Michael Eisenberg's Reviews > Light

Light by M. John Harrison
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

really liked it

Finished M. John Harrison's "Light". Like his "Viriconium" sequence, this one continues and expands his thoughts and explorations into such lofty studies as what it means to be human and the way we bury all means and abilities to actually "live" and experience life, have relationships, make choices and the consequences resulting from them and vague references to Arthurian grail tale telling. And this is just touching on some of the themes...because this book is, in a word...deep!

All of the above (and much more actually) is done under the guise of "space opera", and, looking at it as "just" a space opera, it would be a superlative one. It seems Harrison has really done his homework in conjuring up a strange, bizarre even, (REALLY bizarre in fact...and hard to get your head around but still very cool. I.e. information is a "substance".) and EXTREMELY unique world of cyberpunk sensibilities. This man really knows how to turn a phrase. Especially cool is his use of punctuation. You don't want to read Harrison quickly...what you do want to do is take in every paragraph slowly, and admire the artistry involved. Again, like "Viriconium", I found myself going back and re-reading stuff just to get a sense of what he is trying to say and/or describe. Once it sinks in, hits home...it's downright revelatory!

And, like "Viriconium"...there is much more here than meets the eye. This book has been at the forefront of my mind for the last 48 hours and it seems to want to stay there for a while. Harrison has a phenomenal way of letting the reader do the heavy lifting. I might have mentioned this before, but it bares repeating...someone described his writing as a coloring book. He draws the outlines, you, the reader color it in based on your experiences and own world and self view. It's damm hard work at times, but in the end, very VERY rewarding.

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