After being both baffled and intrigued by Light when I read it several years ago, I’m feeling more than a little bit daunted by the task of reviewing M. John Harrison’s third novel set in that universe. But Empty Space promises the kind of surreal reading experience that seduces me as much as it scares me, so I will venture forth nevertheless. If I have the time, I’ll re-read Light beforehand. I’d like to read book two, Nova Swing, as well, but I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze it in. At any rate, Night Shade Books has assured me that you don’t need to read either of the first two books to appreciate this one.
Empty Space by M. John Harrison (Night Shade Books)
One of science fiction’s premiere stylists, M. John Harrison has received abundant praise and awards for his wildly imaginative ideas and transcendent prose. Now he returns to the richly complex universe of Light and Nova Swing with a stunning new novel that braids three glittering strands into a tapestry that spans vast reaches of time and space.
In the near future, an elderly English widow is stirred from her mundane existence by surreal omens and visitations. Centuries later, the space freighter Nova Swing takes on an illegal alien artifact as cargo, with consequences beyond reckoning. While on a distant planet, a nameless policewoman tries to bring order to an event zone where ordinary physics do not apply, only to find herself caught up in something even stranger and more sublime. . . .
Empty Space was first published on 19 July 2012 by Gollancz. This new edition will be published on 05 March 2013.
About the Author:
Michael John Harrison was born in Rugby, Warwickshire in 1945 and now lives in London.
Harrison is stylistically an Imagist and his early work relies heavily on the use of strange juxtapositions characteristic of absurdism. – Goodreads