Part of a Thing I Love: “Fragments of a Hologram Rose”

I haven’t done linkdumps in a while and for a variety of reasons life around these parts sucks a lot right now, so instead let me start something that might be a series, where I post a passage of something that I either love from way back or am reading currently and adore. Because happy things are good.

And we’ll start with this, because I’ve been going back through Burning Chrome, and I just can’t even with this story.

Parker lies in darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: Recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole image of the rose. Falling toward delta, he sees himself the rose, each of his scattered fragments revealing a whole he’ll never know – stolen credit cards – a burned out suburb – planetary conjunctions of a stranger – a tank burning on a highway – a flat packet of drugs – a switchblade honed on concrete, thin as pain.

Thinking: We’re each other’s fragments, and was it always this way? That instant of a European trip, deserted in the gray sea of wiped tape – is she closer now, or more real, for his having been there?

She had helped him get his papers, found him his first job in ASP. Was that their history? No, history was the black face of the delta-inducer, the empty closet, and the unmade bed. History was his loathing for the perfect body he woke in if the juice dropped, his fury at the pedal-cab driver, and her refusal to look back through the contaminated rain.

But each fragment reveals the rose from a different angle, he remembered, but delta swept over him before he could ask himself what that might mean.

– William Gibson, “Fragments of a Hologram Rose”

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