There are two stories of childhood to preface the main events of the The Beast Below. They are told in vignettes that might be headed, “Lightness” and “Weight”. 1 The prologue scenes introduce a heavy, grey space city, floating as if recently detached from a planet surface, voyaging through the galaxy. Its concrete metropolitan facades are labelled. One by one they show familiar British county names; Surrey, Devon, Essex, Yorkshire, Kent. We connect county names to the huge faded Union Jack on the rim of the vast ship and realise this is some space-bound version of the United Kingdom, 2 a whole country compressed into the form of a city, and found now drifting through the stars. Green pleasantness has been eradicated, the body of the nation re-rendered in the tower block form of Starship UK.