I was led to Pushing Ice on the recommended reading list in another book I own. I had a few credits to spare and decided to try it out. I was happy to see that John Lee was narrating, as I've enjoyed his other work (Count of Monte Cristo particularly). But this was my first exposure to Alastair Reynolds.
Right out of the gate I was engaged. The depiction of life aboard a comet mining ship was really first rate with very little in the way of "space magic" thrown in. The characters were interesting and the events of the first portion of the book were so gripping I found myself pulled into the slip stream (wink).
The development of the plot from beginning to end is quite broad in scope, and Mr. Reynolds doesn't slow down to spoon feed every portion of the the plot which I enjoyed. There are a couple of lulls in the story when new events are being set up that dragged by comparison to other parts, but they were by no means boring.
In the end, the quality of Pushing Ice is a result of the whole story rather than any one character or plot arc. It's a great experience that I'd recommend to any fan of science fiction.
Aliens, castaways, relativistic quandries, mortality, betrayal, vengeance, love, sacrifice, cosmic insignificance and perserverance...all delivered to your ears by the smooth-as-butter voice of John Lee.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Pushing Ice is really a mind-expanding view of the universe on a scale of time that goes beyond my ability to imagine. There are some interesting aliens and some vague secondary characters, but the two primary characters are both women and the plot boils down to a battle of wits and wills between these two. Both characters have dimension, but neither quite hit the mark for me on the believability scale. Bella Lind, captain of the Rockhopper, is more magnanimous and long-suffering than any one I've known. Svetlana Barseghian is more egocentric and openly vindictive than most people I know, but I might accept that if there was some explanation for it. It is almost impossible to feel much empathy for Svetlana because there is no backstory on her to help the listener understand why she is so completely inflexible. And because of that, it is difficult to comprehend the relationship between Svetlana and her kind-hearted husband (he wants to have children with that mean girl??), how Bella Lind and Svetlana ever became friends, or why any group of reasonable people would accept Svetlana's leadership. In the end, the Lindblad artifact created such a fun, clever twist in the plot, I enjoyed the story even if the characters weren't quite up to par.
Not as good as House of Suns, but a fun space adventure with some good hard science. I am now listening to my fourth Alistair Reynolds book and loving his writing, but I have learned that getting a good plot summary in advance (the publishers' summaries are usually useless) is a great idea to keep you from getting lost at the beginning. I kind of think a woman narrator might have been a better choice on this book since the two central characters and an important secondary character are women, but John Lee was, as always, quite good.
Reynolds manages to bring forth another novel of the same quality as the Revelation Space series that serves to place him at the forefront (perhaps along with Peter Hamilton) as one of the pre-eminent contemporary sci-fi writer today. The pacing of the plot appears slow at first and gains speed as the storyline progresses, but in reality, Reynolds is shadowing the relativistic time dilation that the characters are undergoing. Another of Reynolds' talents is to unfold his tales along a Richter scale of increasing complexity and scope.
The overall theme of story surrounds female friendship and its complicated interplay between the personal and professional, along with a higher duty to society. As is typical of Reynolds, the science is inviting and doesn't overwhelm the storytelling. His rendition of aliens is also refreshing in its diversity.
Hopefully, this is merely the opening volley in what promises to be an evolving series. The tantalizing glimpses at the very end of the menagerie suggests possiblities for endless future installments both within and outside. We can only hope that Reynolds doesn't disappoint.
First, the good part. Reynolds has a rare gift for weaving hard science into his plot. The matter of fact limitations of physics and effects of near light speed travel make this novel stand out from a host of lazy sci-fi. The author is undeniably adroit at imagining and describing alien and future worlds and this makes for a compelling and at times irresistible narrative.
However...the science and alternate worlds are by far the best part of the book. The characters inhabiting these worlds are entirely flat and opaque, and I do not mean unlikable. Based on previous reviews I expected the characters might be harsh or unsympathetic, but instead I have almost no idea what their motivations might be. They have little internal narrative, and character development is strictly one-dimensional, A to B. They are alternately self-righteous and petty, occasionally stopping in the middle of the most intense danger to be catty to each other. Whenever they begin talking the story comes to a screeching halt. The dialogue is stilted and odd, and sounds nothing like actual human conversation.
With all of this being said, if you can overlook the paper cut-out characters and get past the parts where they talk, there is a fascinating, magnetic story here. I do hope Reynolds continues this universe in the future, with better characters.
Without doubt, Pushing Ice is the best book I have listened to by Reynolds. The book is exciting, interesting, and imaginative. Even though the book is long [3 parts] it will hold your attention throughout. If you only listen to one book by this author, this is the one you want to choose. It is his best work..
A 50-something who loves sci-fi, cozy mysteries, thrillers, an occasional romance, and any genre if it is a good story. And especially if it makes me laugh! No vampires or zombies though - these are NOT sci-fi!
A long story. It dragged in places, but when it was exciting, it was very exciting. I didn't like the portrayal of the two female characters. Most women who are that smart won't be so antagonistic over such a long period of time. Especially when they see the harm it does to the society in which they live. Just my opinion.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
This book was amazing.... i really loved it and loved all what happened.
But there is one issue with this book.. is how they jump between years... i reading this book and in a point it suddenly jumped forward in time without saying "x-time later"
other than that the book was a blast...
Just the kind of SF I love.
Totally plausible characters, believable storyline, and genuine, edge of the seat action.
No rule breaking either. No warp engines or FTL communication. It's all done the slow way. Sub-luminal.
I love this man's work.
(Apart from House of Suns)
Alastair Reynolds tells a tale that is much larger in scope than it first appears to be. It all starts innocently enough with the crew of the Rockhopper doing what they do best, mining comets in our solar system, also known as "pushing ice." Then something unexplainable happens. One of Saturn's moons, Janus, breaks out of orbit and assumes a trajectory toward Spica, a star 240 light years away. Not only that, it is accelerating as it heads out of the solar system.
This brings an abrupt end to the existing mission for the Rockhopper crew as they are the only ship capable of intercepting Janus for a few days before it leaves our solar system for good. They are a crew of miners, not explorers, but they are the only ones who can study Janus up close before it is gone so all of mankind turns its attention onto them.
Reynolds' characters are human to a fault and Janus becomes a polarizing event that pits the crew of the Rockhopper against each other. Captain Bella Lind finds herself trying to carefully balance her own desires with those of her crew and those of the company that owns the Rockhopper. When it is discovered that their employer might be lying to them about their chances of success Bella finds herself having to make monumental decisions with untrustworthy data which puts the entire mission is at risk before it even gets started.
The characters are consistently bickering throughout the book and they are not nearly as interesting as the plot itself. This is an epic story that does justice to the genre of science fiction although it does plod along at times. John Lee's narration is decent but it does little to spice up the predictable characters. If you are intrigued by what might be out there among the stars and want to bear witness as mankind uncovers some of the universe's secrets then this book offers up a unique take on that storyline. If you want interesting characters that you will remember forever then this is not the book you are looking for.
This was my first Alastair Reynolds book, and it will surely be the last. The basic idea, a moon pulling away from the solar system and the crew of a ship stuck on it and being pulled into interstellar space had the smell of potential, and it made me get the book. However, it is a mystery how it got so positive reviews. John Lee is a good reader, that was alright. But the story was flat, the characters without any real depth, many parts of the story without connecting relevance, the contrast between the two main characters too black and white.
The prologue/epilogue seems completely out of place, without any function. To summarize, I cannot recommend this book at all.