And We, Spectators Always, Everywhere, Kirsten Kaschock
When they finally come back to the playground, the boy is in pain. He does not say so, but affects a slight limp. His left foot makes less viable connection with the balance beam than the right. She holds his hand, failing to register this new asymmetry. The boy’s gait is his first test for her and she fails. The mother clearly prides herself on attention to minutiae – so says the unnatural lift of her brow. The boy has a bruise on his heel, but it might be bone cancer. After the initial fever, polio can look like this, in other boys. In other times and countries.
Distraction is written all over. The blue sky scrawls with plane sign, and worms are fingering bottle caps and butts near the exposed roots at my feet, covered in boot. My book, soaked through days before, is illegible – each page polluted with the next, warped, stuck, tearing if turned. A buzz emanates from the mother’s purse. She checks it, smiles, and puts him down. She is no longer beside him. She is somewhere else.
It’s always a thrill to receive a box of books in the post. And it was especially satisfying to open this parcel, if only because it meant it hadn’t gone missing (which I was convinced was going to happen). The books are lovely; Titan have done a beautiful job. It seems like such a long time ago that I first came up with the concept, but all the hard work was done by others: eighteen ridiculously-talented writers (and each one a pleasure to deal with) contributed wonderful stories. I was thinking with some sadness that the project was over, but really, with the book’s publication, it’s only just started. Because now you lovely readers get involved. I hope you love this anthology as much as I do.
I’m pleased to be able to reveal the cover to the new anthology, scheduled for publication next year. Credit to Titan for agreeing to list every author on the cover. None of that ‘And Many Others’ nonsense here!
It was a privilege to work with so many talented writers. I hope you’ll be as impressed by the stories as I was.
Coming in April 2016 from Titan Books…
An anthology of the undelivered, the missing, the returned…
Edited by Conrad Williams
The Green Letter – Steven Hall
Over to You – Michael Marshall Smith
In Memoriam – Joanne Harris
Ausland – Alison Moore
Wonders to Come – Christopher Fowler
Cancer Dancer – Pat Cadigan
The Wrong Game – Ramsey Campbell
Is-and – Claire Dean
Buyer’s Remorse – Andrew Lane
Gone Away – Muriel Gray
Astray – Nina Allan
The Days of Our Lives – Adam LG Nevill
The Hungry Hotel – Lisa Tuttle
L0ND0N – Nicholas Royle
Change Management – Angela Slatter
Ledge Bants – Maria Dahvana Headley & China Miéville
And We, Spectators Always, Everywhere – Kirsten Kaschock