Cheeseburger Gothic

All Hail King Birmo

Posted January 27, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

Steve Stirling has a rockin' little extract from his next new Change novel, The Golden Princess. Four juicey chapters, including one featuring your new overlord, His Awesomeness, King John.

Darwin
Capital city, Kingdom of Capricornia
(Formerly northern Australia)
May 10th, Change Year 46/2044 A.D.

“Huzzah! Huzzah for King Birmo!”

“Good on you, JB!”

Prince Thomas frowned at the informality: “Cheeky fucking peasants.”

The King of Capricornia snorted at his son as the carriage rumbled slowly through the crowd over pavement that had started out as tarmac and been patched with whatever came to hand over the generations since. He turned a wave to the crowd into a mime of a clout over the ear.

“You were born a peasant, or a bloody commoner at any rate, and don’t forget it, you little prick. The whole fucking realm is only as strong as the lowliest peasant. They carry us all, in the end, the poor bastards. Remember that, and respect the truth of it.”

The King was eighty-two, unbelievably ancient in this new world. There were a couple of hundred thousand people in Capricornia, counting everyone from his family to the ones living on grubs, roos and other assorted bush tucker in the outermost outback down towards Uluru. Out of all of them there probably weren’t more than a dozen older than he was, and most of those had been on remote cattle stations when the Change came and spent the first year comfortably eating the beef they couldn’t sell any more. He’d been in bloody Brisbane, ninety-nine percent of whose population hadn’t survived those twelve months.

The full extracts start here, if you want everything in context. I'm very much looking forward to this new branch of the story. I've been wondering for a long time what happens on our side of the pond, besides, you know, y'all worshipping me. Even that Maddog Lord Havoc.

35 Responses to ‘All Hail King Birmo’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 27, 2014

"I do like me a fish finger sandwich..."

Damn, that Canadian bloke does some deep research, don't he?

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted January 27, 2014

Yes. Yes he does.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 27, 2014

Strange that Darwin should manifest in two apocalyptic novels. Why, it is almost as if Ava Gardner got it wrong when she was down Mel-bin way back in the 1950s.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted January 27, 2014

On the Beach was just a film, Murph. Make believe.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 27, 2014

Ah . . . okay.

;)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

tqft would have you know...

Posted January 27, 2014

Darwin - not quite feral.

The place has a feel about it. If civilisation collapsed I suspect many in Darwin wouldn't quite care.

Besides the First Australians who I will not and cannot speak for, the place has a trading/frontier feel about it.

Plenty of people coming and going (including me). Lots of them tourists but plenty of backpackers, itinerant workers and fly in/fly out (fifo) types.

I am reasonably sure I could leave where I am staying and do deal for about anything. Maybe not but the place has a wheel dealer feel about it. Lots of people doing lots of things.

However, the Top End is wide open anda 30 minute drive get you so far from anyone you wouldn't be sure if you were the last person on Earth.

Or get on a boat and go. 3/4 surrounded by water.

Only minor point about Stirling story is plenty of buildings now above 4 floors. Heaps of residential construction going on.

Note to SM Stirling: If you need gold in your story a vaguely reliable source has indicated Timor Leste. Serious mining banned, so plenty of alluvial gold to be had. And a short boat ride from Darwin.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted January 27, 2014

Might be plenty of high buildings now, but probably not much back in 1998 when the Event changed everything.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted January 27, 2014

Bit like wandering in to a 70s British caricature, which probably isn't a bad thing given the aim appears to be a pretty camp, hammy style. Needs more urine-hardened leather loincloths and really big swords, of course. A few tall building are about the least burden to place on suspension of disbelief :)

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 28, 2014

JB, when you get back to the Disappearance Series that will be something to remember since we froze most of the United States around 2003.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

S.M. Stirling swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 29, 2014

There weren't many tall buildings in Darwin in 1998; I checked. Some, but those are mostly disassembled in the ensuing 50 years because they're a safe source of raw materials for things like the city wall, and of metals and glass for recycling. Living in them isn't really practical. The few surviving older buildings from before the cyclone are still in use but it becomes, uniquely, almost entirely a city of post-Change buildings.

Darwin in King Birmo's old age is low-built, brick-timber-bamboo-rammed earth, with a few of the older buildings still sticking up above the mass. Sort of like a low-tech, low-rise version of the Troppo Architects stuff.

Including satellite settlements/suburbs fairly close to the main city, it actually has nearly as many people in CY 46 as it did in 1998, which makes it much larger relative to the (vastly reduced) total population of Australia. Capricornia is the most urbanized part of the continent, though that isn't saying much.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted January 30, 2014

It is the location that intrigues me. I can't remember if anyone suggested Darwin when JB and SMS opened the topic up for discussion here. I was pushing for Brisbane (comparing it to Portland), secretly hoping for the result we now see, but Darwin seems perfect, and the obvious choice. Steve's vibrant description reminds me of what I've read about Athens at the end of the Persian wars (markets, temples, ships, hub of maritime commerce). And it reminds me of Nantucket at its bustling height in Steve’s Island in the Sea of Time series – a very, very good thing. A very good thing.

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beeso reckons...

Posted January 27, 2014

I have no words.

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 27, 2014

Fucking gobsmacked.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted January 27, 2014

Wonderful.

Stevo spent time on getting the food and drink right.

Say it again . . .bloody hard to get Steve's stuff as ebooks..

Wonder if the inbred idiot from Cairns is nicknamed Havock? Just seems a fit.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 27, 2014

I have it on impeccable authority that Havoc is the Cannibal King of Sydney.

Brian asserts...

Posted January 27, 2014

LOL.

Then . . .would he be married to the Queen of Kings Cross?

Just thinking out loud here.

damian asserts...

Posted January 27, 2014

Married to... he should BE the Queen of Kings Cross!

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27, 2014

reminds of when Judge Dredd went to Australia to solve crime in the Radback. all the Judges were called Judge Bruce and Judge Brett. It was a nicer place to live in the sydney/melbourne conurb as well.

ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted January 27, 2014

Chopper for Oz!

"They'll no longer call us a bunch of criminal descendants. They'll call us a WINNING bunch of criminal decendants."

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Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted January 27, 2014

Alright Already!

I fkn Hail.

I hailed ages ago FFS.

How many times do I have to Hail?

(Back off dumbfuck I am talikin here!)

There was never a question of 'Hail' was there?

I am takin the Renmark/Victorian region and producing Proscuitto and snags now.

That's all I ask.

FKN Hail.

I said Hail!

I would have prefered a FTL Starship but that's just me.

FKN HAIL CAPTAIN.

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Maddoug mumbles...

Posted January 27, 2014

So does this mean your next limited edition beer will be called Saltie Bites?

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Guy mutters...

Posted January 27, 2014

Scratch a republican and find a monarchist!

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27, 2014

Ok, I'm irked; not that JB has been made a literary King, like that's going to make any differenece at his age. The bragging rights are just that. He puts it on too heavily and his wife will just roll her eyes and ignore him.

It's young Thomas that I'm concerned about. Here is a teenage boy given a Princedom on a fucking platter. The bragging rights become considerable, and I'm not sure that this amount of power should be handed to a young man entering the prime of his life. I can only hope that he uses this boon for good, and not evil.

By the way, someone should inform Mr Stirling that it just don't get to 100 degrees in Darwin. At the end of the wet a 90 degree day is the norm.

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted January 27, 2014

"Hey baby, want to make out with a dude who's a Prince?"

Thomas is soooo set.

And with a slightly less weird family then Wills and Harry.

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Rhino asserts...

Posted January 28, 2014

Damn it all to hell ... I gave up on this series and now I'm going to have to go back and pick up the last one.

Was there a watery tart involved with this acension?

senatormckinneytexas mumbles...

Posted January 28, 2014

Yep, we have a new market here. All of JB's fans who aren't Stirling fans now have 13 books to catch up with (at a minimum) and Stirling's fans who don't read JB likewise have some catching up to do. Genius, really.

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senatormckinneytexas has opinions thus...

Posted January 28, 2014

Pretty damned billiant. From many different angles.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 28, 2014

Mmmmmmm...Saltie Bites

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Rob ducks in to say...

Posted January 28, 2014

will there be a emberverse/ axis of time cross over? Perhaps the son of Harry Meets King Birmo?

One thing I don't get with the emberverse is why everyone suddently turns Welsh? I would expect if I got down with my Renfaire self. I would be painting myself blue and getting totally tattooed. or maybe grow a gnarly Asterix style moustache (by Toutais!) but releasing my innner Terry Jones is not on my horizon.

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S.M. Stirling mutters...

Posted January 29, 2014

His Majesty John the First of Capricornia is doing a story for the shared world anthology THE CHANGE which will be out next spring. I leave any teasing revelations about that to him.

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AKM. is gonna tell you...

Posted January 29, 2014

I'll dedicate my best pointed stick to the service of King Birmo.

"Go you good King" Epic.

I'll swear allegience just for that line.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted January 29, 2014

Well, it's been a big week for our genial host.
First, it was his shock coronation as King Birmo of Capricornia.
Now I read that Guardian Australia has said that 'B is for Birmo' in the A-Z of Australian comedy!
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/jan/29/australian-comedy-a-z-b-is-for-the-big-gig-and-birmo

I don't know what is going on. Are we approaching a Charles Stross Singularity? Frankly, I'm starting to feel a little scared.

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted January 29, 2014

Yeah W,

The teenagers are here.

It's been nice knowing you but now that CBG, JB and the Burgers are 'cool' I am outta here.

It was good while it lasted, you have to admit that.

But now there will be a channel 10 appearance or a shopping channel segment and honestly I just don't have the time.

I am a working man.

Got shit to do.

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Shermpotter ducks in to say...

Posted January 31, 2014

Um, I got the impression that his son Thomas was NOT a youngster...

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Myles mumbles...

Posted February 20, 2014

Looking forward to hearing more about what's going on in Cairns under Bad King Joh...

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