Some have said that this book is long and does not go anywhere. I disagree. The book's mysteries are given up nicely as the journey progresses and the end has a lessen for man kind. I not only enjoyed the journey I liked the ending. It took a while for me to get used to the idea that someone can live a million years. Even if most of the time was spent in stasis. Think of the possibilities!
I have listened to all of the available "Revelation Space" books by this author and didn't hesitate to get this one for a moment. I was not disappointed.
I very much enjoyed this book, the universe it describes is well though through and it's a welcome change from anything else I have read in a long while. The story takes a little getting used to but once you grasp the time scales involved it's not al all complicated to follow. If there is a sequel to this book I would buy it without a moments hesitation.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I was unprepared for the scope of the story in House of Suns. It is the most ambitious imagining of "deep time" that I've encountered. I would mark it on par with Iain Banks in terms of optimistic imaginings for humanities long-term future. But unlike Banks, Reynolds has created characters that are worth caring about, and a sense of drama that keeps you invested in the book.
This book was very smart, very imaginative, and very well constructed. It is one of the few modern sci-fi books that leaves me with no complaints.
The book is unapologetic in its slow unraveling. Several terms and vital bits of backstory are withheld for a long time, but not in an annoying way. It was nice to encounter an author who doesn't cheapen his book with ham-handed exposition.
My only complaint is narrator John Lee, who over-enunciates everything, and doesn't do much to add dramatic tension to the book. Every passage is read with the same level of enthusiasm. It isn't a monotone, but it also isn't full of personality.
This book is well written from all perspectives. The author explores the consequences of being stuck with the speed of light. Without warp drives or wormholes, how could humanity make a society that spans the galaxy work? Now add some good characters, a mystery, and an epic battle of survival. This is science fiction firing on all cylinders. It isn't the greatest thing every written, but is the best science fiction I've listened to in years. If you are on the fence about whether this is the book for you, my recommendation is a big thumbs up.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I am always on the lookout for new SF authors. I have read most if not all of Hamilton, Clarke, Vonnegut, Wells, Simmons, Asimov, and Herbert among other greats. This was my first Alastair Reynolds book. I cannot say I was overwhelmed by it in anyway. When I read by a reviewer that I follow that Reynolds pushes the boundaries of the genre in new directions, I was ready for something special. I feel disappointed.
That a progenitor fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones seemed intriguing. But this fact was not fully developed at least not in this book. That they stood aloof and documented the rise and fall of countless human empires, to meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels is not what this book is about, but this was the hook that got me to reading. That the hook was merely a catch and release was less than satisfying.
The book is about the why and where-with-all of a grudge harbored against this line of shatterlings. The grudge is not very novel or interesting and I did not care an iota about their survival. For me the book was shallow and never grabbed my interest. Sometimes books grab me in places and seem to drone on in others. This book never captured my interest or imagination. The ending does not drone on. It just abruptly stops. Just like one of the shatterlings’ 30 second meetings. Unsatisfying... plain and simply that. For the amount of time and space that the novel is purported to cover, I felt like it went nowhere.
John Lee was his regular competent self but, like the book, not terribly inspiring. I do not think he added much to the book but then he probably did not detract from any greatness either.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
The premise of this story is interesting, but it just drags on and on with extremely slow plot progress. I only got this book because it came up in a special Audible offer, and I wanted to check out Alastair Reynolds.
It's hard to say at this point.
The ending, which was executed beautifully.
I have not read the print version, so I do not know.
When the little girl becomes just another clone of the House of Flowers.
Every scene was wonderful. I cannot decide.
No, but the whole concept behind the book: clones that experience thousands of years of humanity's evolution, destruction, and re-emergence, is so unique, even in the genre of science fiction, that I was moved to excitement during the entire novel.
Until I had the good fortune to stumble upon Alastair Reynolds, I thought that contemporary science fiction was bland and often reworked ideas stolen from the classics. I felt Asimov, Orwell, and Vonnegut to be the last great authors of my favorite genre. Now, my favorite author after Mr. Vonnegut is Mr. Reynolds. All his books are amazing thus far. Also, John Lee is the best narrator I have come to love on Audible.
Reynolds has established himself as one of the pre-eminent contemporary science fiction writers. More so than most of his fellow authors, Reynolds manages to push the boundaries of the genre in new directions. House of Suns begins as a typical sci-fi story with cloned copies of a progenitor line traveling the galaxy in light speed vessels with a periodic reunion to swap experiences and memories. Initially, the story begins along a sinister track with unknown forces out to destroy the line for unknown reasons. Gradually the tale evolves to a more complex endeavor that unearths machine intelligence, past atrocities, and secret societies. The ending also resolves a mystery that is developed early in the tale.
What sets House of Suns apart from other stories is the extreme futuristic setting. Typical sci-fi stories propose scientific progress as an exponential process, such that even a couple of hundred or at most a thousand years is more than enough to reach a pinnacle with a plateau effect. Reynolds places this tale, more than 6 million years in the future. Even the beginning of the clone line was begun well after our present time. Given the relativistic limitations that are preserved, 6 million years of action is not experienced, but the temporal dissonance of the story is palpable and is similar to explaining calculus to students learning to count. Buckle up, the ride is exhilarating.
This is my second favorite novel by Reynolds behind Pushing Ice. Although the concepts are pretty far out there, the characters and story are central in this novel (rather than the science-speak in the Revelation Space series). I have not read/listened to the 'prequel' novella "Thousandth Night" (in "One Million AD") but i don't think that's required for this story to make sense.
Although Reynolds is considered a 'hard science fiction' author, he doesn't focus on how each of his concepts is mathematically possible which actually enhanced the story for me. Too much of that gets in the way of telling the story in my opinion, it is FICTION after all. This is a stand alone novel that any futurist/sci-fi fan will enjoy.
Oh and John Lee, as always, does a fantastic job.