"People ask me how I do research for my science fiction. The answer is, I never do any research. I just enjoy reading the stuff, and some of it sticks in my mind and fits into the stories."
- Frederik Pohl
||Brings you back from losing a duel.
If you woke up 500 years into the future, you might have a hard time understanding the different social protocols. You might give offense without knowing it. You might be the target of an assassination. If so, you too would wish for death-reversal equipment.
|"Man Forrester!" cried the joymaker from his belt. "I must inform you that Heinzlichen Jura de Syrtis Major has waived protest of the bonding regulations. The death-reversal equipment is on its way..."
The joymaker was addressing him again, bat he could catch only part of it. ". . . On station now, Man Forrester." A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.
Overhead a white aircraft of some sort—it had no wings—was sliding diagonally down toward him. It bore a glittering ruby insigne like the serpent staff of Aesculapius on its side. The nearer end of it was all glass and exposed, and inside a young woman in crisply tailored blue was drowsily watching something on a screen invisible to Forrester. She looked up, gazed at him, spoke into a microphone, then glanced at him again, and went back to watching her screen. The vehicle took position over his head and waited, following with him as he walked...
The man from Mars said conversationally, "Don't hurry. Plenty of time for everybody." He lifted his cane and limped forward. Moving was quite an effort for him in Earth's gravity, after Mars, Forrester saw. The cane came down on his shoulder and upper arm, was lifted and came down again, regularly, slowly, and strongly. It must have been weighted. It felt like a baseball bat.
The pain in Forrester's gut was like death. His arm was numb.
All in all, though, he realized quite clearly—unable to move, watching as they passed the cane from hand to hand and the white aircraft hovered overhead, the woman's face peering patiently down—all in all, it was hurting rather less than he might have expected. Perhaps it was Hara's hungover medicine. Perhaps it was just shock.
"You were warned, Man Forrester," said the joymaker sadly from where it lay beside his head...
|From The Age of The Pussyfoot,
by Frederik Pohl.
Published by Ballantine in 1966
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