lunedì 21 novembre 2011

Song of Kali - Dan Simmons

Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist. Some cities are too wicked to be suffered. Calcutta is such a place. Before Calcutta I would have laughed at such an idea. Before Calcutta I did not believe in evil -- certainly not as a force separate from the actions of men. Before Calcutta I was a fool.
After the Romans had conquered the city of Carthage, they killed the men, sold the women and children into slavery, pulled down the great buildings, broke up the stones, burned the rubble, and salted the earth so that nothing would ever grow there again. That is not enough for Calcutta. Calcutta should be expunged.
Before Calcutta I took part in marches against nuclear weapons. Now I dream of nuclear mushroom clouds rising above a city. I see buildings melting into lakes of glass. I see paved streets flowing like rivers of lava and real rivers boiling away in great gouts of steam. I see human figures dancing like burning insects, like obscene praying mantises sputtering and bursting against a fiery red background of total destruction.
The city is Calcutta. The dreams are not unpleasant. Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist.

Chapter One

"Today everything happens in Calcutta . . . Who should I blame?"
-- Sankha Ghosh

"Don't go, Bobby," said my friend. "It's not worth it."
It was June of 1977, and I had come down to New York from New Hampshire in order to finalize the details of the Calcutta trip with my editor at Harper's. Afterward I decided to drop in to see my friend Abe Bronstein. The modest uptown office building that housed our little literary magazine, Other Voices, looked less than impressive after several hours of looking down on Madison Avenue from the rarefied heights of the suites at Harper's.
Abe was in his cluttered office, alone, working on the autumn issue of Voices. The windows were open, but the air in the room was as stale and moist as the dead cigar that Abe was chewing on. "Don't go to Calcutta, Bobby," Abe said again. "Let someone else do it."
"Abe, it's all set," I said. "We're leaving next week." I hesitated a moment. "They're paying very well and covering all expenses," I added.
"Hnnn," said Abe. He shifted the cigar to the other side of his mouth and frowned at a stack of manuscripts in front of him. From looking at this
sweaty, disheveled little man -- more the picture of an overworked bookie than anything else -- one would never have guessed that he edited one of the more respected "little magazines" in the country. In 1977, Other Voices hadn't eclipsed the old Kenyan Review or caused The Hudson Review undue worry about competition, but we were getting our quarterly issues out to subscribers; five stories that had first appeared in Voices had been chosen for the O'Henry Award anthologies; and Joyce Carol Gates had donated a story to our tenth-anniversary issue. At various times I had been Other Voices assistant editor, poetry editor, and unpaid proofreader. Now, after a year off to think and write in the New Hampshire hills and with a newly issued book of verse to my credit, I was merely a valued contributor. But I still thought of Voices as our magazine. And I still thought of Abe Bronstein as a close friend.
"Why the hell are they sending you, Bobby?" asked Abe.

Song of Kali - Dan Simmons

Nessun commento: