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)
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.
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.
Great premise (which is the only reason the overall rating is a 2 rather than a 1), however, this seemed like three different novels crammed into one: a sci fi mystery, an escape thriller (complete with a film noir chase through a hurtling train), and a steampunk dystopian political intrique. Solving the mystery of the city, which seemed like the most fascinating character in the book, was given rather short shrift, after all of its build-up.
Through it all, a protagonist initially made interesting by his stolen past inexplicably transforms almost overnight into a noble rescuer of mysterious women and lost children. His frequent sermons on how his actions are only motivated by being 'the only right thing to do,' grew tiresome about halfway through the story (long before the sermons stopped). I thought that an angel surgically and genetically altered to pass as a human would be much more interesting, but a number of the secondary characters, though as one-dimensionally drawn as Quillon, were much more engaging.
Characters were great and of course John Lee's narration!!
Story was fast paced and kept me very interested. Had a genuine care for all the main characters.Just enough detail not overblown like some other books.
Battles in the Sky and the Vorg.
Was definitely finished faster than most of my purchases!
Wish Mr.Reynolds would make a second! I thought Perdido Street was the best Steampunk book but this one just topped it! Wishing for a movie but probably will not be as good unless David Lynch directed.
The sad thing about this book is that while the story includes some thought provoking and plot-worthy threads it was largely ruined by the narrator. When every character speaks (albeit with a different voice) in the same timbre, inflection and "Snagglepuss" (think 1970 era cartoons) downward tone at the end of every sentence there comes a disconnect between the action and the verbalization. In this book it made the story painful to endure. A real disappointment.
I guess this could make for a good movie, or series, because there is something of an epic here. The author has a brilliant technical and physical imagination, and has done a good job of thinking out what the various effects would be for certain technical or physical situations and it's a lot of fun being surprised by the results detailed in the story.
However, after a stint of reading author Larry Correia's books, this book seems lackluster in imagery and creating visual descriptions, characters and scenery. Terminal World seems to be a "B" effort instead of an "A" simply because there is so much lacking in sensual imagery. It's more like looking at a detailed blueprint than at the actual work of architecture - the beautiful building.
The story does start off slowly, and because it is a bleak future survival story, I often stopped and went off to another book for fun then returned to this one. (While highly technical, this is a book low in humor, and I just prefer books that have either wit, sarcasm, or a skewed viewpoint to spice things up) In the latter half of this book there was a more hopeful storyline and I was able to complete the rest of this book - and the latter part of the book was better than the first.
The narrator spoke quickly, almost too staccato in delivery, but had a clear and understandable intonation. Various narrators have different "accents" they can call on, and I was a little perplexed at the choices of a French and Jamaican-like accent for a few characters in a future that is at least 5000 years from now . . . but . . . okay. There are some narrators that excel at changing voices from character to character, and there are some narrators that excel at reading clearly. I think reading clearly is the strong point here and nice try with throwing in a couple of accents here and there.
I'm sure there are technically-minded people who will love this book and appreciate it, but I'm giving myself a virtual gold star for at least finishing it.
"i've liked other reynolds' books"
Really didn't enjoy the characterisations and tone. Yes they were all clearly differentiated in accents, but the tone was so similar and overblown. Disliked the audio so much I found myself imagining what it would be like to read the book rather than listen to it.
Same narrator for Revelation Space if I remember right, but he wasn't so over the top in that one.
I've liked other books Reynolds has written, but this was just horrible for me. The only character I cared about at all was the Quillam, the rest were just mostly annoying.
after enjoying previously books by Reynolds I looked forward to this.
However, it became painful working my way to the end of it. Much more difficult with an audiobook to curtail the book by turning to the back page and working forward!
My main criticism is that I never understand how the world worked at a deep level. It left a big unsatisfying feeling of questioning why and how things happened. The perhaps unfair answer I came to was that Reynolds had signed a lucrative deal and needed to produce a book by a deadline.
I am shy now of reading or listening to any further books by Reynolds - hence the one star
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