M. John Harrison

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M. John Harrison (born 26 July 1945), known as Mike Harrison, is an English author and reviewer, primarily of slipstream, science fiction and fantasy. His work includes the Viriconium sequence of novels and short stories, (1982), Climbers (1989), and Light (2002). He currently resides in London.



Life and work

Harrison was born in Rugby, Warwickshire in 1945. According to the jacket blurb of his first novel, he was treated to a technical education which didn't stick; he worked at various times as a groom (North Warwicks Hunt), a teacher, and a clerk for a masonic charity outfit; his hobbies included dwarfs, electric guitars and writing pastiches of H.H. Munro.

From 1968 to 1975 he was literary editor of the New Wave science fiction magazine New Worlds. He was central to the New Wave movement which also included writers such as Norman Spinrad, Barrington Bayley and Thomas M. Disch. As reviewer for New Worlds he often used the pseudonym "Joyce Churchill" and was trenchantly critical of many works and writers published under the rubric of science fiction.

Amongst his works of that period are three stories utilising the Jerry Cornelius character invented by Michael Moorcock. (These stories do not appear in any of Harrison's own collections but do appear in the Nature of the Catastrophe and New Nature of the Catastophe published under Moorcock's name.) Other early stories appearing as from 1966, featured in anthologies such as such as New Writings in SF edited by John Carnell, and in magazines such as Transatlantic Review and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Harrison was a regular contributor to New Manchester Review (1978–79).

His first two novels, the dystopian The Committed Men and the revisionist space opera The Centauri Device have been reprinted several times. The latter was included in the SF Masterworks series, though Harrison is reputedly not fond of it. His work is profoundly leftist and committed to depicting alienated characters in the world of late Capitalism.

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