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As a feat of imaginative writing, Light is stunning. As a feat of storytelling, it's seriously flawed. It took me 75% of the text to have any sense of the direction of travel. The story owes a huge debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick's version more than Clarke's, I'd suggest), and, as in 2001, there is the feeling that some profundity lurks behind what is a very straightforward story. However, meaning is elusive. The style owes its debt to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Imagine Rutger Hauer's "Time to Die" death scene extended over hundreds of pages - full of similes which reference imagined scientific concepts which have no basis in common experience (and only a handful of which have any basis in modern research). There are moments where this becomes haunting and beautiful (as in the Blade Runner speech), but for the most part, I was unsure what had been said or why. I'm happy to have read Light - it's interesting, for sure - but it left me ultimately frustrated.
What made the experience of listening to Light the most enjoyable?
The story was surreal, complex and well-written.
What other book might you compare Light to, and why?
The style reminded me in some ways of William Gibson's early novels, and very much in a good way. Other elements brought to mind the Void Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton.
Would you be willing to try another one of Julian Elfer’s performances?
Unfortunately not. Whilst his voice is pleasant, he consistently mispronounces words and robs phrases of their meaning by placing the stress in the wrong place. If this were my book, I would be infuriated that the language I had so carefully constructed had been vandalised in this way.
This is perhaps the best audio-book I have purchased from Audible. I feel I must preface this with a warning: this is not for everyone. It is an extremely subtle, dense and fragmented book. But with patience and curiosity it unfolds into a masterpiece of fractal beauty -- it comes together like the blue fusion birth of a star.
The quality of the production is very good, the narrator is, to my mind, perfect and enhances the story in small unobtrusive ways. The story itself is breath-taking. But as I said, it is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are a fan of M. John. Harrison, or wish to see a very literary take on Science Fiction, I implore you to give this a try, if not stay far, far away.
In short its an esoteric masterpiece.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I would love to understand the ending better.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Light?
Packs of trippin' 8 year old assassins bursting into a virtual reality parlor, shooting up the place in a wild west gun fight.
What about Julian Elfer’s performance did you like?
Mr. Elfer made clear text that was difficult to make sense of. I enjoyed his narration immensely.
Could you see Light being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Oh hell no.
Any additional comments?
As interesting and provocative as I found this book, I don't know that I want to read any more from M. John Harrison. I was left wondering about characters who I don't think that the author really cared about. His portrayal of the women in this book was especially less than complimentary, though nobody comes out looking good. Some of the ideas were interesting, such as quantum physics providing the breakthrough for humans to explore space, pilots becoming fused with their space ships, and the discovery of technology developed and discarded by unknown entities millions of years before humans became human. His use of language is absolutely breathtaking.
I don't need a happy ending, I don't need to like all of the characters. At the end of it, though, I feel that the book should be putting forth some sort of reason for being. But the future, as envisioned by Mr. Harrison, seems to only enhance the worst characteristics of humanity: fear, hate, misunderstanding, greed, self loathing, addiction, ignorance, narcissism are all accentuated. Mr. Harrison seems to be saying that we should all be continuing on, to push ourselves farther, to
8 of 8 people found this review helpful