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Search tags: Alastair-Reynolds
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-01 18:24
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds

Synopsis: Pursuing vengeance, security specialist Tanner Mirabel follows his target from one solar system to another, tracking him through the disaster ridden Chasm City, uncovering truths he might have wished he hadn't.


Review: I've been working for awhile on reading my way through Reynold's books. Chasm City is a re-read, but was maybe...sixteen years ago at least? So most of it feels new again.


Reynold's does what he does best here, dark space opera, but ultimately the book is more cyberpunk than anything. Low-lifes, killers, a gritty, fundamentally broke city, and hightech everywhere? Yeah this is cyberpunk. It reminded me a lot of Altered Carbon (the book, of course).


There are of course problems. There are some things which just do not add up.

If Cahuella is really Sky Haussman, why does Reynold's go out of his way to make Cahuella seem like a relatively nice guy (someone who would intervene on an unfornate's behalf to rescue her from a stalker/harasser) and Haussman an utter psycho (someone who would murder hundreds or thousands of people, start a war, murder the father who raised him, etc)?

(spoiler show)

We're given a pretty good view of both and the moral disparity between the two personalities is pretty stark.


I also found the twist ending a tad confusing after a little bit.


I didn't hate it, it was alright, but for hardboiled cyberpunk Altered Carbon kicks this book's ass.


Up next is something a little different for me. Kurt Vonneguts 'A Man Without A Country'.

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review 2018-06-17 10:16
Remeption Ark by Alastair Reynolds
Redemption Ark - Alastair Reynolds

Synopsis: As alien machines build a gigantic machine meant to destroy a star, Ilia Volyova and Ana Khouri hatch a plan to rescue the inhabitants of a nearby planet from annihilation. Meanwhile a maverick outsider abandons his allegiance to his faction in search of a group of powerful weapons to use against the machines.


Review: I'm not gonna lie it took me awhile to get through this book. Its slow, a real slog for most of the book. Clavain's motives aren't clear, aside from 'I'm a maverick. Its what I do.' His reasons for doing what he did in the book seemed very uncertain, as if Reynolds wrote it first then tried to figure out why as he went along. There's very little action, and sometimes potentially interesting things are bizarrely dropped from the plot. There is a point when some of the characters are rescued by a character from the first book (Revelation Space), that is no longer quite human and has become very interesting. After this event that character is never seen again or even referenced. It had a very contrived and clumsy feel as though Reynolds was screaming 'THIS IS JUST A ONE OFF PLOT MECHANIC' at his computer while he typed this bit.


All that said I'm still a huge fan of Reynold's as a dark space opera writer. I wish he would do more of that. Overall his mastery of that subgenre is what saves this book from being an unreadable mess. 3 stars.

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review 2018-05-10 13:59
House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds
House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds

This book held a lot of promise but I feel that ultimately it didn't really deliver.


This is a far future hard science fiction novel where a young woman called Abigail Gentian who lived a good thousand years in our future cloned herself a thousand times (and varied her traits or at least the different phenotypes sufficiently to produce visibly different people so it's not exactly cloning, especially since half the clones were male) and sent her "clones" out to explore the galaxy. The clones are called shatterlings because the original was "shattered" into a thousand pieces of herself. Other people from her era did this too and so there are multiple "Lines" roaming the galaxy, trading knowledge. So far, so good, mostly. There are also more normal humans that spread out and adapted themselves to the new planetary environments that they encountered.


The story trades POVs between two shatterlings, Purslane and Campion. Campion is a kind of ne'er do well and his antics make them both late for the planned reunion. Purslane puts up with him. Since this is a reunion after each Gentian shatterling finishes his or her circuit of the galaxy, being a few years late isn't normally a big deal, but they manage to be more than a few years late and arrive to find that the reunion has been attacked, devastating the Gentians. Cue space battles and a search to figure out who was responsible for the attack, who may have betrayed them, and why.


There were some very interesting facets to the book but I also experienced periods of boredom where I felt things weren't going anywhere. There were also long pauses for entering stasis because sixty-two thousand light year space chases. I'd say that overall I was entertained but not engrossed. YMMV.


Previous updates:

17 % - I feel like the Doctor Meninx storyline never really went anywhere

13 %

Death of first Kobo Aura One

4 %


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text 2018-04-30 18:06
Reading progress update: I've read 17%.
House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds

Doctor Meninx is wonderfully paranoid...or is he?

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text 2018-04-30 13:24
Reading progress update: I've read 13%.
House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds

Campion just described his visit to this solar system sized library where the librarians' approach to immortality is to just continual grow throughout their lifetimes and where he was literally swallowed and then excreted so that he could upload his "trove" into a librarian. Oh, and a "short-term" access period to the library is 200 years. Of course, he used up at least a couple decades just trying to get them to talk to him.

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