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To understand why Lombard builds his bomb you have to understand that in his time, anyone can see the Earth from space, and it’s a natural consequence that one should also thereby see ads. Eva Longoria in Vegas, iStralia, the Wall twisted into hanzi for “Deng Xiaoping.” It’s a growth market.

But the night that turns Lombard to explosive misanthropy is the night he watches an Earthset from the moon. You can’t see much from there except the aurora borealis. Lombard bites his finger very hard, when he does so: green and gold, ghostly, WAL-MART flaring against the startled void.