The planet that men of Earth call Videt is the fourth satellite of the sun Crona. The planet abounds with animals and plants, since it is warm and humid, and resembles over most of its sphere the sub-tropical zones of Earth. Indeed, Videt is like the Earth in many ways, so that colonial biologists found it quite easy to begin making orderly description and classification of its living forms, which are based on carbon compounds, and have evolved to fill environmental niches nearly like those of Earth.
Two major differences between the animals of the two planets were observed. Those creatures which had evolved live birth of their young, and a behavioral pattern emphasizing lengthy periods of infant nurture, had spread on Videt more in the oceans than on the land, so that large-brained mammalians dominated the warm, shallow coastal waters of the four continents, and had even achieved a rudimentary social behavior.
However, after long search, and unbiased study, the zoologists at last concluded that Videt, unlike Earth, had evolved no species capable of reasoning. solicitude, and self-awareness. Thus, for human purposes, Videt was only a huge farm world, capable of yielding enormous amounts of animal protein for colonists, and likely (in the zoologists’ opinions) to provide man also with several new kinds of domesticated sea animal that probably could easily be trained and might be adaptable for specialized tasks to the oceans of Earth itself.
In the realm of botany another circumstance prevailed. When the safety and luxuriant beauty of Videt came to be generally known, the original group of colonial scientists quickly expanded to include hundreds of men who came to Videt for the pure joy of increasing their own knowledge and that of the race. Videt was a perfect control, it seemed, for testing the classical theories of evolution and ecology. The scientists wanted to try their minds against an entirely new and coherent system of living forms. While zoology concentrated on studies useful to colonials, and particularly examined the ecology of the seashores (where the first colonies were naturally established), botany split into two groups. One group pursued studies of useful plants, seeking tubers, fruits, fibers, and seeds that might support man’s life. These scientists also concentrated on the forests and meadows that lay by the shores.
The second group of botanists yielded to a more exuberant impulse. Videtan flowers were exceptionally large and brilliant. Their intricate geometries exceeded in complexity and intellectual beauty anything the Earth could offer, except perhaps the Orchidaceae. Any studies beyond the superficial disclosed that not only were blossoms often characterized by familiar symmetries based on whole numbers (especially three, four, five, and six), but large families of plants were discovered to have blossoms in spikes and clusters organized by various subtle manipulations of the prime numbers, or which illustrated arithmetic or geometric progressions. A remarkable vine was found which bore along its stem in correct order racemes of bi-colored blossoms that counted from one to sixty-four in binary notation. One fanatic brace of botanists went so far as to claim that they had found a low shrub that diagrammed in its stems and flowers the proposition and corollaries of the Pythagorean theorem.
Why did each plant produce only one blossom?
Botanists were deeply excited by these discoveries along the shores, but their wonder grew even more intemperate when they explored the piedmontane borderlands where huge flowers of the hot rain forests gave way to dwarfed forms of the highest equatorial mountain ranges. The rain forest itself held much of interest. No mathematical plants were found (the Mathematicaceae), but many huge blossoms were seen in the Wicksee Forest that appeared to be fertilized by furred flying animals about the size of birds. The blossoms and the animals were so closely adapted that their shapes and colors often seemed molded to one another. The labors of fertilization were more like a courtship than an indifferent natural process, for the blossoms reacted with subtle tropisms to the temperature and movements of their partners, and sometimes seemed to embrace a furry creature with enfolding veils of translucent, opalescent petals. No stranger vision was ever known to some men of Earth than the elaborate rhythms the gaily striped palumen danced within the fluttering, wavering tissues of a great mauve flower called the mavorna.
In the high mountains, flowering plants built austere, modified versions of the mathematical constructions found by the shore. Some botanists insisted the mountain blossoms illustrated a system of symbolic logic, and they claimed to see syllogisms and more complicated arguments in the low shrubs and clambering vines of certain sheltered cliff faces. However, general opinion held these observations to be fanciful, and they received little credence.
But in the borderlands between the mountains and the rain forests lay temperate falling slopes and alluvial valleys where a truly wonderful thing flourished. There fantastically colored, huge blossoms (the Berendora) exuded subtle and varied perfumes that defied rational description. It is a plain fact that man’s language is poorly equipped to specify either the constituent parts or the general patterns of odors. The exact analysis of the olfactory sense has not yet, in these advanced times, come even to the simplified connection of areas on the nostril linings to specific smells, as areas of the tongue are related to salt and sour, bitter and sweet.
What matters here, though, is that the botanists faced an even more enticing and elusive problem than they had met in the astounding mathematical plants. It was remarkable enough to walk along a forest corridor, while passing through a succession of brilliant odors from the Berendora, each perfume clear and discreet, and yet wonderfully changeable. Still, the aesthetic response must return to reason. The scientists came gradually to pose more difficult questions than those prompted by pleasure.
Why had no observer ever reported smelling the same fragrance twice?
How were the perfumes produced, and for what purpose had they evolved? Why, they wondered, did the many plants with similar foliage (there were seventeen species tentatively described in terms of leaf structure and shape), never produce the same color blossoms? Why did each plant produce only one blossom? Why had no observer ever reported smelling the same fragrance twice? Why were none of the insect-like or furred flying animals ever associated with the great perfumed blossoms? Why did a plucked blossom change colors many times if it was carried past other blossoms? Was it likely that certain delicate structures near the edges of the petals had the function of detecting the perfumes of other blossoms? And most mysterious of all, what, in fact, were the reproductive structures of the Berendora? These early questions were immensely troubling to the botanists who were studying the Videtan flora, and in the tenth year of the planet’s settlement (10 V.C.), a major botanical conference was called in the capital colony, at which these and many other questions were discussed.
It is usual among Videtan naturalists to refer to the year 10 V.C. as the Year of Mark Damian, because of the amazingly bold theories he proposed at the conference, and because of the apocalyptic style in which he delivered his paper. Damian’s paper, by his own request, was the last one read, and it fell all too harshly on the skeptical ears of his colleagues. It dramatically concluded three strenuous days in which the grand shape of the Videtan flora began to emerge from the welter of detailed, individual observations. Among the most interesting papers were those by Taylor Watson, Nathan Tenuel, and Bellamy Carson. A brief description of each follows:
1. “On the Mathematical ‘Language’ of Certain Videtan Flora and Its Relation to Geographical and Climatic Factors of the Planet”
The explication of this ingenuous title, which Watson carefully declared implied no actual communication between plants, asserted that the complexity of the mathematical principles illustrated by certain Videtan species generally increased with distance from the ocean shore, and decreased from less hydric to more hydric environments. He reported one remarkable woody vine — a unique specimen, unfortunately — in which the blossom-order included skips and errors in an arithmetic progression. These errors ceased where the vine clambered from its dry, sandy rooting spot over a cliff edge into a gorge watered by a rushing cascade. The rain forest and mountain flora were anomalous within this theory and certainly required further study to determine whether they actually belonged to a class or division different from the Mathematicaceae.
2. “The Geometry of Odors: An Inquiry into the Characters of the Great Berendora of the Landon Piedmont”
Tenuel’s paper was modest, indeed. Basically, it asserted that the distinctive generic and specific characters of the Berendora were their odors and not the anatomies of their foliage and their blossoms. However, toward the end, Tenuel suggested the unusual view that a researcher might define an odor in terms of a three-dimensional model of the olfactory region, where a given “simple” odor might be perceived to vary its intensity and quality over that region. If one gave this “map” the added dimension of time, the resulting four-dimensional, essentially geometrical model could at least begin to define the experience of an odor. Tenuel then went on to compare the odors of the great Berendora to geometrical models he illustrated by musical analogies. He claimed that the most common of the Berendora, the Round-leaved Vispid Berendoro vispidum, emitted a perfume having the relatively simple pattern of a theme and variations, that the more robust Cable Vispid, B. lanceolatum, emitted a “fugal” pattern, and that the rare Filmy Thlarens. B. thlarens, forma fimbriatum, emitted a pattern of free improvisation over a cyclical “rhythm.” In the question period, Tenuel strongly denied any implication of plant-consciousness in his sequence of evolutionary development from simple to complex olfactory patterns was probable, in his opinion, despite the fact that the patterns being analyzed were human percepts. Tenuel was unable to indicate how the production of such complicated odors could enhance the survival of the Berendora, unless reproduction was somehow affected.
3. “On the Color Tropisms of Quasi-Mutualistic Flora and Fauna in the Wicksee Rain Forest”
Carson’s rather short paper reported a few simple experiments he had made with flying animals and the blossoms they fertilized. He noted that he had captured some of the palumen and had dyed the lighter stripes of their coats to match the darker. These creatures were consistently refused by the host blossoms during the day, but were accepted near dawn and dusk, when color distinctions were difficult to perceive, at least for human eyes. The reverse of the experiment had similar results, when the mavorna were dyed, except that Carson reported the palumen were also at least partially responsive to blossom forms, as when color was unchanged and blossom shape was distorted. He noted whimpering and crying sounds were emitted by the animals if the blossoms were mutilated. Carson raised some controversy by suggesting that the relationship of the palumen and the mavorna seemed not to be simply interdependent, but approached a tight mutualism. He went so far as to intimate that the two organisms might be viewed theoretically as separate parts of a single organism, as if a single species might have both a plant and an animal aspect. He was much criticized for this strange remark.
It remained for the maverick Damian to outrage even the liberals. The last session of the conference came in the morning of the fourth day, just after an early summer rain. A clear, greenish light illuminated the interior of the great conference hall, and Damian especially requested the artificial lighting be turned off, and the doors and windows be opened. He raised his short rather bulky body to the speaker’s platform, and turned his swarthy, ugly face down the length of the hall, where his colleagues sat in some restlessness, awaiting the freedom of the meetings end. Damian began quietly, spoke deliberately, and never bothered to raise his voice, even when a babble of angry protest swept the hall, as it once did. His paper was entitled simply, “Man, Videtan Flora, and the Great Berendora of Equatorial Videt.” It promised to be very dull. Damian’ s chief departure from normal style was his emphasis on personal experience, and his rather subjective approach to his observations.
Two years before, Damian had himself been transported by hovering craft to one of the chief mountain ranges of Videt, which, by every calculation, was the highest of the planet and also the most central to any continent. He went alone, since he feared nothing on Videt, and he arranged to be picked up again on the same spot after three months. The time was the Videtan piedmont spring. He hoped to make some astonishing finds, and his friends thought him a little mad for glory. His first days were unexceptional. He wandered into the forest within view of the high rocky pinnacle that marked his landing spot, without finding anything remarkable. The Berendora were beautiful; their fragrance was especially lovely. But Damian was immune to elaborations of the ordinary. On the sixth day he set out with a compass to walk a great semi-circle north of his landmark, into the lushest part of the forest. At evening he was very tired. He lay down to rest beside the animal trail he was following. As the night drew on, he dozed, and then woke well after midnight, in the languid reverie after a pleasant dream.
The twin moons of Videt were that night traveling across the sky together, glimmering their changeable light through the heavy veil of the atmosphere. He had traveled slowly during the day, through great groves of large Berendora. He had lain down quietly beside a pair of plants that might, he thought, be the first observed specimens of the eighteenth species of the genus. Since both plants were in full bud, he waited expectantly for the morning to waken their single blossoms.
As the moons set into the west, he saw the blossoms stir. Naturally he was aware of the speculations that circulated privately among Videtan botanists, especially those about plant consciousness. But Damian was moved by aesthetics, not romantics. As the blossoms stirred, he gave himself to the pleasure of noticing their forms. Soon, he knew, the unique perfumes would flow out upon the air. He hoped the species might prove the most interesting of all the Berendora so far discovered. Half-concealed by shadows, and hardly moving, Damian waited.
It was characteristic of the Videtan flora that blossoms opened rapidly, then slowed steadily from the almost fluttering dance of the buds breaking their covering scales to the wavering flare of the last detectable motions. For those few men who had actually seen the Berendora open, the dance was the major event of their lives, and all observers reported that the young blooms emitted a stronger, more complicated, and more intoxicating fragrance than the older blossoms.
Both buds began to open at almost the same moment. From the first, Damian realized that he was present at the discovery of the most remarkable plant living on any world explored by man. Under the moonlight, the great buds sloughed off their scales with visible and almost deliberate pulsations. The enclosed petals were gathered into a long, tight whorl, which appeared to rotate back and forth as it expanded. Then he saw that each of the seeming petals was actually a separate blossom which before his eyes was expanding to the size of any ordinary Berendoran blossom. No other of the great perfumed flora was known to be colonial in this way, and here were two together. Still, Damian had caught no odor of new perfume.
The dawn was near. As the first rays of Crona struck the forest, and colors grew slowly vivid, the Berendora increased their activity. Undulations both horizontal and vertical swept the whorl of creamy white flowers, which fairly danced for the rising sun, and while he watched, bands and swirls of swiftly changing color rose from the pedicel of each blossom to the still unflaring lip, like kaleidoscopic variations on a theme combining a subtle geometry and a sophisticated analysis of color. One cluster played themes of lavender from palest, blue to deep magenta, the other from palest magenta to deep cerulean blue. In this contrast and correspondence Damian first suspected an affinity between the clusters analogous to emotion, though he could not satisfy himself that the relationship was more than coincidental.
As the light increased, and first warmth dissipated the slight morning chill, he saw the lips of each separate blossom part slightly. The inner linings of the petals were a shade darker than their outside parts, and these also varied in pattern with the dance, which now combined many motions of undulation, color, and expansion. As the lips spread, the first pale cast of perfume swept over Damian. He found himself carried suddenly away into a mood of ecstasy. Each perfume was different, yet harmonious with the other. Breathing heavily, he began to perceive within each perfume not merely the variations of a complex chemistry, but an intricate harmony and vitality that he realized was emerging as the several score blossoms all simultaneously released similar essences. He caught hierarchies and choirs of odor, and he was ravished in imagining some reflective creature that could drink such pleasure without having to interrupt it by breathing. It was then, he noticed, that the perfumes seemed to be approaching some crescendo of delicacy and complexity.
The dance of the flower clusters had continued without interruption, defying every known rule of Berendoran behavior. Then, slowly, with deliberate grace, there emerged from the center of each cluster a comely trumpet of deep color, in the one case a profound, brilliant scarlet, in the other a superb azure, that with raised, flaring petals poised in waxen stillness, laid upon the morning air a single sharp fragrance. To the litany of frail odors there added from both Berendoran clusters one paean of the same note and quality.
Damian paused in his narrative, and allowed the silence in the conference hall to become weighty: Then he went on. Six months later, a search party of colonials from the capital had found him wandering naked and rankly bearded among the Berendoran corridors, without power of speech or understanding. Docile to a gentle touch, he had been taken and then hospitalized for a month, before being released to the custody of a good friend, who cared for him lovingly, until one morning at breakfast he began calmly discussing over coffee and toast a certain political scandal that had died away almost eight months before. He could not recall anything that had happened to him since the trumpets laid their song on the air.
At the next springtime, Damian prepared himself for a second expedition into the borderland. He could not be dissuaded from the venture, but he conceded the need of some precaution, and took with him a small radio transmitter which he promised to use if he met any danger or saw any significant new thing. The hovering craft left him by the same pinnacle he had used before as a base, and he set off into the forest. He had told none of his friends or his superiors what he had found before, and they assumed that he had been poisoned or had suffered some psychotic reaction to loneliness. Damian had vaguely encouraged their speculations, but he found it quite easy to claim lapse of memory if they asked difficult questions.
But Damian encountered a great disappointment on this second expedition, though he also made the major discovery which finally had moved him to speak to the conference. He explored the piedmont forest carefully, week after week. Several streams and rocky gorges provided him with clearly remembered landmarks, and he had saved photographs of some of these from the first expedition to match against reality. Yet the towering woody plants, and the familiar Berendora, answered none of his questions, nor did the clambering vines and the fleshy, succulent water plants. He found foliage that vaguely resembled the new species, and at last he even found what he believed was the very spot where he had lain in sated delectation under that former moonlight and breaking dawn. He found a few pale, rotting fibers that might have belonged to his lost shirt, but he was not sure. He thought he found the pair of plants he had watched before, but neither bud nor blossom had yet appeared.
He returned to his base and considered again whether he should pursue this sad compulsion. But he knew he must go on, and besides, he had come very early in the blossoming period so as to have adequate time for an exhaustive search. There had been few Berendora in blossom anywhere when he had arrived. He determined to search the entire area again. The weeks of his first search had advanced the season, and the peak of the Berendora was soon due. But a strange phenomenon at last impinged on his awareness. Through the forest in every direction were great swaths where abundant foliage of the Berendora bore no blossoms. The plants were otherwise superbly healthy and vigorous, but he saw no buds or blossoms along these swaths, and this was a great mystery to him.
The next morning he selected one of these barren trails, near the base of the rock pinnacle, on the west, and began to follow the swath wherever it led. Without paying close attention to his path, he wandered among the sterile foliage, saddened by the lack of perfume, and puzzled greatly at this enigma he could not solve. Near sunset he found to his surprise that he had come back to his base. He returned to the clearing under the pinnacle a little east of where he had entered the forest in the morning.
For five days altogether he followed this plan systematically, and each day the barren swaths led him back again to his starting place. By the sixth day he had developed an hypothesis which he decided to test. With his compass he set out to find again the great semi-circle he had been exploring beyond the pinnacle, the last of the carefully projected explorations he had been unable to complete on the first expedition. He found the old animal trail easily, and afterwards discovered that he could follow it without difficulty, by simply keeping to the great barren swath lying before him.
At the end of the day he found himself again at the spot where he believed he had first seen the strange new Berendora, and there by the trail he found a single nail from the boots he had lost a year before. He held the nail in his fingers and gazed forlornly upon the barren foliage of the Eighteenth Species. Then he fell slowly to his knees, weeping uncontrollably. Beyond him in every direction except along the trail by which he had come, there spread a great abundance of ordinary Berendora exuding upon the evening air their soft, enticing fragrance.
Damian paused again, as angry, skeptical mutters arose in the hall. The disdainful word “Mystic!” sounded in one corner, where a group of seashore ecologists were sitting together. “I speculate,” Damian continued calmly, “that my presence in the groves of the Berendora had destroyed the blossoms, that they do not care to be seen by the eye of man.” Several men were standing with expressions of violent anger. They shook their fists at Damian. “I further speculate,” he added, “that wherever men have explored and colonized, the Videtan flora have begun to lose their power of blossoming, even though, as I understand, there is no lack of tubers and fibers and the cleistogamous reproduction of seeds and fruit. 1 speculate further still that the recent mournful crying of the palumen in Wicksee Rain Forest is due to their bereavement over the loss of the blossoms there. Gentlemen, we are destroying the flora of Videt.”
The great audience became as still as death. The angry dissidents sat quietly down. The sprays of Earth roses on either side of the speaker’s platform stirred fitfully in a mild breeze that came through the open windows, which also admitted scattered shafts of sunlight to the western wall.
To search for and to find any new species was to destroy it. But not to search all was to frustrate a passionate intellectual curiosity which constituted the special blossoming of Bourne’s life.
“I will end this paper,” Damian continued, “by summoning up for you the single tiny segment of my six months wanderings which I can now recall, and which returned to me like a faded memory when I stood at the spot where once had bloomed two clusters of the eighteenth Berendoran species.
“I saw a vision of the future in which no botanists but agricultural botanists enjoyed the vegetative life of Videt. One last naturalist had come to the planet to see if any unnoticed flowers still remained on this world. Over six hundred thousand carefully photographed and described species had ceased to blossom, and the botany of Videtan flowers was a matter of books and files alone.
“A half-century of exploration and experimentation had passed without any discoveries of new species and without any success in urgent attempts to revivify old species. The Berendora had not been seen for thirty years, yet agriculture flourished, and around the cities Earth flowers bloomed abundantly. The last Videtan botanist, Garret Bourne, arrived on the planet with little hope. He had been discouraged by his colleagues, who saw him throwing away a promising career in pursuit of folly. He himself had no illusions about his chances of enlarging the Videtan taxa, or of preserving any blossoming species he might encounter. But he was stubborn, and rather a dreamer.
“Bourne had himself taken to the place where Mark Damian had discovered the Eighteenth Species, near Damian Pinnacle, and from that spot, in widening circles, he sought everywhere in the barren forests for a single flowering plant. During the day, he searched with uncommon enthusiasm, but at night he discovered raging in himself a disturbing, familiar debate.
“To search for and find any new species was to destroy it. But not to search at all was to frustrate a passionate intellectual curiosity which constituted the special blossoming of Bourne’s life. He had no firm values either to justify or to condemn what he was doing, for the floral life of Videt was unique in the experience of man. Since it no longer blossomed (and that was, of course, regretted by everyone), it was no longer held to have more than a theoretical and historical interest for men. Bourne’s decision to come to Videt and his responsibility for what he did there were therefore purely personal. No one would praise or condemn him, except perhaps in remarking his lack of common sense. Yet, under a passionate compulsion, he felt the ambivalent desire to see and not to see the flowers he might encounter, as if he might somehow find a way to spy on their beauty without destroying it. To that end he had made his preparations. Sometimes he could not sleep because of these disturbing reflections.
“One day, he came upon a small gorge leading up toward the high mountains. During the long months of exploration, he had grown fond of the forest foods, and he thought he might find tubers growing beside the stream in the gorge. He found food, and ate well. Then, as was his habit, he began to explore the narrow ravine for flowering plants. It would soon be dark. One side of the gorge was an almost sheer rock wall on which lianas and moss-like plants grew lushly. The rock oozed moisture and wet the ground at the foot of the wall. At one point the ground was damp and soft for several feet from the wall, down to the edge of the stream. There a tiny rivulet trickled into the rushing water.
“Bourne was sure a running spring had dampened the soil, and he parted the vines to inspect it. To his own surprise, he found a narrow cleft cut into the rock face by the little spring, a cleft that must have been growing for thousands of years. He recognized there the foliage of several of the more common lianas and Berendora, and around a bend of the wall he realized by the light and shadows that the cleft must widen and fall open to the sky. Near its top he saw a few small, rather obscure and homely blossoms that were greedy for the light. No man had come there, he knew. He had just destroyed one species by that careless glance toward the sky. He could not imagine what might lie around the bend.
“At this moment, you will not be surprised to hear, Bourne’s ethical restraint and his intellectual passion entered upon true battle. He dawdled for over an hour there, debating with himself as to whether he should advance. But the failing light forced him back to his campfire, and he decided to wait out the night, so as to reflect more calmly about what he was going to do. He had a plan, which he had conceived before leaving the Earth, but he had little hope it would succeed.
He saw then that he could not hold back, and yet must risk doing terrible damage to the crowning floral creation of the universe.
“When the dawn came, at last, he had decided to advance, and he returned to the cleft. He entered and approached the bend, and then abruptly stopped short. He could not be mistaken. Dangling in his face was a single stem of the graceful foliage of the Eighteenth Species. He saw then that he could not hold back, and yet must risk doing terrible damage to the crowning floral creation of the Universe. He crept forward in an agony of joy and terror.
“Within the bowl at the head of the cleft, which spread steeply toward the surface level of the mountain flank, Bourne found two specimens of the Eighteenth Species in the very midst of their dance. Already the inflorescences had shed their bud-scales and had begun to perform their strange harmonies of motion and color. Bourne was mesmerized. Their undulations seemed to him precisely, lovingly attuned, and their colors wonderfully various. As the clusters deepened their hues toward the culminating azure and magenta, he realized that they were coming near the end of their dance. Soon the trumpets would emerge. Soon he would be lost in visions. And soon the Eighteenth Species would cease to exist forever.
“Bourne understood exactly the risks involved. He had read Damian’s famous paper many times. He had come to Videt for just the risk that he now undertook. His plan was simple and elegant. Though entranced by the floral dance, he reached into his pack and took out a tiny salver of finest white Videtan porcelain and a small alabaster vial he had brought from Earth. Already, the lesser blossoms were releasing their perfumes upon the air. As the greater trumpets began deliberately to rise from the centers of their clusters, Bourne uncorked the vial and poured a golden liquid into the tiny salver. It was a rare perfume, compounded of ambergris and the essential oils of a hundred sweet flowers. It was the best that he could find on the Earth, and all that he had to offer now.
“As the trumpets emerged, with raised flaring petals poised in graceful, waxen stillness, they laid upon the morning air their pungent fragrance. At the same moment, Bourne stood and raised his salver of perfume between the clusters. To the furling litany of delicate scents, the Berendorans added their pure paean, and found in their midst an alien’s song. Bourne himself hoped for nothing more than a chance to remember his visions. He had not yet conceived the hope of persuading the Berendorns to inhabit the gardens of men.”
Disclaimer and Acknowledgement. This story was written in late 1969 before the maker had his head changed regarding certain new ideas advocated by feminists and their supporters. Consequently, the story is rife with arrogant references to man and to the exploits of colonials on Videt, who must have reproduced (if one credits the story’s language) by cloning, or male parthenogenesis. It would be amusing to play out the idea of enormous dermatoid cysts festering with human embryos, as well as hair, teeth, and nails. Anyway, the writer decided, after serious reflection, that using person and human being where the story now uses man would add an awkward self-consciousness to a style already teetering in a stiff balance between the pedantic and the personal. Man remains, tolerated by the generosity of a maker five years senior to his earlier form. //Donald E. McLeod, ABD, assisted in final editing of the story by improving the pedantry with his thoughtful corrections.//R.I.P
© Aden Field