Karen read "What They See on Nox," from her new collection of stories, Other Places, due out this fall. Humans are sent to study the citizens of the distant planet Nox. So far, none has successfully communicated with them, but when a lens device is developed to reveal more about the beings, the first person to try it is struck with fear, trepidation, shame, terror—we're not exactly sure. But we do know he never wants to see what appeared through those lenses again. Karen teased us with the lead in to that one, and finished her reading without revealing what was seen. We grow curiouser and curiouser . . . I suppose we'll all have to get Other Places when it comes out!
The Glorious was Karen's cocktail. It seems genetic engineers wanted to spice things up a little (Tanteo jalapeño tequila) by creating a virus to kill crop-threatening insects. To the virus this was a sweet deal (Triple Sec). It shot from caterpillars to humans like a squirt of grapefruit from a spoon to an eye. As the affected caterpillars climbed stalks of wheat, humans climbed towers and bridges and telephone poles, joyously singing. But then it all soured (with lime) until, unable to cling to the heights they’d sought, they fell to their bitter end (cilantro). Survivors continued to pray and sing to their Gods come to earth—Agave Maria!
Worst review: "Sorry, Karen, but every time I start reading your book, I keep falling asleep." –Karen's mother