Cover

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Accolades, More Titles by the Author, Half Title Page, Series Info, Title page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotation

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Contents

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pp. xiii-xiv

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The Anatomy Lesson

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pp. 1-6

By the time I reached the Anatomy Library all the bones had been checked out. At every table, students bent over yawning boxes, assembling feet and arms, scribbling in notebooks, muttering Latin names. Half the chairs were occupied by slouching skeletons, and skulls littered the floor like driftwood. ...

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Clear-Cut

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pp. 7-24

“Have you noticed there aren’t nearly so many dreams these days?” said the man who sat down next to Veronica on the park bench one April morning. He was about her age, mid-twenties, bearded, bespectacled, thin as a bird’s wing, with the secretive air of a spy. “And the dreams that do come,” he added, “are so threadbare you can see right through them.” ...

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Ascension

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pp. 25-37

For weeks before the mayor put on her startling exhibition, the townspeople had trouble sleeping. At dawn on those restless mornings, when garbage trucks began their growling rounds, damp heads were still flopping on pillows like beached fish, and hands were still plucking at sweaty sheets. Children trudged off to school with squinted eyes, relying on crossing guards to defend them from traffic. ...

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Sleepwalker

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pp. 38-50

I awake from feverish dreams to the thunder of jets overhead, which reminds me that I must report to the airbase this morning for X-rays. The daylight world knifes into me. In my nightmare I was captured, put on trial, and sentenced to be hanged for refusing to serve in the war. Awareness of the slaughter in Africa rises in my stomach like nausea. ...

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The First Journey of Jason Moss

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pp. 51-76

One October day, an accountant from Buddha, Indiana, decided the time had come for him to travel around the earth. Although Jason Moss had always felt a passion for women, as a man might have a passion for bowling or pies, a profound shyness had kept him a bachelor, and so he had no need of explaining his journey to any wife or child. ...

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The Artist of Hunger

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pp. 77-97

It was not a convincing dawn. The eastern horizon resembled chicken liver simmering in butter. Flocks of chocolate birds wheeled overhead. Banks of fog rolled in from the North like a tide of mashed potatoes, and popcorn clouds dotted the South. ...

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The Engineer of Beasts

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pp. 98-114

Orlando Spinks meant no harm. You could have searched that dilapidated organ, his heart, without discovering any murderous hankerings. You could have shone searchlights into the basement of his brain without finding the least cobweb of malice. His intentions were as innocent as shoelaces. ...

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The Circus Animals' Desertion

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pp. 115-137

Alone in his minibus after tucking the beasts in their lairs for the night, Orlando Spinks was stitching a tear in the lion’s mangy hide when the monkey sidled in to announce that the lion itself had vamoosed. ...

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Mountains of Memory

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pp. 138-154

The mountains of Oregon City closed each night between 22:00 and midnight to allow for cleaning. Even in this spick-and-span metropolis, where dirt cost more per kilo than sugar, a mountain could become remarkably filthy in a day’s time. Children climbing the flexiglass trees shook down a litter of twigs. Cups and wrappers spread about the vending machines like glacial moraines. ...

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Terrarium

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pp. 155-177

Phoenix thought of her as the barefooted walker. On a day when the pressure inside Oregon City and inside his own head seemed no greater than usual, no more conducive to visions, he emerged from his apartment and there she was, pacing in the wrong direction on the pedbelt. By matching her stride to the speed of the conveyor the woman managed to stay at the same point in the corridor, just opposite his door. ...

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Quarantine

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pp. 178-194

The only troublesome items Zuni had not allowed the surgeons to replace were her eyes. Both lungs, one kidney, various joints, even the valves of her heart, those she had been content to let go, for they did not seem to be intrinsic parts of her. Let the doctors fiddle with her ears or pancreas, she would not care. ...

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Touch the Earth

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pp. 195-217

The nine conspirators fled from Indiana City along separate paths. On the night chosen for the escape, Marn zigzagged through avenues and alleys, carrying her fear as if it were a dish of mercury. The last lights she passed were the neon signs at the gamepark, where the pedbelts ended and revelers caroused. Every step pushed her deeper into the unlit ruins of factories, over buckled pavement, past abandoned machinery ticking as it released the day’s heat. ...

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Eros Passage

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pp. 218-238

On the morning of his thirteenth birthday, Hoagy Ferris woke to find an eros couch installed in his bedroom. He had been hoping for a more advanced model. The screen was small, the stimulus rating low. But the Freud, as his mother called it—or the Orgasm Express, as his friends called it—was potent enough for a beginner. ...

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The Audubon Effect

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pp. 239-260

Keeva heard the eerie, strident hooting and felt the air tingle with their approach moments before she actually spied them. In a straggly V they climbed above the horizon of Aton-17, carving the violet sky, their wings blazing white as they banked over the ocean. Waves of energy rippled before them, like the advance of a storm. ...

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The Land Where Songtrees Grow

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pp. 261-284

On all that forsaken planet, nothing moved but the searchers. Their boat glided through the swampy forest, slipping over mats of water plants, around hummocks smothered in ferns, beneath the arching roots of songtrees. Vines looped from branch to branch, gnarled lavender ropes like crude streamers left from a party. ...

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Travels in the Interior

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pp. 285-308

The two brothers landed by parachute on a spongy red turf they would call grass, in a field encircled by thick somber growths they would call trees. They staggered a few paces, drew in the lines of their chutes, and flattened the billowy fabric. Each one checked to see that the other was all right before giving a thumbs-up to the hovering shuttle. ...

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Dancing in Dreamtime

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pp. 309-338

The shamans are dancing, their beads clicking and feathers swaying to a music I cannot hear. I can scarcely hear myself think, they are making such a hullabaloo. Circling my console, they laugh, gibber, stamp their feet, and shout in a babble of languages. A few have been drinking their private brew since we parked in orbit, but most appear to be high on the dance itself. ...

Credits

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pp. 339-340

Author's Note

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pp. 341-356

Book Club Guide

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pp. 357-360

About the Author

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