Welcome

Michael John Grist is a British science-fiction & fantasy author and ruins photographer. For 11 years he lived in Tokyo exploring Japan’s modern ruins, such as abandoned theme parks, military bases, and ghost towns, gaining millions of hits on this website with his photographs and stories of exploration.

The best of these adventures are now collected in his unique travel book Japan in Ruins, which bestseller Japan aficionado Barry Eisler calls, “gorgeous, haunting, stunning.”

Michael also writes fiction, usually fantasy and science fiction infused with weirdness, inspired by his real-life ruins experiences.

- His debut fantasy novel Ignifer’s Rise tells the story of Sen, a young boy covered in mysterious scars who must fight the King’s misshapen creations to unite his city behind the banner of a long dead hero, before the jaws of apocalypse descend.

- His science fiction trilogy The Ruins Sonata will be released shortly.

- He also has two collections of short stories you can read about below.

You can see his Japan ruins galleries here, his curated ruins here, his reviews here, and his blog posts here.

For new book releases and special offers, please join the newsletter here.

Now some books.

 

Books

 

Japan in Ruins – Adventures in Abandoned Japan

For five years Michael John Grist explored and photographed over 100 of the most beautiful and haunting modern ruins in Japan (called haikyo), from abandoned theme parks and ghost towns to deserted love hotels and relics of World War II.

He documented these explorations with photographs and stories, earning millions of hits on his website and featuring in books, magazines, blogs, national newspapers, and a documentary movie.

Japan in Ruins tells the best of all those adventures, with gorgeous photographs and fascinating snippets of history, poetry, philosophy, and fiction, exposing a bizarre and forgotten Japan most people will never have the chance to see.

Readers have said:

- “Gorgeous, haunting, stunning memento mori photos… fascinating text commentary… I guarantee you will start fantasizing about exploring haikyo yourself.” – Barry Eisler, bestselling author of the John Rain books.

- “As always with MJG’s work I found myself immediately engrossed in the ambiance of his writing style & the visuals it produces. The photos are amazing & give such a beautiful taste & perspective on where you’re reading about so that you can truly imagine being there!”

- “I’ve lived in Japan for over 23 years and thought I knew all there was about Japan. This book opened my eyes to a whole other world yet to be known.”

Read more and buy at:

- Amazon US

- Amazon UK

- Goodreads

 

Ignifer’s Rise

IR-215At the forgotten fringe of a long-buried civilization stands the ash-swept city of Ignifer’s Mons, where brutal laws of caste enslave all. Discord is crushed by the King’s monstrous Adjunc, scorpion-like creations remade from the dead, who stalk the city’s cobblestone streets hunting for a secret prophecy written in skin.

Sen, a brilliant boy with a unique empathic gift, may be the one they seek. Cursed with a thousand mysterious scars carved by his long-dead mother, he hides in the city’s last abbey, sheltered by misshapen Sisters who lie to keep him alive. But he can’t hide forever. In the chaos caused by the arrival of five savage children of wildly different castes, Sen learns that his scars predict a coming apocalypse. His mother had a plan to stop it, and according to one of the children, she may still be alive.

But Sen has no time to find her. Now the King’s Adjunc are closing in, and with them dawns a great black mouth in the sky, hungrily gaping down. Only the legendary hero Saint Ignifer could destroy it- but the Saint died millennia ago, and the castes he once led into battle are divided. All that’s left is an uncertain boy following clues he doesn’t understand. But in the lost, ruined streets of the city’s abandoned slums, destiny waits for Sen: for the end is coming, and the Saint must rise again.

Ignifer’s Rise is a 130,000k word dark epic fantasy, blending the weird fantasy of The Never Ending Story with the genius children of Ender’s Game.

Read more and buy at:

- Amazon US

- Amazon UK

- Goodreads

 

The Bells of Subsidence

books1Aliqa’s mind has been erased, every memory lost to the endless reticulations of the branes, but for one single word that haunts her- Temetry.

With it comes an abiding hope for salvation, perhaps for the salvation of every single Bell in Subsidence’s ancient fleet, but first she must hunt it down, though she doesn’t even know what it is.

The Bells of Subsidence is a collection of 9 science fiction stories, filled with ruined intergalactic civilizations, lonely robots, and AI that could destroy the world.

Readers have said:

- “The images are striking and euphonious, and the story is moving.”

- “Smart, sophisticated, … stunning … epic plots that race across the universe, but always revolve and seek resolution in the human heart.”

Read more and buy at:

- Amazon US

- Amazon UK

- Goodreads

 

Bone Diamond

books2When a lowly jeweler in ancient Egypt finds an enormous yellow diamond lodged in the clavicle of a Nile river crocodile, he strikes for riches, selling it to the richest man in Memphis, a living god, the Pharaoh.

Then the Pharaoh demands more, beginning a greed-soaked descent into terror, madness, and murder, with diamonds for all, and diamonds in all, and the blood-red eye of Ra ascendant.

Bone Diamond tells nine weird short stories that delve into a surreal and magical world, separated from our own by the most gossamer of veils, rife with horror, mystery, madness, and hope.

Readers have said:

- “Magical …. poetic … out-of-the-box … a little gem.”

- “Wow. Horrifying and compelling and poignant. This one is going to stick with me.”

Read more and buy at:

- Amazon US

- Amazon UK

- Goodreads

 

Biography

Michael was born in Manchester, England, to an American mother and British father, in 1980. He was raised in Bolton, where as a kid he wrote snippets of fantasy stories and explored the horse’s field behind his house. Nothing much has changed since then, except the snippets became full stories and the horse’s field got a whole lot bigger.

In his childhood summers he visited his family in Kentucky, where he learnt how to make s’mores, enjoyed night-time hay-rides, and worked in his uncle’s bike shop. In his late teens he worked at a summer camp for disadvantaged kids in Massachusetts, and after graduating high school in the UK he went (glutton for punishment, yes) to high school again, in Indiana, on an exchange program for two semesters. It was there that he first took creative writing classes, and started work on his first novel (which is now maturing on his hard drive like a fine wine). He also took a Greyhound trip around the country (six days and nights on a bus), which reinforced his thirst for exploration.

In 2003 he came to Japan, and began to explore the country’s modern ruins, known as haikyo, ultimately visiting over 100 locations, and posting many of them to this website with photographs and stories of each exploration.

Throughout this 11-year tenure in Japan, Michael also got more serious about writing fiction, getting numerous short stories published in semi- and pro-level fiction magazines in America, Australia, and the UK, resulting in him publishing two collections of short stories, The Bells of Subsidence and Bone Diamond.

He also got married.

After many close calls to get a publisher for his ruins / haikyo book, Michael decided to publish it himself. Japan in Ruins – Adventures in Abandoned Japan is a hybrid Japan travelogue / memoir telling all his adventures in the ruins of Japan. Barry Eisler the bestselling thriller writer loves it!

In 2014, Michael returned to the UK.

Now Michael enjoys working out in the gym, watching TV and movies, and of course writing stories and novels. He lives in London with his wife and their pet King Frog, and works as an academic English lecturer at university.

Contact

You can contact Michael about use of photos, potential advertising offers, and most anything else by emailing michaeljohngrist @ hotmail.com (after removing the spaces)

- As a fun little grace note, you can learn more about the design and evolution of this website here.

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And you can buy my books here-
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    Ignifer's Rise
    In a brutal city splintered by caste, a condemned boy called Sen must confront the fate written in his scars and unite the castes in rebellion, before the apocalypse dawns.


    Amazon US | Amazon UK | Read more


    Japan in Ruins
    Abandoned theme parks, lost mountain ghost towns, relics of World War II- they're all in this uniquely fascinating Japan travelogue / memoir of a serial ruins explorer.


    Amazon US | Amazon UK | Read more


    Bone Diamond
    This collection of 9 'weird' stories reveals a bizarre world where the direction East is a living thing, the Moon counsels children to evil deeds, and diamonds grow in living bone.


    Amazon US | Amazon UK | Read more


    The Bells of Sub..
    If you like ruins and science fiction, you'll love this collection of 9 SF stories, ranging from the crumbling outposts of galactic empire to the dystopian wastelands of future Earth.

    Amazon US | Amazon UK | Read more