The Red Tank
By John Fraser
In three fables, Fraser’s The Red Tank presents founding myths and 21st century epics – viewed with a kind of Martian ‘taken-abackness’. In our new globalised world, what happens to the little beings, our species, and their allies among the beasts – do they grow, becoming giant, innocent philosophers, or do they go off to rut and runt in the forest?
The human project is once more immense: taming nature, securing peace, creating order. The protagonists are fabulous, easily the equals of ancient gods and heroes. In the first fable, Chinese Whispers, we try to subdue and measure nature – though led astray through sex and murder. In Funny Little Fellows, we are spies and cleansers, the figures in an epic with a suspect leader. Our histories repeat themselves, and the shapeshifted waft the epic into myth. We are explorers, finding new frontiers, but never settlement.
The Bright Stars are the gang that founds a state and provide a founding myth. We are their accomplices, artists and managers in their theatrical world. Actors and actresses mingle with inventors, warriors and demigods. Where the first two fables give us a cosmology, The Bright Stars are epic and creative, giving sense and order to this new world, its search for rules, purpose, security and punishment.
The Red Tank is the founding blood myth, a solution true to our nature, resolving uncertainties remaining from the previous fables. We recognise the red tank as it circles us and fires. Our aspirations, fears and ambitions, remain, their mysteries familiar and comforting. The species sees where it has come from and where it has now settled – the cosmos is filled again.
‘The Red Tank once again displays the seriousness and sheer brilliance of Fraser’s conceptual aims and the dazzling invention of his linguistic fantasy.’ - Rouben Kodesh
Published 2010 (Aesop Publ.)
ISBN: 9781494892586 - 220 pages - Paperback
World Rights Available