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'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.
Ardent audio book fan, science fiction and fantasy maven. 40 something, Boston area.
Yes - I preferred the audio version of this book!
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.
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.
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