The Malacia Tapestry

The Malacia Tapestry
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In Malacia, a city where change is forbidden and radical ideas are crushed, a war like no other is about to commence.The Brian Aldiss collection includes over 50 books and spans the author’s entire career, from his debut in 1955 to his more recent work.Struggling young actor Perian de Chirolo does as he pleases in the timeless city. He is a lover, a fighter and has no thought for consequence, until the magic of Malacia changes and reality begins to catch up with him.Now de Chirolo must make a choice between his old life, and joining the revolutionaries who will fight to ensure Malacia is never the same again.


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The Malacia Tapestry

HarperVoyager an imprint of

HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

This ebook edition first published in Great Britain by HarperVoyager 2015

First published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape 1976

Portions of this novel appeared in a different form in Orbit 12, copyright © Damon Knight 1973

Copyright © Brian Aldiss 2015

Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2015

Brian Aldiss asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780007482368

Ebook Edition © October 2015 ISBN: 9780007482375

Version: 2015-08-28

For Margaret

time under prisms

dawn and pollen clouds afloat

presaging changes

you are the glimpsed light

in my smokey existence

frail but enduring

You sing of the old gods easily

In the days when you are young,

When love and trust seem not at odds;

But I know there are gods behind the gods,

Gods that are best unsung.

K. G. St Chentero

(XVI Mil.)

A note on the original text published by Jonathan Cape in 1976:

Malacia is one of my great fantastical territories. I was moved to make Malacia in imitation of England, which had become boring at that time, just when I had returned from exotic tropical climes. I inserted the odd dinosaur to liven matters up a bit. Oxford lacked dinosaurs. I submitted my finished novel to my publisher at Jonathan Cape – very pleasant people. And just to cheer up that wodge of manuscript, I inserted between its pages some reproductions of etchings by G.B. Tiepolo – crazy, lovely things that even Italian art critics could not comprehend. Off went the manuscript. It happened that my publisher was about to visit the German book exhibition in Frankfurt; a thoughtful man, he took my manuscript with him. He read it while flying back to London. And he liked it so much that he hung on to the Tiepolos, to use them here and there throughout the original book.

Brian W. Aldiss

Oxford, 2015

Smoke was drifting through my high window, obscuring the light.

Something was added to the usual aromas of Stary Most. Among the flavours of fresh-cut timber, spices, cooking, gutters, and the incense from the corner wizard, Throat Dark, floated the smell of wood-smoke. Perhaps the sawdust-seller had set fire to his load again.

Going to my casement, I looked down into the street, which was more crowded than usual for this hour of day. The gongfermors and their carts had disappeared, but the Street of the Wood Carvers was jostling with early traffic, including among its habitual denizens a number of porters, beggars, and general hangers-on; they were doing their best either to impede or to further the progress of six burly orientals, all wearing turbans, all accompanied by lizard-boys bearing canopies over them – the latter intended as much to provide distinction as shade, since the summer sun had little force as yet.

The smoke was rising from the sweepings of an ash-merchant, busily burning the street’s rubbish. One good noseful of it and I withdrew my head.

The orientals had probably disembarked from a trireme newly arrived. From my attic, between roofs, its furled sails could be glimpsed alongside the Satsuma, only a couple of alleys distant.

I pulled on my blue ankle-boots, made from genuine marshbags skin; the black pair was in pawn and likely to remain so for a while. Then I went to greet the day.

As I went down the creaking stair, I met my friend de Lambant climbing up to meet me, his head lowered as if compulsively counting the steps. We greeted each other.

‘Have you eaten, Perian?’

‘Why, I’ve been up for hours doing nothing else,’ I said, as we made our way down. ‘A veritable banquet at Truna’s, with pigeon pie merely one of the attractions.’

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