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Empty Space: A Haunting by M. John Harrison
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Empty Space: A Haunting (edition 2012)

by M. John Harrison

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954127,077 (3.48)5
Member:pdej
Title:Empty Space: A Haunting
Authors:M. John Harrison
Info:Gollancz (2012), Hardback, 302 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, read

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Empty Space: A Haunting by M. John Harrison

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
The best way to understand this novel is to jump into your time machine and head back to the early 1960s and then skim through some of the 'New Wave' science fiction being written at the time. It eschewed any boundaries imposed by both science and writing style and explored whatever it wanted however it wanted. This novel's author was writing then and this book is heavily influenced by its 60s roots. Although being the third in a trilogy, (the earlier parts being Light and Nova Swing) do not expect any catch up notes nor even a conclusion to this novel,

The story goes like this this: Micheal Kearney was a quantum physicist who might have been responsible for the Kefachhchuchi Tract, a sort of a future pocket universe, as well as possibly being a serial killer..

In present day London, Anna, Michael Kearney's widow, has re-married and has a grown up daughter Anne. She is failing to deal with her demons. She is seeing a therapist and does all sorts of odd things in the part of present day London she lives in. Strange things have happened to her : her summerhouse caught fire, but the fire was static and unsmoking.

In the far future, Vic Serotonin's former bar friends have taken a job collecting artifacts aboard the ship "Nova Swing" they bought. The 'artifacts' seem to be coffins.They are also are trying to find out what is haunting their ship.

Meanwhile The Assistant has a case to solve, involving corpses slowly levitating towards the ceiling and a figure saying "My name is Pearlant and I come from the future."

This is just a taste of the future weirdness that drives this novel.While all this might seem too much work to read, the writing is absolutely brilliant through out. All those years spent writing mean that every page has some gorgeous, witty writing, Dull it is not...

Finally, instead of reading this novel. you might be better going into the far far future in your time machine until you find a reality which catches up with the novel... ( )
  AlanPoulter | Jan 31, 2014 |
I was mostly confused as to what was going on, but that may be because I read it in bits and pieces instead of a long session. Anyway, I still enjoyed it. ( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
Read Light first.

All three books are connected and have interlinking themes. Later books reference earlier books in the series. Might be confusing if read non-sequentially.

No need to be a physics whiz, but helps if you have a basic understanding of quantum physics --> especially uncertainty principle and superposition. I feel the more science you are familiar with, the greater your appreciation for these books will be.

Every word is a clue, and full appreciation of this book, for me, requires active reading. While some may think that tedious, I'm the type of reader who quickly loses interest in a book if I can figure out the plot before I get near the end. Sometimes I stick it out if the prose is worth it, but usually I move on to another book.

To quote kaipakartik's review of Light: "Attention needs to be paid and only then are his books a rewarding read." http://www.librarything.com/work/23168/reviews/90767967

Also helps if you enjoy "literature"(like John Crowley's Little Big) and geeky science facts based on real world discoveries such as "intelligent nanoresins", "bulk metal glass components", and "self-organising nanofibres".

This is an book for e-readers! Dictionary lookup is extremely convenient when tackling a vocabulary as extensive as Harrison's. Unless you are a college English professor, you'll probably pick up a few new words. ( )
  tetrachromat | Mar 26, 2013 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2070077.html

I found it a little more to my taste than Light, but that is not saying much; apart from Anna Waterman I found the characters unengaging, and I had difficulty following the plots and grasping how or why they intertwined. ( )
  nwhyte | Feb 20, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
M. John Harrisonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Popovich, AmyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wade, MarthaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"No point is more central than this, that empty space is not empty. It is the seat of the most violent physics."

--John A Wheeler
"Our instruments have limits. Since knowledge of physical reality depends on what we can measure, we will never know all there is to know...Much better to accept that our knowledge of physical reality is necessarily incomplete..." --Marcelo Gleister
"In a certain sense, everything is everywhere at all times." -- A E van Vogt
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To Forced Ent
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575096314, Paperback)

EMPTY SPACE is a space adventure. We begin with the following dream: An alien research tool the size of a brown dwarf star hangs in the middle of nowhere, as a result of an attempt to place it equidistant from everything else in every possible universe. Somewhere in the fractal labyrinth beneath its surface, a woman lies on an allotropic carbon deck, a white paste of nanomachines oozing from the corner of her mouth. She is neither conscious nor unconscious, dead nor alive. There is something wrong with her cheekbones. At first you think she is changing from one thing into another -- perhaps it's a cat, perhaps it's something that only looks like one -- then you see that she is actually trying to be both things at once. She is waiting for you, she has been waiting for you for perhaps 10,000 years. She comes from the past, she comes from the future. She is about to speak-- EMPTY SPACE is a sequel to LIGHT and NOVA SWING, three strands presented in alternating chapters which will work their way separately back to this image of frozen transformation.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the near future, an elderly English widow is stirred from Centuries later, the space freighter Nova Swing takes on an illegal alien artifact as cargo, with consequences beyond reckoning.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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