harrison blackman

Harrison Blackman

Harrison Blackman is an award-winning writer, editor, and journalist based in Reno, Nevada. An MFA candidate and writing instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno, Harrison graduated from Princeton University in 2017 with a degree in history.

He specializes in writing thrilling narratives about science and architecture; he also consults on TV and film projects. His writing has appeared in The Oxford Climate Review and regional publications in New Jersey and New Mexico. Learn more at his website.




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The Peacock

written by Harrison Blackman

In Harrison Blackman’s short story, The Peacock, a producer for the podcast “Detective Radio” travels to his hometown of San Diego to research an episode about the U.S. Navy. Along the way, he confronts grief, reconnects with an old flame, and stumbles into a military conspiracy that threatens his life and all that he loves.

© 2020 Harrison Blackman | Recording © 2020 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Read by River Vitae

“In the twilight of my twenties, I boarded a Southwest 737 to San Diego. On that trip, I wasn’t just trying to solve a military conspiracy, but rekindle a relationship, recover inner truths I’d lost, secrets I’d buried so deep they might never come out. It was probably too ambitious for Labor Day Weekend.”

“I bit my lip. On Monday I was supposed to talk with Admiral Veidt about Operation Argus. And I knew from some background research that his wife’s maiden name was Fresno. It was becoming distinctly possible that Operation Argus had something to do with peacocks after all.”


“The peacock was done flirting with me. It had made its point and moved on. I had a dark feeling in my heart. I knew what I had in common with this transient, flamboyant bird.”

“I was distracted. The dark-suited men were standing in front of my car. Both of them sported sour grins. With dread, I noticed the black glint of gunmetal at their hips.”

Q&A with Harrison

Tell us about your story...

I like detective stories, and particularly the work of Raymond Chandler, but private eyes don’t always translate well to the 21st century. So, The Peacock tries to exist in the same tradition of Chandler’s detective fiction—with a world-weary narrator who explores the darker corners of Southern California—while updating the detective archetype as a podcast reporter with a coming-of-age arc.

What was the inspiration for this story?

Once I swam around the Scripps Pier. That same day, I met someone who told me about Operation Argus. The rest sort of just clicked.

What have you recently read that you loved?

Inter Ice Age 4 by Kōbō Abe, a thrilling sci-fi novel with twists and turns from one of the most versatile writers of the 20th century. Concerning a madcap plan to save humankind from rising sea levels, Inter Ice Age 4 channels fascinating ideas in the vein of Philip K. Dick with the relentless pace of Michael Crichton.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m a runner.

Do you have any hidden talents?

If cooking is a hidden talent, then yeah, I’m pretty good at that.

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