here allowed in, the South Village is all Italians and hippies?” “Like 1965 all
know. I didn’t know what a terrorist looked like, though TV shows had done their best to convince me that they were brown Arabs with big beards and knit caps and loose cotton dresses that hung down to their ankles. Not so our captors. They could have been half-time-show cheerleaders on the Super Bowl. They looked American in a way I couldn’t exactly define. Good jaw-lines, short, neat haircuts that weren’t quite military. They came in white and brown, male and female, and smiled freely at one
real crime. It was free speech, it was technological tinkering. It wasn’t a crime. But who said that these people would ever put me in front of a judge. “We know where you live, we know who your friends are. We know how you operate and how you think.” It dawned on me then. They were about to let me go. The room seemed to brighten. I heard myself breathing, short little breaths. “We just want to know one thing: what was the delivery mechanism for the bombs on the bridge?” I stopped breathing.
town. You’ve been driving for nearly thirty years now. You know better. So what if he’s white, middle-class. So what if you need the fare. He lifted his foot off the brake but he’d hesitated and by then the guy was already at the door. He flung it open and jumped inside and slammed it shut again. “Please!” he said. “That guy back there . . . his goddamn wife . . . Jesus!” Lenny smiled. “I got it.” He glanced at the American flag on his dashboard and thought, I love this fucking town. The