By Brian Wilson Aldiss
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When we met in the hotel, I thought you were a great and wise man — now I have a contempt for you. We are fifty light years from the System, so forget about it, forget the System! It's only a prison, with your kind as gaolers. ' Dulcifer shrugged his shoulders. 'But you are so like them, Ian Takeido — always appealing to someone else for support. ' asked Takeido, wiping rain impatiently from his lips. 'Have you a similarly feeble answer to Utopianist Dulcifer's? Or a rustic saying of no marked relevance?
Time was wrong; the earth failed them. They would have run up against an immutable law which all societies prefer to forget as they become sophisticated: that there is not only no civilisation but practically no basis for life where there are no crops. Those tragic colonists planted their grain. It rotted in the ground. Fertilisers had no effect. ' He stared up at the distant roof of rock. It was barely visible in the gloom. Only one or two stalactites showed, like distorted stars. 'No doubt they turned to magic when science failed.
An unexpected speech from you, Comrade Constanza,' said Burek, in his deep, rather mocking voice. 'Oh, I know you think I'm just a fool. I think that you are one more elitist bore, Utopianist Burek, and I'm vexed that I am now forced to make water in your presence. ' The cavern had emptied except for two forlorn bent figures, extinguishing candles on the far steps. The crowd had disappeared into side-tunnels, stumbling off to sleep out the long Lysenkan night. The six prisoners sat in their cage.
Enemies of the System by Brian Wilson Aldiss