Excerpts from Caitlin R. Kiernan's BRADBURY WEATHER Just Posted

12th Nov 2023

Living a Boy's Adventure Tale by Caitlin R. Kiernan

We've posted excerpts from Caitlín R. Kiernan's Bradbury Weather, the huge gathering of their sf stories, highlighted by the inclusion of a number of novellas.

Speaking of novellas, the signed limited edition of Bradbury Weather will be accompanied by a standalone hardcover volume, Living a Boy's Adventure Tale, a tribute to Bradbury himself.

Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale

The big bull’s nasal horn caught me, and what came to mind right then was not how immensely I was fucked, it was a scene from a film I saw years and years and years ago, maybe even when I was a child, footage from Pamplona, Spain, the running of the bulls, only those were a very different sort of bull, weren’t they? But that’s what I was thinking of as I left the ground and briefly, for the space of ten or twenty yards, parted ways with gravity, I was remembering the running of the bulls, encierro, hundreds of men squeezed into narrow avenues and the runners were singing a benediction, three times through, in Spanish and in Basque, the shout “¡Viva San Fermi Gora San Fermi!” goes up, and they’re running down those narrow streets, and close behind them are angry bulls the color of clay and night. I close my eyes. I’m not in nearly as much pain as I should be. The suit’s seen to that, dispensing generous doses of painkillers as soon as it sensed the damage to my body. And how much damage is there? I wonder, but I wonder it distantly, without any urgency or panic. How busted up am I? The left leg, sure, that’s for certain, and I might even lose it. But what else. I shut my eyes and the encierro is there again, and the huge fucking aptly named Triceratops horridus is there again, big as a goddamn Sherman tank, but what I see is a young man dressed all in white, a red sash cinched about his waist, and I am him, and he is me, and the bull gores him to death right there on the street with a thousand spectators looking on and some asshole with a camera filming it all.

Stop it, I only think I say aloud. Just stop it. Run the protocol. You know what’s happened. And you’re still conscious. So buck up, little buckaroo and do your fucking job, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come out of this thing alive.

Then a moment later I realize that I haven’t actually said anything, not aloud, and those words were trapped inside my head.

I’m lying in a thicket of cinnamon ferns, cushioned in their fronds like some shattered sci-fi Disney princess, and there’s a Metasequoia and a big ginkgo not far away. The redwood points at the blue Hell Creek sky like it’s trying to show me the way home.

“Work the problem,” I say, and this time I really do say the words, and I mean what I say, trying to spur myself to action, but I just lie there, instead, looking at the dawn redwood and the sky and a huge azhdarchid pterosaur wheeling on the thermals a couple hundred feet overhead. I suspect I have a head injury. That would explain a lot, wouldn’t it. Maybe I’m lying here with the last of my consciousness flowing out of me like gleeful men in white and red running for their lives down a winding Spanish street. I close my eyes again, and there’s the Triceratops, a monster that must have been thirty-five, forty years old, a fucking brute of a beast, and it proudly wears the scars of all its battles – the sparring with other males for the right to mate, countless run-ins with tyrannosaurs, parasites, infections, disease, and yet it has survived all of that to catch me by surprise and kill me.