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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

What Members Say

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4.3 (1139 )
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  •  
    David Soddy Daisy, TN, United States 01-05-10
    David Soddy Daisy, TN, United States 01-05-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-20-15 Member Since 2015

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary Sci-Fi"

    I was unprepared for the scope of the story in House of Suns. It is the most ambitious imagining of "deep time" that I've encountered. I would mark it on par with Iain Banks in terms of optimistic imaginings for humanities long-term future. But unlike Banks, Reynolds has created characters that are worth caring about, and a sense of drama that keeps you invested in the book.

    This book was very smart, very imaginative, and very well constructed. It is one of the few modern sci-fi books that leaves me with no complaints.

    The book is unapologetic in its slow unraveling. Several terms and vital bits of backstory are withheld for a long time, but not in an annoying way. It was nice to encounter an author who doesn't cheapen his book with ham-handed exposition.

    My only complaint is narrator John Lee, who over-enunciates everything, and doesn't do much to add dramatic tension to the book. Every passage is read with the same level of enthusiasm. It isn't a monotone, but it also isn't full of personality.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Stokes Fairport, NY USA 05-17-15
    Kevin Stokes Fairport, NY USA 05-17-15 Member Since 2009
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    "This is one of the best space operas ever written"

    This book is well written from all perspectives. The author explores the consequences of being stuck with the speed of light. Without warp drives or wormholes, how could humanity make a society that spans the galaxy work? Now add some good characters, a mystery, and an epic battle of survival. This is science fiction firing on all cylinders. It isn't the greatest thing every written, but is the best science fiction I've listened to in years. If you are on the fence about whether this is the book for you, my recommendation is a big thumbs up.

    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Erica Plano, TX, United States 01-30-12
    Erica Plano, TX, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2015
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    "The Best Science Fiction Author of the Decade"
    Would you consider the audio edition of House of Suns to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, so I do not know.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of House of Suns?

    When the little girl becomes just another clone of the House of Flowers.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every scene was wonderful. I cannot decide.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, but the whole concept behind the book: clones that experience thousands of years of humanity's evolution, destruction, and re-emergence, is so unique, even in the genre of science fiction, that I was moved to excitement during the entire novel.


    Any additional comments?

    Until I had the good fortune to stumble upon Alastair Reynolds, I thought that contemporary science fiction was bland and often reworked ideas stolen from the classics. I felt Asimov, Orwell, and Vonnegut to be the last great authors of my favorite genre. Now, my favorite author after Mr. Vonnegut is Mr. Reynolds. All his books are amazing thus far. Also, John Lee is the best narrator I have come to love on Audible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary S 09-01-11
    Mary S 09-01-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"

    The idea was refreshingly new and John Lee did an excellent job. Wish there was more to come from this universe!

    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 2015

    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
  •  
    Shark Likes Tecumseh, MI, United States 02-09-10
    Shark Likes Tecumseh, MI, United States 02-09-10 Member Since 2007

    I'm the most boring person on the planet.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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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
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  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    4/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An epic tale, told over eons, that just stops."

    I loved the characters, the story, the pretext, everything. it builds and builds and builds.

    And then stops.

    nor sure if he hit his word count or decided to do a squeal right at the last minute but not the best ending every.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    1/8/15
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    "An amazing book amazingly performed."

    Couldn't recommend highly enough - an excellent read. Solid story with a great climax and very well preformed. What a treat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    6/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nicely paced and captivating"

    The story follows well but with the narration it can get confusing when switching when switching characters in the Gentian Line. Worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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