I’m relaunching The Weekly Fix, with a twist. For now, instead of a serial tale or a short story, I’m sharing excerpts from the stories in the forthcoming Fix the World anthology. This is a fantastic collection of twelve hopeful stories from sci-fi writers on how to fix some of the greatest problems we face as a world.
Ice in D Minor
Rinna Sen paced backstage, tucking her mittened hands deep into the pockets of her parka. The sound of instruments squawking to life cut through the curtains screening the front of the theater: the sharp cry of a piccolo, the heavy thump of tympani, the whisper and saw of forty violins warming up. Good luck with that. Despite the huge heaters trained on the open-air proscenium, the North Pole in February was cold.
And about to get colder, provided she did her job.
The stage vibrated slightly, balanced in the center of a parabolic dish pointed straight up to the distant specks of stars in the frigid black sky. The stars floated impossibly far away—but they weren’t the goal. No, her music just had to reach the thermo-acoustic engine hovering ten miles above the earth, centered over the pole.
Rinna breathed in, shards of cold stabbing her lungs. Her blood longed for summer in Mumbai; the spice-scented air that pressed heat into skin, into bone, so deeply a body wanted to collapse under the impossible weight and lie there, baking, under the blue sky.
That had been in her childhood. Now, nobody lived in the searing swath in the center of the globe. The heat between the tropics had become death to the human organism.
Not to mention that her home city was now under twenty feet of water. There was no going back, ever.
“Ms. Sen?” Her assistant, Dominic Larouse, hurried up, his nose constantly dripping from the chill. “There’s a problem with the tubas.”
Rinna sighed—a puff of breath, visible even in the dim air. “What, their lips are frozen to the mouthpieces? I told them to bring plastic ones.”
“Valve issues, apparently.”
Dominic dabbed his nose with his ever-present handkerchief. He’d been with her for two years, and she still couldn’t break through his stiff formality. But little things, like insisting on being called by her first name, weren’t worth the aggravation. Not here, not now…