- Series: Kefahuchi Tract (Book 1)
- Paperback: 310 pages
- Publisher: Spectra (August 31, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553382950
- ISBN-13: 978-0553382952
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 144 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Light: A Novel (Kefahuchi Tract) Paperback – Deckle Edge, August 31, 2004
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
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.
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In other words, traditional linearity, or linear story telling, is sort of at odds with or subsumed by the quantum experience; or, the "art" of it all ; however, by choosing the vehicle of a book, the writer has to compromise and, at least, provide enough linear or 3D information; or, the reader is left floundering or dog paddling just to stay afloat. It wouldn't surprise me if some readers started but did not finish "Light."
The good news is that hanging in there long enough seemed to lead to my being more comfortable in the book's quantum field, so to speak, as well as with the central characters and whatever it was that they were up to. And, I didn't have to understand every quantum or quantum -like concept to come away with the "feel" that all of the so called story lines were, perhaps, happening simultaneously on different timelines. In fact, about 1/2 way in, I noticed that I had some appreciation for the actors and even found some humor. The brilliance is there and, for me, I'll jump in the ocean again, re-read it...this time with an inner tube.
Even worse, I'll most likely read the 2d book in this Kefahuchi Trilogy despite having no clear idea of what is the Kefahuchi
It is riddled with quantum theory concepts which got me googling the subject. After muddling through Uncertainty and Exclusion Principles, Planck’s constant, Wave-particle duality, Schrodinger’s Cat, Bosons, quarks and spin I emerged in the present time-space continuum more befuddled then before.
A pan-dimensional entity turns the present day protagonist into a serial murderer of women. Incidentally, this resonates in the next part of the trilogy. Does this suggest that people fighting their personal demons or psychiatric illnesses have some sort of quantum instability rather than a neurotransmitter imbalance in their brains?
The author seems to be plagued with a feline fixation and a morbid interest in mucoid bodily secretions.
Concepts like space rogues peddling “earth-heroin cut with the ribosomes of a tailored marmoset”, man-machine bio-physical interfaces (like the Space Hawks of Peter Hamilton), compulsive onanism, extreme genetic engineering, worm holes and FTL abound the yarn, making it a compulsive read.
The style it is written in (non-linear, switching between three story lines alternating by chapter) might be a little difficult to follow for some, but it is engaging enough to keep reading anyway. I found myself sometimes wanting to skip chapters just to follow the story line I was more interested in, but it was worth it in the end to just read it in sequence. There were some themes of femininity and masculinity that seemed occasionally gratuitous (and I'm still kind of upset and confused about why Annie Glyph did what she did in the end), but the universe-building and characters were engaging enough to get around it.
The first sequel to this book, Nova Swing, is (in my opinion) a better book, but it is worth reading Light to get the full experience when reading Nova Swing.