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Search tags: Alastair-Reynolds
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-08 12:32
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

Another book read courtesy of my local library system and their 45p reservations - while I finished this book, it was very much skimmed towards the end and there's no chance I'll bother with the eventual sequel (due out in 2019, I think?). Partway through, I was wondering if Revenger was supposed to be YA because there's usually a clue about the age of the protagonists - in this case late teens - but couldn't see anything on the cover or blurb that implied this. So, if you're looking to avoid teenage angst or impulsive decision making then this might not be the book for you. 

 

The basic premise is that a bunch of civilisations have risen and fallen, leading to the known universe being speckled with what are called 'baubles' - essentially caches of historic weaponry, technology and valuable goods, usually protected so they can only be accessed in particular times for a limited period. As a result, some people make a living doing salvage and it's this lifestyle that our protagonists, two teenage sisters, get themselves into when their father bankrupts the family firm. In this economy, teenagers have a particular value because they can utilise the technology employed to communicate over long distances and their ability to do this dwindles as they get older.

 

Anyway, after a couple of missions, the sisters are separated - one is captured by a pirate and the other eventually rescued but then dragged home under duress, all the while vowing to escape and rescue her sister. I was already having some issues with the pacing up to this point, as well as the flatness of pretty much all of the characterisation - the main villain, for example, refers to herself in the third person and there's plenty of (metaphorical) moustache-twirling to accompany it. This is the point where, in order to remove a tracking bracelet, the protagonist has her arm cut off and, although the technology exists to just sever the arm and then replace it intact, chooses to have a prosthetic instead. Not because of any special abilities, since I was waiting for it to be a piece of foreshadowing, but because it's pretty. *headdesk*

 

Anyway, I'm sure this book is someone's cup of tea but it wasn't quite mine. Folks looking for space opera without any kind of romantic sub-plot will probably like this a lot, though there is a pretty high body count too.

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review 2017-05-24 17:09
Revenger, Alistair Reynolds
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

Reynolds reverts to form in many respects with this tale of the distant future where humans plunder dangerous abandoned facilities for forgotten technologies and artefacts using solar wind powered spacecraft.

 

Gothic horror, morally questionable characters and body modification all make a come-back. Mysteries galore never went away, of course; most of them are explained and the inevitable revelation of deeper ones at the end is all present and correct. The story itself becomes gripping much faster than is usual with Reynolds, where one can normally expect the first third to travel along with very little momentum. In this case a dramatic and unexpected event kicks things into high gear pretty early on and the pace never really lets up from there. Unfortunately some of the revelations are telegraphed although others are total surprises.

 

One fine aspect of the novel is that the situation humanity finds itself in is not explicated by huge wodges of exposition but instead revealed slowly through the course of events - and where events don't illuminate, things remain obscure. A huge part of the fun here is figuring things out from the clues. Not everything is crystal clear by the end, which leaves scope for further work in the setting - something I'd be happy to see even if a direct sequel is, on past form, unlikely.

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text 2017-05-23 22:02
Reading progress update: I've read 218 out of 432 pages.
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

This got gripping way faster than is usual with Reynolds. Still lots of mysteries - which is the norm.

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text 2017-05-23 01:59
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 432 pages.
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

No idea what is going on - which is normal for this stage of a Reynolds novel in an unfamiliar setting...

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review 2017-03-27 11:35
Constipated SF: "The Iron Tactician" by Alastair Reynolds
The Iron Tactician - Alastair Reynolds

Good SF ultimate goal must always be about the human condition. Literally. Always. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein arguably kick started the genre - a novel by a sex-positive teenage feminist in a corset, which tackled the question of what it means to be human, and how we connect with one another, and whether an individual can develop empathy or a moral compass in isolation, without family or society. Sf, as the genre of big ideas, and the genre that actively tackles universal questions of self, of society, of philosophy and religion and the nature of reality (yes, all of those…). It's who we are now, as well as how we might find ourselves living in the future - and that's always, always been the case. It's Margaret Atwood and Iain Banks and Arthur C Clarke and George Orwell and Octavia Butler and Robert A. Heinlein and Kurt Vonnegut and - well, all the damn classics. Hell, even “Star Trek”, cheesiest of pop culture staples, was absolutely tackling questions of civil rights and social justice on a weekly basis, under the pointy ears and sparkly moon rocks. It's always been about the characters, whether framed by technological innovation or political or geographical changes.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

 

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