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Covehithe by China Miéville

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"Covehithe" is a 2011 science fiction short story by China Miéville. It is about a man and his daughter who chase giant, living machines.

Have you ever wanted to see something so badly that you went where you weren’t supposed to go? I have. I’m not a huge trespasser, but I have “broke” in to a few swimming pools and abandoned buildings in my time. Yeah, there is a certain thrill that goes along with doing that, but in this story part of the thrill is that the characters may get squashed like little bugs! That’s a game changer… for sure!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Oil Rig Maintenance in Darwin Harbour May 2006 by Ken Hodge, CC 2.0 license

Dughan used to be in the military, but he started contracting his services to other countries when big, giant, living oil rigs began appearing around the world. At first he and his team tried to destroy the monsters, but as time went on they learned that there was a certain pattern to their behaviors. Now, many years later, he chases after the big, oily brutes hoping to get a glimpse of their awkward bulkiness. When he gets a tip that one of the beasts may appear on the coast of England he takes his daughter and enters the forbidden zone under cover of darkness. It is here that they witness the bizarre majesty that is the resurrected, living oil rigs – and they get a bit of a history lesson too.

My Two Cents

  • Story: 5 stars – Very cool! An absolutely unique and bizarre story – but I would expect nothing less from Mr. Miéville.
  • Writing: 5 stars – The author’s choice of words were great! I actually laughed out loud at the way he described the huge, living oil rigs! Of course, I am kind of predisposed to love his style, so your experience may vary.
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars – Good writing and strange unique stories are a great combination – a combination that gets even better when you’re totally immersed in the fascinating description of events!

Where To Find Covehithe

  • This short story first appeared on The Guardian‘s web site on April 22, 2011 – where you can still read it for free.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed "Covehithe" then you might also like “The Fog Horn” by Ray Bradbury – about two men in a rural lighthouse who witness an ancient creature rise from the deep ocean.