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Empty Space Paperback – March 5, 2013
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On a sentence level, Harrison outwrites most British authors currently working in any genre... A typically abrupt download of a Chandlerian future-noir, quantum space opera and some sad vignettes of contemporary British alienation. With patience, it's extraordinary. The Daily Telegraph 20121215 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Despite the fast pace of events from the present to the future and all other possible spatial and temporal dimensions, the ending was a damp squib.
So what was the Kefahuchi Tract? Can someone elucidate. Besides vomit, mucus, pointless sex, cats and a series of elevated rotating dead bodies not much seemed to happen at the end.
Despite the vast potential when playing around with quantum stuff this was a real let down!
I have these observations:
You must read all three, in sequence to have any idea at all what's going on.
The second "Nova Swing" is perhaps the most coherent.
Characters or plot pieces from earlier parts of the trilogy keep reappearing.
There is this place where most of the laws of physics don't apply, on the edge of a black hole perhaps? Kefahuchi Tract. Police (of a sort) on a world nearby try to keep people from going into the "event site" where all manner of weirdness happens. It is all rather "psychedelic", perhaps, things from the past manifest for the explorer, floating in space. Various characters are drawn like moths to a flame. .
a genius scientist in about our time creates the first quantum computer, and figures out a way to do faster than light spaceship travel to the far ends of the universe. The computer comes alive and his white cat becomes "eaten"? and pixelated by it (quantum-ized?) and thrust into some aspect of the far distant future . The haunting or one of them .
some aspect of this scientist is also a serial killer.
There is a great deal of pretty bizarre sex, none of which seems at all erotic or appealing.
A young girl wants to grow up to pilot a star ship. The only way this is possible is to cut her brain out of her body and attach it to a "Einstein Bridge" so she can perform the 12 dimensional quantum physics math necessary to run the star ship. Her brain with Einstein bridge permanently attaching her directly to the ships operating system, exists in a vat of full of drugs and nutrients
There is a great deal of psychedelia, junk and memorabilia around from the fifties and early sixties in Saudade.
It's full of characters who have had operations to joins parts of their bodies to computers or genetically modify them, so they might perform or function better.
there are hundred of other disjointed plots and subplots, too many to list
An very intellectually challenging series of books. Some knowledge of the weirder implications of quantum physics is required...
Confused? There are, as I said only parts of theses stories where I have any sense of certainty about Harrisons intent and plot direction.
Harrison says about Nova Swing : "It's about being a meme and not knowing it. The set-up is this: we are on one of the Beach planets. A generation--perhaps two--after Ed Chianese took his ship The Black Cat off the Beach and into the Kefahuchi Tract, part of the Tract has fallen to earth in a city called Saudade. It's a zone of the unreliable. It's infected with K-code: or maybe it is K-code, the wrong physics loose in the universe. Everyone is drawn to the "event site" like moths to a flame, from failed entradista Vic Serotonin to middle class tourist Elizabeth Keilar; from Vic's friend Pauli DeRaad, ex vacuum commando and all-round Earth Military Contracts factotum, to Lens Aschemann the dissociated police detective. They're all looking for something their lives don't show them. But for everyone who goes in, something new and weird is coming out... "...
Oh and some k-code quarantined space trash energy ball of some sort is spinning around and sucking up people and things...like a infection of wrong-minded physics.. grist for book four?