Go­ing un­der­ground

Si­mon Morden ex­plains why he’s tak­ing the tube in Down Sta­tion...

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

“One of my favourite plot de­vices is the por­tal to an­other world,” says Si­mon Morden, au­thor of the Metro­zone se­ries. “Or­di­nary peo­ple find their knowl­edge, cul­ture and sen­si­bil­i­ties tested by their newly- alien sur­round­ings. I love sto­ries like that, but I’ve never tried to write one.”

Down Sta­tion, Morden’s lat­est, rec­ti­fies that. The first of a tril­ogy, it’s the tale of a group of peo­ple who flee into the Lon­don Un­der­ground to es­cape a fiery apoc­a­lypse and find them­selves trans­ported to a mag­i­cal world “that owes more to So­laris than Nar­nia”.

But why the Un­der­ground? “It’s a fan­tas­tic re­source, but you have to ac­knowl­edge it’s a weird- ass thing to go down some steps, be trans­ported in a metal tube hun­dreds of feet below pave­ment level, only to walk up some steps a few min­utes later and find your­self in a dif­fer­ent place. That’s what I was chan­nelling.

“Down Street is one of the dis­used sta­tions on the Pic­cadilly line,” Morden con­tin­ues. And Down, the mag­i­cal realm his he­roes en­ter, trans­forms peo­ple in un­ex­pected ways. “They have to come to terms with wild, un­tame­able magic where the per­son you choose to be is the per­son you ul­ti­mately be­come: for good or ill.”

Vol­ume two, The White City, is al­ready com­ing on apace de­spite be­ing writ­ten in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. “I wrote the first draft un­der the shadow of my fa­ther’s death,” Morden says. “I was con­cerned that the story would be too dark. How­ever, the truth seemed to be that, just as Down gives gifts of un­wanted magic to its in­hab­i­tants, I ben­e­fited from that too. There are ex­tremes of light and dark, joy and pain, brav­ery and cow­ardice. Down lets you be the per­son you are, mag­ni­fied.”

Down Sta­tion is pub­lished on 18 Fe­bru­ary.

Mind the gap… Philip K Dick Award­win­ner Si­mon Morden.

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