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House of Suns | [Alastair Reynolds]

House of Suns

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.
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Publisher's Summary

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.

Not only are Campion and Purslane late for their 30-second reunion but they have also brought along an amnesiac golden robot for a guest. But the wayward shatterlings get more than the scolding they expect: they face the discovery that someone has a very serious grudge against the Gentian line, and there is a very real possibility of traitors in their midst. The surviving shatterlings have to dodge exotic weapons while they regroup to try to solve the mystery of who is persecuting them and why---before their ancient line is wiped out of existence forever.

©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2009 Tantor

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4.2 (950 )
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  •  
    David Soddy Daisy, TN, United States 01-05-10
    David Soddy Daisy, TN, United States 01-05-10 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    5
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    "Loved it!"

    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!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerco 09-16-09
    Gerco 09-16-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Typical book for the author"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 04-25-12
    Saud 04-25-12

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Drags On"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alastair Reynolds again?

    It's hard to say at this point.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending, which was executed beautifully.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 06-26-11
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 06-26-11 Member Since 2005
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    "A slight departure for Reynolds"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-12 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Maybe I missed something but..."

    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.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gary Tecumseh, MI, United States 02-09-10
    gary Tecumseh, MI, United States 02-09-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Great story in a standalone novel"

    This was a great standalone novel by Mr. Reynolds. No need to have read any of his other works to enjoy this one fully.

    I enjoyed it so much I chose to listen to it even outside the normal listening time of my daily commute.

    Bravo!

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nurlip 04-09-13
    Nurlip 04-09-13 Member Since 2012

    futurist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "As good as Pushing Ice, which was a GREAT story"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reid 01-17-13
    Reid 01-17-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A bit confusing"

    It took me a while (I'm a bit slow sometimes, especially with intermittent listening) to realize that the first person narrative changed characters every chapter. The voices are not greatly different, so I was confused by the narrative and character names. Once I realized that the first person changed chapter-by-chapter, things began to make more sense.

    This book covers vast expanses of time and space - millions of years, millions of light years. Ships the size of cities; people with lifespans measured in millions of years. The story was very engaging at times, very drawn out and, dare I say, boring at other times. I found the interrogation of the four prisoners and the "funeral scene" particularly long and boring, unnecessary to the storyline. These sections could have been almost entirely eliminated without harming the story. I almost quit listening entirely during the funeral portion because it was long and pointless.

    Overall, I'd have to say I liked the book because of the ideas and concepts presented. However, I had little emotional connection with the characters.

    I found the narrator John Lee easy to listen to, though I wish his voice characterizations had more "personality". Most of the characters sounded very much alike in tone, tenor, pacing. There were a few who had different accents, which helped, but the main characters were too similar for me, especially early in the book before I picked up on the subtle differences.

    I probably will not be seeking more Alastair Reynolds books anytime soon.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 11-21-14
    Paul 11-21-14
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    "My personal favorite Reynolds novel"
    If you could sum up House of Suns in three words, what would they be?

    Bravo Reynolds, Bravo


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hesperus
    If a machine was self aware, what would it act like? Hesperus. In my personal opinion "he" is the most interesting character that I've encountered while reading (or being read to in this case). It's not that this book is a literary masterpiece or anything (though it is), but he certainly did make my imagination kick into overdrive. He'd be a great character to star in another novel (hint).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The end. I won't spoil it.


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

    It's a little long for a single sitting. Also, it's an attention commander. I needed a quiet place to fully immerse myself into it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a single sitting book. It's an "I wish this were 10x longer" book. I'll probably read it once every few years until I die.

    Don't take my word for it, listen for yourself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edwin & Allison 05-26-14

    Edwin & Allison

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    "Don't wait to buy"
    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    I enjoy all of John Lee's performances.


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

    After the first hour it really picks up and i didn't want to put it down.


    Any additional comments?

    I waited to by thus I wasn't sure if it would be good or not. It is great i finished it in less then 3 days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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