I'm looking for a story - probably 90s or earlier and about 40 pages long.

A man is a "weather composer" who creates controlled tornados & storms as a kind of performance art. The world he's living in allows copying & saving brain states, to be restored if an accident befalls the creator (who would lose all memories since their last backup). One day he wakes up to hear that his earlier self had been killed, with no trace left of the body.

It turns out that his earlier self actually survived - and he eventually meets the original version of himself, who has changed gender to female. In the end of the story, just as his illicit relationship to his original body is about to be found out, the AI controlling law enforcement & helping him with his compositions arranges a malfunctioning police vehicle long enough for him to make it to the airport & escape to more open-minded regions on pluto.

1 Answer 1


Its an early John Varley story, The Phantom of Kansas, originally published in Galaxy, February 1976. It can be found in the anthology The Persistence of Vision.

Here's the "weather composer":

For the last thirty years I had been an Environmentalist. I had just drifted into it while it was still an infant art form. I had been in charge of the weather machines at the Transvaal disneyland, which was new at the time and the biggest and most modern of all the environmental parks in Luna. A few of us had started tinkering with the weather programs, first for our own amusement. Later we invited friends to watch the storms and sunsets we concocted. Before we knew it, friends were inviting friends and the Transvaal people began selling tickets.

It has all the elements listed in the original question.

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