This is Weapons Grade Plutonium
. It's also Ken Kalfus
's second book of fiction
, a novella
and short stories. The full
title is Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies
Kalfus's first book is named Thirst.
I've seen him read in person, my copy, beacuse of this, happens to be signed. :-) It's a rather excellent book, really. And while Kalfus is not particularly experienced at reading, somehow his obvious nervousness made the reading better. More Human, I reckon, considering who introduced him, giving him glowing reviews, etc.
All the stories in the book are based in Russia, including the one I'm about to quote from, this stuff is from PU-239, the title story. Don't read it if you want to be surprised, but I don't think it matters:
He placed it next to the money and pulled off the top, revealing inside a coarse, silvery gray powder. Yegor grimaced. It was nothing like he had ever seen. He wet his finter, poked it into the container, and removed a finger-print's worth The stuff tasted chalky.
"What did he call it?" he asked.
"Plutonium. From Bolivia, he said."
Andrei reaced in, took a pinch of the powder, and placed it on the back of his left hand. He then closed his right nostril with a finger and brought the stuff up to his face . . . He sniffed up the powder.