I swear, sometimes I don't know why I even write science fiction. The real world so often comes up with items far weirder than anything in the literature. Case in point: the Web-based business called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets.
This venture, the brainchild of one Bart Centre in New Hampshire, caters to all those Americans who expect the Rapture to carry them off to heaven any day now but, unfortunately, to leave behind their pets, who lack souls. For a fee, Centre will match these divinely abandoned animals with atheists -- also left behind -- who will adopt the pets. A ten-year contract costs just $110 for the first pet, more for every additional dog, cat, gerbil, or parakeet not covered by the provisions in Revelation. Could I have ever imagined this SF-nal-future business opportunity?
I could not. Although perhaps that master of literary lunacy, James Morrow, might be able to do so. I have just finished reading his novella Shambling Towards Hiroshima, published as a short book by Tachyon Press. It concerns the Knickerbocker Project, a World War II attempt to supplement the flagging Manhattan project with the development of giant mutant iguanas to destroy Japanese cities, thereby ushering in the Lizard Age of weaponry. This dark, wildly funny, politically incorrect satire is a winner. And I hope you all recognize my even-handedness in saying so, since what it might win is the Nebula I am also up for, Best Novella.
A final piece of inexplicable lunacy: still nobody wants to buy my house.