"The third and best volume in the author's "science-in-fiction"
"The science in this fiction is especially absorbing...a neat
"So you're the mysterious Dr. Dvir." She'd sidledup to him at the end of the coffee break as the group had started to shuffleback into the conference hall. "I understand you're one of the world'sauthorities on the Queen of Sheba."
Dvir slowly turned his head toward his questioner. "Mister Dvir,"he said deliberately, the voice seeming to issue from a formidable depth."Not Doctor."
She gestured toward the label fastened to his sweater. "Ben-GurionUniversity," she read. "I thought you were an academic. A Shebaist,"she added quickly. "If there is such a specialty."
Dvir broke into laughter, and for a moment sounded a good deal less formidable."I've been called all kinds of names in my life, but never that. MayI borrow it?" He glanced at her name tag. "The REPCON Foundation?"
Melanie Laidlaw laughed self-consciously. "I'm afraid so."
He shrugged his shoulders. "And is it Doctor Laidlaw?"
"I'm afraid so. I'm an ex-academic."
"You're too afraid: first the Foundation, now your title."
Laidlaw started to flush. "It's just a figure of speech."
"Relax," he said, simultaneously steering her by the elbow toone of the empty seats in the back of the hall. "I'm not an academic,just an administrator."
"Of what?" she asked as she sat down.
Dvir waved his hand. "I'm a vice president in charge of all kinds ofthings. Ben-Gurion is a young university and a small administration is oneway of saving money."
"You're in Beersheba, aren't you?"
"That's in the Negev, isn't it?"
Dvir's attention had wandered; he nodded absently.
"Isn't Dimona also in the Negev?" Laidlaw persisted.
Dvir's attention snapped back to his interrogator. "So?"
"Isn't that where you keep your atomic arsenal?"
The man in front of Melanie Laidlaw had turned around. "Shh,"he put a finger across his lips. "Don't you see the program has started?"he hissed.
Dvir ignored the interruption. His attention was now focused entirely onLaidlaw. "So?" he asked again.
"I understand you were one of the first directors there," shewhispered in his ear.
Dvir turned his head so rapidly that her lips brushed his ear. "Firstthe Queen of Sheba; then Dimona. Who told you this?" She couldn't tellwhether he was annoyed or curious.
"Later," she whispered.
Hardback edition (entitled Menachems Same) published (1996) in German translation by HaffmansVerlag, Zurich Swizerland
© 1996 by Carl Djerassi
go back to Home Page.