There’s a new page up, here. Add queries if you like, to the ghost queries that crowd around & fail to find satisfaction etc etc.
Although all available editions are unsatisfactory, is a definitive edition desirable? Or can we regard the disrepair of Viriconium as a book just another part of Viriconium?
Seriously, after the new story is published perhaps then a (less) problematic edition could occur?
It’s an argument I’d make happily on a different day…
There is no definitive edition of Viriconium surely – isn’t that the point? Particularly bearing in mind the differences between different publishings. A timely page, though, as I’m about to re-enter Viriconium and was considering the best route….. Inordinately excited about there being a new story….
Hi Kaggsy! I really hope you enjoy it second time round. I’m excited about the new story: it recontexts everything again.
I agree on the scattered text, obviously. That’s one of the charms of a chaotic 50-year development. At the same time I see previous packages as problematical because via cover & blurb they encourage a reading which is intentionally unrecoverable. The scattered text is a side effect of the overall publishing history; but each invidual act of packaging reflects a set of conscious framing decisions taken by a publisher. At some point I’d like to make more of a contribution to that than I’ve done in the past.
Also, a new edition would give me a chance to bolt the new story on 🙂
Oh, a new edition “curated” (what a word that is!) or whatever by yourself with the new story in would be essential! But I like the randomness and fluidity of Viriconium as it is – and I try not to read the blurb on books….
& the contrast provided by cover art, blurb and such peripherals which the text can then neatly rebel against- is that instant dynamic not useful?
Useful long-term, perhaps, after the work has had thirty or forty years to establish itself, and in discussion contexts like this one. We can have fun with that, we can play games with that as a frame. But on publication day, cover & blurb have the last word; a mislabelled book is already directing itself to an audience that doesn’t want it, while it fails to direct itself to an audience that might.
Of course, you’re right. Although personally – i picked Course/Heart from the library shelf 20 years ago because i thought it was going to give me something that i thought i wanted- with McKean art and Barker pull quote; consequently not getting that from the book, but a whole lot more, considerably broadened my horizon…I do assume you have ‘educated’ quite a few readers that way…
To what extent would you say that Viriconium is a unitary conception, and to what extent an evolving one? By that I mean are the various stories filling in aspects of an imagined whole, or did each story extend or change your idea of the totality?
I don’t see those possibilities as mutually exclusive. The fiction’s consciousness of itself was always a major part of the subject matter. It’s as much about that as it is about “the refusal of the quest” or the repurposed folklore on which some of the stories are based–see (5) “Other rationales are available.” The imagined whole was conceived as a constant extension & modification of its own parts, as in point (6), “Every reiteration is the (not an) original iteration”. It’s a metafiction, not a fiction. There’s a nod to this in the form chosen for the new short story.
But in the end the idea is you should get lost among all those broken mirrors & versions, working hard to make sense of what you think you might be seeing. That’s the game you’re being offered.
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