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Empty Space: A Haunting (Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy 3) [Paperback]

M. John Harrison
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

11 April 2013 Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy 3

EMPTY SPACE is a space adventure. We begin with the following dream:

An alien research tool the size of a brown dwarf star hangs in the middle of nowhere, as a result of an attempt to place it equidistant from everything else in every possible universe. Somewhere in the fractal labyrinth beneath its surface, a woman lies on an allotropic carbon deck, a white paste of nanomachines oozing from the corner of her mouth. She is neither conscious nor unconscious, dead nor alive. There is something wrong with her cheekbones. At first you think she is changing from one thing into another - perhaps it's a cat, perhaps it's something that only looks like one - then you see that she is actually trying to be both things at once. She is waiting for you, she has been waiting for you for perhaps 10,000 years. She comes from the past, she comes from the future. She is about to speak...

EMPTY SPACE is a sequel to LIGHT and NOVA SWING, three strands presented in alternating chapters which will work their way separately back to this image of frozen transformation.


Frequently Bought Together

Empty Space: A Haunting (Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy 3) + Nova Swing (GOLLANCZ S.F.) + Light (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Price For All Three: £19.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575096322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575096325
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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"

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't quite get it. 26 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback
The good: it is exceptionally well-written. I mean, Harrison's prose is fantastic, and I found myself re-reading entire pages not because of the story, not because something was happening, but just for the sheer pleasure of it. The story itself is incredibly complex on one level and pretty straightforward on another - you could say that while there's a lot going on, in fact there's an almost... minimalist feel to the whole thing, which is also rather pleasant.

But this is where it becomes (for me, at least) difficult: after a little while I realised that I didn't care at all about the story. Or the characters. Or their entire bent universe, for that matter, because all the different plot lines just weren't... I don't know... "human" enough. Another reviewer made a comparison with a few great movie directors, and one of them I find particularly significant here - David Lynch. Now, I consider Lynch an absolute genius and I love his movies, but I can't help finding some of them a trifle perplexing. Take Lost Highways: great visual. Breathtaking scenes. A sense of dread that insinuates into you from the first few minutes and doesn't go away, and yet... and yet... what the h*** is it all about?!

Now, Lynch himself admitted that for the most part he doesn't know what it is about, either; and I'm sure this is not the case for mr Harrison. Still, to me and for my evidently limited abilities, "Empty Space" is exactly like Lost Highways, which is a real shame because with a little more it could have been Mulholland Drive instead - i.e. something that, in the end, actually makes sense. As it is, it left me with a feeling of having read something exceptional without really "getting it", and that ...is not very pleasant. :)
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparks in Everything 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Empty space; empty writing 13 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must say that this is a mixed review. As an earlier reviewer commented, there is no doubt that Harrison is a brilliant wordsmith. Some of the prose is an utter delight to read. The science fictional universe that is the background is more hinted at than revealed, and is fascinating and wonderful. Unfortunately, I can't say the same of the near-future portion of the book, dealing with Anna Waterman (the one time wife of Michael Kearney, from Light). The only thing in the entire Anna Waterman sequence that kept me from skipping these chapters was the hope that somehow this would tie in to Michael Kearney's work and the development of the FTL drive. But that was never came to pass, and instead, we seem to be left watching the bizarre behavior of a madwoman (although perhaps her behavior is related to multi-infact dementia rather than just insanity).
Neither Anna nor the characters in the SF portion are really terribly engaging or engendered much sympathy or even concern. R.I. Gaines was the most interesting to me, but he's a minor character.
And worst of all, the story not only doesn't make sense, but leaves many storylines incomplete. I really don't demand that the Universe make sense to me - but I do insist that the books I read make sense! The entire connection between the near-future and the SF portions was poorly delineated and ultimately, was completely uninteresting.
So - brilliant stylized prose, a wonderful SF universe, but the story and characters made little sense and ultimately, didn't engage me. A shame - partially enchanting, but on the whole very disappointing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Sapce Opera
After reading M. John Harrisons The Ice Monkey, Climbers & Course of the Heart years ago, I came the the Kefaluchi Trilogy with high expectations. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Shane Britt
3.0 out of 5 stars I do like bleak - but a bit more detail before declaring everything...
Like many of M John Harrison stories there is a decent story here – or several stories but not really what you would call a plot. Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. J. Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars Meow meow, 3.5 stars, hello darkness... where are you?
This was the first of 3 I started reading but didn't get far before realizing and immediately stopped after a few pages, but it setup some expectations about all three books which... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars The Poet of SF
Ever since M John Harrison's first SF novels, it was clear that he could write most mainstream novelists, not to mention fellow SF writers, under the table. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Fletcher
2.0 out of 5 stars It would have helped if the book said it was part of a trilogy.
I have been an avid reader of SF since 1956 but have seldom been more irritated by such a load of disjointed tosh!
I am too old for this nonsense.
Published 6 months ago by Colin Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE! :Timeless science fiction
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... Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. J. Poulter
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and rewarding
On finishing reading this, my first reaction was to go back and re-read the whole trilogy for the sheer pleasure of it. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ged Dixon
3.0 out of 5 stars What?
Can't tell whether I loved or hated this book, it seems to polarise people. Initially I thought it was rubbish, but it's one of those that I've found myself thinking about during... Read more
Published 18 months ago by matthenkes
5.0 out of 5 stars a dance beneath the diamond sky
Completely awesome. Fantastic tying up of (some) loose ends from the earlier novels "Light" and "Nova Swing". Hard to describe. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars An okay book
I have read many of Harrison's books and enjoyed them all. I especially liked "Climbers" which is a very rewarding story of people obsessed with rock climbing of all kinds. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Michael Tomlinson
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