A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A TROUBLED MAN The world of Chimeras is very like our own. But for one difference. In Christopher Evans’ evocatively portrayed land, some people have an incredible gift. They can create dazzling works of art from the nothingness of the space before them. Moving statues of incandescent gold shimmer into life, literally out of the air. The very best artists conjure wonderful pageants of soldiers glorious in battle or rich Lords helping the common man. They bring a little magic into the drudgery of the peasants’ lives – and re-write history into the bargain. Chimeras tells the story of Vendavo, the greatest artist of them all. He’s the man sought after by Jormalu, the new leader of the ruthless Hierarchy, to produce images, statues and public performances in his honour. Vendavo agrees – it is prestigious work. But there are rumblings of discontent in the land and rumours of revolution. If it succeeds, Vendavo might be compromised.
Pout, the chimera, half-man, half-ape, was incorporated into one of the plants or vice versa. He was jammed into a squatting position, while the stems, entering at his buttocks, merged with his legs, his arms and his torso, emerging at knees, elbows, and through his abdomen and thorax. A large, yellow-petalled flower seemed to frame his face. It was his face that rivetted Ikematsu’s attention, while the chimera squirmed in dumb distress, glaring with huge piteous eyes. For in that face, set into it as if set in pudding, was the zen gun. The gun was his face, or a part of it. The barrel pointed straight out in place of a nose… the stock merged with and disappeared into Pout’s pendulous mouth. Ikematsu leaned toward the chimera. “How you loved your toy! Now it is truly yours!”
To the residents of Abalone, Arizona, a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concern is surviving the Great Depression, the arrival of a circus in town is a chance to forget their woes for a while. But this is the circus of Dr. Lao and instead of relief, the townsfolk are confronted with an array creature seemingly straight out of mythology: a chimera, a Medusa, a sphinx, a sea serpent and, of course, the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao. As the circus unfolds, it spins events towards a climactic final act that will change the lives of Abalone’s residents for ever.