《海柏利昂》──187 頁至 189 頁 (英漢對照)

《海柏利昂》(Hyperion),丹‧西門斯(Dan Simmons)著
Daneel Lynn 無責任翻譯

Notes for a sketch of Heaven's Gate:

Mud lanes which run back from the station's conversion docks like a pattern of sores on a leper's back. Sufrus-brown clouds which hang in tatters from a rotten burlap sky. A tangle of shapeless wooden structures half decayed before they were ever fully constructed, their paneless windows now staring sightlessly into the gaping mouths of their neighbors. Indigenies breeding like … like humans, I suppose … eyeless cripples, lungs burned out with air rot, squiring a nest of a dozen offspring, the children's skin scabrous by age five-standard, their eyes watering incessantly from the sting of an atmosphere which will kill them before they're forty, their smiles carious, their oily hair rife with lice and the blood bags of dracula ticks. Proud parents beaming. Twenty million of these doomed schmucks, crowded into slums overflowing an island smaller than my family's west lawn on Old Earth, all of them fighting to breathe the only breathable air on a world where the standard is to inhale and die, crowding ever closer to the center of the sixty-mile radius of survivable atmosphere which the Atmosphere Generating Station had been able to provide before it began to malfunction.

Heaven's Gate: my new home.

Mother had not taken into account the possibility that all Old Earth accounts would be frozen – and then appropriated into the growing Worldweb economy. Nor had she remembered that the reason people had waited for the Hawking drive to see the spiral arm of the galaxy is that in long-term cryogenic sleep – as opposed to a few weeks or months of fugue – chances of terminal brain damage were one in six. I was lucky. When I was uncrated on Heaven's Gate and put to work digging out acid canals beyond the perimeter, I had suffered only a cerebral accident – a stroke. Physically, I was able to work in the mud pits within a few local weeks. Mentally, there was much left to be desired.

The left side of my brain had been shut down like a damaged section of a spinship being sealed off, airtight doors leaving the doomed compartments open to vacuum. I could still think. Control of the right side of my body soon returned. Only the language centers had been damaged beyond simple repair. The marvelous organic computer wedged in my skull had dumped its language content like a flawed program. The right hemisphere was not without some language – but only the most emotionally charged units of communication could lodge in that affective hemisphere; my vocabulary was now down to nine words. (This, I learned later, was exceptional, many victims of CVAs retain only two or three.) For the record, here is my entire vocabulary of manageable words: fuck, shit, piss, cunt, goddamn, motherfucker, asshole, peepee, and poopoo.

A quick analysis will show some redundancy here. I had at my disposal eight nouns, which stood for six things; five of the eight nouns could double as verbs. I retained one indisputable noun and a single adjective which also could be used as a verb or expletive. My new language universe was comprised of four monosyllables, three compound words, and two baby-talk repetitions. My arena of literal expression offered four avenues to the topic of elimination, two references to human anatomy, one request for divine imprecation, one standard description of or request for coitus, and a coital variation which was no longer an option for me since my mother was deceased.

All in all, it was enough.

I will not say that I remember my three years in the mud pits and slime slums of Heaven's Gate with fondness, but it is true that these years were at least as formative as – and probably more so than – my previous two decades on Old Earth.

I soon found that among my intimate acquaintances – Old Sludge, the scoop-shovel foreman; Unk, the slumyard bully to whom I paid my protection bribes; Kiti, the lice-ridden crib doxy whom I slept with when I could afford it – my vocabulary served me well. "Shit-fuck," I would grunt, gesticulating. "Asshole cunt peepee fuck."

"Ah," grinned Old Sludge, showing his one tooth, "going to the company store to get some algae chewies, huh?"

"Goddamn poopoo," I would grin back at him.

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