The Dream of Perpetual Motion
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Imprisoned for life aboard a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis, greeting-card writer Harold Winslow pens his memoirs. His only companions are the disembodied voice of Miranda Taligent, the only woman he has ever loved, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father, Prospero, the genius and industrial magnate who drove her insane. As Harold heads toward a last desperate confrontation with Prospero to save Miranda's life, he finds himself an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all: the perpetual motion machine. Beautifully written, stunningly imagined, and wickedly funny, Dexter Palmer's The Dream of Perpetual Motion is a heartfelt meditation on the place of love in a world dominated by technology.
forever? Because an imperfect grace is never what we seek when we fantasize about our futures, when we dream of a long life with someone we claim to love or we build the machines that we read about in science fiction. We want all possible things made actual, the perpetual possibility of perfection, the best of all futures all at once. But whatever we accomplish in the end never measures up. We always fail. We always fall short. Because when we see the perfect thing before us we feel we have to
five cents from Astrid for the roller coaster—he wasn’t stupid. He’d blackmail her if worst came to worst—seriously, how bad could a midnight pinch or shingles be? So he wiped his eyes dry, swapped his bag of nickels for the rusty whistle, and called it fair and square. Only then did Martin beckon him to the other viewer, to see his sister. FOURTEEN She was with Clyde and Hortense and Frank and Julia and Jerry at the entrance to the Tunnel of Love; the six of them were stepping into one
none of the rigorous daily structure imposed by the public school’s instructors and teaching machines. Sometimes, as the two children wandered the island, either on foot or seated on the back of Miranda’s unicorn, they would be presented with sudden conundrums, but they would be pleasures to solve, not tasks, and more like games than homework. As when the savage hurled himself out of a dense grove of palms and into their path, his face covered in symmetrical patterns of brightly colored paint,
from the indiscriminate ravages of Time so that they would come before your glazed, uncomprehending eyes. Yet work your thoughts and you will see: my ugly athlete dancer’s body has gone to dust and here you are, enchanted, just as I foresaw centuries ago! Ha! I know you, I think, and because I know you, I will have mercy on you. A steady diet of ideas of the magnitude of those contained in these notebooks (especially notebooks seven and sixteen, which are especially theoretical and dense) must
movies. I don’t know what to do. I’m really scared. I’ve never been so scared, even that time when we first kissed (and I mightn’t’ve looked scared then, but let me tell you, I was nervous. I’d never kissed a guy before!). I was scared, too, a little, that other time, when we—you know. I need you to come save me! I put an entrance pass into the envelope so you can get into the Tower. That was all I could do—you’ll have to figure out the rest yourself. I know it sounds weird to ask a favor like