THIRTY THOUSAND RADIATORS
Dreamed 1999/7/30 by Chris Wayan
At the library, I find a book titled "The World's Best Worst Science Fiction Scripts." I blink, but that wasn't a typo. They mean it. Scripts so bad they're good.
Not just films--scripts for comics, too. The cover's a panel from a comic book: a couple holding hands in a space station while little animals multiply on the floor. I've read several versions of the tale, and know the little creatures radiate feelings of love and harmony. People can still get angry, but on average there's more sex and less war where these creatures spread. You must keep them under control, though: if not kept carefully in check, they multiply too rapidly and clog the life support systems. They have no natural enemies, after all--too damn lovable.
But I don't pick up the book. Embarrassed! Also... I want to find a book on love and sex that shows me how to date in this hard world, not a fantasy where it's easy. Or is it just that the girl on the cover, the hero of the series, just doesn't attract me? She's sort of a human teddybear, a curvy, apple-cheeked, bland blonde. I want a skinny weird genius, not this Everygirl, calculated to offend no one and please all.
But suddenly I realize... the little creatures radiating love and peace aren't fictional at all, really. It's just that here in the real world they've incarnated differently: as thirty thousand funny-looking women.
I read about them in Newsweek. That's what they said about them: funnylooking. Next to photos.
They looked gorgeous. They looked hot. Just not human, not... Newsweek.
Thirty thousand radiators of love and peace! I hope to meet one, and make her my girlfriend.
I think it'll happen. I wake up turned on, and full of hope.
NOTES AT DAWN
Science fiction has played endless variations on this theme of emotional radiators, from farce to tragedy: see Margaret St. Clair's story The Pillows, or Poul Anderson's novel The Day of Their Return, or the old Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles, or its source, the Martian flatcats in Heinlein's The Rolling Stones.
But what's it mean to me personally?
I've been worrying I'll cling to the first girl who likes me, out of sheer gratitude, rather than hold out for someone who feels right. But in the dream, I'm unmoved by a comfy teddy-bear, and hold out for what I want, even if she's a kooky little alien...
AN HOUR LATER
As I finish typing the above notes, still wondering "why 30,000?", a bus drives by. On its side is a zoo ad showing an anteater and the words
IT EATS 30,000 A DAY!Not psychic, and not synchronicity either--that ad's on the side of every bus in town, I've seen it a dozen times, subliminally. So the 30,000 females in my dreams are... ants!
My dreams want me to fall in love with an ant?
I did have a crush on an ant in a dream once. Cheimi was a rebel ant-girl, an anti-conformist ant. So maybe the dream's advising me not to go for secure, well-established personalities, but to find someone a bit timid who's escaping a conformist background, who's just finding herself...
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