I'm always amazed at the scale Alistair Reynolds applies in his books. In the House of Suns he exceeds even himself. Campion and Purslane travels across galaxies, through millions of years. It puts my imagination to test.
The book has a lot of compelling ideas, also awesome aliens (like the giant librarians, or the golden machine man). The story is interesting.
In some places I found the book too long, too detailed, sometimes repetitive. By the end it annoyed me a little bit that every character talked in same, very accurate, punctual way, like everyone was an English teacher.
inspiring, ascending, think big
I like its ending, that we were finally allowed to meet the representative of the ancient, first race of the intelligent machine.
He kept me very engaged with the story till the end.
An investigation of the mysterious disappearance of Andromeda galaxy.
I truly enjoyed this book. I really liked the fact that for a long while at the beginning of the book I didn't know what was going on and still found that I enjoyed the story and narrative.The universe the author creates is interesting and the flashbacks help bring the story into focus over time. Others have complained that there is not enough action in the story - and I admit after I was done with the book - I looked back and realized the same thing. But I still really enjoyed the read ... and getting lost in this world was fun. This was my first book by Reynolds - but will most likely not be my last. The is some hard profanity in this book although lightly used most of the time ( I estimate there were maybe 2 dozen F-Words in and 18 hour book )As for the Narrator, he does an excellent job on this book - and that may have contributed to how much I enjoyed listening to it.
I found the basic premise of the book intriguing: that humans could extend their lives and influence, as well as indulging their desire to explore the galaxy, through a combination of cloning, stasis, cryogenics, and near light-speed travel.
The two main characters, Campion and Purslane, are described as lovers in the novel, but Reynolds gives very little space for the reader to imagine a relationship strong enough to have broken through the supposed taboo against such pair-bonding in their culture.
The story, on the other hand, manages to convey almost unfathomably broad passages of time in a believable way, and the extended chase that is the novel's growing climax takes over 60 thousand light years.
I pressed on with listening to the entire book because of the author's ability to combine a number of futuristic concepts, a compelling "who-dunnit" that drives the middle third of the novel, flashbacks to the genesis of the main characters, and the extended chase.
And these strengths fortunately outweighed the narration, which I found a bit mannered and confusing. John Lee did nothing with his voice to signal the alternating narration chapter by chapter of Campion (male) and Purslane (female) in the story, even though he did differentiate the voices of the Machine People from the humans effectively, albeit in a manner of speaking that belied their supposed sophistication. As a North American, I found the various Scottish accents he used for secondary characters jarring because I didn't expect it, although I must admit it added an bit of realistic menace to the author's depiction of two characters, a traitor and an inquisitor.
Immense awesome fiction
Perslaine because she was compassionate and strong at the same time.
I liked his rendition of Hesperus but there was a section of bad editing where his voice changes and the difference is quite noticeable. You can listen to him for the whole way easily.
At this length, not a chance but it is still a book I wanted to finish, very much.
This is a great book.The story line is complex but believable and despite the fact that you think you have figured out where the book is going several times, it still surprises you in the end.
I was originally put off by the idea of 1000 seedlings or copies, but the story is a fun read and written in such a way to make it not only believable, but fun romp in and through space and time. Another great Reynolds!
The problems of faster than light travel was quite interesting
Hard to pick one - the concepts of FTL, age of the universe/advanced civilizations, near eternal life, cloning - there are many such moments.
John Lee is my single favorite narrator. He is
Well, neither actually, though there is always unexpected humor in Reynolds' books I think the reaction was one of thought, of considering future possibilities in new ways.
Interested in futurism and hard science fiction.
I love the concept and I love the story. I would have enjoyed it even more if there was more emphasis on speculative science and technology.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
and I then read other reviews. I really thought I had fallen asleep somewhere and 'lost the plot'
So 'Thank You' to two reviewers, Robert and Reid who expressed much of what I was thinking...apart from.."Did I sleep through something?"
I had very little idea that each chapter was a different voice. And I too found the great John Lee, 'mono tonous'
I wondered too, if the publishers' promo was for another book.
All that aside, there were some very very interesting ideas that I personally consider were not well developed. At some time I expect I will listen again, better prepared to try and follow.
While I agree that some (novel to us in the 'here and now') ideas and gadgets are better left to explain themselves in context, and applaud Reynold's treatment of such, I simply did not know who was who, apart from Abigail (and someone other than Abigail) and 'hoped' that it would sort itself out.
Now maybe, the use of the single voice ,without explaining it was someone elce, was intentional...you know the fracturing of a single identity.. really was the same voice after all.
And maybe this is a story that begs a second listen.