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Worlds Apart. Town Planning in Viriconium: M John Harrison and Worldbuilding

Luna's fifth Call for Papers, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction is now in pre-order and will be released on Tuesday 27th of July. Here is a chance to discover the 14 brilliant papers you will find in the book in the order they appear.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Peter Garrett, presenting the paper: "Town Planning in Viriconium: M John Harrison and Worldbuilding"


In 2007, M John Harrison’s characterisation of worldbuilding as “the great clomping foot of nerdism” provoked an internet storm. This essay explores aspects of the online debate and reviews associated academic papers and formal publications, before examining the influences and techniques used by Harrison in the Viriconium series in order to subvert encyclopaedic worldbuilding. Methods identified include imagism, absurdist and surrealist techniques, intertextuality, allusional montage, and a complex system of internal reference. Finally, the essay considers the merits of application of Wolfgang Iser’s reader-response theory to the Viriconium opus. Iser’s methodology is a powerful tool that can be used to illuminate the nature and purpose of Harrison’s subversion of concord fiction, exemplified by comprehensive worldbuilding. Peter Garrett is an independent writer and humanitarian physician, and a graduate of the Lancaster University School of Creative Writing. He has been shortlisted and longlisted, respectively, for the Fish Flash Fiction and Fish Short Story awards, and his novelette Final Diagnosis (Luna Press Publishing) was nominated for the 2017 BSFA awards. For most of the time he lives in the countryside of the northwest of Ireland in a big old house with his wife and far too many animals.

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

is now in pre-order!


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