The story so far

Wednesday 12th October 2011

PART One of Virgulle’s Vestral is available as one single entry here. It’s not exactly Kindle, but some readers might find it more to their liking than the episodic form.

What follows is both exegesis and synopsis, setting the Vestral in a literary context. Reference is made to a few incidents in the narrative. It therefore contains what are now called ‘spoilers’ and those thinking of reading the tale from the beginning are advised to look away quickly.

Notes from the writer

First published on 26th October 1726, it has been described as a Menippean satire, a children’s book and proto-science fiction. The book in question – originally entitled Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships – has never been out of print. The 1996 television version won five Emmy awards. We’ve all heard of Yahoo.

Virgulle’s Vestral draws on Swift, without wishing to parody the parodist. As the anagrammatic title implies, it is a re-arrangement, an up-turning. Instead of being shipwrecked elsewhere, the good doctor arrives here. The presence of ‘giants’ is (initially at least) assumed through observation, rather than direct visibility: the helicopter drones and pylon perimeter fence.

The first-person narrative also allows certain characteristics of the protagonist to be delayed until the end of episodes 4. More unexpected diversions and 9. A familiar game.

The playing with language is a Marcus thing. It was bound to happen.

Other anagrams are sprinkled throughout – Rheta, Height of Lirpa, Timer Halmot, and so on – but are mostly used when referring to Virgulle’s own world.

The giants, I decided, had to keep the names first given them: Papa Ratsy, Guvver Munt and pals. They’re too deliciously right, although, technically, the Vestral’s author would know the correct spellings by the time it is written.

Virgulle has been seized by the giants’ henchmen. The Vestral will be continued in November.









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