Nova Swing - M John Harrison Review

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have you ever read a book that you've tried so hard to enjoy, over the first 200 pages? Yet despite the effort on your part it just doesn't prove to be a really intoxicating experience or one that you can recommend elsewhere?

I find myself in such commotion with "Nova Swing". Perhaps a mistake on my part was not taking up M John Harrison's previous book "Light" before jumping into "Nova Swing", but even so a good book should be able to stand on its own. Here like our own world the characters come with their own goals and aims amidst an unforgiving and bizarre environment. In such a world there is plenty happening, but under the cyberpunk-ish surface little that gels together.

The alien site itself was the source of amazement and troubles for all concerned forms the focus of the story but it not explored to any great effect. The clichéd characters (nightclub owner, punk kids, aging detective with a ruthless apprentice) operate on separate strands, sometimes coming together but never prompting the dramatic impact or assault on the senses that I really expected. It is well written, concise and will probably appeal to someone but I won't be looking back.

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