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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Review

I have read quite a few books in the last couple of months. I'll be posting my thoughts of them as I write, and here's the first one.

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds.

This is the third book in a series of interconnected stories (the others are Revelation Space and Chasm City). He writes in a hard sci-fi work, and actually works in the European Space Agency, so he ought to know what he's talking about.

This story really picks up several of the threads from the previous two books. It begins as two different stories which collide - in one respect quite literally. The second of these stories involves characters from the first book, Revelation Space. We are back in the world of Resugam and the ship Nostalgia for Infinity. However, this storyline I feel is rather inferior to the first line, which involves the Conjoiners, a mentioned though previously unexplained faction in the Yellowstone system, centred around the character of Clavain.

This storyline I felt is among the best thing he has written. There is in particular one image, of Clavain standing on the surface of an asteroid looking at the flashes of light from space-battle taking place a light-hour or so away, that was pure poetry. More than that the characters in this storyline are so very much alive, real, and utterly entrancing. Back on Resurgam there is simply not so much verve to the writing. For this reason I was slightly disappointed. I hate it when clear potential is not matched by reality.

But don't let that stop you. It remains a very good book, with some very interesting ideas. And if you've read either of the other two this one will finally make a couple of things clearer - sort of!

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