Report on the Threatened City by Doris Lessing

By Doris Lessing

From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Doris Lessing, a particular technology fiction brief tale. Unknown observers ship reviews on a urban that's threatened with destruction. They assemble info at the population and their behaviour. It quickly turns into transparent that this is often faraway from an alien planet. As in lots of of her acclaimed technology fiction novels, in 'Report at the Threatened City', Doris Lessing makes use of the traditions of this style to envision the realm we all know and human nature itself, from a very new and infrequently unforgiving standpoint.

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He glanced briefly at me, and back to Gretel. ’ ‘Then go in peace,’ he said, and bowed again before returning to his people. I waited until he was out of earshot. ’ I demanded. She shrugged. ‘He’s a trader, remember. ’ ‘Yes, but what was he talking about? ’ She hesitated, and then nodded, like someone relenting under pressure. ‘I’ve agreed to attend the tinker women if I’m needed. ’ ‘Because I don’t want it generally known. It could harm my standing in the community. Also, I don’t want you involved.

Of course it didn’t. As I released my hold and stepped free, I barely had time to think: I’m doing it! Flying! I will see the faerie light, I will!  until, mercifully as they say, I lost consciousness. The generously spreading branches of the old tree saved my life, for I was still more or less intact when I reached the ground and lay spreadeagled amongst the tendrils of bindweed that had once been the setting of my fantasies. I wish I could say I dreamed of Robin Goodfellow during the hour or more that I lay there unattended – his glowing face stooping over mine, his wings brushing my lips with faerie-like concern – but I had no such vision.

With a brief nod of apology, I reached for the latch. Straightaway he grabbed me by the hair and forced me roughly to my knees. ’ I shook my head, too scared to speak. ‘Then answer me this. When you visited us last, how exactly did you come to see past our dimming?  a crack in the front door,’ I stuttered out. ’ He didn’t wait for me to finish. ‘Which eye was it that betrayed us? ’ It came to me then – in the midst of my terror – the truth about Gretel. ’ I blurted out. ‘But why? She’d already seen you!

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