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When he was a little boy, my Josh used to call the horizon the skyfall. Such a great word, he seemed to have made it up all by himself. Before long, the whole family was using it as we took walks by the sea near our new coastal home. I was fascinated by the word and wondered where it had come from. The idea of the sky falling in is a very old one that features in at least one play from the days of ancient Rome. The Latin legal phrase fiat justitia ruat caelum translates as: ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall.’ There are specific words for the fear of this happening in the languages of Japan and China. Henny Penny is a folk tale, possibly from Scandinavia, that we may know better as Chicken Licken and that Josh had almost certainly read or heard. He won’t have known that Swedish people look at hard rain and call it skyfall. Maybe he just saw, with the open mind of a child, that the sky falls into the sea. Even now, I smile at the memory of hearing him say it, aged four or five. I loved the word because of him, and for itself, so I used it as the original title of the novel I was starting to write.

Then along came Bond and that was that.

Oh well. It’s still the skyfall to me.


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