Archives for posts with tag: M John Harrison

Empty Space (II), 2012

Empty Space (III), 2012

Empty Space (IV), 2012

These were taken in Central London and Beckenham, UK.

Empty Space: A Haunting  is a novel by M. John Harrison. It was published in 2012. I’ve already posted about the anticipation of this book here.

I’ve finally started reading it. It’s slow going, not because of the book, which is engrossing and brilliant, but because of other stuff, mundane things, sticky situations. I’m on Chapter Eight, and gripped.

So far, the book is divided between three narrative strands – one set on Earth in the near-future, and two set in the city of Saudade, which is light years away. One of these strands is from the point of view of a not entirely above-board shipper and the other from an investigator of irregularities. I couldn’t possibly hope to summarise the book at this stage, so instead here’s the second paragraph from Chapter Three:

Whether you believed these claims or not, one thing was certain: Antoyne was no longer the loser you used to see beached-up in Saudade City, narratising his bad luck, drinking Black Heart Rum, reduced to making small points at the very edge of the game as errand boy for cheap crooks like Vic Serotonin or Pauli DeRaad. He owned his own ship. He had an eye for a transaction. He wasn’t even fat anymore.

The photographs are not representative of the text in any way except that they kind of felt right – maybe something of the atmosphere…anyway, there will be more (and a fuller review of the book when I’ve finished it).

In our house, this book can be found: bedroom in a pile of stuff on the chest of drawers.

M John Harrison has his own blog here.

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Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.

Empty Space (I), 2012

This was taken somewhere in Central London, UK.

Empty Space: A Haunting  is a novel by M. John Harrison. It was published in 2012.

I haven’t read Empty Space yet – it’s sitting on the chest of drawers in the bedroom until I can find the time to concentrate on it. I’ve been excited about reading it for some time, and even managed the first couple of chapters.

Empty Space is the final book in a trilogy (I’ve talked about the first book, Light (2002), in another post; the second book is called Nova Swing (2006)), so I’m hoping some strands of narrative might resolve themselves (or seriously not).

Any road up, this photograph is the first in an occasional series I’m going to post around the reading of the book. It has very little to do with the content of the book, because I know very little about the content of the book. Hopefully, future posts will remedy this appalling state of affairs.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Anna Waterman heard two cats fighting all evening. At ten o’clock she went out into the garden and called in the family tom. A decade or so ago, her daughter Marnie, age thirteen and already unfathomable, had named this animal ‘James’. Late summer displayed a greenish afterglow at the bottom of a sky full of stars. Anna’s was a long garden, perhaps fifty yards by twenty, with lichenous apple trees in unmown grass and a leaning summerhouse which looked like something from a 1970s Russian film – falling apart, surrounded by overgrown flowerbeds, filled with those things you discard, but don’t throw away. The flowerbeds had an unhealthy vitality. Every year, tended or not, they produced dense mixtures of indigenous weeds, wild flowers and – since the warming of the mid-2000s – exotics with large petals and fleshy leaves, blown in as seeds from who knows where.

In our house, this book can be found: bedroom in a pile of stuff on the chest of drawers.

M John Harrison has his own blog here.

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Thank you, once again,  John and Deanne for making me tinker with titles. Extra thanks to Deanne for the location tag idea. And to Terry for sending me in the direction of the shelves in search of ideas, and of course, as always, to Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.

Travel Arrangements, 2012

This was taken off The Strand, London, UK.

Travel Arrangements  is a collection of short stories by M. John Harrison. It was published in 2001.

This was the first book I read by M. John Harrison, and it hooked me immediately. I could bore you rigid about how much I like his writing. (In short: a lot). Anyway, there are more comprehensive collections out there, but like a good mix tape this one tantalises and taunts and whispers, “Go on, read everything he’s written. You know you want to.”

The Guardian says: “Harrison presents an England where the dead offer you cups of tea, Soho couples wear axes in their heads as a fashion statement and the roads are deserted enough for lonely men to race cars down the M4.” Go on read everything he’s written; you know you want to…

Here’s the second paragraph of the first story, Old Women:

Like her friends they had short, roughly cut hair. They were all vegetarians and this gave them the energy of girls. They wore quilted Chinese silk jackets with a yellow woolen tam o’ shanter and a long squarish skirt they had made themselves from some odd black dressy material. (Under this their knees appeared at surprising angles when they sat down.) They went regularly to church, but, to the suppressed fury of the vicar, would not repeat the parts of the creed that offended them. They believed in the power of mussel shell extract, and the imminent arrival of a ‘Master’ who would come from Venus; they believed that the military aircraft which roared all day a hundred feet above the moor were knocking holes in the atmosphere.

In our house, the book can be found: sitting room, left-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thank you, once again,  John and Deanne for making me tinker with titles. Extra thanks to Deanne for  tag ideas etc. And to Terry for sending me in the direction of the shelves in search of ideas, and of course, as always, to Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.

The Ash Circus, 2012

The Ash Circus is a short story by M. John Harrison. It was published in 1970 as part of a short story collection called The Nature of the Catastrophe. The book collected all of Michael Moorcock’s stories about Jerry Cornelius, along with several by other authors.

I’ll be writing more about Jerry Cornelius soon, but in short he is a postmodern confection – an aspiring musician and accomplished assassin, (as well as being a Pierrot figure). Jerry is amoral – he is sexually and in every other way ambiguous.

When he was editing New Worlds magazine, Moorcock invented Jerry Cornelius as both a character and a method of writing – the idea was to expand SF’s horizons to include experimental writing and hold a mirror up to the society of the sixties and early seventies. He also made the character available for other writers to interpret. Moorcock has since said he thinks M. John Harrison’s Jerry stories were the best.

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Well now, for the last “fortnight” I have been naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels, stories and anthologies.

Thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is using classic Dr. Who serials as titles for his work – check them out now.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. two posts ago…and another thank you to Cathryn Stone, whose White Sun Dark Moon has been a soundtrack to quite a lot of these recent shots.

Light, 2012

Light is M John Harrison’s eighth novel. It was published in 2002. According to Wikipedia:

“The book centres on the lives of three individuals — the physicist (and serial killer) Michael Kearney, on the verge of a breakthrough in theoretical physics sometime in 1999; Seria Mau Genlicher, the cybernetically-altered female pilot of a “K-ship”, and the ex-space pilot and adventurer Ed Chianese. Seria Mau and Ed’s stories take place in the year 2400 AD.

The lives of these three individuals are linked in many ways, though most tangibly by the presence of a mysterious creature called The Shrander, who appears in many guises to all three characters throughout the novel (with anagrammatic names of Sandra Shen and Dr. Haends). They are also linked by the Kefahuchi Tract, a space-time anomaly described as “a singularity without an event horizon”, an object of awe and wonder that has been the ruin of many civilisations attempting to decode its mysteries.”

It’s hard-going in places (unless you like reading about serial killers), but a really great read – it got me back into reading SF (although I think it belongs in a genre of its own). It’s the first of a trilogy – Nova Swing comes next (and is even stranger/ better in my opinion), and the new one Empty Space has just been published.

For more M. John Harrison: The Ambiente Hotel

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For the time being I’m  naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion.