the m john harrison blog

Month: January, 2012

heavy underlining

You dream something obvious–a version of “the Tower” which features the fall of a vast building in the Square Mile. This bit of major arcana wakes you up to have a laugh at yourself, but suddenly you start thinking about the piece you’re working on. Before you know it, the light’s on, the walls of the room have a warm yellow cast etc etc, & you’re making notes. The defining characteristic of a note made at night is heavy underlining. If you don’t mark whole paragraphs with wavy lines in another colour, you believe, you will forget their real significance. But perhaps the most important sign that you have successfully reminded yourself of something is that next day, when you look at it, it should make no sense whatsoever. Never switch on the Mac in the night to make a note: by the time it’s woken up you’ve gone back to sleep again. You’ve forgotten who you were, let alone what he was thinking.

predicting the present

Science fiction survives on its metaphors, catching an echo from the human context then rifling current science for an image or chain of images to act as a correlative. The rationales behind this project (including the rationale that it’s all rational, the claim that the project has, or should have, more in common with scientific discourse than poetic or political discourse) are less important to the general reader than the excitement of the found image. Science fiction is not read as a form of peer-reviewed publication.

new year 67

Metaphors of humanity as a turbulent system through which energy is lost into the context; of life considered as Levy flights from small town to small town; of the (false) idea you can start out new every day; of downward causation by which the emergent whole begins to select what will form it. New Year 67: for me a milestone of the weird mystery not so much of being old but of the approach to something deep. Last year at this time I posted a photograph of C’s–unfinished buildings, asymettrically framed and obscured by the blurred interior of the train from which they were briefly viewed. This year a paragraph will have to do. Rain & wind in the street outside.