the first viriconium story

A reader asks, “Mike, which was the first Viriconium story, was it The Pastel City, NEL 1971, or was it “The Lamia & Lord Cromis”, published in New Worlds Quarterly the same year?” Readers, it was neither! The first Viriconium story was “Lamia Mutable” which, though it did not appear until 1972, in the Harlan Ellison anthology Again, Dangerous Visions, was actually written while living off potatoes & eggs & listening to Jeff Beck’s “Beck’s Bolero” in an attic room off the Holloway Road in February 1966. Readers, it was not simply my first Viriconium story: it was the second story I ever wrote! “Lamia Mutable” no longer exists as a feature of the Viriconium canon because, in the early 1980s, while attempting to revise it for publication in Viriconium Nights, I accidentally turned it into “The Dancer from the Dance”, which I so vastly preferred that when I finished it I paced around the room whispering, “Jesus, shit, fuck,” until I had to go out for a long run on the moor above Holmfirth to calm down & get my head out of that space. So that is the story of that.

You can’t read “Lamia Mutable” without buying a copy of Again, Dangerous Visions: but you can read “The Dancer from the Dance” for free here, or you can buy the whole Viriconium bundle here or here.

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7 responses to “the first viriconium story

  1. anzanhoshin

    Aaaaah!! A Kindle version. Finally. My old paperback is just about to start spitting pages from the binding so now I can read it again.

  2. Kindle? Please no. But the graphic novel version on a tablet, with background music chosen by the author. . .
    I like to think that the first story was typed on that old, yellow paper – the one with twigs in it – using a portable Remington. But maybe now there’s a copy engraved on emerald sheets. Whatever, it’s a brilliant series.

  3. Kindle “Pricing information not available” on the US site and not evident at all on the UK one. :( When there’s and e-book I’ buy, like Anzanhoshin to preserve my paper copies.

  4. Thanks for the information. I have the “bundle,” and I still have my copy of _Again Dangerous Visions_, although pages are getting loose now.

  5. anzanhoshin

    I’ve actually purchased the “professional narration” by Simon Vance as well, the first time I have done such a thing. As I tend to read mjh very very slowly, this is working quite well. Mike, I hope you get a cut from that.

  6. Robin

    “Lamia Mutable” was also included in the first MJH short story collection “The Machine In Shaft Ten” where it was retitled “The Bringer with the Window”.

  7. martm

    Then there’s “The Bait Principle” – you should do your own “bootleg series,” uncle!