Nick Harkaway

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Nick Harkaway

Goodreads Author


Born
in Truro, The United Kingdom
Website

Genre

Influences
William Gibson, Georges Simenon, Anne Michaels, Anne Carson, Annie Pro ...more

Member Since
June 2008

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Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall, UK in 1972. He is possessed of two explosively exciting eyebrows, which exert an almost hypnotic attraction over small children, dogs, and - thankfully - one ludicrously attractive human rights lawyer, to whom he is married.

He likes: oceans, mountains, lakes, valleys, and those little pigs made of marzipan they have in Switzerland at new year.

He does not like: bivalves. You just can't trust them.


Nick Harkaway is currently not accepting new questions.

Popular Answered Questions

Nick Harkaway ARGH! There's no such thing. Seriously: THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. You know what there is? There's a bunch of problems, creative and otherwise, that…moreARGH! There's no such thing. Seriously: THERE. IS. NO. SUCH. THING. You know what there is? There's a bunch of problems, creative and otherwise, that can stop you writing. They are not block. They are important skills. For example: very often, around the middle of a book, I grind to a halt. I can go no further, everything I write is catastrophically stupid. I tend to get very upset about that, and I'm unmentionably annoying to be around for a few days. My wife generally has to remind me how to fix the problem.

The way you fix it is you go back to the beginning and you get rid of all the junk, broken stuff you put in back before you understood what the hell the book was actually about, the stuff that is now preventing you from doing the really amazing things that will make the book special. You have to re-envision the whole thing, understand what you meant but could not at the time express. Sometimes that means cutting heavily, sometimes it means changing great swathes, sometimes it's a question of reading that crucial passage that carries your book in potential and taping it up over your desk.

Calling that moment "writer's block" is slandering yourself. It's not a block, it's the process. Don't demonise it! Beg for it! It's what stops you from writing lousy prose, saggy plots, unsatisfying endings. LOVE YOUR CRITICAL FACULTY.

Alternatively: at any time in the course of a book, I may find I cannot write it, bash away at it, hate myself, and then realise it's because I haven't done my chores. I haven't paid the credit card bill or whatever.

Understand: your ability to write is bound up with who you are and with your moods. It is tied to whether you are happy, sad, tense, relaxed, blah. It is you. So when something is wrong with your inkflow, that means either that you've goofed creatively or that you're not fixing something broken elsewhere in your world.

Love your mutant power. Do not try to force it to do something. Learn to listen.(less)
Nick Harkaway Weeeeellllll, I get ideas the way you get hit by raindrops if you go outside in a storm. Some of them are good and if I'm lucky they collide with…moreWeeeeellllll, I get ideas the way you get hit by raindrops if you go outside in a storm. Some of them are good and if I'm lucky they collide with other ideas and then I have a story. Some of them are awful. Really, really awful. I sit bolt upright in bed and shout something about how I'm a genius and I write it all down and I wake in the morning to a note about how bananas are going to kill the King of Silesia and take over the world, and only a trained monkey called Newton, armed with a grocer's apron wrapped around the skull of a dead saint, can possibly save us. And I look at that and I have to admit that while it possesses the virtue of originality it is clearly crap.

But every so often ideas collide and produce something exciting, and then it's not a question of persuading myself to write, but of budgeting time to do other things like eat.

Where ideas come from... I think that's about taking the brakes off your mind. We're all trained as kids to stop thinking the ridiculous things and be sensible, and writing is about recapturing the possibility that there are invisible mousemonsters that sneak onto buses and chew the furniture and they are kept in line by a young woman with a magic accordion. It's about permitting yourself to touch the weird in search of the amazing.(less)
Average rating: 4.01 · 19,380 ratings · 3,065 reviews · 17 distinct works · Similar authors
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More books by Nick Harkaway…
My new book, Tigerman, is coming out on May 22nd in the UK, June 2nd in Australia and July 29th in the US.

(Sorry, Americans: I do try, every time, to get them all sync'd, but the publishing industry doesn't take to it.)

I'm doing a bunch of publicity stuff around it and of course I'll be at some festivals this year - Hay and Edinburgh to name the two big'uns - and I'll be at the Literary Death M... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on May 08, 2014 06:33 • 387 views • Tags: literary-fiction, new-book, novel, superhero, thriller, tigerman

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Interviews

July 2014, Nick Harkaway
"On a radioactive island a middle-aged British sergeant becomes a crime-fighting superhero in Tigerman, a genre-bending adventure from the author of Angelmaker." ...More

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Nick's Recent Updates

Nick rated a book it was amazing
Spook Country by William Gibson
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Quite possibly my favourite Gibson. Quite possibly a modern classic. Quite possibly the best book you'll read this year. The Blue Ant sequence is excellent and elegantly concludes in Zero History, but this is the one I come back to. Masterful prose, ...more
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
Nick rated a book really liked it
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
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Lovely, very short book on the wonders of physics. Intended for the absolute neophyte, so hardly testing - although I did find new perspectives in the mix. Fractionally awkward translation in places, but a really enjoyable and almost poetic journey.
Nick rated a book really liked it
The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1)
by Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)
read in October, 2015
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Would ANYONE be surprised if I said that this was great? No? Good. Because it is. Typical Butcher: ooh, look, new environment and concept set, guess I'll just make myself at home.

Steampunkish in that it features airships and tea, this is a long way
...more
Nick rated a book really liked it
Crooked by Austin Grossman
Crooked
by Austin Grossman (Goodreads Author)
read in August, 2015
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Nixon fights Cthulhu - not hand to hand, and not by name, but that's your premise, and let's just fess up and say Oooooooh, yeaaah!

Does it work? Yes, but maybe not the way you're thinking. Austin Grossman brings you Nixon like you've never seen him b
...more
Nick rated a book it was amazing
The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod
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Just one of my favourite books ever. Cracking UK-based future politico-punk, complete with left-libertarian communes and AI inception in a Balkanised Britain. Superb.
Nick rated a book really liked it
Armada by Ernest Cline
Armada
by Ernest Cline (Goodreads Author)
read in July, 2015
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Vastly enjoyable piffle in which video games are a training ground for space combat and robot warfare. No trope goes unroped, no gamer pop classic unreferenced, as Cline romps through his preposterous story ringing bells at every step along the way. ...more
Nick rated a book really liked it
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
read in July, 2015
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Fascinating book, arguably more ambitious and modern than Lee's masterwork, though far less narratively coherent and clear cut. From a professional and cultural viewpoint: unmissable. As a straight out read? Engaging, but not staggering. Full and spo ...more
Nick rated a book it was amazing
Ubik by Philip K. Dick
Ubik
by Philip K. Dick
read in July, 2015
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One of PKD's celebrated stories, famously bewildering. I loved it and didn't find it bewildering so much as I was conscious that Dick was controlling what you know quite tightly, and perhaps occasionally making new rules or extending the fine print t ...more
Nick wants to read
Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin
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More of Nick's books…
“I love you forever. I am sorry I cannot love you now.”
Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker

“I have known heaven, and now I am in hell, and there are mimes.”
Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World
tags: mimes

“Ninjas are silly. They are the flower fairies of gong fu and karate.”
Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

Polls

SEPTEMBER SCIENCE FICTION: This poll decides which two books will move on to the run-off poll for our September SF Book of the Month!

 
  26 votes, 25.2%

 
  24 votes, 23.3%

 
  24 votes, 23.3%

 
  13 votes, 12.6%

 
  8 votes, 7.8%

 
  8 votes, 7.8%

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Topics Mentioning This Author

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The Sword and Laser: 2012 21 128 Feb 16, 2012 11:53AM  
“A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population or significance, sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until--"My God," says a second man, "I must be dreaming, I thought I saw a unicorn." At which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience... "Look, look!" recites the crowd. "A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer.”
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead




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