Harry Giles


from Deep Ring Orcadia: a science fiction
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Inga raeds a airticle aboot the lights


The swaeran taks Øyvind runnan
fae the kitcheen, “Bastards! Shit-
fir-braens! Fuck.” He pits a haand
on her shouder an hings ower

the termienal. The airticle covers
a submission tae the Mars Ting
on the theoretiecal basis
an structural likelihuid o

extra-corporal photonic network
consciousness an the need
fir firder study. The haedline raeds

fuck!” saes Inga, an “A dinno
fuckan care gin thay’re fuckan
conscious! or fuckan dansan! or
fuckan fuckan!” Øyvind trists.

“A ken,” he saes, an sheu saes “Thay’re chuice
i the drives an that’s maet on the taeble
an hid’s hard enof tae land a daecent
hale the nou ithoot fuckan

studies an xenobiolochists
an airmchair philosophers
an Fermi fucks!” Sheu is greetan
nou an Øyvind’s fingers birse

intae her dilderan shouder fir comfort.
“Wir alone,” sheu saes. “Can thay
no see wir aye been alone?”
An sae Øyvind replies, “A ken.”


Taks = brings | fae = from | gin = if | trists = squeezes | ken = know | hale = catch (haul) | greetan = crying | birse = squeeze (as of bruise) | dilderan = trembling.

Note: where words are not glossarised but are still unfamiliar, they will be close to an English word in sound and meaning. Mostly these are vowel shifts: the o of home and the ea of meat both become the ae of encyclopaedia; the of logic bcomes the ie of field, and so on. Some consonants are absent, so the ing of dancing becomes an (past participle) or een (gerund), and the wi of without becomes simply i; while others shift, with th generally becoming t, and so on. Most confusion will be resolved by voicing it.




A alt-arkaeolochist visits wi Soo


“It’s simple,” he saes, ower bright.
“When you look at it right. They’re not
wrecks. Not broken. They are – they are
a message we haven’t worked out how
to decode.” Soo sibbles her tea, an tuins
her lugs tae the music o Varday’s hairt.
“Why else would they be here, right
in the very path of our expansion?
Ready for us to find? For us?
Why else would the doors have been left
open?” The aye-bidan nuitheran:
solar plants, atmospheric
regulaetors, gravitaetional
spin. “And who, well, who else?
There’s no-one else, contract, trace–”
Whan sheu gaed tae a surface
sheu cadno sleep til sheu’d fiegured
whit wis missan an switched her pod
tae inchyne. “–so it must be us!”
His pus is pride an revelaetion.
“It’s either us in the past or us
in the future. And that’s really
the same, I mean–” Soo taks his tremskit
slaets, leuks trow aa his hopless
calculaetions, aa the wey
trow, trow her fit, trow
the fluir, trow the mony dasses
o Varday’s skin, trow the wracks
that quiet haaden in tow, tae the jube
an deeper yet, winderan whit
soonds sheu’d find oot thir, whit waws.


Ower = too (over) | sibbles = sips | lugs = ears | aye-bidan = eternal (always-staying) | nuitheran = humming | gaed = went (goed) | pus = face | tremskiti = shabby, disordered | slaets = tablets [neo.] | dasses = layers, strata | haaden = held (holden) | jube = deep sea (here, deep space) | waws = waves.




Soo draems


The wracks ir spaekan. Thir
unfaaldan. Human letters
glowe in lillie waws
across the shiftan waas.
Thir equaetions, arrows.
a pink mooth appens
i the centre o the centre
o the centre: hid spaeks.
Soo shifts in sleep: her hands
grip, ungrip, grip.

Cam morneen, sheu
is breeksed, hinkid in sheets
as a bab or a corp.
Sheu’s haaf sleepan yet
as sheu gaithers her notes,
pouers her skiff an putters
tae the Wrack-Hofn
whit’s seelent, again.

But thare’s a calculaetion,
sheu canno shak, a nummer
tae remak the mindeen o the meisurs.
Sae sheu’s back at the godssend,
asleep wi hunger, cheust as
the first day on site,
as tho she’d no wirked aa nummers
intae unmeanan an loss.


Lillie = lovely | breeksed = exhausted | hinkid = wrapped | mindeen = memory | godsend = recovered shipwreck.


Harry Giles is from Orkney and lives in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is the collection Tonguit, available now from Stewed Rhubarb Press and shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform ANATOMY, and have toured participatory theatre across Europe and Leith.

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