EMPTY SPACE is a space adventure. We begin with the following dream:
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 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 10,000 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.
In the distant future, a medieval system rises from the ruins of a technology that destroyed itself. Armored knights ride their horses across dunes of rust, battling for the honor of the Queen. But the knights find more to menace them than mere swords and lances. A brave quest leads them face to face with the awesome power of a complex, lethal technology that has been erased from the face of the Earth--but lives on, underground.
John Truck was to outward appearances just another lowlife spaceship captain. But he was also the last of the Centaurans - or at least, half of him was - which meant that he was the only person who could operate the Centauri Device, a sentient bomb which might hold the key to settling a vicious space war. M. John Harrison's classic novel turns the conventions of space opera on their head, and is written with the precision and brilliance for which is famed.
It is the time of the Locust. 'Fear death from the air, and avoid the North -' Eighty years have passed since Lord tegeus-Cromis broke the yoke of Canna Moidart, since the horror of the geteit chemosit. The Reborn Men, awoken from their long sleep, have inherited the Evening Cultures. In the wastelands to the north and west of Virconium a city is being built. But not by men. In the Time of the Locust a paralysing menace threatens to turn the inhabitants of the Pastel City into hideous, mindless insects..
It is some time after Ed Chianese's trip into the Kefahuchi Tract. A major industry of the Halo is now tourism. The Tract has begun to expand and change, but, more problematically, parts of it have also begun to fall to earth, piecemeal, on the Beach planets. We are in a city, perhaps on New Venusport or Motel Splendido: next to the city is the event site, the zone, from out of which pour new, inexplicable artefacts, organisms and escapes of living algorithm - the wrong physics loose in the universe. They can cause plague and change. An entire department of the local police, Site Crime, exists to stop them being imported into the city by adventurers, entradistas, and the men known as 'travel agents', profiteers who can manage - or think they can manage -the bad physics, skewed geographies and psychic onslaughts of the event site. But now a new class of semi-biological artefact is finding its way out of the site, and this may be more than anyone can handle.