Way back when (in 1999, if you must know) we wrote a short story, “Remailer,” for Constance Ash’s anthology Not Of Woman Born, a book whose cover blurb read, “Tales of high-tech reproduction from the most inventive names in science fiction.” The book came out, and was reviewed. For example: “When it comes to strange, ‘Remailer’ by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald takes the bun, biscuit, and bakeshop.” (Tangent SF Reviews)
It’s a murder mystery, to start with. It’s a sex story (with three sexes, all necessary to reproduction). It’s a hard-SF story. And it plays games with language. (Doyle’s a linguist. We know this stuff.)
Here’s how it starts….
Scanner over the club door stirs in the cool breeze, swiveling a conical search back and up and forth and down—enzyme sniffing, searching the pheromones, checking to see who’s clean and who’s not. Crude first approximation, not a true sample, but good enough to keep out the riff. Inside the club is air hot enough to bring out the sweat with the good pheros. All the pretties, male and female and not-reporting, dance and drink and search for the perfect other.
Pulse-beat rhythms make the floor quake underfoot—noise, above all, to fool and foil the eavesdroppers, meat and metal both. In a booth near the back, two drinkers lean heads together, speaking low.
“I know he’s out there,” Enid says. She’s blonde and girly, with money to throw away. What she doesn’t have is a butch named Fremont, gone missing from her life with no warning. She’s supporting him still, hoping he’ll return. Sending non-traceable money every month. “Found him once, find him again.”
“Got an address?” asks Dol. Dol’s not-reporting, dark-haired and pretty enough to pass as a she if neh tries, which neh usually doesn’t. No point to it, in nis line of work
“Give it to me.” Dol takes the address, written on a napkin. “What’s mine when the job’s over?”
“Fifteen thousand, non-t.” Enid pauses, looks at Dol. “Maybe more, if you want. We were planning, make offspring—had started looking for a third. Could be you.”
Which brings us to today (and the next month).
‘Til July 24th, “Remailer” is yours, for free, in electronic form. Go to Smashwords and use coupon code FB22D (not case sensitive).
If you don’t like it, you can tell me. If you do like it, tell all your friends.