Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nova Swing (Empty Space Trilogy #2)” as Want to Read:
Nova Swing (Empty Space Trilogy #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nova Swing (Empty Space Trilogy #2)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,439 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
Years after Ed Chianese’s fateful trip into the Kefahuchi Tract, the tract has begun to expand and change in ways we never could have predicted—and, even more terrifying, parts of it have actually begun to fall to Earth, transforming the landscapes they encounter.

Not far from Moneytown, in a neighborhood of underground clubs, body-modification chop shops, adolescent contra
Paperback, 252 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Spectra (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nova Swing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nova Swing

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 01, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it
I had slightly higher expectations for this novel simply because I was blown away by all the awesome ideas that he managed to stuff into Light, and don't get me wrong, he continues the trend beautifully and a lot more cohesively from Vic's PoV, a travel agent that sometimes takes chumps to the Kefahuchi Tract, or at least to what has become of it after it descended to, and transformed, huge portions of Earth.

To be clear, this means that the laws of what should or should not be possible have been
Aug 23, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
The whole debate, which is mostly due to the 20th century publishing industries insidious pollution of our intellectual market, of whether or not Sci-Fi is trash or literature is best summed up by the Ted Sturgeon quote, “Yes 95% of it is trash, but 95% of everything is trash.” But what dyed in the wool science fiction books of recent times match masterpieces of contemporary literature for tone, symbolism, meaning, intelligence, and ferocity? On this short shelf I would place Gene Wolfe’s Fifth ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4 Stars

Nova Swing book two in the Light series by M John Harrison was bound to come up short when compared to the brilliance of the first book Light. This was exasperated for me as I read this one immediately following my read of it. One thing that they both share in common is the brilliant writing of M John Harrison. His books are literary and verbose and they deserve a wide audience.

""You must be careful of me, Vic. I'm not really here.""

Nova Swing is a much smaller scoped story that tak
Jason Pettus
Jun 20, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(My review of this book is much longer than Goodreads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

Regular readers know that I've been in a bit of a special situation for the last month, in that by random luck I was able to track down at my local library five of the ten twelve(!) science-fiction books nominated this year for either the Philip K Dick Award or the Hugo Award; added to my review of Charles Stross' Halting Sta
Dec 20, 2009 Szplug rated it really liked it
I love the science fiction of M. John Harrison, which he writes in burnished steel, elegantly and smoothly detailing heartbreak and loss, perversion and excess, etching rapid, brutal violence with the same casual ease he tosses off bar-stool patter between mean-street acquaintances and gene-spliced miscreants. I have yet to come across another writer who can so vividly—yet matter-of-factly—describe the interplay between multidimensional mathematics and quantum exoticness in ultra-technology, whi ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Morgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, noiresque
I read this for three reasons:

1. I figured it would be best to read it after Light, seeing as they occupy the same universe;
2. To move it from the traveling library into the Massachusetts semi-permanent library; and
3. So that I could have three books in a row on my Read shelf with cats on the cover.

The third reason was actually the deciding point, and if I knew where it was I'd consider rereading The Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy for a try at four books featuring cats on the cover. (Or maybe Tailcha
’Nova Swing’ puede considerarse como una extraña secuela de ‘Luz’, ambas ambientadas en el universo del Canal Kefahuchi. La novela transcurre en Saudade, zona en la que cayó parte de dicho canal, y que ha dado lugar a una singularidad espacio-temporal donde las leyes de la física se han visto alteradas, y en cuyo interior pueden encontrarse artefactos, tecnologías y organismos de origen extraterrestre (aunque esto se supone). Es aquí donde entra en juego Vic Serotonina, una especie de recuperado ...more
Nov 28, 2007 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole debate, which is mostly due to the 20th century publishing industries insidious pollution of our intellectual market, of whether or not SciFi is trash or literature is best summed up by the Ted Sturgeon quote, “Yes 95% of it is trash, but 95% of everything is trash.” But what dyed in the wool science fiction books of recent times match masterpieces of contemporary literature for tone, symbolism, meaning, intelligence, and ferocity? On this short shelf I would place Gene Wolfe’s Fifth H ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Shane rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Two stars means 'It was OK' according to goodreads which really sums up 95% of this novel. I'm not going to go to town on this review. In fact, it's more of a personal reminder or a general overview of why I didn't quite dislike it, but certainly didn't rate it at all. So here it is then. This is the story of an anomaly or part of it anyway that basically drops off the main anomaly and causes a kind of rent or tear through to somewhere else. Predictably, things come through from that side and pe ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Viridian5 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I don't know how this won the Arthur C. Clark Award and the Phillip K. Dick Award and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award. I really don't. The narrative jumps around without much warning, to the point where you're not sure what character's being talked about or whether it's the past, present, or future. It uses a terse pseudo noir narration that makes all that worse by cutting out words that would help the reader figure that kind of thing out. Characters react to things in ways that of ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jan 13, 2013 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it it was amazing
Marvelous novel which is set in a sea/space-port intersected by the Kefahuchi Tract. Now, that I've reread Light and read Nova Swing, it's, finally, the time for Empty Space, the conclusion of Kefahuchi Tract trilogy.
Ниспошли мне сердце неоновое, с любовью его пошли, найди меня внутри.

Меня сразу очаровал Саудади - кажется, в самой сердцевине этого притона всех растерянных и затерявшихся живет обреченная грусть. Есть какая-то гармония в том, что основное место действия - это либо бар, либо Зона, где действуют свои чокнутые законы. Прямой связи с предыдущей книгой нет, хотя присутствуют отдельные упоминания о фигурах из “Света”, судьба которых так и осталась неизвестной. Эм Джон переплюнул самого себя в “Нов
Keith Deininger
Mar 20, 2017 Keith Deininger rated it really liked it
Not as good as 'Light', but I love Harrison's literary style applied to speculative fiction themes.
Jan 14, 2013 Joff added it


Any trendy genre is doomed to become desperately uncool in time. Take cyberpunk, bless it. That self-consciously wired sci-fi stepchild ended up making the journey from envelope-pushing early-80s edginess to nothing more than fodder for mid-90s straight-to-video stodge. But hey, it's not cyberpunk's fault. It heralded the age of information overload, but now that we're sliding down the infolanche for real, it can seem as naive as a 1950's World's Fair. A lot of its concerns - styl
Nick Tramdack
Apr 25, 2011 Nick Tramdack rated it really liked it
Since this book is a sequel to Light, one of my favorite novels, I wanted to love it. Sadly, I only really like it. It lacks the strong plot coherence of Light; very often while reading one Harrison's brilliant lines I was like "That's cool, that's cool, but why here and now? Why is he focusing on THIS?"

There's really something to be said for a more discursive style of novel writing, especially in genres like space opera that have historically been given over to plot at the expense of everythin
Nov 17, 2010 Yupa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Notevoli passi indietro rispetto al precedente Luce dell'universo.
Harrison sembra essersi un po' perso, e in Nova Swing si limita a incollare in maniera ondivaga e confusa varie scene senza andare a parare quasi da nessuna parte, senza riuscire a riprodurre l'intensità emotiva e poetica del romanzo precedente.
Ne risulta un manierismo molto molto scialbo.
Soprattutto, l'ambientazione comune con Luce dell'universo è alquanto pretestuosa: tolti alcuni riferimenti in termini di personaggi
Mar 06, 2009 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not sure how to describe or review this book and do it justice.

Set in the same timeline as Light, Nova Swing follows an assortment of characters who have come to settle in Saudade (still not sure if this is the planet or the city or the Event Site...): Fat Antoyne and Liv Hula used to fly spaceships, Edith and Emil used to be part of a traveling show, Irene the Mona came from farther up the tract. Now they live in on a backwater world where they can hop in a tank and be whoever or wherever t
Jan 03, 2014 Tomislav rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book won 2007 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award, and was a finalist for a few others as well. It is a follow-on to Harrison's earlier novel Light, which I have not read.

From the onset, this reminded me more of a tone poem than a composition. The writing included lots of descriptive narration and depth of character that seemed more concerned with how it felt than where it went. Harrison uses the word 'noir' often enough that I think it's clear that's the tone what he w
Gina Durst
Mar 19, 2014 Gina Durst rated it it was ok
So little to say about this book. While I've heard some good things about Harrison, I didn't gain any enjoyment or pleasure from reading this. While, yes, there were many times when my mind wandered and was curious about certain phrases he used or ideas he spouted, but....
Actual pleasure from this book? I think not. There was no point to it, no real life. I enjoyed the story of the Monas and most especially the too-few pages on the Saudade Event Site, but other than that:
Nada. Nothing. A comple
Sep 01, 2009 Psychophant rated it it was ok
Shelves: far-future, reviewed
Nova Swing takes part in the same future setting as Light, though without the alternate worlds/times that made that book complex but interesting. Here we have a typical noir story superposed with the peculiar world that Harrison created in the previous book. And in doing that the book lacks originality, nor does it really present much new. The oniric, surrealist setting becomes tired and wearisome, while the few new ideas are not really explored, sacrificed to the noir plot.

Only recommended for
Jun 25, 2007 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this in parts compelling and baffling. It's a kind of SF noir that picks up on the same universe delineated in Light, one in which unimaginably old and intelligent civilisations have messed with the quantum fabric of the universe and caused uncontrollable ruptures in space-time. Impacted on this are various members of a decadent and scattered human race, scratching out a living by stealing unimaginable arefacts from the discontinuity.
Oct 15, 2010 Liviu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre-sf, read_2012
After reading Light for the 3rd time, I did an end to end rereading of Nova Swing and I found it still very good though a bit too much noir and too little sf for my taste.

However tied into Light and Empty Space which both feature characters from here - Empty Space starts its first two chapters alluding to the events of Light and then nova Swing - the book becomes more than itself as a single volume so to speak
Nov 24, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
started this last night. I love it already. The book that comes before this one, 'Light', which Neil Gaiman said was- "easily my favourite SF novel in the last decade, maybe longer" was excellent with a kinda Noir aspect to it. Nova Swing has an even more deliberate Noiry Pulp feel, yet is still deeply thoughtful and literary. Beautiful!
I realised about quarter of the way through that this novel was basically an extended love letter to the Strugastky's Roadside Picnic. So I read it as such. It's also crossed with Chandler esque noir vibes that work much of the time but fail occasionally. Harrison's prose is as stylised and pleasing as in Light.
Jun 25, 2009 Erinn rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. It was an audible book. I normally like strange science fiction books but this just made no sense.

It was a slow buildup of story and then one thing happened and the rest of the book was just what happened to the characters afterwards. Not a very good story line.
Fx Smeets
Nova Swing is a lament. A Greek tragedy. A choir comes, holds the Gods as its witnesses and tells the sorrows and misfortunes which befell the hero. No heroic deed, no fatal clench from destiny, no suspense or tension is necessary. Only this joined presence of a choir, a hero, a place.
The place is Saudade, the sorrow, the nostalgia, the longing for something gone. Ask a Portuguese to translate Saudade and he will baulk. There is something holy in this word, something so deeply rooted into the Po
Donald Baker
Feb 03, 2017 Donald Baker rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2013 M rated it it was amazing
When reading this series I felt that

#1 Light was amazing and one of the best SF books I have read. Regarding ideas, style and structure, world-building as well as characters.

#2 Nova Swing while still high quality with excellent style and ideas, was much weaker regarding plot, characters and it's general idea. In fact, I found it annoying in parts: I just could not understand where the various plot lines or characters were going, and generally what the entire point of all of it was. It felt as if
Alison Smith
Star Wars meets noir detective, shady characters mixed with robotic and nanotech enhanced humans. There's space tourism, mutant, augmented humans playing out a mystery in the galaxy of Harrison's pyrotechnic imagination. But despite the oddities and the mysteries, the human heart still responds to love and life. What a ride!
SF /cyber fans will love the story.
Feb 23, 2014 Jay rated it really liked it
Welcome to Saudade, found on a distant planet in a galaxy light years away, somewhere beneath the Kefahuchi Tract. A far future city awash with retro bars, genetic chop-shops and eager tourists. At it’s heart lies the mysterious ‘event zone’ where physics and reality are altered in inexplicable ways. The zone exists as a result of a piece of the Kefahuchi Tract (a space-time anomaly), falling to the planet and is a nexus of sorts for the events of the novel, much like the Zone from Arkady and Bo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ed Chianese vs. Chinese Ed 1 14 Mar 20, 2013 03:49PM  
  • Fools
  • Song of Time
  • Dreaming in Smoke
  • The Troika
  • Life
  • Take Back Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #1)
  • The Separation
  • Terminal Mind
  • Elvissey
  • Unquenchable Fire (Unquenchable Fire, #1)
  • Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort, #1)
  • Drowning Towers
  • Distraction
  • Spin Control (Spin Trilogy, #2)
  • Finch (Ambergris, #3)
  • Bitter Angels
  • On Wings of Song
  • Headcrash
aka Gabriel King (with Jane Johnson)

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.

More about M. John Harrison...

Other Books in the Series

Empty Space Trilogy (3 books)
  • Light (Empty Space Trilogy #1)
  • Empty Space (Empty Space Trilogy #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Perception of a state is not the state.” 6 likes
“When I was little, she thought, I wanted nothing except to stop travelling. I wanted time for each new thing, each new feeling, to be held properly in suspension until it could be joined by the next. Given the chance I could easily hold all those beautiful things together. I could be like a box in which they would be held new forever. Instead, everything aged and changed. People too.” 3 likes
More quotes…