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.