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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Terminal World

Copyright 2010 by Alastair Reynolds

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SOJALS rating:     
no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Unrated (0/5)

I first read this on the 23rd June 2011.

Spearpoint is a city that spears the sky. Developing civilization has carved its roads and buildings in a spiral ascending to the narrowing spire. Spearpoint may be the last city on Earth.

The city and indeed the whole planet are wracked by weird spatial zones that emanate from somewhere in the city's base and permeate in a frozen swirl of influence through the city and the world. Within these zones, technology is constrained: in the lower zones, not even steam engines will work, in higher zones, gasoline becomes a usable fuel. Up in the celestial levels of Spearpoint, all is possible, as advanced technology and alien angels co-exist.

Our doctor Quilian is one of those angels, restructured to pass as human, heavily disguised, and to be able to live for a limited time in the lower levels. Now his time is running out, his body is reverting to its original angel form, his medicines no longer work as well, and to cap it all, it seems his erstwhile masters have it in mind a mind to kill him off.

I only wished I'd stopped reading at that point.

I'm sorry to say that the novel was shockingly bad. Reynolds had imagined an interesting and inspiring world. However the plot was just a meandering quest with no dramatic tension and no noticeable change of pace throughout the whole long novel. A bit depressing really because although I didn't expect it to be grip me tight on every page, I had hoped it would keep me occupied through a long flight. Heck no, I gave up reading this faster than I did the airline magazine, and resorted to heckling the Virgin Atlantic flight attendant. You know life is a funny thing really. If you stand up and start screaming in a library, everyone tells you to shut up. If you do it in an airplane, everyone joins in.

This novel could be fodder for a whole series. I hope not. I for one am not going to look at an Alastair Reynolds's novel again until I see a signed certificate that declares Alistair has re-attended story-telling school.

Loaded on the 10th October 2013.
Cover of Terminal World