Allyson Bird is one of those writers who see things in many layers. She has a sharp vision and a dark, dark turn of words. She has an almost filmic way of writing, I think, so that a story plays itself out very visually.
“Three sparks that started some of my stories off…
The idea for In a Pig’s Ear from Bull running for Girls came from a real project where scientists were able to grow pig’s wings. In the story Stella Kiefer explains what she is doing.
‘I was now working on three projects. My main line of research was concerned with residual DNA. I experimented with pig DNA and there was also my little fertility programme. It was old hat to grow a pig’s ear. I was a little more adventurous and wanted to see if I could grow a wing from bone marrow stem cells on to bioabsorbable polymers. I never got tired of trying to grow them into different shapes and coming up with ever more complex designs. Last time they came out like bat’s wings and this time I was aiming for a structure of wing like the extinct gliding reptile, the pterosaur. That would take more time. Some experts said that birds evolved from little feathered dinosaurs but I had always quite liked the hypothesis that birds diverged from reptiles before dinosaurs, and that mammals had evolved from reptiles with the propensity for genetic change that could lead to flight. A whole new take on pigs can fly—perhaps they could, given the right wings, hollow bones and a more developed muscle structure.’
Then I thought of H.G. Wells Dr Moreau and realised that what would happen next would end in a similar location….
‘The Amazon canopy was heaven with these tiny winged angels that looked like Sistine Chapel cherubs with their ruddy complexions and winning ways. I adored them all. They were perfect. Each generation grew their wings earlier and earlier, and the wing structure became stronger as they glided from branch to branch. It was not me that gave them the name Homo angelus—but it stuck.’
Vulkodlak in Wine and Rank Poison was my response to internet trolls, sock puppets and to malicious people who use anonymous, pseudonymous reviews or even their real names to achieve their goal.
‘Vesna wrote. “I’m here to talk about werewolves.”
I’ll show her what I know, thought Stefan. And if she couldn’t play the game he’d sort her. For a few minutes they chatted amiably and then he decided to bait her a little to see if she was good enough to even think of putting pen to paper on his favourite subject. He could see Susiewolf skulking in the background coming forward with the occasional contribution then backing off quickly when he turned on her and gave her a warning snap. Alpha male. He thought of himself as alpha male. He would come back later after he had finished with Vesna to see if he could get a rise out of her. She was always fair game. This new one, Vesna, he’d get her…bring her down, make her look small. He might keep to being anonymous. He liked to hide behind a different name now and again, too.
From a new story The Beat Hotel. This one is hopefully going to be in the Joe Pulver R. W. Chambers homage anthology A Season in Carcosa. Spent a few weeks engrossing myself in The King in Yellow and other stories. Thought about decadence and looked at the lives of the beat generation. The King in Yellow and the latter seemed a perfect combination. A man from a strange relationship I was in once makes an appearance, too…inevitably.
’What happened to Kaja and her book of Human Songs? Had there been anything sweet in them? Human. Returned to dust. Or be black and white. So white. Thousands of doves flying together against the snow and one black rock in the way. Obsidian. Pearl. Sand…and finally glass. Dozens of thick, dark green glass panes in a window with the reflection of one gone now within each.’