M. John Harrison Quote

Instead, as the crystal splinters entered Hornwrack's brain, he experienced two curious dreams of the Low City, coming so quickly one after the other that they seemed simultaneous. In the first, long shadows moved across the ceiling frescoes of the Bistro Californium, beneath which Lord Mooncarrot's clique awaited his return to make a fourth at dice. Footsteps sounded on the threshold. The women hooded their eyes and smiled, or else stifled a yawn, raising dove-grey gloves to their blue, phthisic lips. Viriconium, with all her narcissistic intimacies and equivocal invitations welcomed him again. He had hated that city, yet now it was his past and it was he had to regret...The second of these visions was of the Rue Sepile. It was dawn, in summer. Horse-chestnut flowers bobbed like white wax candles above the deserted pavements. An oblique light struck into the street - so that its long and normally profitless perspective seemed to lead straight into the heart of a younger, more ingenuous city - and fell across the fronts of the houses where he had once lived, warming up the rotten brick and imparting to it a not unpleasant pinkish colour. Up at the second-floor casement window a boy was busy with the bright red geraniums arranged along the outer still in lumpen terra-cotta pots. He looked down at Hornwrack and smiled. Before Hornwrack could speak he drew down the lower casement and turned away. The glass which no separated them reflected the morning sunlight in a silent explosion; and Hornwrack, dazzled mistaking the light for the smile, suddenly imagined an incandescence which would melt all those old streets! Rue Sepile; the Avenue of Children; Margery Fry Court: all melted down! All the shabby dependencies of the Plaza of Unrealized Time! All slumped, sank into themselves, eroded away until nothing was left in his field of vision but an unbearable white sky above and the bright clustered points of the chestnut leaves below - and then only a depthless opacity, behind which he could detect the beat of his own blood, the vitreous humour of the eye. He imagined the old encrusted brick flowing, the glass cracking and melting from its frames even as they shrivelled awake, the sheds of paints flaring green and gold, the geraniums toppling in flames to nothing, not even white ash, under this weight of light! All had winked away like reflections in a jar of water glass, and only the medium remained, bright, viscid, vacant. He had a sense of the intolerable briefness of matter, its desperate signalling and touching, its fall; and simultaneously one of its unendurable durability He thought, Something lies behind all the realities of the universe and is replacing them here, something less solid and more permanent. Then the world stopped haunting him forever.

M. John Harrison

Instead, as the crystal splinters entered Hornwrack's brain, he experienced two curious dreams of the Low City, coming so quickly one after the other that they seemed simultaneous. In the first, long shadows moved across the ceiling frescoes of the Bistro Californium, beneath which Lord Mooncarrot's clique awaited his return to make a fourth at dice. Footsteps sounded on the threshold. The women hooded their eyes and smiled, or else stifled a yawn, raising dove-grey gloves to their blue, phthisic lips. Viriconium, with all her narcissistic intimacies and equivocal invitations welcomed him again. He had hated that city, yet now it was his past and it was he had to regret...The second of these visions was of the Rue Sepile. It was dawn, in summer. Horse-chestnut flowers bobbed like white wax candles above the deserted pavements. An oblique light struck into the street - so that its long and normally profitless perspective seemed to lead straight into the heart of a younger, more ingenuous city - and fell across the fronts of the houses where he had once lived, warming up the rotten brick and imparting to it a not unpleasant pinkish colour. Up at the second-floor casement window a boy was busy with the bright red geraniums arranged along the outer still in lumpen terra-cotta pots. He looked down at Hornwrack and smiled. Before Hornwrack could speak he drew down the lower casement and turned away. The glass which no separated them reflected the morning sunlight in a silent explosion; and Hornwrack, dazzled mistaking the light for the smile, suddenly imagined an incandescence which would melt all those old streets! Rue Sepile; the Avenue of Children; Margery Fry Court: all melted down! All the shabby dependencies of the Plaza of Unrealized Time! All slumped, sank into themselves, eroded away until nothing was left in his field of vision but an unbearable white sky above and the bright clustered points of the chestnut leaves below - and then only a depthless opacity, behind which he could detect the beat of his own blood, the vitreous humour of the eye. He imagined the old encrusted brick flowing, the glass cracking and melting from its frames even as they shrivelled awake, the sheds of paints flaring green and gold, the geraniums toppling in flames to nothing, not even white ash, under this weight of light! All had winked away like reflections in a jar of water glass, and only the medium remained, bright, viscid, vacant. He had a sense of the intolerable briefness of matter, its desperate signalling and touching, its fall; and simultaneously one of its unendurable durability He thought, Something lies behind all the realities of the universe and is replacing them here, something less solid and more permanent. Then the world stopped haunting him forever.

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About M. John Harrison

Michael John Harrison (born 26 July 1945), known for publication purposes primarily as M. John Harrison, is an English author and literary critic. His work includes the Viriconium sequence of novels and short stories (1971–1984), Climbers (1989), and the Kefahuchi Tract trilogy, which consists of Light (2002), Nova Swing (2006) and Empty Space (2012). He is widely considered one of the major stylists of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a "genre contrarian". Robert Macfarlane has said: "Harrison is best known as one of the restless fathers of modern SF, but to my mind he is among the most brilliant novelists writing today, with regard to whom the question of genre is an irrelevance." The Times Literary Supplement described him as "a singular stylist" and the Literary Review called him "a witty and truly imaginative writer".