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Terminal World | [Alastair Reynolds]

Terminal World

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"A rousing adventure in a widly original setting." (Guardian, UK)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (815 )
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4.3 (552 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Trigona 01-26-14
    Trigona 01-26-14

    I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, History and Biographies.

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    "Contemporary Sci Fi at its best"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 01-22-14
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 01-22-14 Member Since 2013

    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.

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    "Multiple dystopian societies collide"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 01-11-14
    Michael 01-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Alastair Reynolds"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George United States 12-09-13
    George United States 12-09-13 Member Since 2014
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    "I hate how good this guy writes."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric United States 06-02-13
    Eric United States 06-02-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Another great book by Reynolds."
    Where does Terminal World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book ranks in my top 20 SF reads.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cutter. This guy is tuff, determined and smart.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, John Lee is great.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no, but it made me dream.


    Any additional comments?

    Great read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Seattle, WA, United States 02-14-13
    Shawn Seattle, WA, United States 02-14-13 Member Since 2007

    Artist and Game Designer

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    Story
    "Very Cool World"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Eric Koch MONTEVALLO, AL, US 08-15-12
    Robert Eric Koch MONTEVALLO, AL, US 08-15-12 Member Since 2013

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reynolds' Foray Into Steam-punk Never Quite Works"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JimNH Nashua, NH 07-30-12
    JimNH Nashua, NH 07-30-12 Member Since 2010

    Ardent audio book fan, science fiction and fantasy maven. 40 something, Boston area.

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    "Another great title from A. Reynolds and John Lee"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Terminal World to be better than the print version?

    Yes - I preferred the audio version of this book!


    Have you listened to any of John Lee???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes - most of them. He is uniformly great at developing character's voices and bringing them to life. It does take a few paragraphs to get used to his slightly Scottish (?) accent and the low timbre of his voice, but you quickly get used to it, and then you realize how really fabulous a narrator he is. His reading adds to, rather than detracts from, the author's work.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a bit off the beaten path for Alistair Reynolds - more of a "steampunk" covered-wagon era technology novel set in a post-apocolyptic "Earth" (which I think is actually Mars, but not explicitly stated as such). The ending begs for a sequel, but I have read that Mr. Reynolds has no plans for one so that will be a disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 09-12-11
    Michael 09-12-11
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    "Another Reynolds masterpiece"

    This is amazing story, well written, nothing what makes up a good story is missing. The narrator was not so enjoyable though because of his UK accent.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Sydney, Australia 10-05-10
    Lynn Sydney, Australia 10-05-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Great story but distracting narration"

    I'm a great fan of Reynolds and have read/listened to most of his books. So it was with great anticipation that I downloaded Terminal World. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but the narration was a distraction. The narrator's use of regional accents from around the UK (and a couple of other countries) became so annoying at times I almost gave up. I could understand the use of these accents in a story set in the UK of the near future, but in the context of this story it just struck a discordant note. Perhaps a more nuanced tone to distinguish between characters would have been more believable.
    Having said that, I would still recommend Terminal World as a captivating and enjoyable listen, and worth the credit.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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