"Майкл Суэнвик. Беспроводный Фолли (engl) " - читать интересную книгу автора

Майкл Суэнвик.

Беспроводный Фолли (engl)

"The Wireless Folly", by Michael Swanwick.
First printed in Thunder's Shadow Collector's Magazine, February 1992.
Transcribed from "A Geography Of Unknown Lands" w/o permission.
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It may have begun as a rambling Victorian resort hotel, a fantasia of
gingerbread and gables, with wide verandas and oceanic lawns. Or perhaps a
dark, Gothic structure, part castle and part cathedral, squatting like a
toad over twisting, labyrinthine catacombs-- the core is lost in elaboration
and addition, the newspapers of the time are silent on the matter, and both
elements are present in the mustier reaches.
Indeed, the original building (whatever it was) was not even finished
when renovations began. It was a spirited and high-willed family that laid
the foundations and they agreed on nothing. Glass photographs from its early
glory days show an elaborate pile of building, recomplicated with trap-doors
and hidden passages within, and topiary gardens and ha-has without. It had
already overgrown several neighboring structures.
However begun, the building goes deep. The stone tunnels, with water
seeping down the walls and the occasional scurrying rat, have never been
thoroughly mapped. And while a few stones have loosened underfoot and the
mortar is slowly melting into stalactites, so that one is never sure if a
passage is natural or now, they are still serviceable.
With the scattering of the original family (there are those who claim
they merely withdrew into the interior), the building fell into disrepair,
ferns dying by the slow decade in the yellowed parlors, and a few
disreputable roomers haunting the porches. The Great Depression was on, and
plummeting property values put the structure within reach of the meager
pooled resources of the newly-formed Greater Verne County Wireless
Association. The Wireless Association was made up of sincerely young men
with skinhead crewcuts and ears that stuck out to the side. These engineers
manque would argue late into the night over resistors and magnetic fields
and then stay up to dawn, wrapping coils. I is possible to imagine them now,
a pipe stuck in the corner of the mouth, oily cup of Java growing cold by an
elbow, as they earnestly invented the future. One can almost hear the
sporadic sizzle of a soldering iron.
They built their additions with an absent-minded casualness. Sheds and
crude barns were needed to contain the stinks and fumes and explosions of
their experiments. They stuck antennae on all the cupolas and cornices, so
that the roof fairly bristled, and dug concrete-lined rocket pits in the old
croquet grounds.
There is a certain nostalgia for those rough additions nowadays,
perhaps because some few (fewer with each passing year, alas!) of the
original members are still with us. You may find them in the leather chair
of the smokers lounge, gin-and-tonics in hand, maundering on about quartz
crystals, and the night they first raised Kansas City, to the inexpressible