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Galactic North | [Alastair Reynolds]

Galactic North

Centuries from now, the basic right to expand human intelligence beyond its natural limits has become a war-worthy cause for the Demarchists and Conjoiners. Only vast lighthugger starships bind these squabbling colonies together, manned by the panicky and paranoid Ultras. And the hyperpigs just try to keep their heads down. The rich get richer. And everyone tries not to think about the worrying number of extinct alien civilizations turning up on the outer reaches of settled space...because who's to say that humanity won't be next?
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Publisher's Summary

Centuries from now, the basic right to expand human intelligence beyond its natural limits has become a war-worthy cause for the Demarchists and Conjoiners. Only vast lighthugger starships bind these squabbling colonies together, manned by the panicky and paranoid Ultras. And the hyperpigs just try to keep their heads down.

The rich get richer. And everyone tries not to think about the worrying number of extinct alien civilizations turning up on the outer reaches of settled space...because who's to say that humanity won't be next?

Set in the Revelation Space universe, this is the first short story collection by the author who has been called "one of SF's best and most ambitious novelists". The eight stories included in Galactic North are "Great Wall of Mars", "Glacial", "A Spy in Europa", "Weather", "Dilation Sleep", "Grafenwalder's Bestiary", "Nightingale", and "Galactic North".

©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2009 Tantor Media

What the Critics Say

"Reynolds is one of sci-fi's brightest stars. [He] writes Big Science Fiction. Enormous spaceships travel though space that feels galactic in scale, a feat of depiction that is still noteworthy in the genre." (The Guardian, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (298 )
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  •  
    wendy NJ 11-10-11
    wendy NJ 11-10-11 Member Since 2004

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great background for Revelation Space novels"
    What made the experience of listening to Galactic North the most enjoyable?

    I found the first stories (Great Wall of Mars, etc) to be the most enjoyable, because they present you with the events mentioned in passing in several of the Revelation Space stories. So it was nice to read how the events unfolded.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Galactic North?

    Other than the last story (which I found very weak & shallow, with the weakest characterizations), all of them had many memorable moments that will stick with you. Reynolds universe is a fascinating place - almost all of these stories visit places we've seen before in his novels, and they do lean on you having that background.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've got the background of the worlds Reynolds has invented, these are very enjoyable. If you don't, then you might be a bit lost as some of these can not stand fully on their own.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tango Texas 10-27-13
    Tango Texas 10-27-13

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Retribution Space"

    I loved each of these eight short stories set in the world of Revelation Space and roughly organized in chronological order from 2200 AD to 40,000 AD. A couple of the stories, most especially Grafenwalder's Bestiary, could stand alone, but this collection will be most appreciated by those who already know the major players and events of Reynold's signature universe. There is a sort of unifying theme to these stories that extends beyond the RS setting; they all show some aspect of retribution. This isn't slash and burn vengeance; it is more the creepy, sometimes horrifying, and always satisfying comeuppance for someone (or many people) who have perpetuated a great evil on innocents.

    Thumbnails:

    1. Great Wall of Mars: The beginning of the "family" of Clavain, Galiana, and Felka - often referenced in Redemption Ark, but not detailed in the trilogy. This story leads directly into the next, Glacial.
    2. Glacial: My favorite RS protagonist, Clavain, as sci-fi amateur detective solves a murder mystery.
    3. A Spy in Europa: Early Demarchist tale of bio-engineering gone badly wrong. This story is tied to another short in this book, Grafenwalder's Bestiary.
    4. Weather: This is an ultra/conjoiner tale that is a bit of an exception to the Retribution Theme in the collection. The characters in this story have some reason to be looking for vengeance, but sidestep their opportunities. This is a sweeter story than the others in the collection, but the ending is powerful because it explains the mystery of the conjoiner engines.
    5. Dilation Sleep: An ultra tale (written before Reynolds used "ultra" to describe the people of the many neural implants) of an early attempt to escape the Melding Plague.
    6. Grafenwalder's Bestiary: Very creepy and VERY satisfying story about a Demarchist man who lets his ego override his ethics.
    7. Nightingale: Twilight Zone-worthy story of a hospital spaceship gone badly off the rails. (Unlike the first Star Trek series where computers with conflicting precepts always explode or implode, Reynolds' machines always find way creepier means of conflict resolution!)
    8. Galactic North: Great backstory for the intriguing conjoiner, Remontoire, and a 40,000 year projection of the Greenfly Invasion referenced in Absolution Gap.

    In addition to the stories, you get a nice afterward from the author on this audiobook. Nothing like finding out an author you've come to love, also loves the other authors you love! Although John Lee is probably incapable of delivering a bad performance, he is better at some times than others. With this audiobook, his performance varies between stories; worst case, the narration is competent and on a couple of the stories, John Lee is exceptionally good.

    If you know your way around in Revelation Space, you will love these stories. They fill in gaps in the giant canvass that Reynolds has been working on and they are each wonderfully, eerily entertaining.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 10-19-12
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 10-19-12 Member Since 2004

    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 ;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic Tie-In"

    I'm used to Alastair Reynolds' books being LONG. I'm used to following his Characters non-stop for 20+ hours at a time. But this series of shorter stories, set in the same Universe, is AWESOME! Reynolds seems to assume that readers will have already read his other books, and therefore doesn't go into nearly the set-up of the characters that he does in his other books... If you already know the Universe, you'll love how this series of stories expands upon events and places alluded to in the Main Series. Since you already know the characters, Reynolds is able to get straight to the action in each of the stories!
    Loved It!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Al STUDIO CITY, CA, United States 04-05-13
    Al STUDIO CITY, CA, United States 04-05-13

    I only review my more favorites here.

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    "EXCELLENT FINISH - night cap"

    Can't get enough of this author A. Reynolds. Absolution Gap (as well as Redemption Ark) were daring in brushstrokes, but this last book helps imagine areas that were missing or not clear in the whole Revelation Space scenery. The Greenfly entity makes you think farther than you thought the Inhibitors would go. Just being able to hear more about Clavain is worth it. The different stories fit in nice and actually are gripping with drama and action. To me the whole series is a classic along with the side books like The Prefect and "Chasm City" (which is a must). If you CAN -- get into this whole space opera burrito. I hear he is making a Doctor Who story. wow

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Milbradt 11-26-10
    D. Milbradt 11-26-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Deep Space, Long Time Span"

    If you like to travel far in time and space you will like these stories. The hive mind concept and humanities reaction to it are intriguingly expored in a hard SF envoirnment with space pirates and interstellar travel.

    The narator gives you no warning of the end of one story and the beginning of the next. Don't get lost during these transitions.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.

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    "Great compliment to the series"
    Any additional comments?

    I am a HUGE Alastair Reynolds fan - the Revelation Space universe is genius. Usually short stories don't interest me much - I prefer long arcs ... the more books in a series the better. Galactic North though nicely fills in some gaps and wraps a few loose ends that irritated me in the series. Just wish it was 10 times as long! As always, John Lee crushes it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-01-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-01-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

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    "Appetizers for RS Series fans"

    This collection of short stories from Reynolds' RS universe adds some terrific background color to the other novels. Uncharacteristically, only one of the stories has quite the scale or galactic import of his usual work, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Canmore, AB, Canada 10-08-12
    Tom Canmore, AB, Canada 10-08-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Awesome!!!"
    Would you listen to Galactic North again? Why?

    Yes, this book tied allot Alastairs stories up very nicely!


    What other book might you compare Galactic North to and why?

    It's a bit short story feel but fills in the details very well in Alastairs world!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All the stories were great, I enjoyed the Mars wall, a lot because itwas been referred to by so many of Alastairs books!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Metcalfe, ON, Canada 05-05-12
    Kim Metcalfe, ON, Canada 05-05-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Great Revelation Space background"
    What made the experience of listening to Galactic North the most enjoyable?

    Getting some of the back-story on Revelation Space characters, even if it wasn't always totally consistent with the main series.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Galactic North?

    The climax of Nightingale. If I say more, I'll spoil the fun.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not the whole book, but I did want to listen to each story in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved how some of the stories fleshed out things that were just mentioned in passing in the Revelation Space series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 01-05-10
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 01-05-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Excellent"

    Really great series of short stories. I'll have to read more of this author.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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