Zeppelins claimed the highest airlines in the city, so the view was pretty spectacular. Air traffic whipped by beneath us as the floaters whizzed to their destinations, and beneath that was the city itself: towering monoliths so massive that the entire upper section of the city hung in the air, interconnected island of commerce that grew like barnacles from their colossal host buildings. It was night, and the city lights winked and glitters from Downtown to Bayside, counterfeit stars that pumped adrenaline into a city that never relax, much less slip.
“Nice view.” I leaned against the outside railing, puffing smoke in the breeze. The airship was a ghost that floated along its computer-navigated course by way of its massive helium cells. Passengers relaxed inside the cabin at the cocktail lounge or in their suites, but only a few braved the thin air and cold drizzle outside. I pulled my collar tighter and ignored the light rain.
Wiseman nodded as he gazed over the railing. “Nice to take it from a bird’s eye view. Makes you remember this city can be a thing of beauty.”
The Wise Man Says is a short story set in the world of the Troubleshooter by Bard Costantine, and really it’s an excellent introduction to that world. The plot is very simple, besides I think the strong point in this short story is the voice (Mick Troubble’s voice is strong, personal and witty) and the mood (definitely noir). I like Troubble’s attitude a lot, tough as you would expect from a hard-boiled PI, but also humorous, sometimes in a dark way.
New Heave, the dieselpunk city where this takes place, is a character in itself. I read the first story in the Troubleshooter series, and I know New Heave has her secrets. I can’t say you get a hit of that here, but you definitely get the impression this city has a history.
It was a fun read.
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