"Nova Swing" by M. John Harrison takes place in the same universe as "Light" which was published in 2002, but it can be read on its own. Part science fiction, part noir detective story, it's well-written and inventive space opera. It's a tale of physics gone weird and warped reality.
In the twenty-fifth century, part of an astral galaxy crashes to the earth and transforms into an area of skewed geography known as the "event site." The site becomes a tourist attraction and travel agent Vic Serotonin escorts clients in and brings back illegal artifacts. But the area is changing and becoming unpredictable. People who enter are altered in strange ways and things are coming out of the site on their own and transforming the world in dangerous ways. Detective Lens Aschemann is determined to shut Vic's business down – but it may already be too late. Vic's new client is a strange woman who is obsessed with going into the site but another trip inside could end in disaster for both of them.
Harrison writes beautiful prose. His dark gritty atmosphere sets a scene that is recognizable yet bizarre at the same time. It's a world that is sometimes incomprehensible; the event site is never fully explained. The focus is on the lives of the characters and how they're affected by the site. If you're looking for a simple plot, you will not find it between these covers. This is a thought provoking, challenging read that is guaranteed to make you think outside the box.
Publisher: Spectra, Reprint edition (December 2008)
Price: $ 6.99