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A Rob Hunter Reader
Platterland--Nine stories and a Novella
A woman popped out of thin air beside me. She was swinging a serious looking cavalry saber; She gave me the once-over and attacked. I ducked. Her pale gray eyes grew huge. “Oh, terribly sorry, old chap. I thought you were someone else,” she said. “Are you still alive?" I said yes. “I say, good fun, what?” she remarked. A bullet zinged past and we dived under the desk.
—Mark Twain in Milan from Platterland
It was a real nice laying-out—tasteful. Well, maybe not so much tasteful particularly, but neat. They’d got Ed’s left arm attached to his head and not his shoulder. And they had the remaining right arm attached on the left side. To look like them, I supposed.
—Platterland from Platterland
Lechery, debauchery, total annihilation―the usual stuff as two prime movers contend for power. Not power to do anything in particular―threaten, coerce, destroy: illuminate a city, tighten the skeins of a siege engine, or wind up the bowels of a child’s clockwork toy―just power to have around. Just in case. Just the familiar, reassuring bulge of potential, there to quiet unease was not much to ask. But who to ask?
—The Return of the Orange Virgin from Platterland
The house that was a city
grew and, as is the way with cities, buried its past beneath an ever-advancing present.
In the cellars of the Queen, where three corridors met to form a Y, three stone heads graced the capital of a buried pendentive. The set-tled dust of thousands of years had raised the level of the floor and grown hardened by the footfalls of passing errands. Lime leached from all the stories above had marbled the black granite walls and joined with the dust of the floor to form a polished cement.
The heads were malign at first glance, a dead craftsman’s nights-weats and horrors: vaguely a cow, a goat, and a manticore. Each had some resemblance to the beast it portrayed—and not without an id-iot twinkle—but seen through a glass cast with a ripple in it, re-flected in a mirror with peeling silver. They were figments, and ex-isted nowhere in nature.
They were the past and they were buried. They had been sur-rounded, enveloped and eventually forgotten in a subcellar of the great masonry sprawl as addition after addition was piled over them.
—The Return of the Orange Virgin