Copyright 2002 by
I first read this on the 16th June 2003.
In which Nevil Clavain goes up against the dangerous Skade, and very nearly
goes up against the Inhibitors, the deadly machine
intelligences that are dedicated to eliminating all life in our galaxy.
It is the 27th century in the universe of "Revelation Space" and "Chasm City",
The Conjoiners are slowly winning the war against the Demarchists, but winning the
war no longer matters to the Conjoiners, they have discovered another, far more
serious, issue. The war is irrelevant now, but they will keep it going just to
keep the Demarchists from noticing the big problem until it is far too late.
Meantime, on the planet Resurgam in the Delta Pavonis system, the government
Inquisitor has just discovered the planet is about to be destroyed. She knows that
the people will not believe anything the government tells them, so she has
come up with a cunning plan to save the world.
This is a big book and it is pretty good, there are some exciting and intriguing
plotlines and strange worlds. There are great characters and excellent spacecraft:
But you do get somewhat fatigued reading it, and I expect that Reynolds got a bit
that way with all the writing.
- Ilia Volyova and Ana Khoura on Nostalgia For Infinity
- Antoinette Bax in Storm Bird
- Clavain, Skade and Remontoire on board the Nightshade
I have the same complaint that I had for "Revelation Space". The book is too
big and untidy. Mr. Reynolds has adopted the Hollywood action movie methodology:
keep piling on the action and every time an ending looks likely incorporate another
chase sequence or fight scene. I would have been happy with a shorter book, written
more tightly, with less loose ends, something less Peter F Hamiltonian.
He is also becoming incapable of permanently removing any major characters. I would
have been happy with a few more dead, permanently dead protagonists. Sure
he may have eliminated 40,000 people in a stroke of the pen near the end of the
novel, but that does not matter a jot if you haven't met any of them. Any man's
death diminishes me, of course, but blow away half a dozen or so characters that
I'd got to know and I would liked the book more and probably praised its gritty realism.
Some more significant deaths would have provided a little bittersweet satisfaction,
and would have helped to keep complexity down to a reasonable level in the inevitable
sequel. Yes, I know a couple of major characters are meant to have died, but I
don't believe it for a moment. Either they'll somehow have survived, or they'll
have clones somewhere, or an "alpha-level" computer emulation of them will
surface on a computer system, or it will all turn out to have been some kind of
Furthermore, these cache weapons were surprisingly low-powered.
I was anticipating something that would blow a corner off of Andromeda, or
freeze a sun at least. After several hundred pages I certainly did not expect
something as trivial as ripping a hole in a spaceship. I can see now why
the weapons had been hidden away for so long: their engineers were simply
too embarrassed to show them off publicly (which reminds me to reread
Philip K. Dicks' excellent "The Zap Gun" sometime soon).
In conclusion, the novel is worth reading. It is frequently exciting. There are
piles of great ideas, but it is nowhere near as good as it could have been.
Loaded on the 1st August 2003.