In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Close
Close

Exalted on towers and posts and fitted with articulated necks
that tilt, cock and swivel like the necks of owls, silent and absolute.

Like owls, they have a zealous gaze that does not falter, through no matter
how long a night. Unlike owls they sometimes hunt in pairs or threes,

perched at the corner of a flat roof, protected in cages or bulletproof housing,
some with a mohican of spikes. Not gregarious – no, not that at all –

and for all their cutting-edge robotics, they are nothing without the database.
They are not gods but Recording Angels. They come not flaming, sheathed in light,

but just as dread: all actions witnessed at thirty frames per second,
compressed by algorithm, returned by co-ax cable.

Theirs is the platform and the underpass, the building site and the park gates,
the bridge, the bus stop, the school playground and the cash machine.

Theirs is the shop doorway where you hope for darkness to cover you;
theirs is the scar on your hand and the make of your watch and your eyes.

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