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Old 10-11-2017   #1
Robin Davies
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M. John Harrison

A recent interview about his new short story collection contains a few interesting comments about fantasy (with mentions of Machen and de la Mare):
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Old 10-11-2017   #2
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Re: M. John Harrison

I've read some his stories and have enjoyed them. What do you and others here consider his best work?
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Old 10-11-2017   #3
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Re: M. John Harrison

Good writer, though he pronounced Machen incorrectly. I disagree with some of his views on fantasy fiction, as I can enjoy a certain style of epic fantasy outside of my admitted preference for the liminal fantasies of Aickman/de la Mare/Machen, but it's nice to see somebody able to articulate their views well.

He lives in the same county as I do, oddly.

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Old 10-11-2017   #4
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
I've read some his stories and have enjoyed them. What do you and others here consider his best work?
The only ones I'm not keen on are Nova Swing and Empty Space.
I would strongly recommend Things That Never Happen which contains most of his best short stories, and the magnificent novel The Course of the Heart.
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Old 10-11-2017   #5
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
I've read some his stories and have enjoyed them. What do you and others here consider his best work?
The Course of the Heart - although that's highly subjective because it's the first work of his i encountered, at the exact time i discovered the Machen and Yeats stories that dealt with similar subject matter and coming from more traditional fantastical modes as i did, this whole new continuum was like a welcome slap in the face; seeing the fantastic painted from the vantage point of perfectly described everyday reality. Immanence vs. transcendence done really well.
He is a master stylist anyway, so it all comes equally recommended.

Which stories of his have you read, bendk ( i ask also in a sincere attempt to look at some common ground, which, in the very recent past, we have not perhaps had occasion to do ) ?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 10-11-2017   #6
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Good writer, though he pronounced Machen incorrectly. I disagree with some of his views on fantasy fiction, as I can enjoy a certain style of epic fantasy outside of my admitted preference for the liminal fantasies of Aickman/de la Mare/Machen, but it's nice to see somebody able to articulate their views well.
...how is Machen pronounced?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 10-11-2017   #7
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
Quote Originally Posted by bendk View Post
I've read some his stories and have enjoyed them. What do you and others here consider his best work?
The only ones I'm not keen on are Nova Swing and Empty Space.
I would strongly recommend Things That Never Happen which contains most of his best short stories, and the magnificent novel The Course of the Heart.
Haven't read Empty Space yet. What's wrong with it?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 10-11-2017   #8
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Good writer, though he pronounced Machen incorrectly. I disagree with some of his views on fantasy fiction, as I can enjoy a certain style of epic fantasy outside of my admitted preference for the liminal fantasies of Aickman/de la Mare/Machen, but it's nice to see somebody able to articulate their views well.
...how is Machen pronounced?
Rhymes with bracken, so 'Macken'.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 10-11-2017   #9
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Re: M. John Harrison

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
...how is Machen pronounced?
Rhymes with bracken, so 'Macken'.
I think that is a common misconception.
I pronounced him Makin' (rhymes with breakin' ) for decades until I read corrections a few years ago.
Wonder if there is a geographic preference.
It wasn't until I started visiting Britain (then called England) back in the 80s and heard local pronunciations.
Leicester, Pall Mall, Worcestershire, Thames, etc ...
My inner transcriber had everything bungled.

Last edited by Zaharoff; 10-11-2017 at 06:16 PM..
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Old 10-11-2017   #10
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Re: M. John Harrison

Back in the 70's, Gwynne Phillips, my (then) wife's great grandmother, taught me the proper pronunciation of Machen's name. A wonderful woman who had letters from Dunsany and Bob Howard and who never missed an issue of Punch. How often we would debate on Lovecraft! She complained that she always felt he was trying to scare himself. I argued that's what great horror writers do. Probably the most remarkable woman I've ever known.

In the early 80's I also heard the proper pronunciation in Carpenter's "The Fog." "Old Man Machen."
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