07 May 2013

More Tales of the City: Trailer #5

Here's the preamble and beginning of Richard Wright's "The Mystery of the Rose", the fifth story in More Tales of the City:
     ‘Enough of idling! Let the show go on!’ a voice cries, smooth yet commanding. It is the trenchcoated man, fedora in his hand now, revealing slicked-back hair. ‘My lady –’ he smiles ingratiatingly at Arianrhod ‘– I beg leave to tell my tale.’
     Arianrhod nods. ‘It would be... apposite to recommence.’
     The other patrons settle, as the mikedrone rises from its charge-port on the bar, and the man begins his soliloquy:
     ‘Now immortality makes malcontents of men once neutered by the threat of death, and schemes erst fettered by a mortal dread now flower through the City of the Saved. Released from Time’s restrictive, crushing grip, with all infinity to realise its dreams, mankind’s potential is exposed as nothing grander than it ever seemed. Eternity must rue the trick of fate that locked it to our tawdry monument.
     ‘So my eye perceives, yet may I trust it? I am no more than I was writ to be, remaining a most dutiful cynic.’
Richard is one of the most prolific of the (admittedly only twelve) authors I've acted as editor for to date: his CV looks like this, and spans an impressive range of publishing models. Here's what his contributor biog has to say:
Richard Wright's pre-Resurrection life was spent fielding questions about why he wasn't the African-American author of novels such as Black Boy and Native Son, the keyboardist in Pink Floyd, or the goalkeeper who played for Manchester City. When not denying that he was any of these people he managed to scribble some short stories and novels of his own. Residing for much of his life in the United Kingdom, Richard met an early end shortly after moving to India, where he discovered that snakes found him even less charming than humans did. Since Resurrection Day he has shared a house with Richard Wright, Richard Wright, and Richard Wright. He has waited centuries for one of the other Richard Wrights to be asked by a stranger whether they are that one who wrote those Iris Wildthyme short stories for the Obverse MegaText Conglomerate. To date, only Ms Wildthyme herself has done so, and as she seemed rather annoyed about the whole thing he kept his head down and pretended to be Dave Gilmour.

I first encountered Richard's work in the Doctor Who anthology Short Trips: Transmissions, and subsequently in the Obverse Books anthologies Iris: Abroad and Wildthyme in Purple. All of these stories are disturbing and profound: the last, "The Many Lives of Zorro", shows the titular masked swordsman succumbing to mental breakdown as he tries to reconcile the multiple conflicting narratives which have built up around him.

"The Mystery of the Rose" is also about fictional identities and the struggle against them: like several of the stories in the volume, it deals with themes of duality, of predestination and free will, and of the search for a meaning in paradise. Specifically, it's about the kind of life a villain can expect in the City of the Saved, and the accommodations he might need to make in order to live there.

A careful reading of the excerpt above may tell you who his protagonist is. Alternatively, you could read Richard's own blog post on the subject.

The City of the Saved logo

No comments:

Post a Comment

(Please sign comments -- it helps keep track of things. Offensive comments may occasionally be deleted, and spam definitely will be.)