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M John Harrison

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  • M John Harrison

    Anyone else out there fans of the work of Shakey Mo's creator?

    I always liked to think of tegeus-Cromis from the early Viriconium stories as an aspect of the Eternal Champion - somewhat like Corum...

    Mike Harrison's world building is somewhat similar to MM's - there are links between alot of his stuff. The recent novel 'Light' is connected to a short story in the collection 'The Machine in Shaft Ten'. The novel is memorable - scenes stick in my mind even though it is many months since I read it.

    He is perhaps best known for his Viriconium stories, an ambiguous version of Tanelorn perhaps? and for writing in New Worlds.
    Statistically 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy.

  • #2
    Long time since I read it but I very much enjoyed his Pastel City with tegus Cromis, 'who thought himself a better poet than a swordsman', Cellur the birdman and his lamergeyer, and the mad techno-dwarf in the rust desert. I think George Lucas probably ripped off his idea of the lightsabre from the baan weapons that MJH created in this novel. I think at the time I first read it Mike hadn't written any of his other Viriconium stories and for some reason I never read his stuff beyond this book, but one day I am going to go back and redress that omission.

    It pains me to think that if a film were ever made of The Pastel City people would think he was copying Star Wars with the lightsabre concept, whereas it's the other way around.

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    • #3
      Harrison is probably my favourite writer. Have you looked at "Light"?

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      • #4
        Light is fantastic - one of the best sci fi books I've read (although I didn't understand it :?

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        • #5
          Viriconium stories back in print

          Swiped myself an advance preview copy of the Viriconium reprint. Back in print in October:

          see here
          Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

          Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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          • #6
            Funnily enough, last week i bought old copies of The Pastel City and A Storm of Wings from the 50p. I have great memories of these books. If I still enjoy them so much I shall chase up the complete reprint. Thanks for the link, devilchicken.

            PS Watch out for that bird flu!
            \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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            • #7
              Re: Viriconium stories back in print

              Originally posted by devilchicken
              Swiped myself an advance preview copy of the Viriconium reprint. Back in print in October:

              see here
              A great set! Any revision?
              "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

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              • #8
                Re: Viriconium stories back in print

                Originally posted by Talisant
                Originally posted by devilchicken
                Swiped myself an advance preview copy of the Viriconium reprint. Back in print in October:

                see here
                A great set! Any revision?
                I don't believe so - there's an introduction by Neil Gaiman (though those pages are blank in my preview copy).

                You can also get the Viriconium stories in the Fantasy Masterworks series on www.amazon.co.uk.
                Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

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                • #9
                  I'm tempted to get this collection for my daughter. She has read my copies of The Pastel City and A Storm of Wings and thought they were great. (I agree.) My copies are, however, quite venerable as paperbacks go -- I got The Pastel City when it first came out, so my copy is > 30 years old; it's in better shape than the cheaply made copy of A Storm of Wings (which came out from Pocket Books) and is a mere 25 years in age.

                  Seeing these books in print again is welcome. I know they're available in the UK -- or they were when last I looked.

                  LSN

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                  • #10
                    Devilchicken-thanks for all of the tips and info!

                    LSN-congratulations, it's really rewarding when your kids share your appreciation of things, especially such good books.

                    Talisant
                    "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

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                    • #11
                      I read a lot of the first VIriconium stories when they appeared. It was quite curious. Harrison seemed to be trying to subvert the sword-and-sorcery genre while at the same time perpetuating it.

                      That tension is present in the stories. It may be part of their lasting appeal.

                      --

                      As for my daughter sharing my appreciation of these things, it's a crap shoot. The best method with a really good book (e.g., The Pastel City) is a soft-sell: "You might find this book interesting. It's sword-and-sorcery, but you've never read anything quite like it."

                      The next thing I knew, she was extolling its virtues and browbeating her friends into finding their own copies and reading it. Nice to know it'll be available again.

                      LSN

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                      • #12
                        I'm making my way through the Fantasy Masterworks Virconium albiet slowly. Pastel City was good, it was just a little 'un-adventurery' for the Sword and Sourcery I'm used...aka...Mike's books. But I'm going to keep reasding.

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                        • #13
                          No book is for everyone. It may not provide what you wanted. I've been very fond of the book since I first encountered it, but I didn't approach it with the expectation that it was a sword&sorcery novel in the usual sense of the term. I seem to recall hearing it described (while Harrison was writing it) as a "literary" sword&sorcery novel. I'd call it "science fantasy" more than "sword&sorcery." About the "literary" part I agree.

                          LSN

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