Galactic North — Alastair Reynolds

Galactic North, written by Alastair Reynolds.This is bizarre.   After three trilogy length novels — two spanning decades and one a few centuries — going into glorious detail and getting the reader really involved with the characters and their situations, we now have a story spanning tens of millennia that’s only a short: WTF?

It all feels extremely rushed, utterly lacking in depth and just seems like Alastair threw it together before breakfast to meet some publisher’s needs before he went on holiday.

Ho hum, we can’t really expect all of Alastair’s books to be excellent.   This one’s very disappointing.

Anyways, this is the last story in the whole series for now.   Just a bit of a wait until Inhibitor Phase is released on 26th August 2021.

It’s certainly been a blast reading the whole series in one go, it was just under 3 months ago when i began Great Wall of Mars.   And no inbetweenies due to boredom: this is one of those series that you just want to keep on reading without any other books getting involved.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

Alastair’s Page

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Absolution Gap — Alastair Reynolds

If you’re not into reading a whole trilogy crammed into one book then i’d suggest staying away: this book is huge.   But if you’ve got this far you’ve just read two books of similar length so you’re used to it by now — dive right in.

My thoughts are that this book just doesn’t come up to the same level as the previous two.   I think it’s because everything in this universe that we’ve come to know is all getting torn apart into molecules by the Inhibitors and there’s not much left of life as we once knew it.   It’s all quite depressing really, as are some of the characters.   And while i like a writer who isn’t afraid to kill off a main character or several, i was a bit put out by one of them as i really wanted to hear more from them: i won’t say which one because it would spoil the whole book.

But, this is war, this is the threatened annihilation of the human race, so we can’t expect it to be all upbeat and fun — can we?

So yeah, straight into Galactic North now and then it’s a bit of a wait for Inhibitor Phase to be published on 26th August 2021.

Alastair’s Page

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Redemption Ark — Alastair Reynolds

Oooh wow, now that was a really good read, extremely lengthy but really good.

This time we’re back in the Yellowstone system but our old friends (or enemies, depending on how you view them), the Conjoiners are back, along with a few blasts from the distant past: don’t worry, you’ll soon catch up with who’s who again.

When Ilia activated the cache weapons in the last book the Conjoiners, whose weapons they actually happen to be, received an alert that they’ve been activated and it’s not too long before they decide that they’re going to get them back.   But there’s rifts amongst the Conjoiners, who aren’t as conjoined as they might seem, and some want the weapons for a different reason.

And so it’s off to Resurgam, via Chasm City, in souped up lighthuggers that bend the laws of physics, in a crazy game of star-ship-chase-me as the different factions want to get there first and get the cache weapons — both gleefully trying to throw a spanner in the other’s works along the way.

And what a great time is going to be had when we get to Resurgam, what with the Inhibitors now unleashed by Sylveste’s previous shenanigans, running amok and making to destroy the whole solar system, and also Ilia having absolutely no desire to give up her weapons to anyone.

There’s also lots of other great story telling things and characters going on besides — like a whole planet to evacuate before the inhibitors burn it to death.   You won’t be bored.

Super good and now it’s straight into Absolution Gap.

Alastair’s Page

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Nightingale — Alastair Reynolds

Nightingale, written by Alastair Reynolds.What begins as a war-criminal hunt slowly turns more and more strange and out of control for our intrepid party of hunters.

I really enjoyed this super good novella.   It was nice of Alastair to throw a delicious little shorty between Revelation Space and Redemption Ark: both the size of trilogies in their own right.

And the ending is brilliant.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

Next up in the series is Redemption Ark

Alastair’s Page

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Revelation Space — Alastair Reynolds

This is one rather large book but, thankfully, it’s one rather good book as well that keeps those pages turn, turn, turning.

I think my only complaint is that when Volyova uses the Nostalgia for Infinity as a murder weapon by accelerating it and braking it in order to smash one of her crew to death, there’s no explanation as to what happened to everything else in this massive ship that wasn’t nailed down properly.   Like, what happened to all the ship-slime, rats, shuttle craft, the weapons cache and many other things besides: were all of the these things nailed down to protect them against such repeated high G acceleration and forward braking phases?   There were many ways of carrying out this killing that didn’t require any further explanation, but to use the method that Volyova did and then for Alastair to just fail to explain what happened to everything else in the ship does annoy me somewhat.

Because the ship isn’t designed to brake in the forward motion.   It’s designed to accelerate to one G continuously up to the half way point of the journey, then it will flip 180 degrees and use the same one G thrust to slow itself down.   Why would the engines suddenly be capable of huge 10 G burns in both directions just to kill one person?   I really think it’s needs a proper explaining.

But yeah, i know, that’s how picky i have to be to find any real criticism of this immense book.   It is the only fault i could find, and to be fair, most people would probably read this and not even think about it.

I do hope that doesn’t put anyone off (not that i think for one moment that it would ), because other than that one bizarre murder it’s super good, great writing, great characters, everything as we’ve come to expect so far in this series.

And i look forward to some more: next up is Nightingale.

Alastair’s Page

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Lightspeed: Year One — John Joseph Adams

I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno — Vylar Kaftan
The Cassandra Project — Jack McDevitt
Cats in Victory — David Barr Kirtley
Amaryllis — Carrie Vaughn
No Time Like the Present — Carol Emshwiller
Manumission — Tobias S. Buckell
The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball — Genevieve Valentine
…For a Single Yesterday — George R. R. Martin
How to Become a Mars Overlord — Catherynne M. Valente
Patient Zero — Tananarive Due
Arvies — Adam-Troy Castro
More Than the Sum of His Parts — Joe Haldeman
Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain — Yoon Ha Lee
The Long Chase — Geoffrey A. Landis
Amid the Words of War — Cat Rambo
Travelers — Robert Silverberg
Hindsight — Sarah Langan
Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back — Joe R. Lansdale
The Taste of Starlight — John R. Fultz
Beachworld — Stephen King
Standard Loneliness Package — Charles Yu
Faces in Revolving Souls — Caitlin R. Kiernan
Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters — Alice Sola Kim
Ej-Es — Nancy Kress
In-Fall — Ted Kosmatka
The Observer — Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Jenny’s Sick — David Tallerman
The Silence of the Asonu — Ursula K. Le Guin
Postings from an Amorous Tomorrow — Corey Mariani
Cucumber Gravy — Susan Palwick
Black Fire” — Tanith Lee
The Elephants of Poznan — Orson Scott Card
Long Enough And Just So Long — Cat Rambo
The Passenger — Julie E. Czerneda
Simulacrum — Ken Liu
Breakaway, Backdown — James Patrick Kelly
Saying the Names — Maggie Clark
Gossamer — Stephen Baxter
Spider the Artist — Nnedi Okorafor
Woman Leaves Room — Robert Reed
All That Touches the Air — An Owomoyela
Maneki Neko — Bruce Sterling
Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son — Tom Crosshill
Velvet Fields — Anne McCaffrey
The Harrowers — Eric Gregory
Bibi From Jupiter — Tessa Mellas
Eliot Wrote — Nancy Kress
Scales — Alastair Reynolds

 

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Grafenwalder’s Bestiary — Alastair Reynolds

Grafenwalder's Bestiary, written by Alastair Reynolds.This one has call backs to A Spy in Europa, Diamond Dogs, and Chasm City, so if you missed reading any of those then you really need to go and read them first.

And it’s such a good short, like, really good.   The ending is brilliant.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

And now, finally, at long last, we get onto the title work, Revelation Space.   Yes peoples, it’s finally the big books’ time to be read, so it may be a while between future reviews.

Alastair’s Page

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Turquoise Days — Alastair Reynolds

Turquoise Days, written by Alastair Reynolds.In this book we go off to the planet Turquoise, so named because it’s an ocean planet covered in turquoise oceans.

Within the oceans are the Pattern Jugglers that got a mention in Diamond Dogs, and in this book we get a much deeper introduction to them.

So yeah, a really enjoyable novella adding yet another alien layer onto the growing alien layers of the Revelation Space universe.

Available in the duology, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days.

And the next book in the series is Grafenwalder’s Bestiary.

Alastair’s Page

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The Last Log of the Lachrimosa — Alastair Reynolds

The Last Log of the Lachrimosa, written by Alastair Reynolds.The Lachrimosa is an Ultra vessel whose captain has bought some information which he believes will make him a lot of profit.   And so the ship ends up at a planet exploring a place the crew really don’t want to explore.

This has hints of the wars between the maggots and the machines that was mentioned in Chasm City, and it seems we’re getting info dumped for the big books at the end of the series.   Info dumping aside, it’s an enjoyable novella to whizz through in a day or so.

Available in the collection, Beyond the Aquila Rift.

This is folllowed by Turquoise Days.

Alastair’s Page

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Chasm City — Alastair Reynolds

Wow, now that was an epic sci-fi journey.   My Kindle showed it at 11495 Loc points, which makes it easily longer than some trilogies, and it’s all just one book: great value for money.

In this book we begin by following a character, Tanner Mirabel, who is a mercenary of sorts.   Tanner seems to have been infected with an indoctrination virus that gives him a historical/religious figure’s memories as dreams and flash backs.   On top of this Tanner has also wound up leaving the planet he was on, Sky’s Edge, and gone off on a lighthugger to Yellowstone, not realising the Melding Plague has destroyed everything.   Then, to add insult to injury, Tanner is also suffering reefer-sleep amnesia, although he does remember some things, like the fact that he came to Yellowstone to kill the man who killed his boss’ girlfriend.

But everything is not quite as it seems, people are waiting for Tanner, people are hunting Tanner, and some people just want to kill Tanner — or whoever he might be.

Brilliant!   This book has so many twists and turns as a fucked-up Tanner takes us on a fucked-up guided tour around Yellowstone’s Chasm City, a post Melding Plague Chasm City that’s just totally fucked-up.   Alastair does the most amazing writing job.

Scores on the doors: to quote from Spinal Tap, “Look, right across the board… 11, 11, 11…”

Next up is The Last Log of the Lachrimosa.

Alastair’s Page

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