The story and universe the author created was imaginative and in ways hopeful. It was a great story to hear. In lots of ways the realism of operations in space was excellently conveyed.
You will want to know more even after such a long story. Some of the best parts during the book used advanced technology then at the end I was left wondering what will happen with the new stuff.
I found myself really enjoying all the alien contact scenes. The aliens were imaginative and somehow likely, though in certain ways they felt stretched around the author's themes.
There was a moment when Bella, the captain, gives a pep talk to the crew and it all seems to go horribly wrong. I found myself very frustrated at that point but also very invested in the outcome.
Alistair has a great story with multiple narratives, he seems to have both squeezed exposition which seems difficult for him and three books worth of story into a frustrating and in some ways ridiculous personality conflict. It was almost like he had completely stereotypical characters but every three chapters he would roll dice to see if all but the most frustrating characters would stay in the story. It was worth the price and the narration/acting sets a new high standard.
There's way too much tedious technical and operational minutiae early on. I ordinarily like this kind of nerdy si-fi infrastructure and gadgetry, but not this time. When the writer is so very specific and detailed about his own invented technology it raises issues of -- Is it consistent? Does it seem real? It begs to be analyzed and judged past the degree of becoming an annoying distraction from the story.
There's also the issue of the two main protagonists: two female characters who are in an unending spiteful, hateful spat that is just too silly for soap opera. It goes on for -- as we learn -- (spoiler), yes, millions of years! That's another thing, the millions of years that elapse back on earth (as the ship enjoys the time dilation of special relativity) is an unnecessary plot device. Millions of years hence? When all humans not on the ship have ceased to exist? Who cares about this motley crew and what becomes of them -- I dint.
The plot becomes correspondingly more and more convoluted as new races of aliens appear, with their randomly goofy values and behavior. After 19 hours (audible time) it ends with an epilog that was incomprehensible to me, even more so than the the previous last half of the story.
It was too long and the psychology of the main characters was Not Ready For the Comics. That and too much invented "science" that is just fiction.
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? I recently listened to "Augustus" while wandering through the Roman Forum. I'm on my third set of "Sleep-Phones". I've been addicted to audible since 2004... I think my friends are starting to suspect I have a problem ;)
I have come to like Alastair Reynolds more with each book I finish, and Reynolds' in-depth stories and characters are complimented very nicely by John Lee!
"Pushing Ice" is kind of a "Stand Alone" book, which is a little surprising since I've gotten used to Reynolds' books being part of a LONG series. It's not his best book in my opinion, but every one of his books so far have been good enough that me saying, "It wasn't his best book" is like saying, "That wasn't Babe Ruth's best home run"... if it's over the fence, everything else is just details ;)
I didn't think Mr. Reynolds would be able to tie in the beginning of the book, and then pull off how the characters were "saved" toward the end of the book once I figured out what was about to happen, but like the true master story-teller he is, he did it!
As usual, Reynolds made me care about his characters and become emotionally invested in them. Mr. Reynolds has the gift of allowing you to know the characters so well that you can pretty much tell how each character will react to any given situation. Several times I found myself smiling and thinking "Oh man! She is NOT going to like this!" When you find that you've reached that kind of connection with the characters in a book, you've gotten your money's worth!
I also found it very easy to reach that illusive "Story Trance" state each time I started the book again after having to take a brief pause from it (Haven't figured out how to listen and still pay total attention while in the shower yet ;)
While I'm at it, I'd like to mention that I am amazed how similar I find Alastair Reynold's books, and Peter F. Hamilton's books! Maybe it's because John Lee typically does the narration for both authors, but I actually looked online to see if maybe they were the same author using two different names to write similar, yet distinctly different, stories. I was kind of relieved to find they were very different authors, since that means we have twice the amount of great books to listen to!
I came across this book while I was in withdraw after the conclusion of another series I had just completed. I am usually disappointed with the non-series books because of lack of character development but this book was alright. It basically stuck to one story line and I found myself hating a few of the characters, so mission accomplished on the characters. It also had plenty of the "what if's" regarding technology advancements and even when the story started dealing with time travel (or time displacement), it didn't break the rules (you know what I'm talking about).
The one thing that was a bit annoying was the lack of a pause or break from the narrator between scene changes in the book. I had to rewind the book a few times when several years passed in what seemed like one sentence. "Just take a breath!"
Good filler book, you won't be disappointed.
The book has a lot of characters, but none of them seem to be more than 2-dimensional. There were some agregious and almost offensive stereotypes of some Earth cultures. The science was strange and didn't ever seem 'real'. The plot seemed to just ramble on without good pacing nor a satisfactory ending. Good Science Fiction can show you what is possible, or can use the technology to explore issues in our own society, or can develop characters in interesting ways. None of that happens here. The only really cool technology is all treated like magic, with no basis in reality.
Although I am only 1 hour into this book, I wanted to point out that it is strange to me that a book featuring primarily female characters (at least so far) has a male reader/narrator.
I wouldn't say it was a complete waste of time, but I would say that if I hadn't been commuting that this book would have taken me longer to get threw. As horrified as I am to say it I think this one (for me) would be better abridged. If that is, you cut out most of the Drama Between the main character and her best friend then you can get down to some good Science Fiction. If you are looking for a more action science basted book like I was this is not the one for you. If you are looking to have some of that as well as lots of conflict between crew members on a long journey than this book is for you. For me that is just not what I was looking for.
I did enjoy the end overall. It was a good twist. Not all of it was unpredictable but it finding out the big picture was one of the best parts of the book for me.
I have listen to three other John Lee books, and this is a point for me that I'm a little conflicted on. Though I do enjoy his style of reading and his voice for the narration, his voices for the characters have the tendency to run together with little distinction be tween them making long conversation sometimes hard to fallow.
Yes. I think the action would be there in the movie that you really don't get as much of tin the book. and the character based story would have to be cut down to get it all in.
I think the performance might actually have made me like the book better than if I'd actually read the book. It's very rare that you get a narrator who can do so many distinct character voices and accents.
I definitely listened in long stretches, but at 20 hour recording is way too long for one sitting for most people. I mostly listen in the car for about an hour or two a day.
I didn't want to take the ear plugs out, as (again) I was enthralled by Reynolds' images and style. They bicker and scheme and yet grow onward in the fantasy of youth-in-deep-time. If this is space opera then I am a patron. E.T.'s and future technology that is sharp and imprisoning. I can't wait for his Doctor Who book/audio. Still makes you want to hear some of A. Reynolds' other stories - even though this is my 3rd of his.
I would probably only recommend this to existing Alistair Reynolds fans, as it is not his best story (in my opinion), and although it introduces some existing ideas it concentrates too much on a rather unbelieveable rivalry between 2 women. The tension between the 2 women is labourer for most of the book and only drives an interesting development in the last 3rd of the novel.
John Lee is always good, and he can make even stilted conversation between blandly drawn characters seem worth a listen
No, but I was glad I persevered. The last 3rd is interesting and much more the Alistair reynolds style that I enjoy.