the m john harrison blog

Tag: forthcoming

available soon

Cave & Julia, still doing well as a Kindle Single, will be joined in the autumn by 4th Domain, a 10,000 word short story featuring a map, a medium & some weird human genome shenanigans in the suburban badlands of Barnes & East Sheen. Lovecraft meets Aickman.

Between now & then, the new 4th Estate edition of JG Ballard’s The Drought should be out, with my introduction. In 1965/6 I was stunned & hypnotised by The Four Dimensional Nightmare, The Terminal Beach, The Drowned World & The Drought. I felt like one of the new organisms in “The Voices of Time”, redesigned for life in conditions which hadn’t yet appeared, an environment the parameters of which could only be intuited. I hardly knew what to do with myself. I would have been utterly elated but also rather shocked to know that nearly fifty years later I’d be writing an introduction to The Drought. To tell the truth, I’m still excited.

This intro joins up with similar efforts I’ve written for Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (Heyne 2012, German only) & The Chrysalids (Penguin Modern Classics) to explore the uses of disaster in the UK in the 50s & 60s.

an anthology worth its SALT

9781907773679frcvr.inddHampson came back after some years, to the seaside in the rain, to this town built around a small estuary where a river broke through the chalk downs. Everything–everything people knew about, anyway–came in through that gap, by road or rail; and that’s the way Hampson came too, down from London, midweek, in a rental van, unsure of what he would find for himself after so long. He had options, but since he wasn’t sure about them either, he rented a single room on one of the quiet wide roads that run down from the old town. “Getting Out of There”, my contribution to Nicholas Royle’s Best British Short Stories 2014, finds itself in some pretty impressive company. “Getting Out of There” was previously available only as a very limited edition chapbook–you’ll have missed it if you blinked, so now’s your chance. Or, if you already have it, why not double down & treat yourself to all these other stories too?


For fun I put some random blog entries through I Write Like, which told me I write like: Jack London, JRR Tolkien, Chuck Palahniuk (twice), Arthur Clarke (for the “Earth Advengers” post), Cory Doctorow, Gertrude Stein, Dan Brown (for the first paragraph of a review of a Peter Ackroyd novel), Ray Bradbury, David Foster Wallace (twice, once for “Keep Smiling With Great Minutes”), and HG Wells. After that, deciding that my samples must have been generally too short to give a consistent result, I tried the whole of “Imaginary Reviews” and got Isaac Asimov; a 4000 word English ghost story, set mainly at the seaside and featuring an ageing middle class woman called Elizabeth, and got Isaac Asimov again; and then “Cave & Julia” & got HG Wells again. For the whole of Empty Space I got Arthur Clarke; but for its final chapter, which ends with that memorable sentence of crawling Cosmic horror, “First she would separate Dominic the pharma from his friends, take him upstairs, and fuck him carefully to a tearful overnight understanding of the life they all led now,” I got HP Lovecraft.

a new short story

FINAL Cave  Julia_Cover“That whole year, and to a lesser extent the year after, bodies were washed up all along that part of the coast, some whole, some in pieces … In the south of Autotelia, especially, it was a bad year for bodies; but the body of the vanished brother didn’t show up among them. Passive and silent, full of some incommunicable anger, the sister attempted suicide, spent time in institutions; then, her work suddenly becoming popular, left the country for a new life on our side of things.” When Cave meets Julia, he finds himself sucked into her strange alienated history of loss and sacrifice. “Cave & Julia” is a love story set between our world and Autotelia. Available from the Kindle Store today, 99p; or free to borrow from the Kindle Library. You can still find “In Autotelia”, the first Autotelia story, in Arc #1, here.

Just to round up what’s available, electronically and otherwise: you can buy Light, Nova Swing and Empty Space; The Centauri Device, cursed be its name, with its very fine paper-sculpture cover image; and Viriconium in the old paperback Fantasy Masterworks edition. The new edition of Climbers (coming in May) is ready for pre-order, both as paper and as ebook, with a fabulous new Sam Green cover and a very special introduction I’m not allowed to tell you about yet, although you probably already found out for yourself. The books you won’t find, except as pre-enjoyed or remaindered, are The Course of the Heart, Signs of Life and Things That Never Happen.

Since these three, along with Climbers and my new short stories, rather sum up the point of writing for me, I hope we can do something about that soon.

“Cave & Julia” being very much a product of the Ambiente Hotel, back-bar regulars will add value by tracing its beginnings in these entries over the last year or two. I’ve set up a “Cave & Julia” page: leave your criticisms, gasps of almost sexual delight & sighs of sarcastic disbelief etc there, where comments aren’t time-limited, rather than here, where they close after a few days.

Or, of course, leave a review at Amazon.

cave & julia

A couple of hundred words from cave & julia, a new short story soon to be available as a Kindle Single–

“The Autotelian karst drains itself, through a complex of vast underground caverns–many of which have never been entered–directly into the sea. That whole year, and to a lesser extent the year after, bodies were washed up all along that part of the coast, some whole, some in pieces. A proportion were claimed; many–like the mysterious “Mr English”, delivered by a high tide one summer afternoon on what the European news services referred to as “Autotelia’s Riviera” –were not. The sexes tended to be evenly represented. The oldest item was the lower left leg of a woman of at least sixty years; the youngest a complete male toddler wearing a wristband with the name Ellis, never identified. There were pairs of hands in an expensive suitcase, and heads wrapped carefully in clingfilm or hastily tied up, bunny-ears, in plastic bags. In the south of Autotelia, especially, it was a bad year for bodies; but the body of the vanished brother didn’t show up among them. Passive and silent, full of some incommunicable anger, the sister attempted suicide, spent time in institutions; then, her work suddenly becoming popular, left the country for a new life on our side of things.”

cave & julia is very much a product of the Ambiente Hotel. Back-bar regulars will add value by tracing its genesis in these pages over the last two or three years.

here’s what to expect in 2013

Is this the best physics scene ever?
Escaped neurophilosopher caught after hunt
Paradise Lost tops language abuse list
“Astonishingly, I could tell Harris + Hoole was a chain not an indy”
Safe Effective Clean
Fiscal cliff only E8 claims IMF
Are gadgets paedophilic?
East Midlands’ favourite Swiss “killed”
Another wave of American food
What if world leaders were survivors of the Vendian extinction?
Advanced Savvy Different
The young cannot cope with Hilary Clinton
Town bans twitter distribution of water
New year sees means testing of faceless heroes
What really causes Sheffield?

bad pony

With the ebook release of Light & Nova Swing this week, you can buy the whole of the Empty Space trilogy in Sam Green covers. Autumn’s setting in, so it’s just the time to cheer yourself up by reading a quantum-goth meditation on death disguised as space opera. You can decide afterwards, with the rain pissing down outside your house & politics settling a little further into the uncanny valley every afternoon, to what degree the author was mad or knew just what he was doing when he wrote the final two or three lines. He’s on to the next thing, anyway, which appears to be an insincere alien invasion set along an easily recognisable river in an easily recognisable town in an easily recognisable now. Although of course that might change.

autotelia in arc

Arc launches in late February.

Issue 1.1: China Mieville on squid. Bruce Sterling on everything. Me in Autotelia, staring about in the usual postures of wonder.

“Maybe, you think, this is something to do with marriages, births or deaths, some kind of registration anyway; or maybe it isn’t at all clear what’s going on–just people from our side buying something, dealing in something. It’s legal, though. It’s intrinsically legal. My part is to make the medical checks. They often aren’t necessary,  even so I’m required to make them. The same little adjoining room is put aside for the purpose every time, bare but very clean. Legal representation must be present, or no examination takes place; often, the representative is also the agent from our side. The women and children cover their embarrassment with smiles. The men, especially the older ones, do what’s required with an appalled dignity, as if I am an outrage that could only happen to them during war or an epidemic, a breakdown of all values and infrastructures, something to be borne but never forgotten. They are so reluctant to loosen their wide, thick, hand-tooled leather belts–a poor-quality example of which can fetch two or three thousand euros in a London  store–they tremble.”

empty space again

Light & Nova Swing were about going inside something–maybe yourself–& not coming out again. Empty Space seems to be about going inside then coming back so changed you might as well have been (& indeed might well have been) something else all along. Several kinds of “going inside” are depicted. In some cases going inside is seen as a defeat, retreat or sudden loss of a handhold on the world; in others a transformational acceptance of weirdness, the existential value of which can’t be experienced or measured by the observer.

neil gaiman presents LIGHT as an audiobook

Light will be turned on at Neil Gaiman Presents next Tuesday, with an introduction by Neil & a sample of Julian Elfer’s reading. I’ll put up a link to the page as soon as it’s available. It’s exciting to be published in this format on the launch day of the project. Good luck to Neil, Audiobook & everyone else involved. Elsewhere: Nina Power visits occupylsx; and we hear that “Michael Pugh & Rebecca Griffin changed their names by deed poll to become Mr & Mrs Puffin when they married last year“.


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