From the author: This story's central image, of a youngster gazing longingly at the silver spires of starships, aching to ride them into space, is a metaphor for the way I reacted to science fiction as a young reader.
THE MUSIC SANG OF THE INFINITE DARK and the suns that burn within it. It shimmered like starlight on alien seas, and whispered with the voices of strange winds.
Kriss stopped playing, and as the last chord died slowly away, sat quietly with his head bowed, cradling his touchlyre in his arms. The orange glow of the oil lamps gleamed on the instrument’s polished black wood and burnished copper.
One by one those in the smoky bar, mostly offworlders, rose from their tables and came to the low...