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*WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2020*
*A New Statesman Book of the Year*
'A mesmerising, mysterious book . . . Haunting. Worrying. Beautiful' Russell T. Davis
'Brilliantly unsettling' Olivia Laing
'A magificent book' Neil Gaiman
'An extraordinary experience' William Gibson
Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2020, this is fiction that pushes the boundaries of the novel form.
Shaw had a breakdown, but he's getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor's daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age thirteen.
It's not ideal, but it's a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn't got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical...
Meanwhile, Victoria is up in the Midlands, renovating her dead mother's house, trying to make new friends. But what, exactly, happened to her mother? Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies?
As Shaw and Victoria struggle to maintain their relationship, the sunken lands are rising up again, unnoticed in the shadows around them.
On the barren surface of an asteroid, located deep in the galaxy beneath the unbearable light of the Kefahuchi Tract, lie three objects: an abandoned spacecraft, a pair of bone dice covered with strange symbols, and a human skeleton.
What they are and what they mean are the mysteries explored and unwrapped in LIGHT, M. John Harrison's triumphant novel.
One of M. John Harrison's most acclaimed novels in a career of near universal acclaim, CLIMBERS is, perhaps, the least fantastical of his novels. Yet it carries life-changing moments, descriptions of landscape bordering on the hallucinogenic and flights of pure fictive power that leave any notion of the divide between realistic and unrealistic fiction far behind. First published in 1989, CLIMBERS has remained a strong favourite with fans and reviewers alike.
A young man seeks to get a grip on his life by taking up rock-climbing. He hopes that by engaging with the hard realities of the rock and the fall he can grasp what is important about life. But as he is drawn into the obsessive world of climbing he learns that taking things to the edge comes with its own price.
Retreating from his failed marriage to Pauline, Mike leaves London for the Yorkshire moors, where he meets Normal and his entourage, busy pursuing their own dreams of escape. Travelling from crag to crag throughout the country, they are searching for the unattainable: the perfect climb. Through rock-climbing, Mike discovers an intensity of experience - a wash of pain, fear and excitement - that obliterates the rest of his world. Increasingly addicted to the adrenaline, folklore and camaraderie of the sport, he finds, for a time, a genuine escape. But it is gained at a price...
This dark, witty and poetic novel is full of the rugged beauty of nature, of the human drive to test oneself against extremes, and of the elation such escape can bring.
CLIMBERS was featured on BBC Radio 4's A GOOD READ in February 2021. Poet Helen Mort called it "a poetic portrait of the strange and fascinating, very niche world of rock climbing" and Harriett Gilbert called the writing "like prose poetry, it's beautiful."
This selection of stories, drawn from over 50 years of writing, bears witness to that desire for difference: whether following backstreet occultists, amateur philosophers, down-and-outs or refugees, we see our relationship with ‘the other’ in microscopic detail, and share in Harrison’s rejection of the idea that the world, or our understanding of it, could ever be settled.
M. John Harrison is a cartographer of the liminal. His work sits at the boundaries between genres – horror and science fiction, fantasy and travel writing – just as his characters occupy the no man’s land between the spatial and the spiritual. Here, in his first collection of short fiction for over 15 years, we see the master of the New Wave present unsettling visions of contemporary urban Britain, as well as supernatural parodies of the wider, political landscape. From gelatinous aliens taking over the world’s financial capitals, to the middle-aged man escaping the pressures of fatherhood by going missing in his own house… these are weird stories for weird times.
‘M. John Harrison’s slippery, subversive stories mix the eerie and familiar into beguiling, alarming marvels. No one writes quite like him; no one I can think of writes such flawless sentences, or uses them to such disorientating effect.’
– Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City
‘These stories map a rediscovered fictional hinterland, one tucked behind the glossier edifices of modernity and genre with views down alleyways into pubs and flats where Patrick Hamilton glares balefully at J. G. Ballard.’
– Will Eaves, author of This is Paradise
‘M. John Harrison moves elegantly, passionately, from genre to genre, his prose lucent and wise, his stories published as SF or as fantasy, as horror or as mainstream fiction. In each playing field, he wins awards, and makes it look so easy. His prose is deceptively simple, each word considered and placed where it can sink deepest and do the most damage.’
– Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods
‘With an austere and deeply moving humanism, M. John Harrison proves what only those crippled by respectability still doubt – that science fiction can be literature, of the very greatest kind.’
– China Miéville, author of Perdido Street Station
'The wit and effortless elegance of the writing are impeccable.' - Ursula K Le Guin for The Guardian
'[A] quiet giant of British writing... extraordinarily flexible prose. It's restrained and luminous' - The Daily Telegraph
It is some time after Ed Chianese's trip into the Kefahuchi Tract. A major industry of the Halo is now tourism. The Tract has begun to expand and change, but, more problematically, parts of it have also begun to fall to earth, piecemeal, on the Beach planets.
We are in a city, perhaps on New Venusport or Motel Splendido: next to the city is the event site, the zone, from out of which pour new, inexplicable artefacts, organisms and escapes of living algorithm - the wrong physics loose in the universe. They can cause plague and change. An entire department of the local police, Site Crime, exists to stop them being imported into the city by adventurers, entradistas, and the men known as 'travel agents', profiteers who can manage - or think they can manage - the bad physics, skewed geographies and psychic onslaughts of the event site.
But now a new class of semi-biological artefact is finding its way out of the site, and this may be more than anyone can handle.
John Truck was to outward appearances just another lowlife spaceship captain. But he was also the last of the Centaurans, or at least half of him was, which meant that he was the only person who could operate the Centauri Device, a sentient bomb which might hold the key to settling a vicious space war.
M. John Harrison's classic novel turns the conventions of space opera on their head, and is written with the precision and brilliance for which is famed.
EMPTY SPACE is a space adventure. We begin with the following dream:
An alien research tool the size of a brown dwarf star hangs in the middle of nowhere, as a result of an attempt to place it equidistant from everything else in every possible universe. Somewhere in the fractal labyrinth beneath its surface, a woman lies on an allotropic carbon deck, a white paste of nanomachines oozing from the corner of her mouth. She is neither conscious nor unconscious, dead nor alive. There is something wrong with her cheekbones. At first you think she is changing from one thing into another - perhaps it's a cat, perhaps it's something that only looks like one - then you see that she is actually trying to be both things at once. She is waiting for you, she has been waiting for you for perhaps 10,000 years. She comes from the past, she comes from the future. She is about to speak...
EMPTY SPACE is a sequel to LIGHT and NOVA SWING, three strands presented in alternating chapters which will work their way separately back to this image of frozen transformation.
Der Wissenschaftler Michael Kearney ist mit der Arbeit an dem neuen Quantencomputer beschäftigt, als ihm zunehmend unwirkliche Erscheinungen aus seiner Vergangenheit zu schaffen machen. Vierhundert Jahre später hat eine Frau, die mit dem Bewusstsein eines Raumschiffs verbunden ist, mit demselben Problem zu kämpfen. Einem Problem, das offenbar die Struktur des Universums durchzieht. Doch dann machen beide eine unfassbare Entdeckung, die das Schicksal der Menschheit für immer verändern wird.