October 7th, 2015

summer

It's National Poetry Day tomorrow, but I've been in London all day today

Rising Damp by UA Fanthorpe.

‘A river can sometimes be diverted but is a very hard thing to lose altogether.’
(Paper to the Auctioneers’ Institute, 1907)

At our feet they lie low,
The little fervent underground
Rivers of London

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


Whose names are disfigured,
Frayed, effaced.

There are the Magogs that chewed the clay
To the basin that London nestles in.
These are the currents that chiselled the city,
That washed the clothes and turned the mills,
Where children drank and salmon swam
And wells were holy.

They have gone under.
Boxed, like the magician’s assistant.
Buried alive in earth.
Forgotten, like the dead.

They return spectrally after heavy rain,
Confounding suburban gardens. They inflitrate
Chronic bronchitis statistics. A silken
Slur haunts dwellings by shrouded
Watercourses, and is taken
For the footing of the dead.

Being of our world, they will return
(Westbourne, caged at Sloane Square,
Will jack from his box),
Will deluge cellars, detonate manholes,
Plant effluent on our faces,
Sink the city.

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


It is the other rivers that lie
Lower, that touch us only in dreams
That never surface. We feel their tug
As a dowser’s rod bends to the surface below

Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, Styx.
buzz

Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald

Second paragraph of third chapter:
When you apply to go to the moon the LDC insists on a DNA test. If you plan on staying, if you plan on raising children, the LDC doesn’t want chronic genetic conditions showing up in later life, or in your descendants. My DNA is from all over Earth. Old World, New World ; Africa, eastern Mediterranean, western Mediterranean, Tupi, Japanese, Norwegian. I’m a planet in one woman.
This is a novel about near-future colonisation of the Moon by corporate clans (or clannish corporations) and their internal struggles over political power and resources. It starts with half a dozen young people running naked over the lunar surface, and goes on from there. I loved it: I like McDonald's lush prose style anyway, but I thought here he has managed both exuberance and discipline simultaneously, and also has tied the story in with traditional sf interpretations of lunar colonisation in a very gratifying way. I'm pretty sure I'm adding it to my Hugo nominations list for next year. (Also: looking forward to the TV series.)