The Bells of Subsidence – 9 Science Fiction Stories

MJG Books, Overview 6 Comments

Bells-final-small1The Bells of Subsidence is a collection of 9 science fiction stories written by Michael John Grist, filled with ruined intergalactic civilizations, lonely robots, and AI that has to die.

Readers have called it- “Intriguing … atmospheric … other-worldly … excellent.

It’s currently available as an e-book through Amazon:

Amazon US

Amazon UK


Aliqa’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.


1) The Bells of Subsidence
2) Angel, I
3) The Giant Robot and the Myna Bird
4) Route 66
5) C22
6) Cullsman #9
7) Hunting Ground
8) The Blue Chipset and the Thing
9) Universal Time


– “… the images are striking and euphonious, … and the story is moving.” – Lois Tilton, Locus Mag
– “… beautifully written … satisfying … atmospheric … emotional.” – Goodreads reviews

About the Author:

Michael John Grist is a 33-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark, surreal fiction in both fantasy and sci-fi genres.


The Bell is coming.

It’s night, and I’m lying beside Temetry on a cold grey crater of this world’s endless desert, listening to the oscillations of the Bell. At times we glimpse its Brilliance, the after-image of its long and branic toll splashing across the plush black firmament like an endless corolla borealis. I imagine it far overhead, arcing through the universe, plancking the anthropic landscape from yoke to clapper, and can think of only one word to describe it.

“Godly,” I whisper.

Temetry nods by my side. He doesn’t speak, not since the last Bells came when we were babies, but I know what he’s thinking. I’m thinking it also.

“How are your non-orientable insects?” I ask

He shrugs. This shrug means he’s had no breakthroughs. I know it, because he’d not be here with me if he had. The men of this world would have taken him for the Gideon heat-sink long ago.

“I won’t forget you,” I say to him quietly.

He turns to me, and smiles, because he knows I cannot keep that promise. The Bell is coming tonight. His hand worms the grey sand, folds my fingers within his own, and I remember that he is the most beautiful thing I have.

“I love you,” I whisper to him. His fingers tighten, rippling over mine in Euclidean gymnastics, until our hands are joined partway between a reticulated conch shell and an intersecting Klein bottle.

I laugh. It is our joke, a vestige of what Subsidence has brought us both. We are only 11, and I love him, because I know in my heart that he will never forget me.

“I’ll whisper your name to the branes until I die,” I promise him, feeling the urgency of this moment, alone in this crater for the last time.

His smile turns sad. It is the last abiding image I have of him, because then comes the sound of old Ingen, and the moment is lost. She is huffing and panting her rooty head over the crater-lip. This place is no longer special or secret. Temetry’s dazzling smile is sad, forever, because I’ll never see him again.


If you’ve read the book and would like to review it, I (MJG, author) would hugely appreciate it. Even a few words on one of the sites below (or your own blog/social media) about your favorite bits (i.e.- it doesn’t have to be an essay!) would be really welcome. Thanks!

Amazon US

Amazon UK


Library Thing

Comments 6

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  1. I’ve been reading your book in bed at night (thanks to a back lit kindle :)) I’ve loved it. It’s so atmospheric like your Haikyo photography. Both are excellent. Some of the stories made me think of Laputa castle in the sky. Have you seen that film? I really enjoy it. I’m sort of reluctant to finish your book because then I won’t be able to read it unless I go back to the beginning of course 🙂 Just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying it but I seem to have written rather a lot.

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      That’s excellent Katy, thanks so much for letting me know! About the Laputa connection, I think the Giant Robot story definitely has that kind of feeling. Perhaps some others too? I do like Studio Ghibli.

      I’ll be putting out another collection of short stories in a month or so, so perhaps you won’t need to reread the Bells collection ;). The new ones will be fantasy/weird genre. I’ll send out another email announcing it’s on free promotion for the release.

      Could I trouble you for a favour? If you could add a review as above to the book’s amazon page, that would really be amazing. Thank you!

      1. I have gladly written a review for you and I’m looking forward to reading your next book. I also like studio Ghibli films but they are a lot less prevalent here in the UK. I have seen a few in Japanese with English subtitles and a few dubbed into English. As I don’t work I have been attempting to teach myself Japanese. I’d like to get a more authentic feel for the films. I also have a strange fascination with abandoned theme parks so I spend ages looking at your photos. It seems so strange that they’d just be left complete. I seem to have written rather alot again. Sorry.

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          Thanks so much Katy! It’s a very nice review, and I really appreciate it. True that the number of ruins left over is odd. Only in Japan! Good luck with your Japanese study efforts 🙂

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