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.