For the past few decades whenever I take a certain cloverleaf exit that loops me across a bridge above the highway, I glance down at the cars passing below. That view always throws me back into a brief scene from VernorVinge's short novel TrueNames:

Mr. Slippery (the other name was avoided now, even in his thoughts) had achieved the fringes of the Other Plane. He took a quick peek through the eyes of a low-resolution weather satellite, saw the North American continent spread out below, the terminator sweeping through the West, most of the plains clouded over. One never knew when some apparently irrelevant information might help --- and though it could all be done automatically through subconscious access, Mr. Slippery had always been a romantic about spaceflight.

Somehow a vertical perspective always puts things into a new light. It works from a tall building, better from an aircraft, and better still from space. And the magic also happens in the opposite direction, looking out into the cosmos ...

(see also EdgeOfTheUniverse (8 Jun 1999), HighGlider (8 Oct 2000), WrightFlight (30 Mar 2003), DiffuseConsciousness (21 May 2003), ...)

TopicLiterature - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-12-06

(correlates: InfiniteInAllDirections, VernorVinge, RainpostsAndGodrays, ...)