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.
THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION Dexter Palmer St. Martin’s Press New York This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. THE DREAM OF PERPETUAL MOTION. Copyright © 2010 by Dexter Palmer. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New
the cable attached to the typewriter jerked his head backward, snapping his neck with a crack. Then he was gone. THIRTY That left the false tin men, and me. They stared at me, and I stared back at them, and none of us moved, and none of us said anything. Blood ran out of Prospero’s wound, covering my hands and my pants and my shoes, leaving a trail of red on the roof beneath me. In my arms he was breathing shallowly, his eyes closed, and smiling. We stood there, all of us silently, for
monster, and the son is a smaller version of his father, a monster as well. And the father and son do monstrous things together, like throwing around automobiles and knocking down buildings and breathing fire and biting the heads off innocent bystanders. Then on the climactic final panel, the son thanks his father for being a “monster of a dad!” and for making him a “monster of a son!” It was a big seller. It went into several printings. I know what little boys like. Little boys like monsters.
in love with a person, but only what we think that person is—more precisely, we fall in love with an image of a person that we create in our minds based on a few inconsequential traits: hair color; bloodline; timbre of voice; preference in music or literature. We are so quick to make a judgment on first sight, and it is so easy for us to decide that the object of our love is unquestionably perfect. And while people can only be human at best, these same fallible humans are more than capable of
more than strings of obsessive decorations. This may not be the worst of things. In all honesty, the primary purpose of this tale is to help me while away the time, since I’m sure that it will never be read—this zeppelin is not supplied with machines to duplicate and distribute texts, and this copy of my memoirs is doomed to be the only one. Still, at my best I take the same pride in what I’m writing that a carpenter might take in a well-constructed table, with a level surface and four legs of a