Green Glass


  • First publication
    • Asimov's Science Fiction, April/May 2007.


Dreamlike experience of a man and a woman trapped in a closed space. Is this an alien abduction, or something else?


  • The two people are named Josephine and Joe, and they speculate about why their names are so similar. The idea that a bug in a jar sees its reflection and thinks it's another bug seems closest to reality.
  • It seems Joe is the reflection. His last name is "De Mio," "of me."
  • Her last name is Bates, and the reference to Norman Bates of Psycho is unmistakable. He also talked to a person he thought was alive and was only an aspect of himself.
  • When they ask the band leader how to get out, the reply is the song "Vaya Con Dios," "go with God." This may be difficult for Josephine because she doesn't believe she has a soul.
  • Other unreal characters, like Anno of the Past Police, have back-stories that seem plausible to them. Joe's story seems implausible to say the least, but he believes it until the end.
  • Green glass appears in several Wolfe stories. The mountain in Under Hill is green glass. The passage out of the Room of Lost Loves in The Wizard is green glass. Green is a life color and glass is transparent -- both appear in the Book of Revelation.


Josephine might be able to escape if she came up with a helper she could believe. Suppose she could have believed Joe -- his powers might have released them. He ceased to be when he got to the part of his story that she couldn't believe. This seems to be a story about faith. "Vaya con Dios" was the best advice Josephine got, and Joe could have been the avatar of God to help her out of the trap.