To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
5.0 out of 5 starsI loved this book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2020
If you wonder about what the future might be like and know enough about physics and human spaceflight to make a reasonable guess, this book is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and consumed it in 3 days. I'm not a super fast reader, so this is a bit of a milestone for me. I don't think this book is for everyone, but for the people who might be prone to interest in such concepts it's a wonderful ride. Fortunately, I am one of those people. I won't write any spoilers, but this book attempts to answer a lot of "what if"s. It gives a believable account of what might happen in a future that is earnestly within humanity's grasp. It attempts to show what might happen to a group of humans put into unbelievably wild circumstances and paints what I can say are the most realistic visions of our future I've yet read/seen/heard. It makes you look up and wonder. That said, if your'e the type of person who can read about faster-than-light travel and not wink an eye as to how that is possible, this book may not be for you.
3.0 out of 5 starsNasty Characters You Don't Care About
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2019
Usually in remote outposts or on special missions, everyone is carefully vetted, psychologically tested, etc. Not these folks. Each one is so hateful, nasty, cruel, vindictive, etc. that you wonder how they were ever permitted to be the crew of any space vessel and you don't care if they get sucked into a black hole or disappear for all eternity. For me, what could have been a thrilling story was subsumed by these losers, not one of whom I gave a fig about. I love Alastair Reynolds usually, but in this case I'm not sure I'll even finish the book.
4.0 out of 5 starsDefinite summer read, different from the usual space opera schlock.
Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2015
I very much enjoyed reading this. It is a page turner, I think I knocked it out in two days, which is to say I could not stop reading it, even when there were other things I should have been doing...
Fantastic story, interesting concept, complex personalities, strong female roles, good pacing, and I couldn't predict the last few chapters, which is always nice.
I think my only complaint might be that it was difficult at time to recognize the giant leaps in the timeline right away, and I had to go back and reread a few pages to make sense of what just happened. A little editing there might clean this up, but it may just be me, and others won't have this issue.
The book itself is relatively clean of simple editing errors, which is a nice change of pace. I've been reading a lot of independent fiction on Amazon, and sometimes it can get in the way of enjoying a novel. I only ran across a handful of those type of errors, so nothing to worry about.
3.0 out of 5 starsAptly named 'Pushing Ice' moves glacially slow.
Reviewed in the United States on March 30, 2015
First off, the pace on this novel was way too slow for me. It is well written and may keep you reading; but, dang – literally millennia go by just to flesh out one insignificant plot point after another. In the end, this novel got me thinking about some of the other books that I’ve read from Alastair Reynolds. The similarity being that there are stupendous blind spots for Reynolds’ characters. Always asking “what is going on over there?” but, never really going over there to get to the bottom of things. When and if they ever do, the novel ends and leaves you wondering what just happened. In this case, the guessing games and the epic spans of time created a bit of a yawner for me. Shooting off into the unknown with more questions than answers is how this novel starts and finishes.
I really enjoyed this story although it has a few stylistic shortcomings in my opinion. I listened to an unabridged version on CD, and one of the stylistic problems that arose was the continual shifting or moving from one setting to another without any kind of transition. At times the story jumps ahead many years without any kind of warning. The author very deftly fills in those sudden gaps with exposition as the story unfolds, but sometimes it was a little exasperating, especially when the jump to another place or time occurs at a near climatic moment in the particular episode--almost the way TV commercials are placed at climatictic moments on re-runs of movies. Sometimes the depiction of aliens seemed a little far-fetched, such as the musk-dogs who urinate all over everything and everyone, etc. Finally, the narrator in the audio version is good, but when he is not narrating in his normal voice, it seems that everyone either has a deep, Humphrey Bogart accent, or a Russian accent, even if the character is Chineese or French. Aside from these things, it was a great story that held my interest throughout, and I was sorry to hear it come to an end. Enough so that I ordered several more of Reynold's books on CD.
This is a book that could easily have been a trilogy and credit therefore has to be given for the sheer scope of the novel. It revolves around interesting concepts that have been explored well and the novel certainly takes you on a journey. To start you have the journey to explore the unknown, but still within the safe confines of the expected. When things begin to go wrong however, things begin to unravel quickly and Reynolds has a remarkable way of switching the focus of the novel in such a way that you don't feel the gears change.
At points this is true science fiction and yet within that you also have the building of a new community and the all too human frictions that come from that. The split is narration is interesting and is a clever way to depict the shifting tides of power and change. Many aspects that seem to make sense have gained a whole new meaning when you put the perspectives of our two leads together at the end.
Most impressively of all though, Reynolds captures both the best and the worst of humanity and then places them side by side along all of the myriad shades of murky grey. Things that seem right at the time don't always stay that way and even the stablest of characters are capable of holding some dark secrets at their heart. And then you have the aliens... both learning from the humans at the same time as they carefully hand out knowledge of a time our group missed in their travels.
This isn't what I expected but I thoroughly enjoyed it regardless. This was my first Reynolds but I doubt it'll be my last.
I really liked the first two-thirds of this book. There's some great 'science' in the science fiction written here where it wanders into spatial relativity, time dilation and just about anything else you want too. I was very much looking forward to the inevitable 'first contact' within this book, but when it happens, I felt the story telling fell apart somewhat. It turns into something of a farce at times, with random aliens popping up and doing something (also random) to drag the story along. Also, some of the characters become down right insufferable in what they do, which is a great shame as they are built up so well in the early stages of the story.
Give it a go if you fancy some nice science, but be prepared for it to derail somewhat towards the end.
4.0 out of 5 starsExcellent hard scifi but ultimately too much packed into too little space
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2018
I was sucked into this book as surely as the crew of the Rockhopper were sucked into chasing Janus, one of Saturn's moons that starts behaving very strangely indeed. But, unlike them, I enjoyed the ride and found the book hard to put down. Although the story is ostensibly about chasing an alien object, what it is really about is the relationship between two women, the Rockhopper's captain and her chief engineer.
However, I will agree with the others who criticise the last segment of the book. It is difficult to say much without indulging in spoilers, but suffice to say that Reynolds seems to lose control of the plot and the result is a total anticlimax. The story of the two women forms a complete arc but the book finishes with a slew of unanswered questions and open endings. The encounters with the aliens are particularly weak and seem to only be there to provide some kind of climax to the women's story, which when it comes is rather unsatisfactory. Perhaps it is intended to extend into a series but it felt a bit like Reynolds got bored and wanted to get the book finished and out of the way.
3.0 out of 5 stars... not my first AR novel and he did not disappoint on this occasion either with his almost mind boggling ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2017
This is not my first AR novel and he did not disappoint on this occasion either with his almost mind boggling ideas about the physical world. Top marks for that. Where he falls down (again perhaps) is in his characterisations and it jars. His understanding of the physical universe is so good that one expects his characters to match the complex world they live in - only they don't. The book starts well but as the journey begins in earnest the social dynamics of the group of people we are following becomes clichéd like a cheap Hollywood road movie just a little better. It's like watching 3 decades of sci-fi movies: The people put into space and put in charge of the super complex half AI machines that shelters them against a hostile void on their journeys are never ever trained astronauts. They are average Joes that seek any opportunity to raise their own standing in their community come what may. That kind of person would never be sent into space and AR knows that but he seems unable to come up with a good plot based around normal rational people. It's a cheap writer's trick that removes at least one star from my overall rating of this book. Not a book worth it's hardback price but could be an entertain read on your commuter train journey nevertheless.
Starts off ok, bit wordy but works for 1st 25% then slowly, painfully, inexorably worsens. Rapidly introduces a whole bunch of super powerful alien species that act like children, make ridiculous decisions and show no signs whatsoever of advanced intelligence. The aliens display all the tropes of a child's comic eg the benign benevolent aliens, the meretricious aliens, the all destroying aliens. Total garbage. I don't usually write reviews but you need to AVOID this book.