Literary Review: W. A. Harbinson - Into the World of Might Be

Paperback Cover - Into the World of Might Be

W. A. Harbinson

Into the World of Might Be
Booksurge Publishing, 2002
2nd Ed. 2008

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Date Reviewed:


Into the World of Might Be

W. A. Harbinson's superb ability to spin a yarn that grips you and never lets go, compelling you to continue reading through to the end without interruption, once again casts its spell with his recent fascinating and fantastical novel, Into the World of Might Be. But this is a novel with a difference. A lot of differences, to be accurate. The most immediately obvious one is that it is written entirely in prose, indeed it is a veritable tour de force of prose writing, which imposes a strict discipline upon the author, depriving him of the device of dialogue.

Perhaps depriving is not quite the appropriate choice of expression here. Given the context and subject matter of W. A. Harbinson's Into the World of Might Be, dialogue might actually have been something of a distraction I feel.

The other differences include that Into the World of Might Be is quite a short novel, a novelette really. Fortunately, it is not quantity that matters but quality. And that Harbinson, as ever, delivers with the greatest panache, setting him squarely amidst the finest writers of the modern age.

A further prominent difference, if you like, is that, more than any other of Harbinson's works, Into the World of Might Be is impossible to pigeonhole at all. It could fit too many at the same time, yet none of them comfortably. Into the World of Might Be can be all things to all men, it can be whatever you want it to be. Try psychological thriller, supernatural thriller, an exploration of the paranormal, or an adventure in exploration of Freudian psychoanalysis. (Thank goodness we are spared the these days oh so fashionable Jungian quasi-religious psycho-babble, so comforting in this age of booming neuroses and 'political correctness'. As unfashionable and politically incorrect as Freud maybe nowadays, his remains the only logical, sensible and valid explanation of human personality, until we can find the underlying bio-chemical mechanisms and thus quantify it. But I digress...) Or you might like to try, a literary exploration of the implications of quantum physics and alternate realities, or metaphysical novel, philosophical fiction, maybe, if you must, even science fiction novel, though this latter is perhaps the least apt and most restricting.

W. A. Harbinson's Into the World of Might Be works on all these levels at once, if you want it to. But one has to suspect that this was not the author's intention. Harbinson himself seems to be convinced that of all his works, this is the one that no one understands but he. He plays with your mind, challenging your intellect and your imagination in equal measure. Can you win? Can you measure up?

Are the two isolated astronauts at the core of the story, aboard a space station orbiting the moon, simply losing the plot? Or are they having some kind of metaphysical experience, where their thoughts create an alternate reality, a world that truly might be given the implications of modern quantum physics (ultra-condensed, if you think it, it is). Do they transcend into this might-be world of their creation? Are they perhaps drawn into some parallel multiverse, perhaps by some form of higher beings? Or is this simply a story of what might be?

No, I'd hate to give it all away and spoil the fun. You'll simply have to read W. A. Harbinson's Into the World of Might Be yourself and discover the answers for yourself. Make up your own mind about what might be. Or what might not be, as the case may be. What I can and will say without giving anything away, however, is that this is a literary "music of the spheres", and almost a kind of literary analogue to the music of contemporary jazz-fusion exponent Asaf Sirkis, who might have chosen the same title for an album or track. Into the World of Might Be is haunting, often ethereal, always cerebral and challenging, arising out of a fathomless imagination and purest inspiration. It is awesome and inspiring. Let your imagination drift and wander, and wonder what might be...

W. A. 'Allen' Harbinson's Into the World of Might Be is published as a "print on demand" book, one of the blessings of the digital age that has made possible this alternative to the modern conglomerate publishing monster, and is available through (and I believe I have also encountered most of his recent "print on demand" works on Amazon UK). Do note however that this method of publishing is not some new form of the "vanity publishing" of old, rather, it is akin to the independent marketing of music CDs by "unsigned" artists. (The literary equivalent of the music MP3, the digital book or e-book, is still in its early infancy.)

Probably the most stimulating and thought-provoking novel of recent times, W. A. Harbinson's Into the World of Might Be is a hugely enjoyable read that I found impossible to put down until I'd read it cover to cover. And then felt compelled to start over again. Into the World of Might Be has to be Harbinson's most outstanding work of fiction yet, among his huge output of outstanding works. This is truly a masterpiece. Harbinson's use of the language and fine prose alone could make Into the World of Might Be compulsive reading. At any rate, if you are a genuine connoisseur of language and higher literature, old-fashioned as such concepts perhaps might be today. Yes, might be...

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