Monday, 15 March 2010

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Terminal World - Alastair Reynolds


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 . . .


As a long time fan of Alastair’s writing it’s always a pleasure to get his latest novel. However part of the problem with having a real fan boy moment with authors that you love is that you always expect the writing to be at a certain level, you expect the best and at times you can be a little blinkered with your criticism as you tend to love all of the authors work regardless.

Here in his latest novel you get a well written story, some great description and some character banter that really does give the impression of living breathing characters over simplistic 2d interpretations. However, whilst this is all for the plus, I did get a little upset that the novel seemed to stay on a single strand thread that left more questions for me than were really answered. Perhaps this is due to the author planning a sequel, perhaps its due to the fact that life doesn’t answer all our questions. I’m not sure. I do really enjoy this authors work so I’m going to devour the next just as soon as it arrives but the problem I’ve had here has raised some quandaries that I hope will be fixed in later novels.

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I understand the disappointment when expectaions are high. Hopefully the next one answers the questions raised in this book.

And sounds like it might make for an interesting movie one day.