I like authors like Richard Morgan and Peter Hamilton. Someone recommended to listen to Alastair Reynolds, supposedly similar style. This is his second book that I can not finish (the first I actually forced myself to complete), but I give up on this one, it is not worth the suffering. Thought there are a lot of people that liked the book, so it must be my personal taste.
The Alastair Reynolds/John Lee combination is rapidly becoming my favorite. Even after nearly 200 audio books, I haven't found anything comparable to this series.
Alastair Reynolds creates an incredibly realistic, hard sci-fi universe. His characters and antagonists (which are totally unlike anything you've ever seen) work in plots that often span centuries or even millennia.
John Lee, of course, continually delivers fantastic performances of dozens of characters that stretch across the books.
My only small quibble is that you can occasionally pick up where recording sessions start or stop when the audio quality changes. Although this is usually fairly subtle, it still enough to attract attention away from the story.
If you're a fan of hard sci-fi, from Peter F Hamilton to Michael McCollum, do yourself a favor and give this series a try.
The story is complicated with lots of names and terms to learn in the beginning. The narrator's speech was difficult to hear in the car. Not a good combination. We stopped after the first hour or so in frustration. I think the story may be interesting, but too difficult for our purposes listening in the car on long trips with this narrator.
Seems rather dystopian to me, which I generally avoid, but overall still a good story. My only real complaint is with the narrator. The different portions of the story when switching from character to character, and chapter by chapter have little to no space between them, causing one scene to bleed into the next. This is likely how the publisher compiled the audio and nothing the narrator was doing. Also much of the storyline is, by necessity, non-linear, due to an inability to travel faster than light.
In this future it seems as if all of humanity has switched to a feudal or tribal system. (It doesn't specifically say this, but that's how it appears to me.) You never hear about any major governments or even long term alliances. The best technology was developed centuries in the past(ship engines, cache weapons), and the knowledge of how it even works is lost. Most of the existing tech is capable of maintaining itself, so it's still working. There's a lot of nano tech (which is not lost tech), but much of it is compromised by the Melding Plague, a cyber-nano virus who's origin is explained in another story of the same universe. Most technological development has been arrested. A person can spend decades away from a planet and return with little technical change.
Here's a couple of definitions that will make the story easier to follow, without giving anything away. There are Jugglers, or Pattern Jugglers. These are massive lifeforms that encompass whole planets, or at least the oceans. They are essentially ancient massive organic databases, with some debate on how conscious they may or may not be. They can store any kind of information, including whole minds, organic and electronic.
Shrouds or Shrouders. There are multiple Shrouds, area's of highly localized energy and gravitational anomalies. Artificial in nature, their purpose is unknown.
The eighty. In Chasm City there's a shrine to these people. They were the first to try to scan their brains into a computer(which is now common). The scanning process itself was imperfect at the time, and killed them.
it was a disappointed end, suddenly i didn't get the plot most of the story was in a ship very complex story to follow it had many different characters.
I should have liked this book: hard science fiction with deep future looking stories. Advanced alien intelligences beyond our own. All the things I loved about Pushing Ice. Where did this one go wrong?
With a heavy heart, I blame the narrator John Lee. Hs work on Pushing Ice and Pandora's Star was good, but he goes overboard with accents on this one. Sylvestre, his father and his retinue are all descendant from French/Chinese colonists. The accent Lee develops for this strange mix is eclectic, to say the least. If a minor character spoke in this way, it would go unnoticed. Regrettably the major characters of the book all speak in the same, cheesy pseudo-Parisian manner. I found it created a wall between me and the characters to whom I was already having a hard time relating.
I think Alastair Reynolds deserves a second chance, and I will probably push on in this series. I might try to find it read by another narrator, though.
Yes / Unk
While the story and reading were both good, it would have been VERY helpful if the scene breaks were actually indicated in some fashion instead of running them together and leaving the listener to figure it out after several lines. I'm sure it was obvious in the printed book, and it really detracts from the story line.
Can't blame the author or reader, guess I'd have to ding the director?
I'm new to science fiction in general and Alistair Reynolds in particular. The universe he creates is complex, original, dark and gloomily political. Prepare for adjectives like 'malignant' and 'repellant' to run throughout. It ain't feel-good escapism, but I wouldn't classify it as dystopian either. As an astrophysicist, he clearly knows a lot about the workings of the universe, and this knowledge provides a solid foundation for his imaginings of the future. Good science, great epic story-telling, and I especially enjoy his female characters. The guy's got chops. I highly recommend this book, as well as 'Pushing Ice', which I also recently read. Alistair Reynolds is for me!
The narration was off.
The story was boring from my perspective, but I'd certainly recommend giving it a shot if you like sci fi... Perhaps it was just not my flavor.
Meh that's difficult to say. Each character sounded like a gothic vampire.
No! But I'm going to give it another shot in a few months.
Some interesting sci fi elements.
Ditch John Lee. And the cuts between the sections are way too short. It's often very confusing and jarring.
A different reader, or a more low-key John Lee. John Lee is best when he's not chewing the scenery. His reading of this novel -- in my opinion -- is way overwrought. There's not an "r" out there that he won't roll for several seconds. Obviously he does accents well, but this reading serves John Lee, not the story. I don't know anything about him personally, but I'm willing to be he LOVES to hear his own voice.
Thank you, Alastair Reynolds. No thank you, John Lee.
I just don't get the John Lee worship.