This is a shame, because I had a cast of thousands, including time-travelling Nazis, cyborg soldiers, eugenically enhanced Pharaohs, flying dragon-sphinxes and berserker warrior-mummies, poised to perform for your reading pleasure. Or at least the reading pleasure of the people who enjoy reading that sort of thing.
Never mind. Maybe I can salvage some of it for a future project.
Here (in pointedly purplish pulpy prose) is the beginning of what you missed out on:
At this height the wind is deafening, blinding: it shrieks past your ears, drying out your eyes. It buffets and bruises you as you hang in place, held there by lines of aetherial magnetism, counter-gravity. It is as well you have dressed warmly: at this altitude, the wind’s chill is intense.Hmm. I'd been reading Perdido Street Station. Can you tell?
Not so below. Beneath your feet, beneath the level of the birds and airships, the air across the ground is stagnant, warm and dense with smog. Exhausts from myriad flues vomit forth the steam and soot of burnt-out fuel, from coal or coke or oil or anything that, thousands of millennia ago, was once alive. From the tiniest micro-furnaces which fire the hand-held processing-engines of businessmen and bureaucrats, to the great belching chimneys of the automated factories and shipyards, every device in this great capital exhales smoke. It combines with the natural vapours of the slug-trail river whose floodplain this is, to create a foul, miasmic cloud.
Laid out above its gloom like veins on jaundiced skin, a spider-web of viaducts maps out the lines of the overhead railways. Between them the tallest of the city’s edifices emerge, the office-buildings and the slum-containment blocks. They burst forth accusingly from the murk to point at you, the spy, anchored by arcane science far above their precious city.
This is London. Or rather, that was what she was once. Now she is Londinium Maximum, Greatest London, the dark and cancerous heart of the global body that is Magna Britannia. The greatest empire and the most malignant tyrant the planet Earth, and now the solar system, have ever known.
From the suburban terraces of Slough and Windsor in the west to the commercial docks of Canvey in the east; from the slums of Dagenham and Dartford to the voluptuous townhouses of Mayfair; from drab St Albans in the north, and spreading down along the southern coastal railway-line as far as Horsham and Grinstead – London sprawls open to her visitors, balefully inviting.
Accepting, you descend.
[Pax Britannia series elements © Abaddon Press 2005 or thereabouts.]