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Authors: M. Suddain

Theatre of the Gods

BOOK: Theatre of the Gods
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About the Book

This is the story of M. Francisco Fabrigas – explorer, philosopher, heretical physicist – who took a shipful of children on a frightening voyage to the next dimension, assisted by a teenaged Captain, a brave deaf boy, a cunning blind girl, and a sultry botanist, all the while pursued by the Pope of the universe and a well-dressed mesmerist.

Dark plots, demonic cults, murderous jungles, quantum mayhem, the birth of creation, the death of time, and a creature called the Sweety: all this and more waits beyond the veil of reality.

About the Author

Author, journalist, dramatist, publisher, minimalist composer, digital socialite, liar, M. Suddain is Founding Editor of Blacklist Publishing Co. Ltd. – a small firm dedicated to the preservation of lost or forbidden works of art and literature, most notably the once-famous travelogue series
Worlds’ Fair
.

www.blacklistpublishing.com

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Version 1.0

Epub ISBN 9781448130924

www.randomhouse.co.uk

Published by Jonathan Cape 2013

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Copyright © M. Suddain 2013 M. Suddain has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Jonathan Cape, Random House, 20 VauxhalI Bridge Road, London
SWIV 2SA
.
www.vintage-books.co.uk
.

Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at:
www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm
.

The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 9780224097062

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

‘Destroying a book is not the same as destroying a human life,’ argued the artificial philosopher Photozeiger. ‘It is much more serious. For when you end the life of a book you destroy the ideas of countless thinkers who inspired it, and condemn future generations to darkness and ignorance.’

At Blacklist Publishing we dedicate our lives to saving censored, suppressed and orphaned works: ‘The Forbidden, the Forgotten, the Condemned’. As such, we are proud to present this edition of
Theatre of the Gods
. It is one title from a grand travelogue series, ‘Worlds’ Fair’ – arguably the most famous and widely read of its age. It was rare for a home library of the time not to contain even a few titles from ‘The Fair’ – as it was commonly called. And yet
Gods
is one title from the series few will ever have read. Its subject had been sentenced to death
in absentia
as a traitor and heretic. The book was banned soon after publication, denounced by the publishers, and even the author, who risked his life to track down the explorer M. Francisco Fabrigas and record his confessions, was blacklisted, and forced into exile, simply for suggesting that his hero may have been misunderstood.

His work raises many questions. How was an itinerate writer able to locate the greatest fugitive in the universe when all the agencies in his Empire could not? Is what he transcribes the truth? Part truth? Anything but? Volcannon claims to have researched this voyage to the finest detail, and yet he takes bold liberties: embellishing episodes, recreating conversations for which there is no record or surviving witnesses. Did Volcannon embellish Fabrigas’s story? Did he invent their entire meeting, even? We will never know. Upon publication he too was accused of treason. He vanished into exile. He would never write another title for ‘Worlds’ Fair’.

We have done our best to translate and present this complex work as accurately as possible so that you may judge for yourself. The original
Gods
would of course have been a hyper-dimensional text, giving the purchaser an immersive, ‘omni-sensual’ reading experience. Sadly, this data has been lost, leaving us only the flattened text – the ‘book-data’, if you will. Are words upon a page enough to hold a reader’s attention? We’ll let you be the judge.

The original edition would have featured hyper-illustrations, borders, miniatures and ornamental scrolling type typical of illuminated manuscripts of its time, found today only in dedicated hypertext museums. Sadly, all the illustrations from the original edition have been lost. Nevertheless, we think it is a fine oddity. This is, after all, the job of the historical publisher: to recover frail embers from the flames of history, and to carry them, carefully, to the fires of our own age, so that we might have some grasp of the grand sweep of time, and also a sense that, though our lives are brief sparks, each has its moment within the epic story of human existence.

Onward!

M. Suddain

Blacklist Publishing Ltd

CONTENTS

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright

Publisher’s Note

Illustrations

A Note from the Author

Dedication

Encounter

Book One

Book Two

Book Three

Epilogue

The Little Page of Calmness

User’s Manual

ILLUSTRATIONS

[Missing from this edition.]

The box at first seemed empty, black … Then a pair of brass spheres rose slowly, almost shyly from within, peeking out like a pair of rising suns

The Necronaut pushed a short knife to the man’s chest, took his huge weight on his shoulders, and lowered him quietly to the ground

We were attacked by a serpent, but it was only a baby, it could hardly wrap itself around our ship. Everyone came on deck to coo and gurgle

‘Stowaways. They’ve been living off the bats in the nose-cone, roasting them with a candle, buttering them with algae’

‘He also says we’ll be eaten … some of us two times’

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

Fabrigas strode into the glade with his arms raised. ‘Bear!’ he shouted, and the creature turned its huge head

On the giant screen above the navigator’s station they could now observe the silvery whorl of their new Glory Hole

He saw them tumble over and over, their arms stretched out in the shape of a plane

‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Are you with us?’

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

What can we really know about truth? Reality? You are reading a book – that much is true. It is a book based upon the confessions of one of the greatest living souls of all time/space. Although whether my subject is still living (indeed, whether he is even
in
time/space) remains a mystery.

Whether M. Francisco Fabrigas really was the greatest human explorer will be debated by scholars for generations, while the issue of whether the human creature even possesses a ‘soul’ is an argument which might survive time/space itself.

So let’s just say you are about to read a book. And if, in fact, this book is about to be read
to
you, well … let’s all say nothing of it.

*

‘Every word you hear about me is a lie! Even these ones!’ So said M. Francisco Fabrigas: explorer, philosopher, heretical physicist, mystic, transmariner, cosmic
flâneur
. ‘Do not believe a single word I say, for they come from the inky black tongue of a desperate fool. Me!’ Imagine the mad old man sprawled across the filthy table as he says these words – of which only every second one, at best, is true. ‘I came from another universe!’ the fool rasps in a voice like a bare branch clawing at a window. ‘I was a great explorer. I was shipwrecked seventy-nine times. I caught sleeping fever, laughing sickness,
bohemian rhapsody. I almost died in the jungles of Dyspepsia, where there are so many tribes of cannibals it often rains teeth! I stared into the eye of the tyranykon, the triple-headed mastodon, I stared into the fiery eye of hell!’

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