Bold As Love is a near-future fantasy (but very close to our present at the start-out) about a rock and roll revolution and its consequences. Things falling apart in all directions; horrendous developments in a post-UK England. Magical science, scientific magic, awful weather. The first chapter (originally published in Interzone) is the story that gave rise to the Obscenity Charge scare .
Why? Here it is: judge for yourself.
Fiorinda will be one of the leaders of the almost-famous young hopefuls caught up in the wild events of Dissolution Year. This is a story about how she met aging rock-god Rufus O’Niall. She doesn't know he's her father.
The Salt Box
The Christmas that she was nine years old, Fiorinda's gran gave her a strange Christmas present. It was a box, of plain, polished birch. It had a snug fitting lid, which opened to show a space inside about as big as a turkish coffee cup, lined in darker apple-wood and full of sparkling white grains. Gran handed this over, unwrapped, when Fiorinda brought her breakfast tray down to the basement on Christmas morning. Gran was not bedridden, but she liked to spend much of her time under the covers, tucked up like a nesting animal.
'Is it drugs?' asked the little girl.
'No! It's salt. Taste, go on, try some. And look here.' Gran turned the box over, and twisted off the base to reveal another cavity, contain a soft mass like yellowish cotton wool, and things that looked to the child vaguely like the dismantled workings of a mousetrap. 'That's so you can strike a light without matches.'
'Is it magic?'
The old lady chuckled evasively. 'Why would I waste magic on you, you little heathen?'
Gran was a witch, a Wiccan. Her damp rooms in the basement of Fiorinda's mother's house were hung with magical things: glitter balls, crystals, plastic dolls, sequinned scarves, bunches of herbs. People came to her for spells or to have their fortunes told -discreetly using the garden door, so they didn't have to meet Fiorinda's Mum. The child viewed her grandmother's profession with indifference. Already, Fiorinda didn't believe in anything.
'Is it old?'
'No, it's new. I had someone make it for you, one of my associates. It's for your future. You must take it with you, when you set out to seek your fortune.' She closed the child's hands over the box, covering them with her own. 'You are the salt of the earth, that's what you are. I've seen it. And the world will love you as meat loves salt. Now put it away, Frances dear, and don't let your mother know.' . . . more
each novel-length episode of Bold As Love
has a minisite, featuring acknowledgments, commentary, notes on my sources, a playlist, and other items that may be of interest. Icons link to preview samples.
The Ur-site, dating from 1999
The Original Story (from Kim Newman and Paul McAuley's In Dreams anthology) podcast audio version
The Irish connection, Bad Celtics, War & Women
The US tour, the Fat Boy, & it's all about the movies
Evil? Vicious Opportunists? Say what you like, but please spell their name right
Enter the Phoenix
& that's all folks . . . so far