Of Mind and Matter
is a collection of three related stories that together speculate aliens and space travel from three very different points of view. In “Buying Peace,” society must reconsider its longstanding belief that theirs is the only planet inhabited by intelligent life when radio telescopes receive a light-years-old intergalactic transmission—but unfortunately some beliefs die hard. In “Of Mind and Matter,” experimentation with alien DNA has nightmarish consequences. “The Search for Intelligent Life,” explains just where that alien DNA came from.
Excerpt from the title story:
Diana Conner, a young woman I had met through the project, became my good friend. We had begun meeting at least once a week after the memories started, spending most of our time discussing the project. Diana always spoke objectively on the issues at hand, with more hope than anything in maintaining her faith in our safety and well-being. When we met after our last check-in, however, she had begun to see things in a completely different light.
She nervously searched the coffee house patio with her eyes, watching for spies who may have tagged along. She spoke in a barely audible whisper: “Something’s happening.” She looked around again, suspicious of the two men sitting beside the exit to the parking lot.
I gave a confused look.
She placed one of her hands beside a vase of flowers in the center of the table.“Watch my hand.” She moved her hand toward the vase. It seemed to make contact, but then passed through it as if nothing were there.
My hand went over my mouth. “Oh my God.”
With the same hand, she lifted the vase. She smelled the flowers, then set the vase back onto the table. “I can control it, at least for now. I think I’m turning into . . . him.”
My throat went dry and my chest grew tight. I wanted to respond, but the words wouldn’t come.
“I’m afraid,” she said. “What if the next treatment makes me. . . .” Her words trailed off. “Why didn’t they tell us the truth?” she asked instead.
I shrugged, feeling faint and heavy. I thought about Chris, how he had talked me into this, and I shook my head, willing away a knot that was forming in my throat.
“They can’t find out about this.” She looked around again. “If they do, I have a feeling they’ll want more than just weekly check-ins.”
Diana’s voice began to shake. “I want you to help me break into the lab tonight. I can walk right through the walls, so—”
“Wait a minute. I’m not so sure about that. They’ll be swarmed with security.”
“But if they examine the samples they took today—”
“I’m sure they’ve already begun.” I began to feel a little paranoid, myself, and I glanced around the patio, watching for watchers. The two men at the gate, both clad in black suits, glanced back at us.
Diana stared at me, silent, her eyes wide with panic.
The two men began toward our table.Of Mind and Matter
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