Merlin’s Gun — Alastair Reynolds

Merlin's Gun, written by Alastair Reynolds.

The fourth book in Alastair’s Merlin Series, and should be read immediately after The Iron Tactician.

Leaving his previous hitch-hiker behind, Merlin then finds another to join him on his quest to find the ultimate weapon against the Huskers.   Will they find it?   Will Merlin finally get to use it?   Will there be some ultimate act of betrayal?

You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.

Great ending though.

Sadly, for now at least, this is the fourth and final book in this short but very enjoyable tetralogy.

You’ll find this in the collection, Zima Blue and Other Stories.

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The Iron Tactician — Alastair Reynolds

The third book in Alastair’s Merlin Series, and should be read immediately after Minla’s Flowers.

More shenanigans as Merlin finds another system to play fixer in, this time it’s because he needs a new syrinx and this system happens to have one the cohort sold them.   Merlin knows this because he picks up a hitch-hiker along the way, who is the only surviving member of the Cohort ship who sold the syrinx.

So it’s all big war things and all that sort of stuff.

Next book — and final book — in this enjoyable little tetralogy will be Merlin’s Gun.   I wonder if the title gives away the fact that he finally found it? We shall soon find out: at least, i shall.

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Minla’s Flowers — Alastair Reynolds

Minla's Flowers, written by Alastair Reynolds.

This is the second book in Alastair’s Merlin Series, and should be read immediately after Hideaway.

We left off with Merlin leaving the cohort to find a fabled super weapon that he’ll then use to defeat the cyborgs known as Huskers.   During one transit Merlin’s ship, Tyrant, is thrown rather violently out of the Waynet.   It transpires that this is due to a kink in the Waynet as it passes a star named Calliope, and he urgently needs to stop at one of its planets, Lecythus, for repairs and refuelling.   While on the planet Merlin meets Minla and her people.

Unfortunately, Merlin realises that the kink in the Waynet that caused his problems is being caused by the Waynet being pulled towards Calliope, and once the Waynet line reaches the Calliope’s core then it’s pretty much all over for the whole system and everyone in it.   This then leads to all kinds of problems when he tells his new found friends on Lecythus that they’ve only got 70 years left . . .

. . . but it also leads to a rather good story as well.

Definitely some food-for-thought for those who enjoy all those wonderful philosophical debates about “Star Fleet’s First Directive” to consider.

All told, i’m really enjoying this series and am diving straight into The Iron Tactician for Merlin’s next adventure.

It’s available in the collections, Beyond the Aquila Rift and Zima Blue and Other Stories.

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Hideaway — Alastair Reynolds

Hideaway, written by Alastair Reynolds.

This is the first book in a tetralogy, the Merlin Series.

Just a few humans left with a galaxy full of nasty cyborgs hunting them down to extinction, it’s time to find a place to hideaway.   But one person, Merlin, doesn’t want to hideaway, instead he wants to go and find a weapon to fight back with.

All the usual best from Alastair.   It’s great to have a break from the shorts as i’m working through his whole back catalogue and get into something a bit bigger: this is looking to be a really good series.

Next up is Minla’s Flowers.

You’ll find Hideaway in the collection, Zima Blue and Other Stories, or in Interzone.

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In Dreams — Anthology

Planet Rock (Don’t Stop) — Charles Shaar Murray
Fat Tuesday — Ian McDonald
The Discovery of Running Bare — Jonathan Carroll
Night Shift Sister — Nicholas Royle
Worthless — Greg Egan
Nyro Fiddles — F. Paul Wilson
Thrumm — Steve Rasnic Tem
Digital to AnalogueAlastair Reynolds
Sticks — Lewis Shiner
The Elvis National Theatre of Okinawa — Jonathan Lethem and Lukas Jaeger
Candy Comes Back — Colin Greenland
Honey, I’m Home! — Lisa Tuttle
The Reflection Once Removed — Scott Bradfield
Life in the Groove — Ian Watson
Black Day at Bad Rock — Christopher Fowler
Riders on the Storm — Mark Timlin
The Shiny Surface — Don Webb
Weep for the Moon — Stephen Baxter
The Man Who Shot Anarchy Gordon — Ray Davis
Don’t Leave Me — Barrington J. Bayley
Falling StonesPeter F. Hamilton
Changes — Andrew Weiner
Wunderkindergarten — Marc Laidlaw
Bold as LoveGwyneth Jones
Blues for a Dying Breed — Cliff Burns
Last Rising Sun — Graham Joyce
Reed John-Paul Forever — Steve Antczak
Snodgrass — Ian R. MacLeod

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Angels of Ashes — Alastair Reynolds

Angels of Ashes, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the collection, Zima Blue and Other Stories.

It’s one of those sci-fi stories that goes on about quantum babble and how there’s a universe for every possible outcome of every possible situation.   To be honest, i think this theory is no different than the theory of god, both total nonsense made up by people who really don’t understand Nature and how it works.

Then Alastair has our protagonists in this book starting a war over whether god is right or quantum babble is right — which is just silly when all intelligent people already know that they’re both utter nonsense, which i hope is the point that Alastair is making in this story?   Although, thinking about it, he has wrote some other really bizarre stuff that makes no sense in other books, like the sheep in Inhibitor Phase; so maybe Alastair really is a die-hard quantum babble-ist and thinks that quantum babble-ists everywhere should rise up and start a war against the god grovellers?   Who knows the true thoughts of fiction writers?

But, whatever, have a read, it’s a fairly good story.

Coming next in the Alastair Reynolds reading list, from the year 2000, will be Merlin’s Gun.

Alastair’s Page

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Viper — Alastair Reynolds

Viper, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the collection, Deep Navigation.

Super good idea on how we might test future prisoners as to whether or not they’re suitable for parole.

Although we have to be sure that those doing the testing can’t be allowed to fiddle with the test — don’t we?


Next in the timeline from Alastair, it’s Angels of Ashes, from 1999.

Alastair’s Page

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On the Oodnadatta — Alastair Reynolds

On the Oodnadatta, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the collection, Deep Navigation.

A rather enjoyable short story, and a definite must read for any weirdos out there who are considering cryonics.

You never know who is going to end up buying out the corporation you originally contracted with, and once you’re frozen you won’t get any further say whatsoever as to what level those contracts will be honoured.   Maybe your new corporate owners will find a better use for your frozen bits in 20 or 30 years time.

Cremation is much cheaper and you know you’ll only be good for plant fertiliser afterwards.

Next up in Alastair’s writings will be Viper, a short story from 1999.

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Stroboscopic — Alastair Reynolds

Stroboscopic, written by Alastair Reynolds.You’ll find this in the collection, Deep Navigation.

I get the distinct feeling with this short story that Alastair was just having some fun with an idea.   And why not?

Basically, there’s a game that involves some newly discovered, alien lifeform that the solar system’s best gamers are invited to play.   There’s also a bit of politics involved, with the goodies v baddies, evil corporation thing going on in the background as well.

It’s ok, only 4 stars for this instead of Alastair’s usual 5, but like i said, this one just seemed like he decided to have some fun for a change.

Next up on the Alastair Reynolds timeline, from 1998, it’s On the Oodnadatta.

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