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Light Paperback – Jun 4 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (June 4 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074033
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #222,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Towards the end of things, someone asked Michael Kearney, 'How do you see yourself spending the first minute of the new millennium?' Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
M. John Harrison's Light is indescribable. A mind-warping romp that exists somewhere in the continuum between hard SF and cyberpunk. A cruel, violent story, with a core of pure forgiveness and grace. The story of three throughly unlikable people, who nevertheless earn the reader's affection. At times tragic, at others bitingly sarcastic, and even funny in certain patches. It requires the reader's complete confidence - one must trust that Harrison knows what he's doing. Amazingly, that trust is repaid.
I could try to say a few words about the plot, but to do so seems almost beside the point. A reader cracking open this deceptively slim novel had better not expect anything even approaching a linear plot. Almost to the very end, Harrison keeps his readers befuddled - the best you can hope for is to hang on as he drags you into the deepest, oddest reaches of the galaxy. Then, only a few pages before the end, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Harrison manages to tie it all together.
If you're looking for Sci Fi that breaks the mold, that challenges you, that is as much about inner space as outer space, look no further.
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By Andy on Oct. 5 2003
Format: Paperback
If you like Banks, MacLeod, Mieville, Vinge, McAuley, Stephenson and Gibson, you should read this. As good or better as any of their best. It's hard sf, it's literary - it features rounded sympathetic characters, the vast scale of space opera, suspense, intense sex, lost loves, ghost programs, psycho killers, contract assassins, intergalactic carnivals, aliens, virtual worlds, a singularity, human-machine blendings, science funding battles, subtle pop references, condensed visual imagery, 3 different narrative streams...and a universe of "more...and more after that." Wow.
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Format: Paperback
LIGHT by M John Harrison marks a return for this author to science fiction of a genre type - it's a big, thrill-packed space opera that delivers on all the promise of his long-ago CENTAURI DEVICE. Yet simultaneously it retains all the characteristics of his writing since that time - the peculiar take on things that appears in his short stories is present here, with bizarrely-named characters and unexpected ideas aplenty. This novel is a Moebius strip woven of three plots - the quantum physicist and serial killer Kearney and how his fate intersects with that of Seria Mau Genlicher, K-ship pilot; and with that of 'Chianese' Ed, hooked on a strangely addictive form of virtual reality. Behind all this is the shadowy presence of the Shrander, an entity whose agenda is perhaps? made clear by the astounding climax to this novel. It's difficult to rate this book too highly, since it succeeds on so many levels. I was blown away by the visual impact of a scene where a coin is set spinning on its edge as two characters race through a mazelike habitation; and that was but one tiny thread in this complex book. I loved the off-kilter Kray sisters, menacing oddball characters to rival such great Harrison creations from earlier books as Benedict Paucemanly. The light in the Kefahuchi Tract illuminates a book which is a sheer pleasure to read and hits the buttons of both action and literary quality. A must-read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emperor Norton on June 20 2004
Format: Hardcover
It seems like every location 2/3 of the protagonists went SOMEBODY had a cheap holo of the Kefahuchi Tract on the wall, so why not?
The serial killer plot was a little redundant and unnecessary, though did present one of the few sympathetic characters in the book (the ex-wife), but as for the other two their amorality wasn't a big problem for me - antiheroes are usually much more interesting characters than heroes. The story itself wasn't all that compelling, though it did wrap up reasonably well if a little too sappy considering the nihilistic tone of the rest of the book.
Harrison is a good visual writer, and some parts of the book were quite funny (I especially liked the idea of the New Men who worshipped 20th century junk culture), but one flaw of the book was a feeling of being too rooted in the present, i.e. throwing a lot of quirkiness window-dressing that just felt a little contrived, such as a roving gang dressed as Japanese high school girls, hardly the kind of thing to be expected on a world centuries in the future and thousands of light-years away.
Now, if this book was intended as a kind of darker version of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it'd be a more enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on Feb. 22 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of M. John Harrison, from the Centauri Device through to the Viriconium books which I think are some of the finest fantasy works ever written. I really wanted to like this book and the reviews of other authors I also admire led me to expect great things. What Harrison does best is to write clever, inventive prose with a poetic edge to it and this book is no exception. In returning to science fiction Harrison has a field day with all the latest tropes of 11 dimensional super string theory, disposable clones and the fashionable side of chaos theory. I detected influences of Philip K. Dick, Delany and Brin (Kil'n People) but artfully mixed and written with a deft touch that is Harrison's own. This is all to the good, but somehow the novel as a whole left me disappointed. The main characters were deeply unsympathetic and below the surface of the style I just didn't care what happened to them. The resolution was vague and unsatisfying and in the end I felt that the whole was less than the sum of the parts. Harrison is always worth reading but he's done much better than this...
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