The Centauri Device

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Image of The Centauri Device (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Author: M. John Harrison
Publisher: Gateway (2000)
Binding: Paperback, 208 pages

I found this a very hard book to read & am immensely glad it was only 200 pages long, the story washed over me (& not in a good way). Things, places, people, situations are often not fully describes, as though I'm supposed to know what's going on already. Basically, John Truck is a bit of a space bum, but as the only remaining Centauran he seems to be the only person who can operate a recently uncovered sentient bomb & people want to use him for just that purpous.

The use of language is all rather poetic, but it seemed to me that almost random phrases were thrown in willy nilly, to the point that I got the feeling words & sentences had been edited out of the edition I was reading. On some occasions the narrative is really rather good, but it soon descends into babble again.

I was pretty unsure of most of the characters motivation for what they were doing throughout the novel. Just what these characters were really trying to achieve & even the reasons anyone was so interested in the eponymous device itself where pretty ill defined.

There is a definite poetry to the language here, but unfortunately I just didn't like the poem. Oh & I lost count of how many times the word “retched” was used.

I read “The Pastel City” a while back & found it far more enjoyable, I was planning to read “Light” at some point but this has rather put me off that plan.