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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 (647 )
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4.4 (403 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Shawn Seattle, WA, United States 02-14-13
    Shawn Seattle, WA, United States 02-14-13 Member Since 2007

    Artist and Game Designer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    "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 2010

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    36
    36
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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
  •  
    A. J. Mail Nashua, NH 07-30-12
    A. J. Mail Nashua, NH 07-30-12 Member Since 2010

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

    ratings
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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 Frankfurt am Main, Germany 09-12-11
    Michael Frankfurt am Main, Germany 09-12-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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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
  •  
    Colin Detroit 08-18-10
    Colin Detroit 08-18-10 Member Since 2009

    Thanks Audible for your continued support of "This Week in Tech" over at TWiT.tv

    HELPFUL VOTES
    142
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    109
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    "A new style for Alastair, and its great!"

    so this is a new style of writing for this author, I have read everything he has on Audible and I love everything, now this new book and its not in the normal format and the author said about this book is its "SF ... weird, and it doesn't have spaceships" - well thats OK because this is just awesome----

    The Zones they talk about in this book arent explained more then to say certian ones allow more advanced things to work, and others make things like gears and pistons in engines fuse together and become useless even if you go back to a "higher" zone - this is a little confusing but without spoiling to much I think that the "zones" are sections of atmosphere that are infected with nano-bots or something like that and are running a muck of things because somehow it got screwed up thousands of years ago and they escaped the pace they were----

    stuff that is really advanced like AI controlled guns or other things that would require really advanced technology only works in the "celestial" levels and the further down you go the the more and more less advanced things get until you get to "horse town" which is like the old west without as many guns----

    there are some unanswered questions left, hopefully a sequel or 2 or 3 would be nice - I have asked the author and he said he plans to do some more in this world and I cant wait for that----the story starts off strong and keeps going that way till the end, with only a couple of places that were slow paced but thats needed from time to time - there isnt really a sense of "time" here as in how much time has passed in the story as in there are some balloon rides and you have no idea of how long this took but it is assumes that it didnt take that long----

    this combines Steam Punk, New Wierd, and Alastair Reynolds style all in one and I love the Steam Punk parts even though I am not that a huge fan of that style of writing, but I love the style in function - google Steam Punk and look at the images things are beautiful looking

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    linda Cedar Park, TX, United States 10-10-10
    linda Cedar Park, TX, United States 10-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"

    this book sounds as if it was so forced. like the author had to spit out a book b/c he was on contract. very disappointing, i didn't even finish the book.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Forsyth Brisbane, Qld Australia 08-14-13
    Simon Forsyth Brisbane, Qld Australia 08-14-13 Member Since 2009

    Old timer IT guy, researcher.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reynolds is usually excellent"
    Would you try another book from Alastair Reynolds and/or John Lee?

    I would carefully examine the reviews. This is the first "miss" for me out of 9 novels that I have read by Reynolds all of which were excellent.


    Any additional comments?

    I would hesitate to highlight the numerous annoyances of this novel because there are likely many people to whom these would not matter ... unless pointed out. To me "Terminal World" is such an inferior book compared to Reynold's other works, filled with grating contrivances and a completely unsatisfactory ending. I find it shocking that this was published in 2010 with numerous better books behind him, so the shortfalls cannot be put down to a lack of experience, but I suspect more to laziness.

    Do not make this your first Alastair Reynolds book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaroslaw Zielona Gora, Poland 07-11-12
    Jaroslaw Zielona Gora, Poland 07-11-12
    ratings
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    Story
    "Reylolds could use another narrator"

    Most of the reviewers have nothing but praise for the narrator. I, however, agree with Michael's review below. I think that most people like Lee, just because the author is so great, not because the narrator's performance is good.

    Everything is read in the same deadpan style. Reynolds tells great stories, but Lee does not stress the story, but the originality of his books. It's as if he was saying "everything is so strange, but for the characters in the book its normal". His reading does not follow the story, and a great action-packed passage is read in exactly the same way as a static description. All characters speak in the same way, use the same intonation at all times. I can't imagine any two people talking to one another in this way, let alone a whole world of people.

    If you listen (not that) closely you will notice that where there is no dialog Lee reads every sentence with exactly the same intonation. You could have like 20 sentences in a row read exactly the same. Then, every single book is read in exactly the same way, so you have a hundred hours of listening to the same intonation. No wonder people find it hard to concentrate and decide that Reynolds' books are too difficult for them.

    I love Reynolds, but find Lee extremely irritating. I may be totally wrong - I am just one person. However, I would advise the publisher to try another narrator for a change and see how readers react.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kerry McKinney, TX, United States 10-12-10
    kerry McKinney, TX, United States 10-12-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    "Numerous unexpected turns ... it is Sci Fi"

    I found this audible book to be of medium grade pulp, keeping my mind occupied when I would otherwise be bored while traveling. The story line is much the same as all others of this genre, with a few more unexpected twists and turns.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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