Empty Space: A Haunting PDF/EPUB Ø Empty Space:

Empty Space: A Haunting [PDF / Epub] ☉ Empty Space: A Haunting Author M. John Harrison – Thomashillier.co.uk 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 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 Empty Space: Kindle - 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 , 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.


About the Author: M. John Harrison

aka Gabriel King with Jane Johnson Michael John Harrison was born in Rugby, Warwickshire in and now lives in LondonHarrison is stylistically an Imagist and his early work relies heavily on the use of strange juxtapositions characteristic of absurdism.



10 thoughts on “Empty Space: A Haunting

  1. Bradley Bradley says:

    This book focuses equally hard on both the inner space of the mind trapped in the quantum foam of the universe where neither time nor cats can be extricated, and upon the vastness of space that is slowly, inextricably showing us all that we don t quite fit in it and it wants to tell you, slowly, exactly why by transforming us all.Of course, we really oughtn t take it personally After all, every other alien race had to discover it for themselves and probably went mad in the attempt to make se This book focuses equally hard on both the inner space of the mind trapped in the quantum foam of the universe where neither time nor cats can be extricated, and upon the vastness of space that is slowly, inextricably showing us all that we don t quite fit in it and it wants to tell you, slowly, exactly why by transforming us all.Of course, we really oughtn t take it personally After all, every other alien race had to discover it for themselves and probably went mad in the attempt to make sense of it, just like we are.Space and time are unimaginably big and empty Shouldn t that give us a clue This is space opera to a much larger degree than the second book and arguablythan the first, although the first book in the trilogy had the joys of extremely interesting scenes being seen for the first time, while the third kinda felt like a travelogue of odd transformations taking the form of quantum viruses and macro horrors, and all the while, it always seems to boil down to sex in one fashion or another.I can t even begin to describe to you how many times the characters enter a scene needing to pull up their underwear or pull it down or otherwise be the act of disrobing or finding others doing so It s almost always sexual, and the way the author pulls it off is not unconsciously and it actually serves a huge purpose We ve been seeing it occur all the time throughout all three novels and it always has some sort of element that is either ordinary or transformative, and usually always becomes a scene of ultimate joy or transcendent experience The same is true for when the explorer enters the anomaly or how he never wanted to leave again or even when Anna finds herself locked in the quantum foam for 10,000 years.The mirroring between the first and the last book in the trilogy is rather fantastic, but only in retrospect.In actual fact, this book is almost the equivalent of James Joyce s Ulysses Her long final scene is reminiscent of a daydream that eventually always returns to sex, but in this case, things are very, very weird and dare I say it More Complex This book deserves quite a bit of close and careful reading and no one will deny the excellent passages studded throughout it I read somewhere that the book lends itself to an interpretation that it was all a dream, but I have to disagree It is our reality that most resembles the dream Quantum physics, itself, is not reconcilable with the macro universe we perceive, and yet it is muchvalid than our solid reality We might be able to make certain assumptions and wild conjectures about consensual realities and observation, but Harrison never gives us a clear and pat answer, only the brokenness of the inner the quantum and the outer the perceivable reality.I might even posit that the fact that all these alien species managed to specialize their own brands of physics so far and the fact that each brand is exclusive to all the others is a glaring clue as to the theme of the books All these different physics invalidated each other And yet, as long as the aliens believed their higher maths, their brands of FTL always worked In our breakneck desires to unlock the anomaly, we did so because we believed we could, that it would bring us happiness Thepeople that got caught up in the dream, the larger the dream and thearea it transformed, and it was whole areas of the Earth In the third book, the base desire, almost as powerful as sex, itself, is transforming other colonies, too And in the heart of it, the one person that is still outside of the actual breech, we have the half woman half cat surfer of many dimensions and the surfer of her own mind, perhaps for eternity Half in the quantum and half in the perceivable reality.I mention all of this because the book got under my skin and it does NOT make any of this plain to us Instead, it goes along being clever and idea rich and surprising and dreamlike and super post cyberpunk and super high physics spaceships with adventure And it happens to make many subtle points, besides To say that I m impressed is kinda an understatement This is a serious work All three of these novels are serious works.Never let anyone tell you that Science Fiction can t be literary and deep while at the same time being flashy, exploratory, and crude, because it can, and it can do it with SCIENCE


  2. Szplug Szplug says:

    Why can t the world that concerns us be a fiction and why does it need an authorI suppose you could read Empty Space as a standalone novel, though it makes somewhatsense when you ve previously immersed yourself in the trilogy s two brilliant opening acts the tripartite tales of grungy, multi physics miracles in a 25th century depressingly continued from our own era and in the latter of which a disturbed serial killer scientist is molding that very future in his vision worked hands Why can t the world that concerns us be a fiction and why does it need an authorI suppose you could read Empty Space as a standalone novel, though it makes somewhatsense when you ve previously immersed yourself in the trilogy s two brilliant opening acts the tripartite tales of grungy, multi physics miracles in a 25th century depressingly continued from our own era and in the latter of which a disturbed serial killer scientist is molding that very future in his vision worked hands that comprise Light together with the Chandler dipped in a bottle of mescaline mysteries of Nova Swing , wherein the evolving human identity of that same futuristic sprawl, bio engineered and virtually addicted, upon a planet called Saudade and its dripped block of uncanny, surreal, gene splicing reality courtesy of the Kefahuchi Tract, was brilliantly explored Harrison, a chronicler of dysfunction and unhappiness and darkling desolation without peer, inventively sprayed high tech maneuvers and body altering bio mech tailoring across the page, his words roiling in a tactile sense of exotic particles and radiated energy while the human beings spread across a vast galactic civilizational explosion, ever aware of the event horizonless singularity coined as the Kefahuchi Tract and its unknown but uncanny influence upon space faring intelligence, current and past, which hung like a stellar brushed Damoclean sword atop the void, tended on as we are apt to trading, fighting, scheming, fucking, despairing, maneuvering, failing, killing with that well worked and worn condition we label love still managing to survive, even in the most curious of instantiations, when bruised bodies and stained spirits had somehow managed to align themselves correctly In the most gorgeous of language, postmodern but pure, Harrison depicted grit and decay and a pervasive sense of entropy at work even amidst an immense stellar expanse where the proof of scientific magic was visible from near every quarter a less misanthropic Houellebecq, a less cynical Ballard, a less cruel Nabokov, though combining some of the best elements of all three.Those two previous works were fantastic in their own way but it s my opinion that they ve been excelled with the closer, this fucking amazing bit of tautly constructed and intelligently unfolded business that takes that triple storyline structure from the first, and neo noir elements however winking from the second, and collides them with a wholly new strain of imploded vision in the break for home Characters from both prior books take centre stage herein Aschemann s enigmatic, identityless Assistant tailored to the degree she s barely human Fat Antoyne, Liv Hula, and Irene the Mona from the seedier sidebars of Nova Swing R.I Gaines, mysterious EMC agent at large and schemer extraordinaire as one man behind one curtain and, in what I felt was the most exquisitely portrayed performance, Anna Waterman, itchy and maturity starved and or stretched former wife of kinked killer Michael Kearney, now aged and on her own in a London running down from globally spread economic woes at a time not too far from our own present, dealing with her loneliness, estranged daughter, infelicitous feline James, and a marked proclivity for observing her summerhouse burst into multi hued flames accompanied by the showers of sparks that once set Kearney to quivering murderousness A discovery in the twenty fifth century of an berenigmatic alien artifact in the shape of a single human tear, in apparently slumbering existence for a million years, reveals Planck level glimpsed linkages with the overamped and unloved Assistant on Saudade caught up in investigating a bewildering pair of killings committed under the auspices of the mortsafe cargo being hauled in Antoyne, Liv, and Irene s interstellar transport while it also begins to emerge that dear old Anna, drifting between bemused psychologist, taxed daughter, and young neighbourhood cock, is still bearing Michael s original titanium drive, which possesses some manner of connexion with that stunning sobbing intelligence afloat within a condensed emergent space that defies all known varieties of human delimited physics.There s so much to love about this novel the gnosticism initiated through an acceptance of fear and isolation and sheer inadequacy, in which an instantiation of our time based, enchained human materiality pierces the spacetime barriers to find union with the alien god of old, the originary creative spirit wherein true love abides though the result of this time and space starved embrace is necessarily unknown The cat ever present in the works of this author serves its own whiskery purpose, introducing bestial nature and the caprice of chance, two states directly antipodal to this alleged deity who knows naught, at heart, of flesh and its ill fortunes while the drive is a brick of the information, matriced and mathematical, that propels human technology and human culture and, really, the universe itself It s in how Harrison carefully removes the veils along the path to this time shedding interposition of now and then which so markedly impresses Then there s the casual genius with which the technological marvels four centuries from now are described, the manner in which a conversation about kitsch between Antoyne and the elusive Renoko have a metafictive timber to how the author does his bit The Postmodern Ironisation discussed, a turn, begun in the twentieth century, to when what was once considered trash began to be admired as kitsch, is replete with digs at science fiction s lowered position on the scale of literary accomplishment, as well as a driving engine behind the grime and decadent feel for the galactic environment in which Empty Space transpires Notwithstanding that humanity, via a combination of reverse engineering from salvaged alien treasures and metastasized conceptional systems of physical science, has managed to conquer the oceanic void between the stars, expanding its civilization to thousands of systems, the beings who comprise that spread are depressingly familiar descendants from our own neon lighted times The ability to radically alter the physical makeup, look, strength, the very purpose of one s body is inevitably pursued for the sport of killing, overpowering, or fucking and even that latter, displayed in one casual sexual connexion after another, could not be presented with less passion, less of a sense of losing oneself in another, finding pleasures beyond that of commingling fluids until sleep separates Even when Pearlant Pearlent the prospective reader should be extremely attentive to the spelling changes in Empty Space, for what I first deemed to be annoyingly sloppy proofing quickly stood revealed as entirely intentional that sublime, crystalline tear become ghost fleshed poetry in motion, is being portrayed in all of her aeon poised splendor, it s for purposes so anodyne, so banally predictable in light of our own sanguinary recent century, that it wrenches And speaking of which war does intrude, abruptly and out of the blue, vaporizing whole planets and their populations, sparking streams of refugees without ruffles, but always as a scene initiator, an affect to explosively punctuate the other episodes of this tale a most human one, at that.For at its corrupted and coruscating heart, Empty Space is, like all of Harrison s fictions, a love story though one that sees this highest and most irrational constituent of the range of emotive humanity warped, twisted, refracted, reflected, and generally brought unto the point of dissipation under the gravitational pull of loneliness, fear, and the instability of, and incapacity for, our efforts to effect a stabilized picture of what we are, in our own eyes and those of whom we most wish to see us in a certain slant of light Love in a Time of Chaos might have made a suitable alternate title for even Irene the Mona, tailored by skilled hands to look and feel the part of a joyously expressive and sensuously tactile lover, stands revealed as damaged goods, her love for Antoyne not only repaid in silence or stammered grunts of supposed requiting, but unreal on its own terms though it, and his, doubtless exist The only thing perduring about her frail existence is the deep and fascinated appeal the stars hold for her the promise of so much empty space wherein that sense of being forever adrift from other beings, of having bruisable flesh in a civilization machine worked to the gills, might be assuaged In the author s hands, our individual and collective being serve as paint being brushed across spacetime s canvas, giving form to a representation of which we are part, though its and, hence, our ultimate function remains alien to our understanding whilst, simultaneously, the Kefahuchi Tract that vast, variegated cosmic smear across velvet blackness, that naked singularity that evercomes to take on the appearance of a titanic twinkling eye, leaking its strangeness without upon humanity s galactic spread like so many ionic tears appears to be plucking parts from our physical, mental, and spiritual makeup to add to, and alter, a bizarre, energy formed schematic whose purpose might be of evolving and changing its abstract immensity through our voluntary and involuntary input even as it works memes of transition upon the overawed beings its has seemingly brought to that very point a symbiotic relationship not so much in the vein of God and subject, but rather as two conceptions of dimension formed life become necessarily fractured and mad under the unyielding pressure of loneliness and unknowability within infinity, even as that marred status instills a yearning and exuberant passion for a closer entwining of two striving impulses via exploration, insemination, copulation, and miscegenation What of Seria Mau Genlicher, who calls to van Sant from the eternal void from one angle a stellar angel whose feathered alae catch and burnish comsic rays, and another a ringed halo of particulate energy, the constitutive matter of the universe made sentient and set as sentinel of her vacuum demesne Her longed for reemergence as swooping pearlescent ghost was one of the most starkly affecting panels of all that Harrison brought before my anticipating eye.So that s where this lengthy paen to verbiage ends five stars, for despite the fact Harrison s wild imagination, dystopian drive, and grittily casual preference for, and skill in working with, the baser elements of our human clay and its attendant effect towards turning characters into characteries makes for an ultimately depressing and discomfiting fictive immersion, this concluding novel is a beautiful work of haunting vision and existential longing and cosmic strangeness, all cross purposed working and singularity energizing against the forward marching arrow of time and a striving, within the ugly necessity of our daily routine and biological tinkering and scarring in an effort to alleviate its buckling pressure to find something outside of ourselves that not only explains the summed elements of what we are, but helps us understand our relation with the rebarbative and radiant theater of infinite expanse at both spatial and temporal extremes in which we are expected to perform What s , there s no escaping the truth that Icarus flights are ever tempered when humour abounds within the wax awaiting unbinding and here Harrison s wry spear thrusts ever pierce the gathering metro polluted gloom The language of Empty Space is precise and potent, choking even as it irradiates, and the subtleties in relation to genre references, the previous two volumes, and memes of entropic expansion, identity decay, and timeless interrelation means that the reader must provide her full attention to every page that something vital not be overlooked or elided but that dedication reaps enormous aesthetic, aethereal, and substantive rewards The Kefahuchi Tract is such a supernal concept that I fervently hope Harrison will yet return and mine its xenospatial quantum conundrums for another book or three


  3. Gerhard Gerhard says:

    One of my favourite SF books ever is Nova by Samuel R Delany, and Harrison s Kefahuchi Tract trilogy reminds me so much of Delany The sense of a wild frontier, crazy characters caught up in a maelstrom of events in a dark and unredictable universe, where nothing is as it seems and everyone is damaged in one way or another.A lot of modern SF seems sanitised and focused on technology Harrison s singularity without an event horizon is dirty, smelly, sexy, and filled with danger and dangerous One of my favourite SF books ever is Nova by Samuel R Delany, and Harrison s Kefahuchi Tract trilogy reminds me so much of Delany The sense of a wild frontier, crazy characters caught up in a maelstrom of events in a dark and unredictable universe, where nothing is as it seems and everyone is damaged in one way or another.A lot of modern SF seems sanitised and focused on technology Harrison s singularity without an event horizon is dirty, smelly, sexy, and filled with danger and dangerous weird people, creatures and things And if you think I am describing the Culture by Iain Banks, definitely not Kefahuchi is the red light district, ground zero, three ring circus and exclusion zone that the Culure never had It is the true frontier.I really loved Empty Space It is a truly crazy read that puts its plot in a blender and then gets impatient if the reader fails to pay attention It is best to just immerse yourself in this and go with the flow you will soon hit the rapids.Much of the intellectual, moral and philosophical rigour of SF is now concentrated in the sub genre of space opera, with writers like Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Paul McAuley, John C Wright and, of course, M John Harrison Peter Hamilton is a self conscious throwback to the Golden Age of SF space opera.Harrison is the most poetic and eccentric of this disparate collection of writers, but I hasten to add it depends on personal choice, and whether or not you prefer the experimental side of SF or theconventional genre grounded output.Anyone who writes about quantum cats so convincingly is pretty special


  4. Adam Adam says:

    The finale to Harrison s trilogy is as confounding, obtuse, and beautiful as the rest of the series His prose is crafted so impeccably and relentlessly it is hard to resist chewing over each line and word choice it is also very discouraging for the amateur writer and occasionally losing the plot But with Harrison you know you are going to read it again, soon I might restart the trilogy and see how they work together His imagery, imagination, and prose are on such a level that they put much The finale to Harrison s trilogy is as confounding, obtuse, and beautiful as the rest of the series His prose is crafted so impeccably and relentlessly it is hard to resist chewing over each line and word choice it is also very discouraging for the amateur writer and occasionally losing the plot But with Harrison you know you are going to read it again, soon I might restart the trilogy and see how they work together His imagery, imagination, and prose are on such a level that they put much science fiction is there anyone else who writes in the genre recently that is comparable as a stylist, Wolfe, Mieville, Shepard, or Gibson and other fiction in its shadow Jodorowsky and Lynch should have skipped Dune and waited for these books to adapt Quantum physics, Gnosticism, and dream imagery mixed with cyberpunk, noir, depressing near future science fiction, and space opera for a dense, cinematic, and surreal nightmare


  5. zxvasdf zxvasdf says:

    In his blogs, Harrison often states that the act of writing is a quest for identity, a means for him to understand himself in this world So, Empty Space essentially is the psyche of Harrison himself, laid out as visceral as neon entrails left in the garden at dusk He crafts tantalizing clues, slight references to inspirations, influences, and secret obsessions A viewpoint is rehashed out between multiple characters, and the emergent property is of disassociation Everyone s trying to find the In his blogs, Harrison often states that the act of writing is a quest for identity, a means for him to understand himself in this world So, Empty Space essentially is the psyche of Harrison himself, laid out as visceral as neon entrails left in the garden at dusk He crafts tantalizing clues, slight references to inspirations, influences, and secret obsessions A viewpoint is rehashed out between multiple characters, and the emergent property is of disassociation Everyone s trying to find themselves a place in this world, from the codependent mona, the twink out assistant who drapes herself with names to be discarded with the necessity of a woman in a fitting room, the man at the edge of empty space in the face of the K tract speaking with an alien voice in the void Code as person, spread out in a pre programmed routine gives opinions and remembers something stainless steel reflecting neon pink and green when it sleeps for the last time A thin man who eats his anxieties like a fat man, and the man who walks through walls in estrangement with the love of his life The great physicist s ex wife who finds herself by becoming lost A rocket captain coming unmoored from herself in the face of death And life These vectors cross, echo away, and return in a tangled knot at the conclusion of Empty Space You finish reading, your head buzzing, and you turn to pick up your copy of Light You see dangling threads demanding to be connected by your yearning mind, little clues that fluoresce from Light, and Nova Swing You get the feel you re not seeing the big picture just yet, that the narrative exists at a higher scale Harrison rewards the most diligent of readers For his biggest fans, Empty Space builds a void within, complete and entirely sucking when the final page is consumed The worlds of New Venusport, Old Earth, and the tales of the boys from Earth are lit, knocking about in your head And there s nothingAnd you think, Hey, the Reborn Men of Viriconium sound familiar


  6. Tamahome Tamahome says:

    The perfect formula for the opposite of a best seller in America 1 it sounds British2 has a very good vocabulary3 has some scifi words4 doesn t skimp on the violence or weird sex 5 unlikeable charactersIt s as immediately unappealing as I remember Light being which I didn t finish Whenever he makes a comparison in his descriptions, I just shrug and go I don t know what that is A lot of people respect him, so I ll keep plugging I ve read 2 chapters Some of the chapters are in the pr The perfect formula for the opposite of a best seller in America 1 it sounds British2 has a very good vocabulary3 has some scifi words4 doesn t skimp on the violence or weird sex 5 unlikeable charactersIt s as immediately unappealing as I remember Light being which I didn t finish Whenever he makes a comparison in his descriptions, I just shrug and go I don t know what that is A lot of people respect him, so I ll keep plugging I ve read 2 chapters Some of the chapters are in the present day, and may berelatable, and the future chapters are kind of exotic Plus it s only 241 pages The Coode Street podcast just said it should have been nominated for a Hugo I should read it, shouldn t I UPDATE Harrison was just on Coode St He talked about how the novel had traps that subverted your expectations, and it has black comedy that most reviewers miss Maybe I ll eat my broccoli and finish it


  7. Leonard Leonard says:

    There s an almost impossibly extended sequence of mindfuckery and mysticism toward the end that I m not sure I fully grasp But whatever Harrison is smart and sly enough to slip in a few self referential asides about ungraspability I was left feeling, I dunno, spun around, ravished, awed despite a predictability or two The question of whether the language of intentionally impenetrable postmodern space opera is really the best medium for this sort of thing nagged me a bit As shaped by Harriso There s an almost impossibly extended sequence of mindfuckery and mysticism toward the end that I m not sure I fully grasp But whatever Harrison is smart and sly enough to slip in a few self referential asides about ungraspability I was left feeling, I dunno, spun around, ravished, awed despite a predictability or two The question of whether the language of intentionally impenetrable postmodern space opera is really the best medium for this sort of thing nagged me a bit As shaped by Harrison, though, it just might be This is science fiction as pure poetry, beyond even Ballard Paradoxically, it s as much about the importance of living in the here and now as the allure of living in the future or, for that matter, the past the central Harrison theme, really


  8. Alex Sarll Alex Sarll says:

    As a rule, the only information you can trust in the Daily Mail is the price on the front But on the cover of this book is a quote from them, proclaiming Empty Space SF at its most astounding an entirely accurate assessment And what better way to establish, even before the first page, an uneasy mood, a sense of a world where basic laws of the universe fold, warp or decay Harrison s tired, clunky near future, and the grotty grandeur of a 25th century which has found new vices but no new vi As a rule, the only information you can trust in the Daily Mail is the price on the front But on the cover of this book is a quote from them, proclaiming Empty Space SF at its most astounding an entirely accurate assessment And what better way to establish, even before the first page, an uneasy mood, a sense of a world where basic laws of the universe fold, warp or decay Harrison s tired, clunky near future, and the grotty grandeur of a 25th century which has found new vices but no new virtues, were the perfect accompaniment to the week of the London dust storm and its perpetual graininess in the air As I finished the book this evening, attained some sort of resolution, the skies cleared The dense firings of the prose make for the sort of text you could use for divination, though I m not sure who would want any answer Empty Space could give them


  9. Andrew Andrew says:

    Better than Nova Swing not as good as Light but what is If Light is full of the sparks in everything, and Nova Swing is about boundary states, then Empty Space focuses on the nothingness that separates people, places, and times the gutters between two panels in a comic The subtitle is a haunting, and the book is certainly haunting.


  10. Sebastian Sebastian says:

    Harrison is a real rollercoaster of a writer for me I absolutely loved the previous book in the series, but this one I couldn t make heads or tails of So, finally, here I am, about a third of the way in, and I give up The thing is, it s been a while since I read the previous book Characters reappear, and I vaguely remember their names, but nothingThings happen, described in detail in Harrison s beautifully dense prose But then it gets so dense that from reading session to reading ses Harrison is a real rollercoaster of a writer for me I absolutely loved the previous book in the series, but this one I couldn t make heads or tails of So, finally, here I am, about a third of the way in, and I give up The thing is, it s been a while since I read the previous book Characters reappear, and I vaguely remember their names, but nothingThings happen, described in detail in Harrison s beautifully dense prose But then it gets so dense that from reading session to reading session I can t retain the plot lines in my feeble, tired brain It all slips away I have to struggle to reconnect people to names to events to places, over and over again, until the same feeble, tired brain gives up Eyes glaze over, running mechanically over lines of text in a kind of blindsight while the brain is elsewhere This may be brilliant stuff Hell, Harrison is a brilliant writer, so it probably is Just not for me, not right now


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