Nine Tomorrows - By Isaac Asimov

The Ugly Little Boy
I Just Make Them Up, See!
To Betty Shapian, whose kindness and helpfulness have been unfailing

I Just Make Them Up, See!

I Just Make Them Up, See!

Oh, Dr. A.-

Oh, Dr. A.-

There is something (don't go 'way)

That I'd like to hear you say.

Though I'd rather die

Than try

To pry,

The fact, you'll find,

Is that my mind

Has evolved the jackpot question for today.

I intend no cheap derision,

So please answer with decision,

And, discarding all your petty cautious fears,

Tell the secret of your vision!

How on earth

Do you give birth

To those crazy and impossible ideas?

Is it indigestion

And a question

Of the nightmare that results?

Of your eyeballs whirling,


Fingers curling

And unfurling,

While your blood beats maddened chimes

As it keeps impassioned times

With your thick, uneven pulse?

Is it that, you think, or liquor

That brings on the wildness quicker?

For a teeny


Dry martini

May be just your private genie;

Or perhaps those Tom and Jerries

You will find the very


For inducing

And unloosing

That weird gimmick or that kicker;

Or an awful


Of unlawful


Marijuana plus tequila,

That will give you just that feel o'

Things a-clicking

And unsticking

As you start your cerebration

To the crazy syncopation

Of a brain a-tocking-ticking.

Surely something, Dr. A.,

Makes you fey And quite outrŠ¹.

Since I read you with devotion,

Won't you give me just a notion

Of that shrewdly pepped-up potion

Out of which emerge your plots?

That wild secret bubbly mixture

That has made you such a fixture

In most favored s. f. spots-

Now, Dr. A., Don't go away-

Oh, Dr. A.-

Oh, Dr. A-

Rejection Slips

a - Learned

Dear Asimov, all mental laws

Prove orthodoxy has its flaws.

Consider that eclectic clause

In Kant's philosophy that gnaws

With ceaseless anti-logic jaws

At all outworn and useless saws

That stick in modern mutant craws.

So here's your tale (with faint applause).

The words above show ample cause.

b - Gruff

Dear Ike, I was prepared

(And, boy, I really cared)

To swallow almost anything you wrote.

But, Ike, you're just plain shot,

Your writing's gone to pot,

There's nothing left but hack and mental bloat.

Take back this piece of junk;

It smelled; it reeked; it stunk;

Just glancing through it once was deadly rough.

But Ike, boy, by and by,

Just try another try. I need some yarns and, kid, I love your stuff.

c - Kindly

Dear Isaac, friend of mine,

I thought your tale was fine.

Just frightful-

Ly delightful

And with merits all a-shine.

It meant a quite full

Night, full,

Friend, of tension

Then relief

And attended

With full measure

Of the pleasure

Of suspended


It is triteful,

Scarcely rightful,

Almost spiteful

To declare

That some tiny faults are there.

Nothing much,

Perhaps a touch,

And over such

You shouldn't pine.

So let me say

Without delay,

My pal, my friend,

Your story's end

Has left me gay

And joyfully composed.

P. S.

Oh, yes,

I must confess

(With some distress)

Your story is regretfully enclosed.
George Platen could not conceal the longing in his voice. It was too much to suppress. He said, "Tomorrow's the first of May. Olympics!"

He rolled over on his stomach and peered over the foot of his bed at his roommate. Didn't he feel it, too? Didn't this make some impression on him?

George's face was thin and had grown a trifle thinner in the nearly year and a half that he had been at the House. His figure was slight but the look in his blue eyes was as intense as it had ever been, and right now there was a trapped look in the way his fingers curled against the bedspread.

George's roommate looked up briefly from his book and took the opportunity to adjust the light-level of the stretch of wall near his chair. His name was Hali Omani and he was a Nigerian by birth. His dark brown skin and massive features seemed made for calmness, and mention of the Olympics did not move him.

He said, "I know, George."

George owed much to Hali's patience and kindness when it was needed, but even patience and kindness could be overdone. Was this a time to sit there like a statue built of some dark, warm wood?

George wondered if he himself would grow like that after ten years here and rejected the thought violently. No!

He said defiantly, "I think you've forgotten what May means."

The other said, "I remember very well what it means. It means nothing! You're the one who's forgotten that. May means nothing to you, George Platen, and," he added softly, "it means nothing to me, Hali Omani."

George said, "The ships are coming in for recruits. By June, thousands and thousands will leave with millions of men and women heading for any world you can name, and all that means nothing?"

"Less than nothing. What do you want me to do about it, anyway?" Omani ran his finger along a difficult passage in the book he was reading and his lips moved soundlessly.

George watched him. Damn it, he thought, yell, scream; Copyright 2016 - 2024