By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume III: Responsibility





Kiril, identified in dreams as “the cook”, would know how to forage, in a land like hers.  And she’d do better than most, possessed as she is of unusual intelligence.  And all the rest of the scene would have to follow from that.  As for a starving child fainting from the smell of grease, I know an old survivor of the Depression who did that, as a kid.

Some might think that I write too often of child geniuses.  First of all, I dream of them all the time, and that would justify it enough, considering that I have embraced writing from dreams as my life’s work.  But also, they’re not as uncommon as people think.  The official cut-off line for genius is the top two percentile rank.  That means one in fifty.  That “fifty” encompasses the entire spectrum of intellect, including those so profoundly disabled that they’re institutionalized, people that you never meet on the street.  If you exclude anyone who drops below the average, that drops the percent down to one in twenty-five.  Now, people who actively engage in trying to solve crises—the sort of people likely to wind up as major players in a novel—would tend to be above average in intelligence.  Now we’re talking one in an even smaller, if indeterminate number, maybe one in 12-18.  Aside from Fireheart Friendclan, who would skew everything, I have a whole lot more characters than 12-18.

As for Malcolm eating pages from the cookbook, he wouldn’t be the first, in the face of starvation .  As Sanzio well knew when he slipped the book through the bars.

I wrote the initiation of Bakr and Aziz, though I have dreamed of their presence among the revolutionaries at and after Cumenci.  I needed some explanation for them being there.

When it came to Sanzio’s thoughts, I barely had time to ask myself what he might be thinking of, congruent to the initiation celebration, and it just gushed out, almost faster than I could type.  Disturbing.  And Malcolm’s thoughts would naturally follow, too.  And that’s when I suddenly realized that later events which I had blamed on Sanzio had actually been Layne Aliso’s plan.  It has her stamp.  And it doesn’t really fit Sanzio, though he always follows orders.

Main Page