My new story ‘The Peacock Cloak’ is just out in Asimov’s SF. It’s a bit different to anything I’ve done before – it draws on diverse sources including the gnostic-like theology of the Yazidi religion – and I will be interested to see how people respond to it.
I love the cover. (I assume it illustrates the Stephen Baxter story?).
5 thoughts on “The Peacock Cloak (Asimov’s June 2010)”
Just a simple reader here but I thoroughly enjoyed The Peacock Cloak. There were plenty of tantalizing bits that kept my mind thinking about the workings of their universe but the ending wrapped up nicely. That is what I look for in a short story.
Thanks Mark. Yes, the ending has to wrap things up in some way or the story doesn’t satisfy. That can be slightly annoying (because life isn’t exactly like that), but it’s unavoidable. One of my favourite endings in short fiction is the ending of Philip Dick’s ‘I hope I shall arrive soon’ (a superlative short story, by the way, that packs in more material to think about than many novels do). The ending wraps everything up beautifully, on several levels, but the main character is incapable of seeing it.
Since you’re asking, allow me to be a bit critical about this. In general, the story is tight and well rounded, but I felt that the title, and the imagery around the cloak, didn’t really add to the story, to the point of being a bit distracting to pay attention to what the eyes in the cloak were or were not doing. It added to the imagery, but I saw it didn’t really merge well with the rest of the story.
Other than that, I liked the story and the issues around it (reminding me a bit of Egan), except for that little thing. Congratulations for the publication, anyways.
Thanks very much for the honest feedback JJ. For myself I like the cloak and its eyes. For me it represents a certain kind of intelligence that Tawus tries to cling onto after Fabbro and the rest of his creation have given it up: an instrumental kind of intelligence, to do with mastery and control, as opposed to understanding. That’s what was in my mind, but you are a better judge than me as to whether it actually comes off!
Makes much more sense now. Thanks for the explanation!