the m john harrison blog

Month: September, 2014

give us a tune, uncle!

Uncle Zip returns. He’s on the horizon. He’s in the room. He’s wearing his cheap sunglasses. “He’ll give us a tune on the old squeeze box!” He’ll give us a tune from his old song book, & send us home again. (All the tired clones gather round & a single Christmas orange falls from the naked sky.) The gifts of the Uncle.


get over there

Library of Birmingham, Thursday 30th October:

“Best British Short Stories 2014 [ed Nicholas Royle] is dedicated to Joel Lane, and in addition to finding out how to get published and what makes a great short story, you can hear readings from the anthology and a tribute to one of our greatest local authors, who died in November last year.”

Readers: Louise Palfreyman, Mick Scully, Nick Royle; & I’ll be reading from “Getting Out of There”.

How to learn a lot about yourself.

The Web, December 12, 2012–

Deep cold air. Triangular spiderweb, curved like a sail, attached at two points to the house & at the third to an old dry poppy head in a pot on the balcony. Most of it invisible, but the edges & all the rigging picked out with frost. One patch of frost, about three inches in from the leading edge, minutely cross-hatched in the shape of a section through an ammonite. I can’t see if the spider’s part of that little structure. The effect is of a journey in a different regime to ours. Whatever medium is inflating the sail–whatever medium, conversely, is rushing past it–is not a property of our universe & cannot be defined by our way of relating to things. That’s why we have a duty of care to the spider. She’s sailing into an idea of winter we can’t have. Her perception, acted out as this structure, is a valuable resource. I’ve watched her mother & grandmother make webs there, and their mothers and grandmothers, right back into the historical times. They all built ships but none of them built quite like this.

still as pretty as ever

Today I woke the Marin from its deep protective dream in the corner of the shed. Advanced psychic engineering & a thick layer of cobwebs appear to have kept it functioning.


Now if only I can remember what it’s for.

opening paragraph

Bear with me. I’m exploring some territory here. I’m looking for a password. I thought when I left this town that I was finished being apologetic. But I came back in a different mood, set up an office, waited for business–the things you’ll do when you have to. All anxieties contain their own mirrors. You’re always looking for some space to inhabit between the two. I am, anyway.

thinking about the short story collection

I want to include flash fiction from the blog, so if you have any favourites nominate them in the comments here.


the way we live now

Stories of lost property. Stories of property lost then found. Stories of property found then lost. Stories of self storage of property. Self storage as self storyage. Stories about property stored by people who are now dead & unable to claim it. Stories of property sold sight-unseen from the self storage bins & units of the recently dead. Stories about people who have inadvertently self stored themselves. Stories of mutilated but curiously unbloodied bodies found in self storage bins & units, the flesh is recorded as being “translucent, whitish” “weighty & substantial” and “falling heavily apart along strong clean cutlines”. Stories of mutilated unbloodied bodies found in self-storage bins & units but without the head. The head is missing. The owner of the head is now dead & unable to reclaim it, but it can’t be sold. Limbs flung into rivers. Self storage in other countries.