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A Storm of Wings (Viriconium #2)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  255 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews

Viriconium: The Pastel City was the last bastion of the civilized world where Queen Methvet Nian ruled supreme. Now she watched, helpless, as the Time of the Locust became a monstrous reality, turning the inhabitants into hideous, mindless insects.

Cellur, the Bird Lord, e
Paperback, 185 pages
Published 1980 by Sphere
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Bill  Kerwin
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing

One of the most memorable characters in A Storm of Wings is the fabled lunanaut Benedict Paucemanly, who, after one hundred years of imprisonment on the moon, can not only no longer retain his original form, but also has difficulty maintaining any particular shape. He expands and contracts automatically, helplessly, and occasionally disintegrates into little globules resembling scores of floating clouds. His speech, although suggestive and poetic, is difficult to decipher. Occasionally he comes
Kat  Hooper
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

A Storm of Wings is the second part of M. John Harrison’s VIRICONIUM sequence. Viriconium has been at peace for eighty years after the threat from the north was eliminated, but now there are new threats to the city. Something has detached from the moon and fallen to earth. A huge insect head has been discovered in one of the towns of the Reborn. The Reborn are starting to go mad. Also, a new rapidly growing cult is teaching that there is no objective reali
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Chaos, madness, insanity. These are words that feel apt to describe this second book of the Viriconium series by M. John Harrison. And how could it not be so, as half of the book's main characters are either mad or insane and its protagonist is more chaotic than a air-bubble under boil. As usual, I will avoid going into describing the synopsis of the book, you can read that up there ^. Instead, I will go straight into my review.

I've read in other reviews that this novel's characters ar
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
A Storm of Wings is in incredibly frustrating book because the author both tries too hard and doesn't try hard enough. For example, M. John Harrison tries far too hard to convince the reader that the setting of his novel is dream-like, hallucinatory, and weird. That's a fine world-building goal in itself, but when one of your primary ways of achieving a phantasmagorical setting is to describe things over and over with the words “indescribable” and “alien,” you're actively avoiding engaging with ...more
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Harrison had matured as a writer when he penned this sequel to The Pastel City - some nine years having passed in between - and it showed: he discarded or relegated to the background the weaker elements from the prior book and concentrated upon its, and his, strengths. Harrison has always excelled at painting atmospheric scapes and moods; at finding the sorrow and melancholy, the potentiality for loss and regret that is inherent in existence, in the passage of space through the straitening par ...more
Si en "La ciudad Pastel" se nos presentaba a un Harrison dispuesto a emprenderla con la fantasía y sus baratijas de escapismo y consuelo, pero en la que no acababa de manejarse con soltura, en "Tormenta de Alas", publicada casi diez años después, nos encontramos con un Harrison mucho mejor pertrechado que comienza a desmontar el relato y los arquetipos de la fantasía heroica como normalmente la entendemos, un poco a la manera de Moorcock, pero llevándolo al extremo.

El relato se desarrolla ochent
'Tormenta de alas' es una novela más compleja que su predecesora, 'La Ciudad Pastel' (incluida en 'Caballeros de Viriconium'). La historia es más enrevesada, con una prosa barroca y recargada, por lo que hay que prestarle una atención completa a su lectura. Es como cuando se está montando un puzzle, que se comienza por las esquinas y el marco, encajando las piezas camino del centro y de su solución. Esta novela es así, se te van mostrando partes de la historia, que en un principio parecen no ten ...more
Edward Rathke
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Devastating and disorienting. It's one of the most surreal novels I can remember, and it plays with memory and time and reality so carelessly that it throws you often into the effluvium of existence in a rotting world on a dying earth.

It's shockingly beautiful in this grotesque and horrifying way. Harrison writes almost exclusively perfect sounding sentences, but they never distract from the miasma that's called the narrative.

It's a novel populated by people and reality literally going insane.
I wanted to like it more than I did.

I understand the influence this book had on a lot of the writers usually classified as the New Weird. Parts of it really were great, but somehow reading it felt like a chore instead of, well, fun.

Just like the first book in the Viriconium series, I would have loved the book to spend more time in Viriconium itself.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Certainly wasn't expecting this after Pastel City. Kind of inspiring how this author pulls off a combination of weird high style, scenes of insane scale and movement, and an absolutely twisted and beautiful vision. rare dude.
M. John Harrison’s second Viriconium story (1980) is a dull, rudderless, exasperating 2-star novel with eruptions of 5-star genius suckerpunching this reader throughout.

Imagine climbing an enormous spiral-staircase of junk-DNA with sudden, gleaming strands of revelatory code supercharging your journey at unforeseen intervals. There is depth, power, and splendor, but mostly weariness and frustration that Harrison couldn’t devise a tighter story-frame for his bracing imaginative gifts.

Nouveau Weir
Dan Prisk
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I almost didn't read this. After reading The Pastel City I wasn't motivated to continue the series - that was an enjoyable book, but it failed to really grab my attention. But I read a discussion that talked about how different every book in the series is, and it piqued my interest.

From the start this is a very different book. Rather than the somewhat plain style of the first (that has a self-styled poet as the lead character) this is beautifully poetic, and dreamlike (yet with a street assa
Apr 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2013
The ideas Harrison is trying to play with in this novel are subtler, trickier, and perhaps more interesting than those of the first novel. Unfortunately, this book fails to explore these succesfully. The first third of the book is wonderfully done: Harrison at his best, engaging the reader whilst simultaneously bewildering and disorientating them. After that, things start to slip away. Clever notions are introduced that demand slow and patient development, but are let down by hurried and garbled ...more
Mark O'Neill
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
And this is why literature is a wonder. M John Harrison writes, in A Storm of Wings, a dense anti-fantasy of interlacing realities that is a reworking of his more conventional The Pastel City. Yet beyond these facts lies a book stranger than almost anything I have read; full of surrealism, body horror and metaphysical despair; anchored by prose of preternatural competence; and that on release was bound neither to please the average high fantasy fan who would pick it up, nor to reach the more exp ...more
Book 2 in the Viriconium sequence. This is the volume where Harrison's influence & Mieville's, Vandermeer's debt is most clear. Both sequel and remix of The Pastel City, its many totems (swordsman, queen, dwarf, destruction) cast to different effect, its language baroque, even more world-weary, and strange.
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This volume feels as if it is at a midpoint between a relatively normal fantasy novel of a quest to defeat a great evil and a philosophical meditation on memory and reality. As one or the other it would work, but as a gestalt of the two it fails to interest me.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Weird beyond measure, grotesque, insane, poetic, beautiful.
Roddy Williams
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The belated sequel to ‘The Pastel City’ is a complex and sometimes impregnable novel, dense with metaphor and imagery, laced with an air of depression and futility.
tegeus-Cromis the warrior-poet is dead. It is eighty years since the War of The Two Queens, during which a large number of people of the Afternoon Cultures were ‘Reborn’ into the twilight of the world.
The Reborn, however, do not take easily to the Future and all have begun to suffer from a state of delusion plagued by visions and re
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
MJH's 'Pastel City' (1971) struck me as a somewhat more sophisticated take on Moorcock's late 60's/early 70's heroic fantasies. This is altogether different. From one POV it is extraordinary; poetic, seething with unctuous imagery. Conventional rythm does not obtain. No short phrases, but huge paragraphs which follow their own sensibilities; paranthetically delving into themselves and ultimately... are you hating this review? It's written in the style of the book, more or less. At the same time ...more
Peter Dunn
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
M. John Harrison returns to Viriconium and you can tell that the happy ending of The Pastel City still irks him. Viriconium is a city that embodies slow decline at the end human history on Earth where the city and its people get on with things knowing that past glories are likely to remain past glories.

However the end of The Pastel City gave new hope and saw Viriconium recover technology and aspire to past achievements of the Afternoon Cultures. This book resolutely resets that world to one of g
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A flawed and messy masterpiece of science fantasy, alien invasion, and madness. Swords and sorcerers and lunar travelers swirled together in a story that is half apocalypse now and half war of the worlds. The writing is thick and curvy and confusing and sometimes amazing. It picks up the fractured and brooding world of the pastel city (prequel, more melodrama and less alien-ness. A little less.) and fills that land with more complex and real unrealities.
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely among the most underrated fantasy works of all time.
Frank Chimkin
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Read as part of 'Viriconium' omnibus. See 'In Viriconium' entry for edition information.
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yeah, that was weird. In a good way, I think, but it does take some work from the reader, so be prepared.
Miguel Ángel Moreno
Esta novela es más poesía que prosa. Cuando acierta (algunas partes de la segunda mitad), es muy buena; pero cuando falla (la mayoría), es ilegible.
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2009
Greg Kurzawa
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2009
Lars-Erik Sutton
rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2016
rated it it was ok
Jul 07, 2012
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aka Gabriel King (with Jane Johnson)

Michael John Harrison was born in Rugby, Warwickshire in 1945 and now lives in London.
Harrison is stylistically an Imagist and his early work relies heavily on the use of strange juxtapositions characteristic of absurdism.

More about M. John Harrison...

Other Books in the Series

Viriconium (4 books)
  • The Pastel City
  • The Floating Gods
  • Viriconium Nights

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“Some internal process held him rapt. He had begun, perhaps, to map the paths inside himself which led to the Past. This gave him an absentminded air, and an irritable one, as if by our presence we interrupted some private conversation--although had anyone suggested this he would have rejected it angrily. Attempting to live simultaneously in two worlds, he rode moodily ahead and seemed to see nothing--head bowed into rain, blood-red armour pulsing like a beacon. If it was madness then it was only the madness that has infected all his people since their Rebirth. They will learn in the end that the journey they long for is impossible, and accept the world as it is.” 0 likes
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