Novels & Novellas

The Quiddity of Delusion 

In an obsessive monologue vaguely after the manner of Thomas Bernhard, a socially inept writer, in an attempt to deflate or defeat the humiliation of seeking to impress the smooth-talking, self-important sorts of people he loathes but envies, tries to get to the bottom of an embarrassing incident from his childhood, with entertaining but refreshingly anti-climactic non- results. In THE QUIDDITY OF DELUSION, both barrels of Nicholls' word-gun are, as always, loaded, and the ego gets it hard in the nads.Needing social approval from his pompously intellectual inferiors, our hero suffers how to present a self-compromised pseudo version of a traumatic childhood embarrassing incident in a self-failed attempt to 'belong.' Later he tries to research what really happened by traveling to the assumed spot. he interviews the memories of sister & parents who all prove their reactivated mocking indifference to our pathetically verbally self-conscious hero who's an exactitude slave to literary integrity that attempts to pierce the fiction/reality divide to which he's a writerly insider/outsider tumbled by word-beset rectitude. All this wrings humor to its highest note.
Marvin Cohen, author of How to Outthink a Wall, The Self-Devoted Friend, and Others, Including Morstive Sternbump

Paperback, 66 pages. Published June 1st 2017 by Sagging Meniscus Press. ISBN: 9781944697259. Purchase here.
The House of Writers

The House of Writers is a playful novel set in 2050, when the publishing industry has collapsed, literature has become a micro-niche interest, and Scotland itself has become an enormous call center. Those writers who remain reside in a dilapidated towerblock, where they churn out hack works tailored to please their small audiences. The novel weaves together individual stories of life inside (and outside) the building, where each floor houses a different genre, as the writers fight to keep the process of literature alive with varying degrees of success.

The House of Writers is a feast of wit: a surreal entertainment, a bracing satire, a verbal tour de force, and a good-spirited dystopian comedy; it is also a loving homage to language, literature, and the imagination, and a plea that they remain vital well into the dubious future that awaits us.

“I could be wrong, but I believe this novel was transmitted into the author’s mind by the illegitimate love child of Bill Hicks and David Foster Wallace. Like a proverbial middle finger to the middlebrow, M.J. Nicholls has given himself the Herculean task of making fiction matter. Usurped by hacks and the hyperactivity of hyperlinks, meaningful stories have become exceedingly rare. Or, even worse, are rarely read because who got time for dat? Enter this rare novel that wages war on corporate mediocrity in a fantastical future where books are reduced to ego strokes commissioned by rich fucks. Fiction to match your sofa. Fortunately, Nicholls shreds the commoditization of our existence like a literary Tasmanian devil with razor-sharp wit. Fierce​, original and delirious, The House of Writers is a comedic masterwork that defies convention.”
—David David Katzman, author of A Greater Monster, Independent Publisher Book Awards “Outstanding Book of the Year”

“The author photo in the back of the book depicts the human host environment for M.J. Nicholls the author, who looks more like the mid-1500s painting ‘The Librarian’ by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, more like a construction of books. For nearly a decade, I’ve known the author as a young Scottish reader of Dalkey Archive titles, primarily, who posts perfectly phrased, amusing reviews on a popular book-reviewing site. His novel is a loyal representation of the spirit of this omni-admired/‘liked’ online manifestation. Perfectly sculpted sentences, awareness of every reaction a reader might make to the author’s every action, and a general willingness to err on the side of exaggerated good spirit, to coax way more amusement than tears, and to eschew the conventional formula of fiction (conflict, rising drama, poignancy) in favor of carrying on in a canonical manner from Tristram Shandy and Quixote on down to Borges and Christine Brooke-Rose’s Textermination and the like. Like Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual more than Danielewski’s House of Leaves, M.J. Nicholls concocts a funhouse for readers wiling and able to live in an Escherian library stocked with mirror-bound books. But the parts this reader loved best were the first thirds of the sections titled ‘This,’ those bits where there’s a sense of a melancholy human slouched in bed with laptop, addicted to the internet, needing to fill blank pages with text in the tradition of all those books that make the silent solitary reading life seem meaningful.”
—Lee Klein, author of The Shimmering Go-Between

Paperback, 320 pages. Published August 15 2016 by Sagging Meniscus Press. ISBN: 9871944697068. Purchase here.


A Postmodern Belch

This edition of A Postmodern Belch has been discredited. Pending article 9.6 of the Creative Commons Licence, portions of this work contain improperly brushed syllables taken from a 1978 edition of A Postmodern Belch and inelegantly buffered clauses taken from a 1997 edition of A Postmodern Belch. This edition of A Postmodern Belch is adapted from the 2010 edition of A Postmodern Belch which was slated for publication at Goldfish Press and cancelled when the publisher’s sister had a car accident and the press went on hiatus. Upon the press reforming the editor decided not to publish A Postmodern Belch to worldwide whoops of ecstasy from both the world and the former staff members at Goldfish Press, whose dislike of A Postmodern Belch was so enormous, several of them quit the press in a huff and burned M.J. Nicholls voodoo dolls so that his work would never kiss the desk of a mainstream publisher in his lifetime. This edition of A Postmodern Belch reinstates all the irritating and unlikeable qualities of the 2010 edition of A Postmodern Belch and includes the missing correspondence between Luca Brasi and Lionel Blair that never made it into the 1808 edition.

I self-published this panoply of postmodern pastiches by way of a novel in 2012. A paperback copy is available to purchase here for £6.99 plus £2.75 P&P. Alternately, a free pdf is available from me, if you can reach me somehow. I live in Glasgow somewhere.

The book received many lovely reviews in the spirit of the book on Goodreads. Link to the book page

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