Out of print for years and appearing in a single volume for the first time, these three novellas and seven stories straddle the line between fantasy and science fiction.
The works collected here are set in a post-apocalyptic far-future where some advanced technology remains, though humanity has all but forgotten how to use it. The world that Harrison depicts is intricate and authentic, peopled with a multitude of strange yet lifelike characters—a combination which serves to make his richly-imagined empire of Viriconium feel very real indeed. The first entry (“The Pastel City”) is singularly brilliant, and is easily the most accessible and straightforward of these stories—a sort of high-fantasy quest given a sci-fi treatment, written with all the hallmarks of “serious” literature. The other tales, equally deft and literary, grow more experimental in both scope and style.
This omnibus collection from the author of Light (2004) is canon-reading for those who wish to know the genre's roots, as well as the heights, to which it can aspire.