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Comment: Ex-library book. The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Empty Space Paperback – March 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"Harrison's trippy style will appeal to sophisticated readers who treasure the work of China Miéville and Jeff VanderMeer."  —Publishers Weekly starred review of Nova Swing

"Surely one of the best novels of the year. . . . Deeply satisfying . . . the final chapters are a marvel of transcendence, reconciliation and redemption."—San Francisco Chronicle Books on Light
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael John Harrison (born 26 July 1945), known primarily by his pen name M. John Harrison, is an English author and critic. His work includes the Viriconium sequence of novels and short stories, (1982), Climbers (1989), and the Kefahuchi Tract series which begins with Light (2002).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597804614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597804615
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past"

As a teenager in the 1960s, I read science fiction avidly; the usual suspects - Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Aldiss, Ballard - all the postwar writers I could find, really.

But by the time the "New Worlds" school of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll sf came along, I had largely moved on to more mainstream fiction. In the forty-plus years since then, I have occasionally dipped a toe back into the genre, without ever really finding anything to get me really excited. Then I (re)discovered M. John Harrison. A chance find of "Light" (the first part of this trilogy) in a charity shop had me intrigued, not least by the heavyweight recommendations in the review blurbs. My initial attempt to read it was a false start - the first chapter introduced us to a rather unlikable theoretical physicist with a penchant for randomly murdering yuppies. Was this going to be some sort of British rehash of "American Psycho"? I put it down and read something else. But some months later I gave it another shot. And, as the action shifted to a bizarre (yet strangely familiar) 25th century culture far out in a region of the galaxy where conventional physics breaks down in unpredictable ways - The Kefahuchi Tract - I was hooked.

The apparently unrelated threads of the story, were ultimately reconciled - sort of. It left me slightly confused, but entertained, intrigued, and wanting more. So I got a copy of the sequel "Nova Swing". Still set in the futuristic cultural mash-up of the region around the Tract, this was a wonderful detective noir pastiche, chock full of sly in-jokes and pop culture references, like some sort of deranged collision between Philip K.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By lvxnox on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
M. John Harrison's EMPTY SPACE, the third and concluding novel of his extraordinary 'Kefahuchi Tract' trilogy, offers all the delights, and (for some) a few of the frustrations of the two earlier novels in the sequence. If you've read THE CENTAURI DEVICE, that long ago space opera by Harrison featuring leftist hero John Truck, you may find aspects of this sequence similar, although Harrison has moved far beyond the rough-hewn action of that earlier novel in his current return to space opera.

Empty space is never really empty - it is full of entradistas and rocket-jockeys, of orbiting hardware cast off as the waste from humans' interactions with mathematics, of chop-shopped and gene-tailored individuals whose memories of what they were before being genetically altered are hazy at best. Empty space is full of war, of the political maneouvres of the overclass, of ships piloted by used-to-be-humans whose consciousness is now hardwired into the ships' navigational systems. Empty space is full of mysterious artefacts, like the Aleph, and of mysterious events (or are they conditions?) like 'Pearlent', who appears in the shape of a woman struggling between (or occupying) two states of being.

It's not all shiny Golden Age Wonder or pleasant extrapolation in Harrison's universe. Far from it. People vomit a lot in M. John Harrison, whether from eating too much ice-cream, or from being wired into their spaceships via electricals pushed through the roofs of their mouths - and perhaps from what Sartre called 'La Nausee', a sort of existentialist angst. People have sex a lot in in M. John Harrison, usually in clumsy and even repulsive ways - as bizarre here as any in his other work - 'sensorium porn' anyone? - and Harrison doesn't shy away from depicting the emotional results of this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By scott on April 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
The "unmeaninged blackness" is everywhere in "Empty Space". Appropriately titled, John Harrison's work is all about empty spaces: the empty spaces within us, that can only occasionally be filled by dreams or aspirations or the presence of others; the empty spaces of time that can never be filled or understood; and the empty space of our physical universe that is almost as unknowable. It is as if Harrison looked beyond Bowles' sheltering sky into the awful beyond, and decided that it was terrifying, vast, empty but fortunately mostly unknowable. (Fortunately for the reason that Bowles gives: it would drive us mad were we to ever really see it for what it is.)

So it's "beautiful but it's dark. And there is no way to know what it is..."

But is that good enough for a novel or a work of art? How you choose to answer that question will certainly play a big part in whether you feel this novel, and the Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy as a whole, is a success or a failure.

For there is no resolution here. Not for the characters, not for the dilemmas they face, not of the central mysteries of the novel, and not for any of the plots that play out on the galactic stage in the background of the novel. What we have instead is a wonderfully written novel with elegiac prose and masterful structure. However the structure is a lot like what would happen if we took Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" and chopped it in two, keeping only the first half. There are three (remotely) linked plots here that each read differently. But unlike "Cloud Atlas," Harrison never circles back to the beginning. Instead each plot winds a circuitous path to the "end" of the novel and then mostly vanishes into empty space.

Stellar prose and luscious imagery aside, this is a bit unsatisfying.
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