A Stand-Alone Sequel To 'Light' That Captures It's Audience
Nov 28, 2009
Though Harrison himself admits that 'Nova Swing' can stand on it's own, it's best enjoyed if you've read his previous book 'Light', which introduces the legendary pilot Ed Chianese and the strange phenomenon known as 'The Kefahuchi Tract' - an area in space of alternate reality and strange physics. 'Nova Swing' uses this base with a new twist ... The Kefahuchi Tract has shifted, and part of it has fallen to earth in what is known as the Saudade Event Site.
'Nova Swing' is a complex novel, a generous novel; a character driven novel though it's still centered around an event that is slowly expanding. The characters are not only unique in their formation but also in the very naming of them - Harrison affectedly creating character in the very names of his protagonists.
Vic Serotonin is a travel agent; but not the sort you'd expect to run into booking a tour with one of the great space-cruise ships docked in the non-corporate port of Saudade. For the right price, Vic will take you into the Event Site. On his heels though, is police investigator Lens Aschemann who bears a striking resemblance to the elder Albert Einstein. With Lens is an "enhanced" assistant, data streams running down the inside of her arm, who transferred over from Sports Crime.
Vic can be seen at anytime in Liv Hula's bar called Black Cat White Cat, dangerously close to the Event Site, and named so after the streams of black and white cats that flow from the Event Site every morning. It's in Liv Hula's bar that Mrs. Elizabeth Kielar contracts Vic to take her into the site. Not only Vic but Liv is suspicious, due to the fact that Kielar - in her glamorous clothing and real fur coat - don't fit the stereotypical "traveler". She's an enigma, and why she insists on entering the site is a mystery.
Vic's ever-present sidekick, Fat Antoyne Messner, deserts him after Irene The Mona begins to pay attention to him. (A Mona is a woman who's undergone body redesign to become Barbie-like with peppermint smelling hair).
After Vic, in other ways, are Paulie DeRaad, a smuggler who paid good money for an artifact from the Event Site that is now changing him into something unthinkable. Emil Bonadventure, suffering his own side effects from years as a renegade pilot and expeditions into the Event Site, tries and fails to warn Vic, just as Emil's "daughter" (read to fully understand this) eventually writes off Vic and refuses to give him Emil's secret journal.
In a world of "smart tattoos", body redesign and re-engineering, space cruises along the Beach and Radio Bay - Vic continues his tours and Paulie continues to decay, Aschermann cruises Saudade's streets in his vintage pink Cadillac and Liv Hula runs her bar night and day - the Event Site continues to expand and pour forth ruinous people and things from the most unlikely locations. Does an ending really come to all things, or is an ending a beginning to some?
Despite its multifaceted and intricate plot, 'Nova Swing' is a very enjoyable read, though one you will have to pay attention to. This is not a light space opera to enjoy in brief spurts, this is a melding of SciFi and Fantasy that requires usage of your gray matter inside your skull. Not quite as fulfilling as Harrison's previous 'Viriconium', your palate will nonetheless be satisfied with it's characterizations and brief but puzzling forays into the Saudade Event Site. A solid five stars for lovers of a "thinking" SciFi/Space Fantasy. Enjoy!
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I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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Set in the unique world first featured in the award-winning Light, here is a story of love, murder, and intergalactic noir on the razor’s edge of the imagination, as envisioned by the incomparable M. John Harrison.
Not far from Moneytown, in a neighborhood of underground clubs, body-modification chop shops, adolescent contract killers, and sexy streetwalking Monas, you’ll find the Saudade Event Site: a zone of strange geography, twisted physics, and frightening psychic onslaughts. Vic Serotonin is an illegal “travel agent” into and out of Saudade. His latest client is a woman as unpredictable as the site itself—and maybe as dangerous. She wants a tour inside Saudade just as a troubling new class of biological artifacts have started leaving—living algorithms that are transforming the “real” world in unsettling ways. Pursued by a detective intent on collaring him for his illegal tours, and hunted by a gangster convinced that the travel agent has infected him with a rogue artifact, Vic must make one final trip as the universe around him rapidly veers toward viral chaos.
About the Author
M. John Harrison is the award-winning author of eight previous novels and four collections of short stories. His fifth novel, Viriconium, was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and his sixth, Climbers, won the Boardman Tasker Award. Light was recently awarded the James Tiptree Jr. Award and shortlisted for the 2002 ...