the m john harrison blog

Month: January, 2022

unused opening

The most passive-aggressive communication I ever received was from a man named David, a note that went, approximately, ”Just writing to say that X died a week ago. The funeral was yesterday. I didn’t go.” X had been central to both of our lives some years before. I hadn’t kept up with her, and I’d drifted away from him too. The note was on lined paper pulled from a spiral bound notebook. There was no return address. I stood by the kitchen stove in my bare feet at half past eight in the morning and wondered why he had sent it. I wasn’t even sure how he knew where to find me.

At that time I lived on the edge of the Peak District in a terrace of small stone houses. They were unprotected from the weather that came down off the moor, and when the wind blew from the east, filled with smoke because the chimneys wouldn’t draw.


changes (2)

This is a belated New Year post, with all the irritations of a family newsletter. So forgive me. Following a change of agents last year, I moved publisher too, to Serpents Tail. My editor there is Luke Brown. I have two new books with Luke. Habitual readers of the blog will know a little about them already. Fall Lines is a nonfiction, heavily fragmented, with elements drawn from thirty years of journals and notebooks (including this one), focussing on the shadowier aspects of memory, writing and explanatory collapse in the moddun world. It will appear in May 2023. The second book is a novel I’ve been chipping away at since around 2008. It doesn’t have a proper title yet, but the working one is Anabasis. Anabasis bears as much relationship to a post-disaster novel as Fall Lines does to a memoir, and won’t be out for a while. Habitual readers of the blog will be used to descriptions like this.

Orion continue to publish Viriconium, The Centauri Device, and the Light trilogy under the Gollancz imprint; along with Climbers, a new edition of which is scheduled to appear in May 2022, under their W&N Essentials imprint, which launched in 2021 with a list including classics from Renata Adler, Jane Bowles, Vladimir Nabokov, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, L.P. Hartley, J.G. Farrell and more. Rights in the rest of the old Gollancz backlist, including The Course of the Heart, Signs of Life and the retrospective collection Things That Never Happen, have reverted to me and are now represented by Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit UK.

I believe Light, Nova Swing and Empty Space are scheduled to reappear soon in one volume, so that they can be read as the single item they are.

In addition to some of the usual reviewing work, I’ll be continuing my collaboration with Matt Rogers to put music to a shortened version of Fall Lines, for which we got our first tranche of finance late last year; and writing an introduction to the late Joel Lane’s The Witnesses Are Gone. In addition, I have reading to do for a well-known literary prize: this will certainly cut down the amount of blogging I’ll be able to manage between now and November, although it won’t stop me from tweeting @MJohnHarrison. I hope not to have terminal eyestrain by the end of it.