Nova Swing

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Nova Swing
First UK edition cover
Author M. John Harrison
Cover artist Dominic Harman
Publisher Gollancz
Publication date
January 2006
Media type hardback, paperback
Pages 247 pp.
ISBN 0-575-07027-7
OCLC 69022198
823/.914 22
LC Class PR6058.A6942 N68 2006
Preceded by Light
Followed by Empty Space

Nova Swing is a science fiction novel by M. John Harrison published in 2006. It takes place in the same universe as Light. The novel won the Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick Awards in 2007.[1]


Nova Swing takes place long after the events of Light, which focussed on a disturbance in the space-time continuum known as the Kefahuchi Tract. In Nova Swing, which is set in a galaxy light years away in the city of Saudade. At the centre of Saudade, and the novel's thematic focus, is the 'event zone', a space-time membrane created when a piece of the Tract fell to the ground in the city, transforming the appearance and even physics of the event site. The zone draws tourists from Saudade, led by hardened guide Vic Serotonin, who specializes in dangerous "tours" of this chaotic zone. Many of the narrative's threads play out as a consequence of 'artefacts' being brought out of the event zone by tourists. The motif of the event zone in this work recalls the 'plague zone' of Harrison's third Viriconium novel In Viriconium[citation needed].


Publishers Weekly said " Harrison privileges atmosphere over plot, using grotesquely beautiful narration and elliptical dialogue to convey the beautifully delineated angst of Saudade's extraordinary inhabitants. Although not for everyone, Harrison's trippy style will appeal to sophisticated readers who treasure the work of China Miéville and Jeff VanderMeer."[2] Regina Schroeder in her review for Booklist said "with its gritty, noirish atmosphere, elements of space opera, and some impressive moments of explosive action, this is a tasty, entertaining morsel, deeply flavored to satisfy the thoughtful."[3] Kirkus Reviews described it as "a cross between J. G. Ballard's intense, static The Drowned World and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's terrifying Roadside Picnic. The upshot: This science-fiction noir cum literary and social criticism is memorable, perplexing and challenging in equal measure."[4]

Nova Swing won or was shortlisted for several science fiction awards, including:

  • 2006 British Science Fiction Association Award nominee[5]
  • 2007 Arthur C. Clarke Award winner [1]
  • 2007 Philip K. Dick Award winner[1]
  • 2007 British Fantasy Award nominee[1]
  • 2007 John W. Campbell Award nominee[1]

Critical essays[edit]

Leigh Blackmore. "Undoing the Mechanisms: Genre Expectation, Subversion and Anti-Consolation in the Kefahuchi Tract Novels of M. John Harrison." Studies in the Fantastic. 2 (Winter 2008/Spring 2009). (University of Tampa Press). [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "2007 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  2. ^ "Nova Swing". Publishers Weekly. 254 (34): 65. August 27, 2007. ISSN 0000-0019. 
  3. ^ Schroeder, Regina (September 1, 2007). Booklist. 104 (1): 66. ISSN 0006-7385.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Nova Swing". Kirkus Reviews. 75 (16): 832. August 15, 2007. ISSN 0042-6598. 
  5. ^ "2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 

External links[edit]