Gerhard's Reviews > Empty Space: A Haunting

Empty Space by M. John Harrison
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, favorites, sf-f

One of my favourite SF books ever is Nova by Samuel R. Delany, and Harrison's Kefahuchi Tract trilogy reminds me so much of Delany. The sense of a wild frontier, crazy characters caught up in a maelstrom of events in a dark and unredictable universe, where nothing is as it seems and everyone is damaged in one way or another.

A lot of modern SF seems sanitised and focused on technology; Harrison's 'singularity without an event horizon' is dirty, smelly, sexy, and filled with danger and dangerous / weird people, creatures and ... things. And if you think I am describing the Culture by Iain Banks, definitely not. Kefahuchi is the red light district, ground zero, three-ring circus and exclusion zone that the Culure never had. It is the true frontier.

I really loved Empty Space. It is a truly crazy read that puts its plot in a blender and then gets impatient if the reader fails to pay attention. It is best to just immerse yourself in this and go with the flow; you will soon hit the rapids.

Much of the intellectual, moral and philosophical rigour of SF is now concentrated in the sub-genre of space opera, with writers like Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Paul McAuley, John C. Wright and, of course, M. John Harrison (Peter Hamilton is a self-conscious throwback to the Golden Age of SF space opera).

Harrison is the most poetic and eccentric of this disparate collection of writers, but I hasten to add it depends on personal choice, and whether or not you prefer the experimental side of SF or the more conventional genre-grounded output.

Anyone who writes about quantum cats so convincingly is pretty special.
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Reading Progress

September 28, 2012 – Shelved
September 30, 2012 – Started Reading
September 30, 2012 –
September 30, 2012 –
September 30, 2012 –
October 1, 2012 –
October 5, 2012 –
October 5, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
October 6, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 15, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
January 1, 2019 – Shelved as: sf-f

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant great review!

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