Synopses & Reviews
In M. John Harrison’s dangerously illuminating new novel, three quantum outlaws face a universe of their own creation, a universe where you make up the rules as you go along and break them just as fast, where there’s only one thing more mysterious than darkness.
In contemporary London, Michael Kearney is a serial killer on the run from the entity that drives him to kill. He is seeking escape in a future that doesn’ t yet exist—a quantum world that he and his physicist partner hope to access through a breach of time and space itself. In this future, Seria Mau Genlicher has already sacrificed her body to merge into the systems of her starship, the White Cat. But the “inhuman” K-ship captain has gone rogue, pirating the galaxy while playing cat and mouse with the authorities who made her what she is. In this future, Ed Chianese, a drifter and adventurer, has ridden dynaflow ships, run old alien mazes, surfed stellar envelopes. He “went deep”—and lived to tell about it. Once crazy for life, he’s now just a twink on New Venusport, addicted to the bizarre alternate realities found in the tanks—and in debt to all the wrong people.
Haunting them all through this maze of menace and mystery is the shadowy presence of the Shrander—and three enigmatic clues left on the barren surface of an asteroid under an ocean of light known as the Kefahuchi Tract: a deserted spaceship, a pair of bone dice, and a human skeleton.
"Harrison's talent for brilliant, reality-bending SF is on display yet again with this three-tiered tale, published (and highly praised) in the U.K. in 2002. It's 1999, and British scientist Michael Kearney and his American partner, Brian Tate, are studying laboratory quantum physics; unbeknownst to them, they'll become the fathers of interplanetary travel. Kearney nervously holds a pair of predictive dice he's stolen from a frightening specter called the Shrander, whom he keeps at bay by committing random murders. Four hundred years in the future, K-ship captain Seria Mau Genlicher has gravely erred in splicing herself with a hijacked spacecraft called the White Cat and now she wants out. There's also Ed Chianese, a burned-out interstellar surfer now spending his life within a reality simulation machine. His problem? Monetary debt to the nasty Cray sisters. As Kearney continues to narrowly evade the Shrander, he discovers that company CEO Gordon Meadows has sold the lab to Sony. All three story lines converge and find heavenly closure at the cosmological wonder known as the Kefahuchi Tract, a wormhole with alien origins bordered by a vast, astral 'beach' where time and space are braided and interchangeable. This is space opera for the intelligentsia, as Harrison (Things That Never Happen) tweaks aspects of astrophysics, fantasy and humanism to hum right along with the blinking holograms in a welcome and long overdue return. Agent, Susan Howe. (Sept. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mike Harrison is the only writer on Earth equally attuned to the essential strangeness both of quantum physics and the attritional banalities of modern urban life. This is space opera for these dark times, and Light is brilliant." Iain M. Banks
"With an austere and deeply moving humanism, M. John Harrison proves what only those crippled by respectability still doubt that science fiction can be literature, of the very greatest kind. Light puts most modern fiction to shame. It's a magnificent book." China Miéville, award-winning author of Perdido Street Station
"Post-cyberpunk, post-slipstream, post-everything, Light is the leanest, meanest space opera since Nova. Visually acute, shot through with wonder and horror in equal measure, in Light's dual-stranded narrative M. John Harrison pulls off the difficult trick of making the present seem every bit as baroque and strange as his neon-lit deep future. Set the controls for Radio Bay and prepare to get lost in the K-Tract. You won't regret it." Alastair Reynolds, award-winning author of Revelation Space and Chasm City
Uproarious, breath-taking, exhilarating...This is a novel of full spectrum literary dominance...It is a work ofand aboutthe 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
Published in the U.K to rave reviews, M. John Harrison's newest novel takes a stunning foray into the hot subgenre of New Space Opera, as it masterfully weaves together three intertwining strands of narrative that explore the mystery and the meaning of three enigmatic objects.