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M John Harrison


Year 2002
Publisher Gollancz
ISBN 0575070250



Beneath the unbearable light of the Kefahuchi Tract - a huge, unpredictable ocean of radiant energy deep in the galaxy - three objects lie on the barren surface of an asteroid: an abandoned spacecraft, a pair of what look like bone dice, and a human skeleton.  What they are, and what they mean, are the mysteries explored and unwrapped in Light, M John Harrison's astonishing return to the imaginative terrain of science fiction.

Three intertwining strands of narrative - one contemporary, the others set in different parts of the galaxy in the year 2400 - make up the novel.  In the here and now is Michael Kearney, destined to take part in a discovery which will make possible interstellar travel, but at present a tortured individual confronted by a strange and possibly alien entity known as the Shrander.  In the future there are Seria Mau Genlicher, spaceship pilot, surgically and biologically modified to interact directly with her ship, the White Cat; and Ed Chianese, drifter and sensation seeker, currently down and out in New Venusport, with everybody in the universe apparently keen to take from him what he owes.




'At last M John Harrison takes on quantum mechanics.  The first classic of the quantum century, Light is a folded-down future history bound together by quantum exotica and human endurance.  Taut as Hemingway, viscerally intelligent, startlingly uplifting, Harrison's ideas have a beauty that unpacks to infinity.'
Stephen Baxter

'Light is a literary singularity: at one and the same time a grim, gaudy space opera that respects the physics, and a contemporary novel that unflinchingly revisits the choices that warp a life.  It's almost unbearably good.'
Ken MacLeod



Spitzer Uncovers Star Hatchery



Credit: NASA

Spitzer Uncovers Star Hatchery
A new striking image from the infrared telescope shows a vibrant cloud called the Trifid Nebula dotted with glowing stellar "incubators." Tucked deep inside these incubators are rapidly growing embryonic stars, whose warmth Spitzer was able to see for the first time with its powerful heat-seeking eyes.

The new view offers a rare glimpse at the earliest stages of massive star formation -- a time when developing stars are about to burst into existence.

"With Spitzer, it's like having an ultrasound for stars," said Spitzer scientist Dr. Jeonghee Rho. "We can see into dust cocoons and visualize how many embryos are in each of them."

NASA Image of the day archive





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