Har­ri­son Squared

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Here be mon­sters Re­lease Date: OUT NOW! 352 pages | Pa­per­back Au­thor: Daryl Gre­gory Pub­lisher: Ti­tan Books Sea mon­sters have been a source of fear and fas­ci­na­tion for cen­turies, and it is th­ese an­cient tales of le­viathans that in­vest Daryl Gre­gory’s sixth novel with a dank sense of pri­mal dread.

Shortly af­ter their ar­rival in the fog- bound fish­ing port of Dunns­mouth ( an un­set­tlingly odd place that might be twinned with Mid­wich), teenager Har­ri­son Har­ri­son’s marine bi­ol­o­gist mother goes miss­ing in a boat­ing ac­ci­dent eerily sim­i­lar to the one that claimed his fa­ther – and his own leg – more than a decade ear­lier.

Un­for­tu­nately for our hero, who har­bours a clammy ter­ror of the sea, the an­swers to the mys­tery lie sev­eral fath­oms be­low – Gre­gory can­nily ex­ploit­ing the sense that, while science fic­tion of­ten raises its face to the stars, there’s noth­ing quite so alien as what lies be­neath our own oceans.

Clearly in­spired by Co­leridge’s “The Rime Of The An­cient Mariner” – from which it quotes heav­ily – Har­ri­son Squared tem­pers its mu­cu­lent Love­craftian weird­ness with a dry wit, cour­tesy of its whip- smart pro­tag­o­nist, and oc­ca­sional pop- cul­tural asides to re­mind us that, how­ever strange this world might be, it’s still the same one Tay­lor Swift lives in.

It’s a shame so much time is de­voted to the town’s high school – those sub­mis­sive, glassy- eyed kids feel a bit old hat – but, that aside, this is a vividly told mys­tery story that, like Dunns­mouth it­self, re­veals hid­den depths. Paul Kirkley Want more? You can catch up with Har­ri­son 20 years later in Daryl Gre­gory’s We Are All Com­pletely Fine, pub­lished last year.

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