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Empty Space: A Haunting (Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy 3) Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575096314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575096318
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.4 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 552,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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)

Book Description

At last: the final book in the awesome Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 22 July 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Julian Richards on 26 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the characters "self-identified as human" but is really - or should that be "also"? - an emergent property of an interplanetary network of cash registers. Another manifests herself - how or why she is female never becomes clear - as a kilometre-long feather than unpredictably appears in mid-space to flirt with a lonely researcher of uncertain descent. Appropriately enough, the storyline of one of the major characters leans heavily on her sessions of bad faith with a psychoanalyst. All of which contributes to one of the most intriguing and exciting dimensions of this book - Harrison's exploration of the exploded self, the myth of the individual. Never has post-structuralism been made so poetic, so real or so much fun.

There are also space battles, never fear. And for those who like things spelled out, you even get to find out what a shadow operator and a New Man is, and how exactly the unfortunate get infected by wandering code. For those who don't, too much happens too fast, and all at the same time, for you ever to have much chance of seeing it whole. You'll have to find your own way through, draw your own maps, be satisfied with your own unreliable memories and interpretations of the book. In our fun-for-all-the-family mass culture, it's a revivifying release from the spelt-out and dumbed-down, and the musical brilliance of the writing makes it all a pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Poulter on 1 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on 3 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Empty Space is easily the hardest SF I've ever read, in both senses of the word. It is also my first M. John Harrison I've ever read. It might not have been the wisest place to start, but it hasn't put me off reading more Harrison as I loved his prose and the challenges his writing poses to the reader. This book was hard work for me as hard SF isn't something my mind processes easily and I'm proud that I finished it and I found it very much worth the work as in the end the puzzle pieces fell together and the book made a beautiful sort of sense.

To be fair, I did know at the start that this was the third in a trilogy, but I thought I'd see how well it stood on its own. A lot of the confusion I felt reading the book and the hard work I had to put in, might have been alleviated if I'd read the first two books, Light and Nova Swing first. As it was, I kept wondering whether elements of the world building, specifically the nature of the Kefahuchi Tract, were explained in the previous books. Some things weren't a problem, even without explanation, such as the Tailoring. I soon figured out that this was some kind of genetic modification people could have done to enhance themselves. I may not have gotten all the nuances and the complete depth of the procedure, but I understood enough to be getting on with. Not so much the world of the Kefahuchi Tract and the rest of space; at times I wasn't sure whether all the places we found were real or whether in some parts or dimensions they were virtual entities and until I just decided to accept that I didn't know how it worked, my mind kept getting stuck on trying to figure it out.
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