M. John Harrison
Bantam, Sep 2007, $16.00
Years have passed since pilot Ed Chianese in 2400 AD crashed into the Kefahuchi Tract (see LIGHT) and a piece of the Tract fell to earth leading to a strange alien like phenomena that also brought early capitalism to the locale. Travel agent Vico “Vic” Serotonin escorts affluent “tourists” on illegal tours of the alien Saudade event site, where the universal laws of physics fail. This outlawed zone contains psychic phenomena that are more often unfriendly and other insanely encounters. Vic also runs an artifact smuggling operation. The law knows of both his illegal activities, but since no one has been hurt they ignore him as a small rascal not worth the cost of incarceration.
Wealthy tourist Elizabeth Kielar hires Vic to take her inside the infamous Saudade. Once there, she vanishes. Obsessed over his dead wife and thinking the Saudade might help him with his need, police detective Lens Aschemann abruptly threatens Vic as reverse tourism seems to suddenly flow out of the event site to spend time at the dives surrounding the location. Meanwhile club owner Paulie DeRaad purchases from Vic a Saudade artifact, but once in his possession, the alien object seems to possess him as it begins to change him. All roads to and from Saudade eventually seem to converge on Vic.
This entertaining strange science fiction Noir is not a direct sequel to LIGHT, but a sort of follow-up related but not very closely (think distant relative). The story line retains the grittiness of the previous tale whether it is the dumpy bars and tourist spots that surround the Saudade event site or just the interplay between the classy client and the roguish tour guide. Fans who appreciate something odd and weird in their futuristic tales will want to read NOVA SWING, as few novels are as enjoyable yet bizarre; perhaps not since M. John Harrison shed LIGHT on quantum physics.