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)
"Terminal world" is a very good book featuring a deep, well thought through story. It's one of the books you want to open again after you closed it couple of minutes back to learn what happens next.
It has an interesting story with a lot of things to think about. Even in this book the author doesn't leave sci-fi component aside (although I haven't read many books like one).
I guess, the last couple of pages of the book (or the last chapter of the audiobook, to be correct), where... well I'd better let potential readers learn for themselves ;-)
I'm not the best at this so I skip the question.
While I was expecting the book to be one of the space-opera it appeared to be an example of steam-punk. I was never a big fan of steampunk as a genre but I find the story to be very interesting and with time I definitely going to listen to it again (or maybe, read it, for a change)
I'm sure I'll listen to Terminal World again, there were so many cool treatments both of characters and of science fiction tropes.
The reveal about the essential truth of Spearpoint is powerful, elevating the story from kit-bashed fantasy to masterful science fiction.
John Lee gives the characters personality thought their tones, inflection, and pace.
When the story first started, I was really enjoying it. But it kept adding on layers and new characters without resolving anything. It felt to me like a long story that ultimately went nowhere. Many reviewers have said this is not the author's best work, and I must concur.
I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, History and Biographies.
John Lee is a great narrator and does justice to an excellent book. Terminal World is amazingly inventive, the characters believable and I found it hard to stop listening.
For the people who don't like the ending I have only this to say.... WTF!
The logic of the book is impeccable although it does finish without explaining every possible permutation. The author is relying on you to use some of your own imagination, after all he has just delivered a masterpiece to you on a plate - surely that's not too much to ask.
Brain eating machines, dirigibles, his version of Reavers, mysteries everywhere are found on this dying planet and yet Reynolds holds it all together. If you get this book and don't like it please disregard all of my reviews, we're obviously not compatible.
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.
An entertaining standalone story that draws on the fashionable genre of Steampunk without diving in entirely. By arranging his world and setting into 'zones' of technological disparity, Reynolds allows narrative room for various SF sub-genres and characters. I enjoyed it most when he was in fully far-future Space Opera mode, which was sadly the minority of this story. My opinion of the protagonist, Dr. Quillon, slowly soured, too, as the character became unconvincingly pure-hearted.
While it started a little slow, that was good because it continued to build right up to the end. In fact, even though the author says this is a standalone book, I can see, actually would like to see a sequel. At the end I found myself wanting to know what laid ahead for the characters. Well worth the time to listen to this book.
Alastair Reynolds is a great author. He's got a clean, concise style to all the books I've read from him. You shouldn't believe in the universe of this novel, but you do. I hate that he's probably smarter than I will ever be.
This book ranks in my top 20 SF reads.
Cutter. This guy is tuff, determined and smart.
Yes, John Lee is great.
no, but it made me dream.
Artist and Game Designer
Reynolds does a great job creating an interesting world. I hope he continues to write about it, but even if he does not I found the book quite satisfying and great imagination fuel.
You can tell the Author had alot of fun with this one, and it was a nice change of pace from the big scope hard sci-fi that he does normally.
If you're looking for good escapism/science fiction/fantasy I'd be pretty surprised if you were disappointed.
Tell us about yourself!
Terminal World can best be described as Alastair Reynolds marginally successful attempt to tap into the popularity of steam-punk SF. Perhaps the sub-genre itself is to blame since, in order for steam-punk to work properly within the context of science fiction story, one must forego a reliance on hard scientific explanations. This is the essential flaw in Terminal World – a deep dive into what is essentially a shallow pool. Reynold’s effort to explain his multi-layered, deeply historical, steam-punk world just doesn’t work most of the time and for every explanation he seems to raise a dozen questions that go unanswered so that by the time the novel concluded I was left scratching my head, wondering if I should expect a sequel to answer all these questions despite the fact that this felt very much like a standalone novel. The complex, often confusing world is the setting for a very common tale – a mysterious stranger goes on a quest and happens across a girl who is more than what she seems and could be the key the future of Terminal World. The hero’s quest is quite straightforward and doesn’t stray too far from the standard fantasy plot from which it draws inspiration. Despite its flaws, Reynold’s still has a knack for developing interesting, unique characters and this novel is no exception. The action sequences are spot on and despite the burden of scientific exposition the novel actually moves along quite nicely. Of all Reynold’s work this is easily his weakest and I would only suggest it for serious fans of the author. John Noble’s narration takes some getting used to.
"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.
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