Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book review round-up: Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

Somehow, I failed to realize that Terminal World (Gollancz, March 2010; Ace Books, June 2010), the most recent hard science fiction novel written by award-winning Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, is set on the planet Mars. So, that’s why I’m doing this book review round-up so late after the release of the novel. According to a statement on Reynolds’s website,” My latest novel, Terminal World,” appeared in March 2010. It's a far future, steampunk-influenced planetary romance about the adventures of an exiled pathologist, and a city in need of medicine...” Here’s the cover art and the formal promotional blurb:

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. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains... 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, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels -- and with the dying body comes bad news. 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...

Now, links to some reviews:
  • 50 customer reviews at Amazon UK (6 five-star reviews)
  • 41 customer reviews at Amazon (11 five-star reviews)
  • Brit Paul Kincaid of the SF Site concluded: “There's a lot of hand-waving at the end that really makes no sense, but you don't get the impression that this story needs to continue. It's just that this is a half-formed, not fully thought-out novel that never comes close to achieving what it promises.”
  • Liviu Suciu of the blog Fantasy Book Critic concluded: “An A- and a moderate disappointment but a novel that should be read even only for the glimpses of awesomeness that are scattered everywhere.”
  • Swedish-run Cybermage concluded that Terminal World “is steam punk with ‘real’ science and a brilliant explanation will be given by the end of the story. I am still thinking about the characters and the big idea here, two weeks after finishing the book.”
  • Brit Mark Chitty of Walker of Worlds, a blog of sci-fi and fantasy, concluded: “All in all I thought Terminal World was a great novel and would heartily recommend it to any SF fan -- the points I felt disappointed with are more to do with my personal tastes rather than a badly written story. Alastair Reynolds shows once again why he's one of Britain's top science fiction writers and is well deserved of the recent £1 million book deal he has signed with Gollancz. Pick it up! 8/10.”
 Interestingly, author Alastair Reynolds was just interviewed by Australia’s Cosmos Magazine, in which he discusses his science fiction and why we need a colony on the Moon.

No comments:

Post a Comment