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I picked it up on a minor island, the one with the grimy harborfront, I think, and the spine of useless mountains like a broken back along its northern coast as if it had been stepped on. Read the rest of this entry »

They looked married. In what they took for granted, the other riders saw they had been together forever. He read the map of the system posted by the door, tilting his head to follow the lines, and kept his balance with a hand on the pole. Read the rest of this entry »

The sign at the border with firm politeness welcomes me in my own language. I take it on faith it doesn’t play favorites but welcomes readers of other languages with equal grace, though why it thinks the Chinese will follow this road here I can’t imagine. Read the rest of this entry »

Travelers are forever being told the whens and wheres of the city: when the church was reconstructed, where the Romans took their baths, how the rains affect the rosemary crop, but all they really want to know is why the sad man shuffles on his knees from one end of town to the other, Read the rest of this entry »

Her guide did not lead the new doctor all the way to the village; instead, halfway up the rise, he gestured with his stick toward the cluster of huts in the high distance. Four days they had traveled together without talking, by oxcart, by flatboat, on horseback, on foot, and now she had a need to share her misgivings about the job. Read the rest of this entry »

I do so much more than gather data. My predecessor, the AIM12, was essentially a gather-and-analyze drone, but even she had vested interests, if I may say—and because of my protocol, I may—before they unloaded her higher functions and transferred her to payroll. Read the rest of this entry »

They came at night and brought me and my son down to the boat. I told him to bring his doll, but he thought we would be coming back. He didn’t want the men to see him carry a doll he called Mommy. The men were not patient. Read the rest of this entry »

—Kathy, please prepare the cabin for takeoff.
—You already said that, sir. Sir? Brian?
—Is the cabin prepared?
—We’re airborne, sir.
—I’d like to hear that from Troy, please.
—We’re airborne, sir.
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When the night voices tremble in your heart, so do you hear where each of us is, except for me, except for the one who doesn’t call. Your bed is damp with not knowing. Left to the black glass and right to your husband, you shake your head No all night. Read the rest of this entry »

If I look you in the eye, it’s for what I need to know. You’ll learn nothing. All you need to know is this uniform and the benevolent authority it represents. The more you fidget and try to persuade me, the solider I stand in these black shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

Behind the Pseudonym

The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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