From Publishers Weekly
Harrison's talent for brilliant, reality-bending SF is on display yet again with this three-tiered tale, published (and highly praised) in the U.K. in 2002. It's 1999, and British scientist Michael Kearney and his American partner, Brian Tate, are studying laboratory quantum physics; unbeknownst to them, they'll become the fathers of interplanetary travel. Kearney nervously holds a pair of predictive dice he's stolen from a frightening specter called the Shrander, whom he keeps at bay by committing random murders. Four hundred years in the future, K-ship captain Seria Mau Genlicher has gravely erred in splicing herself with a hijacked spacecraft called the White Cat
—and now she wants out. There's also Ed Chianese, a burned-out interstellar surfer now spending his life within a reality simulation machine. His problem? Monetary debt to the nasty Cray sisters. As Kearney continues to narrowly evade the Shrander, he discovers that company CEO Gordon Meadows has sold the lab to Sony. All three story lines converge and find heavenly closure at the cosmological wonder known as the Kefahuchi Tract, a wormhole with alien origins bordered by a vast, astral "beach" where time and space are braided and interchangeable. This is space opera for the intelligentsia, as Harrison (Things That Never Happen
) tweaks aspects of astrophysics, fantasy and humanism to hum right along with the blinking holograms in a welcome and long overdue return.
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Reviewers call Light
complex, yet seemed more than willing to forgive the complexityas well as the shortage of sympathetic major charactersbecause of the award-winning authors style and sheer intelligence. They also lauded the ending, deemed suitably transformational and connection-rich (Guardian
). Harrison brings a far deeper wisdom and maturity to science fiction than other writers typically do, and poses important questions that reach far beyond the old conceits of the genre. Most intriguing of these: By what moral calculus is [Harrisons] mad scientist any madder than the legions of researchers who kiss their families goodbye each morning and spend their workdays developing weapons of mass destruction? (New York Times
). Its an eternal mystery.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.