The Smoke

by Simon Ings
Release date: February 19, 2018
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction

THE SMOKE is an intense meditation on loneliness, capital and cognition by the author of WOLVES.

A new ray has split the human family into different species. Mutual incomprehension has fractured the globe. No one has the appetite for another Great War and each kind of human is looking for a place to be itself, alone. For you that means a train journey back to Yorkshire and the town of your birth, where foundries and factories churn out the parts for simple, gigantic spaceships. You're done with the fancies and pretentions of the capital, its steel and glass, its incomprehensible media and curvilinear mathematics. You're done with the people of the Bund, their easy superiority and unstoppable spread from the city of London to the Vale of Vision south of the Thames. You're done with Georgy Chernoy, his cruelly magical medicine and his questionable defeat of death. You're done with his daughter. You're done with Fel, and losing all the time. You're done with love.

The locomotive tugs at its matchwood burden, nursing you past sodden pastures, and flocks of indeterminate black birds, and mill towns, and the backs of terraces. Soon enough you will find yourself in the Smoke again, living the future you tried to leave behind.

You're done with love. But love's not done with you.

(updated 2018-02-19)

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