Monday, June 7, 2010

Luminous - Greg Egan

"I spoke softly, in English. "What you're in the process of hacking out of me is a necrotrap. One heartbeat without oxygenated blood, and the cargo gets fried."

My amateur surgeon was compact, muscular, with short black hair. Not Chinese; Indonesian, maybe. If she was surprised that I'd woken prematurely, she didn't show it. The gene-tailored hepatocytes I'd acquired in Hanoi could degrade almost anything from morphine to curare; it was a good thing the local anesthetic was beyond their reach.

Without taking her eyes off her work, she said, "Look on the table next to the bed."

I twisted my head around. She'd set up a loop of plastic tubing full of blood--mine, presumably--circulated and aerated by a small pump. The stem of a large funnel fed into the loop, the intersection controlled by a valve of some kind. Wires trailed from the pump to a sensor taped to the inside of my elbow, synchronizing the artificial pulse with the real. I had no doubt that she could tear the trap from my vein and insert it into this substitute without missing a beat."

5 out of 5

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