Beyond the Aquila Rift — Alastair Reynolds

Great Wall of Mars
Beyond the Aquila Rift
Minla’s Flowers
Zima Blue
The Star Surgeon’s Apprentice
The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter
Diamond Dogs
Thousandth Night
Trauma Pod
The Last Log of the Lachrimosa
The Water Thief
The Old Man and the Martian Sea
In Babelsberg

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Dilation Sleep — Alastair Reynolds

Dilation Sleep, written by Alastair Reynolds.So we continue with the same theme from Monkey Suit, in that we’re on an lighthugger running away from Yellowstone and the Melding Plague.

This enjoyable little short introduces us to the real science of time dilation, wherein the nearer one gets to the speed of light, the faster time passes in the outside universe in relation to those on the space ship.

And if we take this idea and put those on the space ship in reefer-sleep, where their bodies and brains are taken down into hibernation state — so hardly ageing at all — and then send them close to light speed for a few years, decades can pass in the outside universe while these people age a few weeks or months: thus being known as dilation sleep.

Then if we look at the situation that is occurring on Yellowstone and consider that rich refugees can afford to pay Ultras to go on a trip around the galaxy in dilation sleep for a few years while hopefully everything back home gets sorted out, and that is where we are in this book.

Except that one of the crew has been awakened by the ship because something has gone wrong and needs fixing.

Good stuff.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

And the next book is Chasm City, which most definitely isn’t a short: more like a whole trilogy under one cover.

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Monkey Suit — Alastair Reynolds

Monkey Suit, written by Alastair Reynolds.The Ultras are running away from Yellowstone and the Glitter Band after a virus, The Melding Plague, has destroyed everything by attacking all nano-machinery and implants.   In this story we join a ship of Ultras and their hull-monkeys who are having some issues.

A short little story, but plenty good enough, giving us a bit more insight into the lives of the Ultras on their light-hugging ships.

Available in the collection, Deep Navigation.

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Diamond Dogs — Alastair Reynolds

Diamond Dogs, written by Alastair Reynolds.This is brilliant, yet so gruesome and twisted and you just have no idea how it’s going to end until you get to the end.

One imagines that Alastair really enjoyed watching The Cube and decided to shoe horn something similar but alien and even more fucked up into the Revelation Space Universe.   And what a great job he did of it too.

This book is available in the collections, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days and Beyond the Aquila Rift.


Next in line is Monkey Suit.

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Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days — Alastair Reynolds

This is actually two separate stories and in the timeline between Diamond Dogs and Turquoise Days are Monkey Suit, Dilation Sleep, Chasm City and The Last Log of the Lachrimosa.

So don’t go ruining things and forgetting to stop and read those stories inbetween the middle of this book.

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Elysium Fire — Alastair Reynolds

What’s odd about this book is that it starts with an explanation of Yellowstone and the Glitter Band which would have been much better placed before Aurora Rising — which the lack thereof was my one and only absolute criticism of that book.   It’s a bit late to put the info dump that one needs in the first Prefect Dreyfus book at the front of the second Prefect Dreyfus book.

Anyway, that aside, this is a superb book that totally builds on Aurora Rising, with all our favourite characters, good and bad, and some new ones too.   And it’s huge too, so huge but so unputdownable that i kept skipping my evening meditation session to keep reading this for a while longer and then staying awake a little past sleepy time too.

Excellently written, excellent characters, just excellent all round.

And up next it’s Diamond Dogs.

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Open and Shut — Alastair Reynolds

A quick little short, bridging the gap between Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire.

Dreyfus is called in by Jane concerning some recent behaviour.   Although this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the main story, it’s good in that it gives us a bit more depth to both Dreyfus and Jane, and also their relationship.

Best of all it’s free (we like free stuff) and it’s also a nice little relaxing break before you go deep diving into the next huge novel in the series, Elysium Fire.

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Aurora Rising — Alastair Reynolds

Ok, if i’m feeling like being a bit picky — and i am feeling like that — then Alastair should have written a few more short stories and novellas to give a bit/lot more info about everything Glitter Band: and not the Gary type.   One begins this story with not much background to go on and we seem to muddle through quite a bit until things get to be a lot clearer.   I just think that background/info-dump things could have been laid out previously and given the reader a much more enjoyable time of it.

However, it’s still an amazing story with a huge depth and width to it and when i say huge, i mean huge.   And this is just the first Prefect Dreyfus book.   Yes folks, after days and days of reading, just when you thought it would all come to an end, do you realise that you’ve only just gotten to know Dreyfus and things have only just begun.   And the best part about it is that i’m really looking forward to reading more.

So yeah, bring it on.   A quick in betweenie short, Open and Shut, is next on the list before piling into the next biggy.   One feels like a positively spoilt book worm.

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Weather — Alastair Reynolds

Weather, written by Alastair Reynolds.The fifth book in the series, and it’s a rather good one too.

So far, book by book, we’re being slowly introduced to the various factions of the Universe and how things work.   This time it’s time to be introduced to the space ship engines: the C-drives that are made and supplied by the Conjoiners and are completely sealed and non user serviceable.

Fans of Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya stories will soon guess what the Conjoiners have done and enjoy this story just as much as they did Aliette’s stories.

This story also introduces us to the Ultras.   The Ultras are the ones who crew these ships that get as close to light-speed as possible, living a very different life to normal people with many synthetically augmented body parts.

This book is available in the collections, Galactic North and Beyond the Aquila Rift.

Next up, it’s Aurora Rising.

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A Spy in Europa — Alastair Reynolds

A Spy in Europa, written by Alastair Reynolds.The tension against the Demarchists is building and a spy is sent to Europa to retrieve a thing from a sleeper agent.   But, as with Night Passage, things aren’t quite as they seem.

I don’t think this story is up to the same standards as the previous ones in that it just doesn’t seem to work in my head.   Like, how did Cholok know where Vargovic’s extraction point would be?   Cholok had no need to know what Vargovic’s plans were after the operation especially considering the fact that no one was sure if Cholok was even trustworthy.

The Denizen made clear that Cholok was no longer working for Vargovic’s handlers and they seem to make it clear that they weren’t in on the plot to help the Denizen — or were they?

It just all ends in a muddle that could have been tidied up a lot better, me thinks.   Or maybe i’m missing something?

Anyway, if you’re reading the whole Revelation Space Universe saga then you got to read this one too, so you might as well get on with it and stop moaning.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

And now straight into Weather.

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