So I did heer u wen I tryd 2 kript! I fot I woz dyin!
Actyerli i think u wer, Bascule, but u also did heer me.
Nyway, I sez, poyntin @ thi blond puntir struglin wif thi food-desk thing, y cuden this gy ½ cum & helpt u?
He did not no I woz on ma way. Thi fass-towr is not thi eesiest ov plaisis 2 comyoonicate wif evin if we had wantid 2 anownse I woz on ma way. He onli new we wer heer wen I woz abil 2 activayt thi doar 2 thi botim-most live floar.
I juss luke @ that dam ant 4 a wile.
this asoora evribod’s bin tokin about?
No, Ergates sez, laffin. Tho i woz creatid in a simla mannir. My task woz 2 act as a kee 4 thi towr axess sistims; they wer kept seperit from thi rest of the towrs funksins so that if thi towr AIs wer evir infectid wif thi kaos they cude not fasilitayt a fizikil invayzhin ov thi towrs upir reechis. I supose am a sorta micro-asoora if u lyk, tho ol ive reely dun is press a lift butin.
But whot abowt that bleedin lammergeier whot snatchd u from Mr Zoliparias; that woz ol a set-up, woz it?
But u shoutid ma naim & went Eek!
Had 2 mak it luke convinsin.
U mite ½ sed gudeby.
I wayvd ma anteni; whot moar u wont?
Bludy hel. I stare in2 thi distins, then luke up @ thi mobile.
So whots goan hapin now? I ask. Whot were u doin up thare?
I woz deliverin a messidje 2 a receptor chip berrid in thi modil erth. Thi coad itself is meeningless but its supoasd 2 activayt thi relivint sistims. Evrything seems 2 b wurkin, tho ther r reportz we may not ½ tym 2 test thi elivaytirs. I ½ 2 say I didn xpect my arivil & that ov thi asoora 2 okur in qwite sutch close proximiti.
Cake! thi gy sez, & brings ovir a plate cuverd wif smol steemin brown lumps. I snif them.
Miby sumfin in thi savery line mite be moar apopryit, I sujest. Thi gy lukes like his crest juss fel.
O! # browns; my fayvrit! Ergates sez. Let me @ them.
Thi gy lukes hapier & ofirs thi playt 2 Ergates, who climes on2 it & lifts a crum bigir than she is & then returns 2 my sholdir.
Yoor Is r bigir than yoor stumik, I tel hir.
Im a ant; my Is r bigir than my stumik.
Then thi goldin-Id geezir straytins, lukes unfocussd 4 a bit & sez, Ah, we ½ sumbodi reqwestin 2 join us. Elivater WesNorWes.
Am abowt 2 say, So? Whot u telin me 4? when Ergates speeks;
Is it hir? she sez.
Yes, thi gy replyz. (I giv him a funy luke; I fot only I cude heer Ergates speek.) & 1 ov thi wingd emiserys, thi gy continuse, + anuthir she wil vowch 4.
I wude sujest we alow them 2 assend, sez Ergates.
Very wel, thi gy sez.
Weer goan 2½ cumpany, Ergates telz me.
There were three sets of doors; they hissed open in sequence, revealing a small cylindrical elevator with couches similar to those in the waiting room. A wave of cold air spilled from the lift’s opened doors. Gadfium and Asura walked into the chilly interior. The lammergeier hopped in after them, cackling excitedly.
The doors closed, one after another.
The elevator lifted quickly; Gadfium sat down along with Asura, who wore an expression that seemed both relaxed and concentrated at the same time. She glanced once at her ring.
The lammergeier looked uncomfortable under the vertical acceleration.
It went on for some time.
Wel heer we r, us exiles trapt in thi towr. Iss bin a hoal munf so far sins we tuk refuje up heer. Evribodi seems hapi enuf so far.
Thers me, Asoora, Madam Gadfyum & lots ov lammergeiers. Weev got a hoal bludy flok ov them birds up heer; a lode ov them manidjed 2 get 2 thi lift whot brot up Asoora & Madam Gadfyum, b4 thi Security geezirs found it. Now they cant get up & we cant get doun but I no whare Id rathir b. Asoora sez it doan matir nway as thers uthir lifts they ½nt fownd, tho we shuden b in eny hury 2 yoos thoas juss yet.
... Whot happind wen Asoora & Madam Gadfyum got heer woz ded simpil; Asoora went strate up 2 thi big globe ov thi sun & put hir hand up & tutched it & stayd that way 4 a minit or so wyle thi rest ov us luked on, then she sat down & cloasd hir Is.
Whot happins now? I askd thi golden-Id gy.
Weel no if its wurkd in 16 minits, he sed.
16 minits, I fot.
Rang a bel, sumhow, but I cooden fink qwite witch 1.
Let me mak sum introdukshins, I herd Ergates say . . .
Thi fass-towrs branes got thi kaos but it didn seem 2 b botherd. Thi golden hare-and-Is bloak dozen seem 2½ chainjed sins thi kaos got in2 thi towrs computirs but then frangli he woz a few fevvirs shot ov a fool wing 2 start wif so no chainje thare.
Asoora sez thi hoal naytchir ov thi kaos may b abowt 2 chainje soon nway, or @ leest thi way we luke @ it mai b abowt 2 chainje, witch wude amownt 2 thi saim thing. Furst we got 2 stop fitein it tho.
Al bleev it when I c it.
Thi ole fass-towr’s a fassinaytin playse; thers a lot moar 2 it than juss thi big rume wif thi orrery; thass like juss 1 litil rume out ov 100s. Bits r a bit dilapidaytid & 1 or 2 bits r off limits bcoz they wer punkchird by metirites & byond repare & so coodint b re-presserized & heetid when thi towr woak up, but moast ov itz up & runin agen & itz juss a totil hoot. Amazin vews, 4 a start.
Thers loada fassinaytin mashines up heer; grate big hooj Is like spaice guns & stuf but also lots ov litil robots. Thi robots wer tryin 2 fix sum ov thi big mashinery theyv got up heer. They moastly broke down when thi towr got thi kaos & a lot ov thi Is that didn had 2 b deactivatid, but sum ov them stil run on thare own on-board computers, whitch rnt very clevir but let them moov & do stuf.
Its a bleedin edyercayshin livin up heer, I tel u; thers telescopes & a mooseum ov space flite wif wurkin simyerlaters & 000s ov hotel rumes & swimin bafs & flooms & ice rinx & a hooj & totily brilyint spyril skee sloap & a hoal bludy sqwadron ov space planes tho thayr far 2 old 2 b yoosd & wude certinly blo u 2 smivereens if u tryd 2 fly them, whitch is a pity. Thers also rokits & satelites & ol sortsa stuf & as Asoora poyntid out when she woz negoshiatin wif this gy Oncoterrerist & thi uthir bags downstares, sum ov thi stuf we got up heer cude make a reely nasty mess ov thi cassil if we woz 2 start dropin it or lonchin it on them. She sed they bcame grately less agresiv when she sent them pictchirs.
Nway, thi roolirs ½ got enuf on thare playts @ thi momint as it is wifout wurryin about us; ol sortsa shaykups happenin down thare. Thi Kriptografers & Endjineers ½ got 2gethir & r tryin 2 get thi wurmhoal operayshinil, evin tho it lukes like we woant need it 4 escaypin. Old Adijine is stil King but heez ½in 2 fite increesin cols 4 his abdicayshin + ol thi clans ½ demandid & got reprisentayshin on thi Consistery but evin so bags stil rnt hapy & feel thayv bin missled & want moar info & say. Aparintly thi fastist groan politikil moovmint @ thi momint is 1 colin 4 Asoora 2 b made Qween or President or sumfin. Watch that spaice, like they say.
Weev got axess 2 thi kript now 2, & Ive bin in tutch wif Mr Zoliparia, hoo woz moast releevd I woz ol rite & is currintly in a triky posishin in owr Go game. I also contactid thi Littil Big Bros. Doan fink Il b doin eny Tellin 4 a while; we didn looz mutch 2 thi kaos but in thi curint State Ov Emerjency Im not thi sorta persin thi Littil Bigs want 2 assosyate wif, whitch is fare enuf; plenty 2 do up heer & I cude always go freelans if I misd it, whitch I doant.
Asoora muss ½ mistaykinly thot I woz upset @ getin nokd bak by thi Bros bcoz juss aftirwurds she made me a presint ov hir ring. I woz reely pleesd enyway but evin moar so when I reelised whot it actcherly is. Itz got a litil red stone in it & if u luke reely cloasly u can c sumfin moovin abowt in thare sumtimes & if u try 2 kript in2 it u can heer sumfin way way in thi distins goan gidibibibigidi (etc), very tiny & smol & far away & playntiv.
Har har har, I sez.
Nope, am prity hapy heer & so r thi uthirs I fink. Asoora & Madam Gadfyum tok a lot & do lotsa studyin & thers anuthir Madam Gadfyum whot livs in thi fass-towrs branes & is helpin Asoora tok wif thi kaos. Ergates makes me lern lotsa stuf 2, claymin my edyoocashin isn ovir yet & sheez probly rite I supoas Iv stil got fings 2 lern.
As 4 thi hoal reesin Asoora woz sent heer in thi 1st place, 2 delivir thi messidje whitch woz suppoasd 2 poot everyfin in moshin in jeneril & Do Sumfin abowt thi Encroachmint, wel that appears 2 ½ gon smoovly, aftir a iffy start.
Thi furst sine ov whot woz goan on woz a badun; thi amownt ov lite from thi sun dropt by a 8th, ovirnite. Evrybudy, evin thi cyantists, got in a bit ov a blu funk abowt this. Ther wer ryits in thi cassil & elswhare & I myself remembir finkin, O fuk, & Whot ½ we dun? & Whot is 2 bcum ov us? That sorta fing. But then from that day on thi lite startid 2 increes agen, very sloly but continyerly.
Thi sun shon down, thi moon did likewyse, thi planits continyood on ther alotid pafs, but it woz like thi big ole nasty Encroachmint had gon in2 revers, howevir unlikely that mite sound.
It woz sum time b4 thi astronimers spotid whot woz reely happinin & it woz a evin longir time b4 they convinsd themselvs it woz tru, but it woz & it is & now we no xactly whot thi bags ov thi Diaspora left us wif 2 get us outa trubil, & itz a feersum endjinn indeed.
Thi sun shines a teeny bit strongir evry day, & tho itil b a long time b4 nybody can c it wif thi naykid I, thi starz ½ moovd.
Iain M. Banks
A novel set in the universe of the Culture
Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.
‘Staggering imaginative energy’
‘Banks has rewritten the libretto for the whole space-opera genre’
‘A dizzying adventure’
‘Gripping, touching and funny’
‘The story is vital and urgent and has a brilliantly subtle resolution... wildly enjoyable’
‘Explosive but tender’
‘Thrilling, affecting and comic... probably the finest science fiction he has written to date’
A novel of extraordinary imagination, richness and energy,
is lain M. Banks at his magnificent best.
Iain M. Banks
In the winter palace, the King’s new physician has more enemies than she at first realises. But then she also has more remedies to hand than those who wish her ill can know about.
In another palace across the mountains, in the service of the regicidal Protector General, the chief bodyguard too has his enemies. But his enemies strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more traditional.
Spiralling around a central core of secrecy, deceit, love and betrayal, Inversions is a spectacular work of science fiction, brilliantly told and wildly imaginative, from an author who has set genre fiction alight.
‘A fantastic, awe-inspiring book . . . I can’t imagine anyone not being won over by this deeply entertaining, thought-provoking and humane story’
‘Taut, hilarious and wicked’
Mail on Sunday
‘Compulsive Banksian reading... thoughtful, intelligently bloody stuff’
‘Captivating... incisive... as sublime as ever’