M. John Harrison Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

ISBN 13: 9780575070257

Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

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9780575070257: Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
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Beneath the unbearable light of the Kefahuchi Tract -- a huge, fulminating ocean of radiant energy deep in the galaxy -- three objects lie on the barren surface of an asteroid: an abandoned spacecraft, a pair of what look like bone dice, and a human skeleton. What they are, and what they mean, are the mysteries explored and unwrapped in LIGHT, M. John Harrison's astonishing return to the imaginative terrain of science fiction.

Three intertwining strands of narrative -- one contemporary, ther others set in different parts of the galaxy in the year 2400 -- make up the novel. In the here and now is Michael Kearney, destined to take part in a discovery which will make possible interstellar travel, but at present a tortured individual confronted by a strange and possibly alien entity known as the Shrander. In the future there are Seria-Mau Genlicher, spaceship pilot, surgically and biologically modified to interact directly with her ship, the White Cat; and Ed Chianese, drifter and sensation seeker, currently down and out in New Venusport, with everybody in the universe apparently keen to take from him what he owes.

This is a science fiction novel written with a level of imaginative intensity and literary mastery the genre has seldom glimpsed before. It is, in every sense, dazzling.

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Review:

Light marks that fine writer M John Harrison's first return to the heartland of SF--including spaceships and hair-raising interstellar chases--since his apocalyptic anti-space opera The Centauri Device (1975).

The heavy SF action begins in 2400. Space-going humanity is the latest of many civilizations to be baffled by the impenetrable Kefahuchi Tract; that vast stellar region where an unshielded singularity makes physics itself unreliable. Along its accessible fringe, the "Beach", solar systems are littered with crazy, abandoned devices used to probe the Tract since before life began on Earth. A whole dead-end culture is based on beachcombing this rubble of industrial archaeology...

25th-century characters include a woman who's sacrificed almost everything to merge with the AI "mathematics" of a crack military spacecraft; a former daredevil who once surfed black holes but has retreated into a virtual reality tank; the lady proprietor of the Circus of Pathet Lao, with an alien freakshow and a hidden agenda; and a variety of raunchy, smelly, gene-sculpted lowlife, some comic, some menacing. Many are not what they seem.

Meanwhile in 1999 London, physicists Kearney and Tate--remembered in 2400 as the fathers of interstellar flight--are getting nowhere. Kearney's personal problems occupy familiar Harrison territory: urban paranoia, a seedily unreliable guru, bad sex, guilty rituals to propitiate a metaphysical-seeming threat called the Shrander--a pursuing image out of nightmare. In the lab, both Kearney and Tate fear the increasing quantum strangeness of their results.

The cosmological wonders and hazards of the Beach form a backdrop to space pursuits and violent skirmishes whose duration is measured in nanoseconds, reported in tensely lyrical prose. Eventually everything comes together as it should--even that oppressive 1999 story strand--with revelations, transformation, transcendence, and ultimate hope. Harrison demands your full attention and rewards it richly. --David Langford

Review:

"Uproarious, breath-taking, exhilarating...This is a novel of full spectrum literary dominance...It is a work of--and about--the highest order."--Guardian

"An increasingly complex and dazzling narrative...Light depicts its author as a wit, an awesomely fluent and versatile prose stylist, and an SF thinker as dedicated to probing beneath surfaces as William Gibson is to describing how the world looks when reflected in them....SF fans and skeptics alike are advised to head towards this Light."--Independent

"Light is a literary singularity: at one and the same time a grim, gaudy space opera that respects the physics, and a contemporary novel that unflinchingly revisits the choices that warp a life. It's almost unbearably good."--Ken MacLeod, author of Engine City

"At last M. John Harrison takes on quantum mechanics. The first classic of the quantum century, Light is a folded-down future history bound together by quantum exotica and human endurance. Taut as Hemingway, viscerally intelligent, startlingly uplifting, Harrison's ideas have a beauty that unpacks to infinity."--Stephen Baxter, award-winning author of Evolution and Coalescent

"Harrison's novel is a cleverly assembled contemplation of how choices make lives and of opening quantum mechanical doors on bizarre potential futures."--Booklist

"Surely one of the best novels of the year.... Deeply satisfying ... the final chapters are a marvel of transcendence, reconciliation and redemption."--San Francisco Chronicle Books

"Brilliant, reality-bending SF.... This is space opera for the intelligensia."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Succeeds in evoking the sense of wonder that science fiction readers look for in the best of the genre.... Harrison brings an up-to-date sensibility to the hoary conceits of science fiction."--The New York Times Book Review

"Light is mind-bending in both its conceptual framework and literary deftness."--Entertainment Weekly

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780553382952: Light (Kefahuchi Tract)

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ISBN 10:  0553382950 ISBN 13:  9780553382952
Publisher: Spectra Books, 2004
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9780553587333: Light

Spectr..., 2007
Softcover

9780575074033: Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

Gollancz, 2003
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9780575070264: Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

Gollancz, 2002
Softcover

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