REVIEW: “The Ice Monkey” by M. John Harrison

Review of M. John Harrison, “The Ice Monkey”, in Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020, with a foreword by Jennifer Hodgson (Comma Press, 2020): 203-216. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Content warning: Climbing accident; death.

This story showcases Harrison’s mastery of drawing up the most banal of characters — putting unsympathetic people in unsympathetic situations and then making the reader want to read about them anyway. There wasn’t really anything speculative about this story, nothing of the glorious science-fictional flights of imagination that so many others in this anthology have, just cold, dark realism.

(First published in New Terrors 2, 1980).