Issue 1.1: China Mieville on squid. Bruce Sterling on everything. Me in Autotelia, staring about in the usual postures of wonder.
“Maybe, you think, this is something to do with marriages, births or deaths, some kind of registration anyway; or maybe it isn’t at all clear what’s going on–just people from our side buying something, dealing in something. It’s legal, though. It’s intrinsically legal. My part is to make the medical checks. They often aren’t necessary, even so I’m required to make them. The same little adjoining room is put aside for the purpose every time, bare but very clean. Legal representation must be present, or no examination takes place; often, the representative is also the agent from our side. The women and children cover their embarrassment with smiles. The men, especially the older ones, do what’s required with an appalled dignity, as if I am an outrage that could only happen to them during war or an epidemic, a breakdown of all values and infrastructures, something to be borne but never forgotten. They are so reluctant to loosen their wide, thick, hand-tooled leather belts–a poor-quality example of which can fetch two or three thousand euros in a London store–they tremble.”