Chip's Reviews > Light

Light by M. John Harrison
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Dec 21, 09

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Read in December, 2009

I have got to stop reading quips from reviewers when deciding which book to read next. "Light" had front and back quotes and three or four pages of quotes inside. "Book of the decade" jumps out in memory. Hype? Yes. Book of the decade? No.

What I liked: the gritty blade-runner-esque landscapes, the concept of The Beach, the K-ships, ten-dimensional space travel.

What I didn't like: the word "ruch" (which apparently was the proud author's favorite new word; it occurred at least five times in the book), references to the author's favorite musical artist Tom Waits (okay, we get it, you're a fan but you don't have to beat us over the head with it), the ending of the novel (which after a book-length buildup brings an estranged brother and sister nearly together but in the last few pages they pass like proverbial space ships in the night - so disappointing!).

Lots of physics references, quantum this and cosmological that. Even the arrow of time is embedded in reverse: the book literally opens with the end and literally ends with the beginning. Perhaps the author intends that the book should be read in reverse, like manga.

Overall it was a good story; the thought "freshman effort" comes to mind. The author could benefit from a close-reading editor and eliminating the name (and word) dropping. To apply my 1-2-3 rule, do I: 1) keep this book and make my friends buy their own copy; 2) pass this on to my friends for them to read; or 3) donate to the thrift store.

This is a #2, pass on to my friends. Apt, since this book was loaned to me to read.
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