My latest review, Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds is now live over at SFFWorld. Once again I found myself enjoying his shorter work, and it’s a stark reminder that I really must try some of his novels again.
Slow Bullets is the latest release from the acclaimed sci-fi writer Alastair Reynolds. Released by Tachyon Publications, Slow Bullets falls outside of Reynolds’ usual publishing schedule, and this is reflected in its rather modest page count. While Reynolds’ shorter fiction output is often a highlight of my reading, I have never really been able to connect with any of his novel-length works. This was my main concern going in to this novella, but one that was ultimately unfounded: Slow Bullets captured my attention and did not let up until the ride was over.
Perhaps one of the deeper themes that comes up is that of knowledge preservation. On a ship that is slowly losing its memory banks, and only a finite amount of time to save what can be preserved, the argument of what information is given priority is ever-present. Religion in the form of ‘the Book’ (an ancient text comparable to the Bible) is central to the discord between the survivors, and Reynolds realistically shows how opposing views can cause violence and discontent. Above all, it’s the setting that allows for such examination of human nature.
Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different – and rigidly enforced – level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains . . .
Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon’s world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint’s Celestial Levels – and with the dying body comes bad news.
If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint’s base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon’s own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality – and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability . . . Continue reading “Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds”
Purslane and Campion are two Gentian shatterlings from the House of Flowers, two of a thousand clones of Abigail Gentian who left the solar system around the year 3000 to travel and explore the galaxy. All shatterlings meet up for their thousand nights reunion during which they share memories of what they have experienced. Continue reading “House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds”