- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (9 Nov. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575070285
- ISBN-13: 978-0575070288
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.8 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,007,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nova Swing (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 9 Nov 2006
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"The miracle...Harrison performs is to expand the possibilities of perception." "-- Guardian, "UK
"Coloured by longing and wonder, Nova Swing is filled with a humanity that makes it as substantial as it is dazzling." --"Time Out, "London
"A cross between J. G. Ballard's intense, static "The Drowned World" and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's terrifying "Roadside Picnic"... memorable, perplexing and challenging in equal measure." --"Kirkus Reviews
The miracle Harrison performs is to expand the possibilities of perception. " Guardian, "UK
Coloured by longing and wonder, Nova Swing is filled with a humanity that makes it as substantial as it is dazzling. "Time Out, "London
A cross between J. G. Ballard s intense, static "The Drowned World" and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky s terrifying "Roadside Picnic" memorable, perplexing and challenging in equal measure. "Kirkus Reviews
"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A sequel to the bestselling LIGHT, 'a novel of full-spectrum literary dominance' (The Guardian)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In a sense, the plot is secondary. The story is about the characters who inhabit this world and how they interact with it. However, I will say that the fact that Harrison includes a quote from Roadside Picnic by the Strugatskys is very telling. Had he not acknowledged this as an influence (along with a small allusion - I think - to Philip K. Dick's Clans of the Alphane Moons), I might have been a little saddened. However this story is an inversion of that one because it's about what takes place outside the site where strange things happen. It's about how society is filled these days with tourists, people who will never know what it is to be lost, how society has become so safe that it's sometimes hard to see why we keep living. Serotonin is one of the few men in this world who thrives on being lost, both inside the site and in his own life.
As ever with Harrison, there is sex, there is body horror, there is profundity. And isn't that what British SF is all about?
The story is loosely related to 'Light' and concerns a cat and mouse game between detective and 'tour operator' Vic Serotonin. Serotonin risks all by routinely going into the 'event site', a place where normal laws of physics don't seem to apply and the risk to the person's mind seems huge.
Whereas 'Light' was arguably a character driven piece that wrapped three narratives into an intense conclusion, 'Nova Swing' allows its two main characters to fade into the background, instead choosing to explore the effects of the event site on the secondary characters in the book. Initially this move can seem confusing, but to me it enabled the book to build to a much richer and ambiguous conclusion than 'Light'. Harrison's prose (as always), is a wonder and the dark noir world will feel instantly familiar to those familiar with the Cyberpunk genre.
This is a book that does not offer up any easy answers, it makes you work for them. For that alone, I highly reccomend it.
Except this is, actually, piss-poor marketing. The best companies have always sought to innovate, to lead rather than follow. But nowadays all too many publishers play follow-my-leader, scared to develop the next big thing themselves, terrified they'll miss out when someone else does.
The point being that M John Harrison ought, by now, to be one of Britain's best known, most justly celebrated, authors. Not only because he deals with complex subjects - quantum mechanics, Gnosticism, humanity's future - but because the man writes like an angel, fallen or otherwise. Nova Swing is a follow up to 'Light', which was one of the most significant novels of any genre over the past twenty years. 'Swing' deals with the (un)reality of a quantum universe, combined with a film-noir plot. It is, like all Harrison's work, beautifully written and with that seemingly effortless economy and precision which marks the truly great writer. Buy this book. Read this book. Be enthralled.
Strangely enough, given that they are not really the same kind of book, Harrison writes of the children of this world as if they were adult, as does Jonathan Lethem's novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, though as with Harrison, they are not really given much characterisation. Money, in this world, can buy you a new you. It can bulk you up like our detective's assistant, a girl with superhuman speed and strength - all built into her bloodstream artificially.
There are a number of people in the book who provide alternative viewpoints, including our detective who looks like an elderly version of Einstein.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the first book in the series, Light, but not enough to rush out and buy Nova Swing. I feared the obscure plot lines of Light would become further entwined to produce... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Si
I quite enjoyed Light, a freeloading manic rush, psychedelic pseudoscience and febrile imagination. Ultimately not very fulfilling, but a good introduction to MJH I thought. Read morePublished 16 months ago by P Sanderson
Book is great. received a different cover than that advertised so doesn't match my copies for the rest of the seriesPublished on 2 Sept. 2014 by Carly Jones
I started reading this novel with very low expectations dictated from having read the reviews by other readers and I must admit, instead, that I was pleasantly surprised,... Read morePublished on 11 July 2014 by Anakina
Science fiction has a real problem delivering well rounded intriguing characters. However in this book M John Harrison not only achieves that with the main cast, he even makes you... Read morePublished on 30 May 2014 by P. J. Dunn
I liked it, but will I read it again? Not sure.
There's some continuity of characters and places with the first book in the trilogy; but no continuity of plot. Read more