This was written in the late hours of one Friday evening and the early hours of the subsequent Saturday morning, with considerable help from Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” and considerable hindrance from a bottle of bad white wine, in a desperate attempt to have something ready for Stokes Croft Writers’ ongoing storytelling night Talking Tales (I strongly recommend you check out their podcast series on iTunes here).
Thanks to my good friends Andy Melhuish of Eloquent Bear Creative & Copy Writing (for the kick up the arse) and Eleanor Harffey (for the feedback, not least with regards to public performance and trusting audiences to be smart and attentive).
I’ve been asked a lot of questions about how this one should be read. As straight-up face-value fantasy? As an old wives’ tale? Even, God help us, as an allegory for youth culture in the South Wales Valleys following the decline of the coal-mining industry?
The answer is: I don’t know. And nor do you. And neither does anyone else.
China Miéville recently-ish gave an interview in which he argued against the idea of reading a short story as a “puzzle” to be solved, and I have to say I concur… Read it and enjoy it – or not – as you like.
Unless you read some weird evil Nazi shit into it. In that case we’ll have words.
(When I get ‘round to writing criticism again – and finishing “Three Moments of an Explosion” – I really have to do something on Miéville; I’m by no means his biggest fan, but I’ve never read a writer whose flaws I’ve found so fascinating…)