East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Cruel and Unusual

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Quite a few years back, I used to contribute reviews and articles to a small literary magazine based in Turin. It was a lot of fun, I met some great people, and started to develop the habit of writing regularly on themes and with schedules set by others.

The magazine hosted a number of independent writers, and it even had some international contributors. One of these was a Japanese gentleman who was writing a book about the Tokyo underworld of fetish and BDSM clubs. He would send chapters to the magazine, that published them as a series. He was quite a good writer, and his pieces were always a great read, very literary and really in no way X-rated.

I remembered those articles a few nights ago, while working on one of the prompts for the #StoryADayMay project.

The prompt was:

Think of a fairy tale you like. It can be a well-known one, or one that’s not well-known. (If it’s one you’re familiar with mostly from Disney movies, though, you should probably do a quick re-read of the original fairy tale, because those movies have been known to change a lot of stuff.) Now write a scene from that fairy tale, but reset in some way — you could move it to the present day, or the future. You could also move it to another culture (make sure it’s one you’re very familiar with) or find some other way to turn it upside down. Think about what the story is saying, and how that message changes when the story gets moved.

And I thought about those old articles about the Tokyo fetish scene.
And Cinderella.

So I went, I dug up those old magazines, and did a quick refresh on the subject.
The end result was a 2000-words story I wrote quite fast, all things considered, and turned out to be… unusual.
But hey, that’s part of the game, right?
Now I’ll have to find a place to sell it. Might open to some quite unusual market.

And by the way… The story is called The Queen of Kabukicho, that is taken from a classic song by Japanese artist Sheena Ringo. A very dark story about a girl raised by a woman that works the oldest job in the world in the nightclubbing district of Kabukicho. The girl remembers her mother’s less than motherly behaviour, only to step up and take her place when the older woman disappears.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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