Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I was in Borders a while back when I stumbled into a copy of Viriconium by M. John Harrison on display. I picked it up to find that it was an omnibus volume of books which I had already read back in the 70s and 80s. But I was elated to find it and eager to reread the books. I’ve read The Pastel City and almost finished with A Storm of Wings. This is followed by In Viriconium and Viriconium Knights. M. John Harrison will probably not appeal to everyone. The four books are fantasy. He’s heavy on exposition and description and very light, almost non-existent on dialogue. But he’s also very rich in language and how he uses it. The culture he writes about is one you’ll never see on earth. It’s strange ambience is comprised of castles and towers and the Low City. It is peopled with remnants of the Afternoon Culture and the people living now, the Evening People. It’s a strange place and its protagonists are equally strange; Tomb the Dwarf, tegeus-Cronis who has been holed up in his tower for years, Galen Hornwrack, pilot of a dirigible, Queen Methvet Nian and Cellur the birdman, who makes magnificent living birds of iridium. I am glad that I stumbled into this four-in-one volume after some twenty-five years. I’m enjoying it perhaps even more on this second reading. In case you're interested in reading this book it’s a trade paperback from Bantam Books.


Blogger Bill said...

I read and enjoyed The Pastel City, but somehow I never went on to read anything else by Harrison.

6:50 AM  
Blogger adamosf said...

Virconium always intrigued me, but then I read light and found it only fair, so I did not think the time investment required for that 4-in-1 volume worthwhile. Your review has made me reconsider that though. Perhaps someday...

3:48 PM  
Blogger Andy J said...

It sounds interesting but I'm currently in a "read the good books first" mindset. There's just too much good stuff that we'll never get to. This thought is about my only source of anxiety but it's a real powerful one. I'm actually making up a list of books to be read that I'll constantly revise. Hopefully at some point this will allow me to scale back on my purchases which are, as always, out of control.

11:40 AM  

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