i've been lazy with my recommendations, but if you want something viscerally similar to light while being quite different thematically, read radix. the first 70 or so pages are a bit draggy but there's a rather jarring tonal shift around then and suddenly everything becomes fucking beautiful.
'weird how time is always sliding east,
weird that we should move at all'
there were actually some things i wanted to get to once i saw you got to a certain point, but timezones were a bitch...we can still keep doing stuff, if you're interested, just vm/pm me, but yeah was a pleasure
it took me forever to find this post because i deleted it for some reason (i almost never delete my posts, so this is kind of odd) but here it is, from 'general lickerature' may 2011:
"going to bed so im just gonna recommend one thing
LIGHT by m john harrison
in my brief yet meandering 22 years of existence, this is the best book i have ever read. harrison is one of two sci-fi authors i'm fond of, as i find the medium to be too full of nerds with great ideas who are rather wanting in terms of prose. LIGHT has 3 converging plots: one about a man in our present time who is haunted by something called the shrander ("in that moment he was lost. out of the sand, the sky, the pebbles-out of what he would later think of as the willed fractality of things-emerged the shrander. he had no name for it then. it had no shape for him. but it was in his dreams thereafter, as a hollow, an absence, a shadow on a door."), one about a spaceship pilot who is more a consciousness than a person ("i don't want those feelings a body has."), and one about a virtual reality junkie ("tank withdrawal was in the bone. it was cellular, organic. but it was also a kind of separation anxiety. it was the sustained scream of wanting to be back in a lost world you had loved).
if you like english as a language, you should probably read it. i honestly cannot express just how fucking immaculate this man's writing is.
"As she spoke, the White Cat slipped into a cloud of non-baryonic junk, which, reacting weakly to her passage through it, stroked the hull like a ghost. A few dials woke up in the manual back-up systems in the empty human quarters of the ship, flickered, dropped back to zero. As matter, it was barely there, but the shadow operators were drawn to it. They gathered by the portholes, arranging the light that fell around them so that they could make the most tragic picture, looking at themselves in mirrors, whispering and running thin fingers across their mouths or through their hair, rustling their dry wings.
'If only you had grown like this, Cinderella,' they mourned, in the old language.
'Such a blessing,' they said"
and then stuff like
"Back at the motel, Anna was sitting on the bed naked with her feet tucked up, crying. Ten o'clock in the morning and she had already pinned notes to the doors and walls. Why are you anxious? they said, and: Never do more than you can. They were like beacons for a bad sailor, someone lost even in familiar straits."
words like this taste so good it's a crime not to read them aloud"