Home

It is bone that has been buried for hundreds, thousands of years. The specific blend of soil components in certain parts of London gives the bone a unique tawny-ivory colour, a hypnotic multitude of shades and highly desirable.

At first Raymond Gold, a venture capitalist who knows London intimately, does not want to get involved; he has been burned before on commodities, and this feels like selling off London’s heritage. But when he loses a good deal of money speculating in Andrew Lloyd Webber tickets, he agrees to quietly introduce London Bone to the rich. It becomes successful, far beyond his wildest expectations, as London Bone becomes the next must-have item, encouraging a slew of entrepreneurs to start rooting through hills and graveyards for bone, any bone.

You couldn’t transplant this story elsewhere; it is saturated with local references that give a vivid image of what London is like, especially in how tourists are shepherded to get the experience of visiting London they expect: “Thursday: Changing-of-the-Guard, Harrods, Planet Hollywood, Royal Academy, Tea-At-the-Ritz, Cats. It’s a sort of tribal dance they all feel compelled to perform. If they don’t perform it, they feel inadequate. Saturday: Tower of London, Bucket of Blood, Jack-the-Ripper talk, Sherlock Holmes Pub, Sherlock Holmes tour, Madame Tussaud’s, Covent Garden Cream Tea, Dogs…. It’s my job to smooth their paths, to make them exclaim how pretty and wonderful and elegant and magical it all is.”

And by the end of it Moorcock really sells how creepy the concept of London Bone really is.

London Bone by Michael Moorcock

Availability: free online, print

Word count: 9,200

Awards: Locus Award for best novelette

First published: New Worlds, David Garnett, 1997, White Wolf Publishing

Where to find it: Free online at infinityplus

Free audiobook from Starship Sofa

London Bone, collection, 2001, Scribner / Simon & Schuster

The Best of Michael Moorcock, collection, 2009, Tachyon Publications

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s