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224 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1965
The sofa, I thought. What has the sofa to do with it? I had never heard any fairy tale about a sofa. There was a flying carpet; there was the magical tablecloth. There was the invisibility hat, the seven-league boots, the playing harp. There was the magic mirror. But there was no magic sofa. Sofas were for sitting or lying on; there was something respectable and ordinary about them… In fact, what fantasy could be inspired by a sofa?
Returning to my room, I was at once aware of The Small Man. He was sitting on top of the stove, up against the ceiling, twisted into an uncomfortable pose. He had a puckered unshaved face and hairy gray ears.
But, in spite of all these petty interruptions, in spite of the fact that the animated Alden sometimes printed out, “I am thinking, please don’t interrupt,” in spite of the insufficiency of spare subassemblies, and the feeling of helplessness that took hold of me when it was required to conduct a logical analysis of the “incongruent transgression in the psi-field of incubal transformation,” in spite of all that, it was devilishly interesting to work here, and I was proud of being so obviously needed. I carried out all the calculation in Oira-Oira’s work on the heredity mechanisms of hi-polar homunculi. I constructed tables of the M-field potential around the sofa-translator in the ninth dimension.
Janus saw the parrot and again said, “So.” He took the small bird in his hands, very gently and tenderly, stroked its bright red crest, and said softly, “What happened, little Photon?”
He wanted to say something more, but glanced at us and remained silent. We stood together and watched him, walking with an old man’s gait, slowly go to the far corner of the room, open the door of the electric furnace, and drop the little green corpse in.
‘And in the field, the fiaowld,’ he sang, ‘the pliaow runs of itself, and mmm-eh … mmmiaow, and following that pliaow … mmiaow … Our Lord himself does walk … or stalk?’④ Hahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahaha. Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahaha ← I think this kinda sorta means this book made me laugh some. Not much though. Just a little bit and stuff.