Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that left 900 people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus. But then his investigation uncovers something far more serious than mass slaughter---a covert plot by an enigmatic entity who seeks nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band. Before long, the Panoply detectives are fighting against something worse than tyranny, in a struggle that will lead to more devastation and more death. And Dreyfus will discover that to save what is precious, you may have to destroy it.
©2008 Alastair Reynolds (P)2011 Tantor
"A fascinating hybrid of space opera, police procedural and character study.... This is solid British SF adventure, evoking echoes of le Carre and Sayers with a liberal dash of Doctor Who." (Publishers Weekly)
It is a pretty decent SciFi story about a team John McClain stylized figures fighting to defeat an impossible situation. Very entertaining story, though at some points the book did feel to unnecessarily slow its natural flow of events. My one true complaint would be a issue that I imagine someone reading the story would not experience. With the audio copy topics and perspective will rapidly change, which can be jarring and cause some confusion relating to who is saying or doing what. In the book itself I assume this is mitigated with a couple of carriage returns and a new paragraph, however in the audio book they made the decision to not identify the transitions as clearly.
I would recommend this to any frequent reader of Sci Fi. I would also recommend that people read this if they are thinking about reading Reynold's Revelation Space series. I think it creates the setting better so that Revelation Space and the others would be easier to follow. I loved those books, too.
Reynolds creates a different solar system in the distant future and then uncovers a riveting murder mystery in it. His uses of the environments he created was amazing.
There were many interesting scenes so I have a hard time picking one. The Prefect's interactions with the Spider (augmented human) were all interesting. His interrogations of beta and alpha artificial intelligences were cool. His characters called Ultras are cool. The whiphound was a great invention. Each habitat in the Glitter Band was creative. I liked those so much I toyed with the idea of trying to write my own sci fi so that I could create other Glitter Band habitats. That isn't my gig, though, so I hope some other, real authors pick up that thread.
I listened to this book in 2 hour chunks. John Lee's voice becomes so comfortable in my head that I start needing a fix every now and then.
Great science fiction overall. Alastair Reynolds should team up with some Japanese artists and write a series of Manga with hyperpigs as the protagonists.
Yes, John Lee add a lot to the experience of the reading. I got addicted to his reading style.
It's half way between Blade Runner (the dark atmosphere, the internal struggle among the prefects) and some Phil Dicks' novel (the three stigmata of Palmer Eldrich)
The final confrontation
Yes, Alastair Reynolds is always welcomed
The ending was anticlimactic and unsatisfying, felt too contrived and dependent on some element of good in the monsters being faced.
Accurate pacing, voice spot on as emotions change within the book. Really good performance.
Overall, there's good writing here but can't help but compare to Peter Hamilton who tends to have more engaging suspense. It just feels like there wasn't enough oomph to the story.
This is a bad detective novel lent credibility by Reynolds ability to write good speculative fiction. At times, the writing feels lazy and contrived, forcing characters into situations through auspicious circumstances or really poor decision making that fulfill the literary checklist for writing fiction novels. While this may be because Reynolds got bored writing the book and just wanted it to conclude, it feels more like he lacks any real understanding of how large organizations operate, replete with politics and how senior executives operate in their lofty positions. Thus the human side of the story suffers from amateurish over-simplicity while the sci-fi elements try to rescue an increasing irritating plot that was seemingly written for the sole purpose of setting the final chapter's stage.
On the plus side, John Lee's reading was excellent. He delivers his usual range of characterizations, which are both pleasant to listen to and provide a clear picture of whom is speaking and when.
Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.
Huge Reynolds fan ... was very excited to read a book about the Glitter Band ecosystem. As always the world is amazing. This book though - the characters didn't quite do it for me. It was almost like they were only there as a way for Reynolds to tell a greater story ... they're not that memorable ... and I didn't care much what happened to them. Overall the story, the politics, the secondary / tertiary characters are solid. So, for Reynolds fans it's a must in that it further fills out the great Revelation Space universe timeline ... but if you have not been introduced yet, start somewhere else.
A well written book is a gem.
I am not a science guy, (English major), but I have become a complete science fiction nerd thanks to Alistair Reynolds. The future he writes about is hopeful and entirely plausible given what we know of the physical world today. In tandem with John Lee's reading this book was a great ride. I read "Pushing Ice" before this one and it's the same high quality read. Give it a shot.
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.
When you take A loose Federalism to the logical extreme (democratic anarchy) in a post-scarcity environment, it opens up a blank canvas for the author's imagination. Reynold's wildly varied societies along with the 'space detective' protagonist remind me of Asimov's Robot novels.
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