Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue.
But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police but by the very nature of reality---and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.
©2010 Alastair Reynolds (P)2010 Tantor
"A rousing adventure in a widly original setting." (Guardian, UK)
I don't often post a wordy review. So when I do, I really felt it was important!
Reynolds creates a fantastic sort of world, with all sorts of questions and concepts to keep me thinking far /outside/ of the book.
I've no problems with his characterizations, and enjoyed the progression the main character made over time - but that having been said, the real strength of this book in my mind is the progression through the world itself, new, mysterious lands, ideas, and concepts.
Through it all, a solid level of tension pervades, and I don't think think any portion felt like a real lull. The ending is both incomplete and complete - that is to say, you can see the direction things will go after the conclusion, and even envisage another book, but it might not be necessary, and can stand on it's own.
That having been said, I'll note I'm very comfortable with Reynold's style, and have more or less ended up binging on everything he's published recently! John Lee seems the perfect sci-fi narrator to me, perhaps because of prior experience - but I've developed a deep fondness for his voice over time, and this book is no exception.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
Reynolds wroite one of my favorite SF series -- the Revelation Space Inhibitor books. Those are dark and VERY long. This is somewhat lighter, easier to get into -- but crammed full of fascinating ideas. Almost like he is considering a long series.
It has a little techno-cyber punk-steam punk feel. But it is a solid piece of science fiction and as always has a fascinating mix of hard SF, wild flights of imagination and characterization.
Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself: Oh crap! now I have to wait patiently for the next two in this series -- and really hope that they come.
The construct at the center of the story and the main character are two of Reynolds best -- and this is the best SF I have read this year.
OK...so I'm waiting for more in Hamilton's Pandora's Star/Void series, or Revelation Space, or Hyperion or this.......let's get going folks.
Class warfare in the dismal/distant future.. A good Sci-Fi adventure yarn..with an imagination, i enjoyed the literal vertical stratification of societies .A bit of analogy to what's here now. By the way, the narrator, John Lee is the best..
I've very happily worked my way through the Revelation series (and Chasm City) in print and was looking forward to something new from the author. Where the Revelation series was special this book is average at best. What really hurt, though, was the narrator. First impressions were that he has a great voice -- strong and well-spoken. Unfortunately his strength of voice and matter-of-fact style of reading overpowers any nuance that should come through in the words and sentences. This dooms the book (aided by the writing to some extent) to sound like simply a dry reading of events rather than providing any sense of tension or drama.
It was interesting, a good world but there were too many places I couldn't believe. I'll be watching the author for better though.
I thought this was a great story set in a complex, well thought out world. You slowly get to know the characters and there are a few twists and turns along the way that keep you engaged.
One of my favorite sci fi authors showing he cant write a bad story. ive put off reading this for a while. but i regret itso much. such an interesting premise!
Also. John Lee is prblly my favorite narrator. Ever.
Quillon is an odd bird in more ways than one. As a medical examiner for District 3 of Neon Heights he gets to check out all weird brain teaser corpses collected by sanitation. Somebody who cares about him is relying on that to deliver him a message.
Meroka starts out being Quillon’s bodyguard and guide until she evolves into a partner in his realized save the species mission. Their travels bring them in into contact with ghouls, Angels, Carnivorgs, Skullboys, the outcast Military organization of Dirigibles called Swarm and beings with nanomachine infused brains called Tectomancers.
It’s a full book. There is a character, Tulwar, in here that reminds me of the metal guardian from Logan’s Run only this one is Steampunk and greedy. Since we’re tossing genres around get your brain around this work of: Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Dieselpunk, Transhumanist, interdimensional travel.
Excellent crafting and narration throughout get this work four out of five entertainment award units of your choice. Stock up on Zone shift sickness meds and get moving. Enjoy!
Books with this kind of premise, different tech in different areas are just not logically possible. Alastair does his best (and I thought for a minute he might have pulled it off, but not in the end.
"Science fiction with a very big point"
Spearpoint is an enormous city that rises vertically over a chaotic and apparently unpromising world. For reasons that aren’t clear at the outset, different elevations on the pinnacle-like city, and different zones across the world, support different levels of technology. Machines seize up irreparably if you travel too far, and people need complicated drugs. A dying angel plummets from his elevated level with a message for the cold and reclusive Quillon, provoking a well-paced journey in which our hero discovers something about all the aspects of his humanity, finds a finely conceived set of people groups who have each come to terms with their strange world in different ways, and grasps the secret of why all this is the way it is.
Alastair Reynolds is one of the most thought-provoking and readable hard-SF writers alive, partly because he loves his characters as much as his science. Indeed, most of his novels explore the boundaries of what it is to be human at every extreme. This tale scintillates because of the steampunk, gothic and fantasy elements he weaves in.
The icing on the cake for audiobook lovers is that this book (as with all Reynold's audiobooks on Audible) is read by the prolific John Lee, who could recite an instruction booklet for self-assembly furniture and make it sound poetic.
"Great but Different"
I discovered reynolds about a year ago by recomendation from a friend. This was the final book I read of his after completing his back catalogue. the main reason this was the last one read was because of the whole "steam punk" thing and I am a fan of the whole space opera, sense of wonder type sci fi. No need to worry though this is pure Reynolds but in a reffreshing new setting. The excellent characterisation is there along with the underpinning "big concept" that he does so very well. As for the narration, I love the way Jon Lee does Reynolds. He doesn't go overboard with character voices but gives enough depth to distinguish them and he lends the prose real gravitas. I really enjoyed this book and if you love Reynolds' other stuff you will love this. It's just a bit different that's all.
Excellent if perhaps not Reynolds at his best- I'm giving 4 stars but this is still better than any other contemporary sci-fi that I know of. For existing fans you will find all the familiar themes reworked with the usual ingenuity but instead of the complex interweaving narrative structure of the earlier novels we have a simple linear adventure story- perhaps Reynolds has his eyes on the more popular Hollywood market, with characters, set pieces and themes lifted straight out of the genre- 'Mad Max II' being the obvious comparison. Or think Dante with Tank Girl instead of Beatrice. At times the narrative seems laboured and the characters rather stereotypical and simplistic as they run through their self-justifying poses. But as always Reynolds' primary focus is on technology (the title is a pun but I won't spoil the plot!) and the human machine interface. There are plenty of nightmare creatures worthy of a place in the Reynolds Bestiary (you'll love the Vorgs) and a calliope-powered man as well as a little girl with very special psychic powers...enough said. If you haven't read the other books this isn't a bad place to start, followed by 'House of Suns' and 'Century Rain' before tackling the Trilogy- they're all here on Audible.
"Frustrated with the lack of a proper ending"
Mostly, yes. I was disappointed and frustrated that it ended when it did. I thought I was only about 70% of the way through it when the story just stopped suddenly. It's as though the author got bored and had decided that we didn't need to know any more. The big thing that the book is leading up-to never actually happens.
Yes, he's a good author.
When reading a book you know where you are up-to in the book and know when it's about to end. When listening to an audiobook you don't have this information (unless you look for it), so occasionally a story can just end and you never see it coming. To me, it just didn't feel right that the story ended when it did. It's a shame because what was about to happen would've been more interesting than what did happen in the story.
"Twisted and dark and fast paced"
You know that Reynolds will come up with something out of the ordinary and he does not disappoint here. It is full of big ideas and strong contrasts with a complex and self consistent world. The science is of a level approaching magic at times. The gritty and treacherous world that humans have shaped in this strange and fractured place is dark and rich and full of sound and smell and danger. I would have liked to have had more answers at the end but Alistair Reynolds does not write that way. All in all, a fascinating read, well performed.
After reading this author's Revelation Space series of books I was hooked on this author's style & approach to space opera SciFi. Whilst not as free roaming as his space operas, this novel contains the same rich plot element ideas & earthy character development. Always digging deeper into lost Alien & technological mysteries, you discover more layers of the onion being peeled away through the journey the main characters take. Never shown the full picture from the start, but rewarded enough as you read through, so as not to be frustrated & ending in ultimate climactic knowledge of the true nature of terminal world.
It was a novelty to download in audio an author who's works I've been buying in print. A double treat to have it while only the hardback version is out.
It's typical Reynolds: dark and pessimistic in tone, plus an original and satisfying plot.
The narrator has a commanding voice and is good at differentiating between the characters, although his vocalisation of Meroka was slightly grating in the first two parts.
Reynolds is at the top of his game. The book has solid believable characters that make you care. The author creates a fantastic but believable world and proceeds to weave a cyber-punk story with flavours of mad max and blade runner. If you haven't listened to an Alastair Reynolds book, this is a great starting point.
This book captures the imagination and the author moulds the very diverse characters seamlessly. By the time I reached the end I felt like the characters were family and found myself rooting for a great ending, which it delivered. I also felt I knew every inch of the extremely foreign landscapes and zones. Best read I have had in ages
Alastair Reynolds has written some top-notch sci-fi - 'Revelation space', 'Chasm City',and 'The Prefect' being my particular favourites. but he produces duds as well and 'Terminal World' is, in my view, nowhere near his best work.
The sci-fi backdrop is just not convincingly plausible and lacks an imaginative sense of wonder, the plot is confused, narrative momentum is choppy, and I just didn't find the characters engaging.
To cap it all, the narrator Stepehen Lee, who is normally very good, has an off day on this book. His narration lacks variation in pace and tone, and his characterisation and handling of dialogue is very stiff and wooden. Maybe the book defeated him.
Report Inappropriate Content