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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Fascinating World

I thought this was a great story set in a complex, well thought out world. You slowly get to know the characters and there are a few twists and turns along the way that keep you engaged.

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another wonderful story narrated by the best

One of my favorite sci fi authors showing he cant write a bad story. ive put off reading this for a while. but i regret itso much. such an interesting premise!
Also. John Lee is prblly my favorite narrator. Ever.

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  • Angus
  • Fort Collins, CO, United States
  • 02-12-16

The Zones are Shifting

Quillon is an odd bird in more ways than one. As a medical examiner for District 3 of Neon Heights he gets to check out all weird brain teaser corpses collected by sanitation. Somebody who cares about him is relying on that to deliver him a message.



Meroka starts out being Quillon’s bodyguard and guide until she evolves into a partner in his realized save the species mission. Their travels bring them in into contact with ghouls, Angels, Carnivorgs, Skullboys, the outcast Military organization of Dirigibles called Swarm and beings with nanomachine infused brains called Tectomancers.



It’s a full book. There is a character, Tulwar, in here that reminds me of the metal guardian from Logan’s Run only this one is Steampunk and greedy. Since we’re tossing genres around get your brain around this work of: Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Dieselpunk, Transhumanist, interdimensional travel.



Excellent crafting and narration throughout get this work four out of five entertainment award units of your choice. Stock up on Zone shift sickness meds and get moving. Enjoy!

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Impossible premise

Books with this kind of premise, different tech in different areas are just not logically possible. Alastair does his best (and I thought for a minute he might have pulled it off, but not in the end.

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Preachy protagonist

Great premise (which is the only reason the overall rating is a 2 rather than a 1), however, this seemed like three different novels crammed into one: a sci fi mystery, an escape thriller (complete with a film noir chase through a hurtling train), and a steampunk dystopian political intrique. Solving the mystery of the city, which seemed like the most fascinating character in the book, was given rather short shrift, after all of its build-up.

Through it all, a protagonist initially made interesting by his stolen past inexplicably transforms almost overnight into a noble rescuer of mysterious women and lost children. His frequent sermons on how his actions are only motivated by being 'the only right thing to do,' grew tiresome about halfway through the story (long before the sermons stopped). I thought that an angel surgically and genetically altered to pass as a human would be much more interesting, but a number of the secondary characters, though as one-dimensionally drawn as Quillon, were much more engaging.

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This is Steampunk!!

What did you love best about Terminal World?

Characters were great and of course John Lee's narration!!

What did you like best about this story?

Story was fast paced and kept me very interested. Had a genuine care for all the main characters.Just enough detail not overblown like some other books.

Which scene was your favorite?

Battles in the Sky and the Vorg.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Was definitely finished faster than most of my purchases!

Any additional comments?

Wish Mr.Reynolds would make a second! I thought Perdido Street was the best Steampunk book but this one just topped it! Wishing for a movie but probably will not be as good unless David Lynch directed.

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Interesting Story but horrible narration.

The sad thing about this book is that while the story includes some thought provoking and plot-worthy threads it was largely ruined by the narrator. When every character speaks (albeit with a different voice) in the same timbre, inflection and "Snagglepuss" (think 1970 era cartoons) downward tone at the end of every sentence there comes a disconnect between the action and the verbalization. In this book it made the story painful to endure. A real disappointment.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 09-06-14

Far future bleak survival with non-tech zones

I guess this could make for a good movie, or series, because there is something of an epic here. The author has a brilliant technical and physical imagination, and has done a good job of thinking out what the various effects would be for certain technical or physical situations and it's a lot of fun being surprised by the results detailed in the story.

However, after a stint of reading author Larry Correia's books, this book seems lackluster in imagery and creating visual descriptions, characters and scenery. Terminal World seems to be a "B" effort instead of an "A" simply because there is so much lacking in sensual imagery. It's more like looking at a detailed blueprint than at the actual work of architecture - the beautiful building.

The story does start off slowly, and because it is a bleak future survival story, I often stopped and went off to another book for fun then returned to this one. (While highly technical, this is a book low in humor, and I just prefer books that have either wit, sarcasm, or a skewed viewpoint to spice things up) In the latter half of this book there was a more hopeful storyline and I was able to complete the rest of this book - and the latter part of the book was better than the first.

The narrator spoke quickly, almost too staccato in delivery, but had a clear and understandable intonation. Various narrators have different "accents" they can call on, and I was a little perplexed at the choices of a French and Jamaican-like accent for a few characters in a future that is at least 5000 years from now . . . but . . . okay. There are some narrators that excel at changing voices from character to character, and there are some narrators that excel at reading clearly. I think reading clearly is the strong point here and nice try with throwing in a couple of accents here and there.

I'm sure there are technically-minded people who will love this book and appreciate it, but I'm giving myself a virtual gold star for at least finishing it.





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Annoying!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book might be better for someone who doesn't need closure.

Has Terminal World turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, but I'm not reading any more by this author for awhile. This book was really dry in parts. I went away and came back to it several times, just to get it finished. (I just can't leave a book unread.)

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

I loved the accents, and he did a great job of making each character sound different. Wonderful!

What character would you cut from Terminal World?

I wished that Kaliss and Nimcha had more "screentime." They are amazingly interesting plot devices who never get fully explored as characters. I loved Meroka. I would read a book that was just about her.

Any additional comments?

The ending of this book is extremely unsatisfying. Nothing resolves. The characters are left literally hanging. By that point I was *almost* to a point where I didn't care what happened to them, but ... there were just so many promises in this book that never paid off -- Angel society -- I want to know more; really amazing technology -- please show me some that doesn't start crapping out right away; techtomancers can do things -- LIKE WHAT?!? What kind of culture do the skull boys have? What is the origin of Kaliss and Nimcha? Why is Fray so "frayed"? How did Tulwah get that way? NO PAYOFFS!

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It couldn't be better than that

If you could sum up Terminal World in three words, what would they be?

A wonderful scenario for a an enthralling and credible sci-fi plot where the scientific background is sound and the characters awe beautifully carved up

What was one of the most memorable moments of Terminal World?

The final is breath-taking.

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

I would dare to say that he is the best reader. His voice gives credibility and depth to all characters, the rhythm is compelling, the tone is perfect.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Angels may fly higher with no wings

Any additional comments?

A wonderful experience.

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  • Jaspal
  • 09-29-14

i've liked other reynolds' books

What didn’t you like about John Lee’s performance?

Really didn't enjoy the characterisations and tone. Yes they were all clearly differentiated in accents, but the tone was so similar and overblown. Disliked the audio so much I found myself imagining what it would be like to read the book rather than listen to it.<br/><br/>Same narrator for Revelation Space if I remember right, but he wasn't so over the top in that one.

Any additional comments?

I've liked other books Reynolds has written, but this was just horrible for me. The only character I cared about at all was the Quillam, the rest were just mostly annoying.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful