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Harkaway, Nick

Entry updated 15 May 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of UK author Nicholas Cornwell (1972-    ) whose first novel, The Gone-Away World (2008), applies toxic gouaches of Equipoise to a Post-Holocaust tale set in a surrealized Alternate World, where resemblances to the "real" world can be seen as diversionary: x or y may differ from consensual reality, and the telling of the tale may dwell on these differences, but the alphabet of the story as a whole describes the Near Future we are entering. The plot is gonzo (and unfortunately the protagonist's name is Gonzo) but focuses, eventually, around an attempt to preserve the "Jorgmund Pipe" whose contents are designed to stave off what might be called Ontology Drift as things, literally, fall apart. The noise of the tale is fairly terrific, but is in the end governed by an underlying seriousness; an assessment that might be applied as well to his second novel, Angelmaker (2012), set partially in a Steampunk-inflected twentieth century in the years before World War Two, and aiming its Satire – through an exuberantly overelaborated plot – primarily against the savagery of Utopian thinking, especially as applied to the thoughts and actions of a Villain who wishes the world to reiterate endless images of himself: thus gaining Immortality. Tigerman (2014) is set in a remorsefully predictable Near Future Earth ravaged by corporate Pollution, with most of its over-the-traces action events centred on a Pacific Island due for demolition as it has become irremediably toxic through the deposit of chemical wastes; the protagonist, who assumes a Superhero role, complete with secret identity and a robin sidekick named Robin, attempts to restore justice. Ironies abound. Titanium Noir (2023) plays on the gonzo conceit that (channelling the Titans of yore), a Near Future privileged owner class may undergo live-action Genetic Engineering procedures that not only make them Immortal but noticeably bigger. These creatures turn out sadly difficult to kill.

The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World (2012), which is nonfiction, argues that with all its dehumanizing potential, the digital information revolution may save us from slavery to international corporations. [JC]

see also: Kitschies.

Nicholas Cornwell

born Cornwall: 1972


collections and stories



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