recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : mjohnharrison   8

Viriconium FAQ | the m john harrison blog
"(1) Read as one book, not as three novels followed by a collection of afterthoughts.

(2) Freely intersperse the short stories between the novels.

(3) The novels can be read in any order, but order of publication makes a kind of sense if you are bound by expectations of linear time & causality.

(4) Start with “Viriconium Knights” if you need a readily-assimilable f/sf rationale for what’s going on in the rest of the book.

(5) Other rationales are available.

(6) Random dipping is just as effective an archeology. All beginnings are endings. Every reiteration is the (not an) original iteration.

(7) It is a metafictional critique of “epic” fantasy.

(8) It is a deconstruction of “epic” fantasy.

(9) It is a conscious disruption & abjection of the American ideological overmyth “Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

(10) It hates story. It hates the idea of character as fixed & causal. It hates relatability. It hates reader-identification. It hates the idea that because the real is disordered, fiction’s duty is to provide order; it hates the anodyne mouth-feel & simultaneous shrill desperation of ordering fictions. It hates immersive texts because immersion defuses political & social dissatisfaction.

(11) Read “A Young Man’s Journey to Viriconium” last. Or see (14).

(12) Titles, epigraphs & chapter headings are often significant parts of the text, so if you’re reading something framed as The Floating Gods, you aren’t reading Viriconium.

(13) Every available edition is problematical in terms of content, organisation & packaging.

(14) There is a new, as yet unpublished story."
mjohnharrison  linearity  storytelling  linear  nonlinear  novels  stories  via:robinsloan  2016  organization  time  sequence  viriconium  non-linear  alinear 
march 2016 by robertogreco
retrospective | the m john harrison blog
"Things I have bought over the years to convince myself I was happy: a brass lizard; a wire lizard; two small boxes, one in some featherweight lacquered wood, the other ceramic and half glazed with a stylised picture of the local architecture; a bowl in striking fire and earth colours now faded; various earrings; two belts and some peculiarly sordid- and pre-used-looking suede shoes; Italian things; Canary Island things; Spanish things. All these things bought out of a mistaken elation or assumption, all this unwarranted semiosis, all these unmemorable memories and tokens from moments unviable from the very start. You can’t quite call them kitsch, but they don’t have a quality of personal nostalgia either. It was weird being a romantic and living in a constant aura or vibe, a “dream” I suppose, or at any rate a sense of something happening when nothing, in retrospect, was. Luckily, age lifts you out of that, enabling a proud shiny new impulse control in boutique, fleamarket and gallery shop; freeing you up to buy the rubbish you actually like. (Something resembling a small wormy stone brain picked up on a beach does not belong to this class of objects.)"
objects  possessions  consumerism  materialism  mjohnharrison  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
welcome to yr world | the m john harrison blog
"Apple’s iPhone 5C will come in yellow, green, blue and red. But is bright always right…? If you live in a world of toddlers it is. If you live in the world of people who manipulate toddlers to make their profits, the question itself is a gadget–a brightly coloured piece of plastic with no real function except to convince the user that she needs to pay for what it does. Fake objects, fake functions, fake commentaries, fake realities layered on top of the real function of everything, which is to make revenue and keep it moving up the hierarchy. Either you buy the plastic without a thought, or you think a marketing discussion represents the next clever level up. Welcome to your dinner party. Welcome to lifestyle. Welcome to your new housing bubble. Welcome to your new toy. Everything is going to be all right now. Welcome to business. Welcome to being a farmed consumer with a degree in farming consumers."
apple  gadgets  consumerism  iphone  marketing  hierarchy  capitalism  desire  mjohnharrison 
september 2013 by robertogreco
an intense kind of nothing | the m john harrison blog
"The nightmare of the self: whatever you discover, it will never actually allow you to say anything about the foundation of things. Each discovery will only open up another scale, which, probed, will almost immediately begin to imply a further scale, a finer-grained space. The very small always has something smaller inside it. Whatever you find isn’t the end, it’s only ever the beginning of something else. Worse, the characteristic of these successive foundational states is that they’re composed increasingly of emptiness, of the gaps between things. Everything diffuses out into nothing. And the tools you develop operate only at the scale for which you develop them–though they have just enough sensitivity to alert you, as you push towards each outside edge, to the possiblility of the need for another, yet more subtle, toolset."
learning  making  thinking  working  mjohnharrison  2013  perspective  powersoften  discovery  curiosity  fractals  diffusion  toolsets 
february 2013 by robertogreco
note found in a copy of The Cosmic Code | the m john harrison blog
"Stop reading. Stop being anxious about your relations with books. Assume your skills are adequate. Assume you don’t know who you are. Go away to another town. When you get there, don’t “write”: instead begin recording what you see. Describe a life you can only be on the edge of. Get those people down. Get down what they do, what they say, how they say it. Aim for observational accuracy but understand that you can only ever proceed from emotional & moral judgements you have already made. Never try to resolve that opposition. Never think beyond the problem of getting things down. Keep everything. After two years go back to where you came from, if you any longer believe that to be possible, or if you believe yourself any longer to be the you that went away. You can start trying to “write” again now."
mjohnharrison  reading  writing  books  2013  noticing  observation  listening  accuracy  judgement  outofplace  difference  perspective  travel 
february 2013 by robertogreco
A brave new world: science fiction predictions for 2013
"With the novel Empty Space in 2012, M John Harrison concluded his Kefahuchi Tract trilogy begun with Light in 2002 and Nova Swing in 2006. Empty Space and its precursors paint their drama across a canvas reaching from the infinite scale of space-time, down through the quantum universe and into the depths of the human heart. Harrison's masterpiece is the outcome of a decades-long project to fuse the conceptual strength of SF with the human insights of literary fiction. Robert Macfarlane, chair of the Booker prize judging panel in 2013, picked Empty Space as his book of the year recently, and it's unlikely to be the first plaudit as more literary readers discover M John Harrison's remarkable writing."

"Space is SF's new black: Once upon a time our imagination populated outer space with exotic alien civilisations, and the space race inspired thousands of SF novels through the 60s and 70s. But when exploration revealed nothing but a barren solar system and infinite vacuum, space fell…"
scifi  predictions  trends  mjohnharrison  via:robinsloan  robinsloan  sciencefiction  books  2013  space 
january 2013 by robertogreco
acts of Frankenstein | the m john harrison blog
"Brutalise all plans & conceptions. Lose patience with last 10 years of ideas, now seen as prison. Bolt wrong components to wrong components! Sustained acts of Frankenstein & self-piracy! Address current emotional issues not 5 year old ones! New observations/notes; new philosophical/political insight; new structural problems/solutions. New imagery. Sense of adventure. Sense of risk in the material. Explore & affront your hopes for yourself. Glee at breaking own definitions & taboos. Carnage in the files. Parameters missing at the outset may be the things that writing will show you. In the end you have to get frightened enough to push down the pillars of your own establishment."
examinedlife  progressivism  progressive  deschooling  unschooling  perspective  self-examination  criticalthinking  mindchanging  mindchanges  notetaking  observations  observation  frankenstein  rebirth  establishment  disestablishment  fear  writing  radicalism  taboos  challenge  change  freedom  self-piracy  exploration  risk  2012  via:robinsonmeyer  yearoff  cv  shaking  canon  mjohnharrison 
december 2012 by robertogreco
john mullan, clapham & the no-fuck vampire novel | the m john harrison blog
"Literary fiction as described here is the fiction of a generation which discovered “good” novels via B-format in 1980. It is a fiction so very clearly generic that when I read John Mullan’s description of it (complete with successful business model, strict boundary conditions and committed fanbase which won’t read anything else) as not genre fiction, I weep with laughter at the sheer depth of his self-deception. Still, by the usual Freudian processes he has said what he really means, & that’s a step forward. The sooner literary fiction recognises & accepts its generic identity, the sooner it can get help. One of the more obvious results of generification is that–as with gentrification–blandness sets in, whether you’re knocking out no-fuck vampire romances or contributing to the high-performing post-Austen industry…"
literary  literature  literaryfiction  fiction  2011  genre  generification  mjohnharrison  blandness  self-deception  novels 
may 2011 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read