the m john harrison blog

byron tossed

Roger Deakin in Kyrgyztan–

We were quartered in dormitories in the lodge, which, being miles from anywhere, was lit by electricity generated by an ingenious waterwheel in the millstream. It was improvised from the back wheel hubs, axle and transmission shaft of an old lorry. Steel paddles had been welded on to the wheels, thirty-two on each, which were mounted under the spouts of two steeply inclined twenty-foot steel tubes, the stream having been split in two and funneled into them from the concrete mill race ten feet above. The resulting pair of powerful jets spun the wheels at high velocity, and the whirring transmission shaft turned a pulley and belt-drive running up to a dynamo mounted in a protective box astride the stream. Wires on poles led back to the lodge. So intent was I on examining this machine that I lost my sunglasses in the mill race… [Wildwood, pp325/6, my ellipsis.]

Deakin often reminds me of Robert Byron; but I can’t compare them because I’ve tossed my copy of The Road to Oxiana, which that so totally serves me right. I loved that book.


glass hombre & wooden crime

Is there any blog more stuffed with odd images, interesting recommendations, & constant interaction with texts wrenched & demanding, than Steve Finbow’s Glass Hombre ? There is not. If you want to know, on a day-to-day basis, what’s rewardingly louche, Finbow is yr man. He’s a bazaar of the bizarre.

Reading: the Millenium trilogy, not very bizarre, or even very good. The crime-writing equivalent of urban fantasy. She’s a tamed goth anorexic lesbian autistic self-harming violent hacker girl; he’s a wodgily conscientious political journo: they fight crime. It doesn’t matter what happens to the bad guys because they’re either paedophiles, right wing corporate CEOs or violent rapists; or all three. Ploddingly correct right-on as an excuse for hitting people with hammers, living proof that simply reversing the typical politics of a genre was one of the laziest, smuggest & most self-satisfied fictional gestures devised by the generation that attained its majority in the early 80s. Aren’t we bored now ? Could we stand something that’s actually different ?