So this week, and probably for a week or two more, I’m reading Great North Road, a science fiction murder mystery by Peter F. Hamilton. As far as I know, this book, like the excellent Fallen Dragon, is a standalone novel, unrelated to and not set in the same universe as the “Commonwealth” novels (the also-excellent Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, the what-most-people-seem-to-consider-better-but-I-consider-only-pretty-good “Void” series, of which I’ve so far only read the first one) or the “Night’s Dawn” series, of which I’ve so far read, uh, nothing. It’s also, being Peter F. Hamilton, a doorstopper, or would be if it weren’t an eBook, which is why I’ll probably still be reading it next week. Fortunately, like most Hamilton books, it’s shaping up to be―you guessed it―excellent.
“What you’re seeing,” Tilly said, “is a false-color image of snow density. You see those small triangular shapes?”
Sid concentrated on the image. There were some green specks, which could have been triangular. They lay just under the uppermost blue strata. “Yeah.”
“Imprints from duck feet, probably a day old judging by how deep they are.”
“Crap on it.” He put the CDMR aside and stared at the patch of snow. It was completely blank.
“Even a duck has enough weight to compress the snow it stands on,” Tilly said. “Those little footprint patches are slightly denser than the surrounding layer. So you see, if anyone had dragged a body down here it would show up like a motorway, no matter how much snow had fallen on top of it.”
Hmm. So a duck came through the possible crime scene, did it? Hey, Sid, I think I know who you’re looking for!
Meanwhile, speaking of things that are in water and not happy about it, editing continues on Father’s Books, in which Our Hero, Richard, is attempting to take a shower while staying at the poorly-plumbed house in which he grew up.
The tiny bathtub, up on spindly legs, rocked from side to side every time he moved, threatening to dump him out like dirt from a porcelain bucket loader; the soap―some godawful off-brand slab which he had found under the sink―smelled like rendered animal fat and felt like it was impregnated with sand, and had moldered in its wrapper for so long that the label remained visible even after he’d unwrapped it; the water pressure was so low that it was like standing under feeble dribbles of enlarged-prostate pee; and the temperature swung from icy to volcanic and back again without ever making a stop at comfortable, no matter how he fiddled with the knobs. There was no shampoo to be found. He considered rubbing the bar of soap in his hair, but decided that would only make it greasier.
Next time, Richard, just go to the local gym and pay them to use their shower!