Thursday, August 14, 2008

Alastair Reynolds / Century Rain

Finally, I have finished this book off (and I must confess, last 3/4 went pretty quickly - it only took me some hours during the last weekend to do it).

I rather liked it (as most of the stuff Reynolds writes). Pity this sort of things does not seem to make it onto wide screens! I would love to see the movie made after it, or after other Reynolds' stories... may be it would convince some folks to go into science?..

The beginning of the story was a bit slow, at least for me, but once I got hooked onto it (after several chapters) I became more and more immersed.

As usually, it is about the future, and as usually in Reynolds' books, there are several fractions of people who seem to follow different philosophy in life. In this case, ones of them enjoy the progress (they are called Slashers - tribute to /.) and the others are rather careful about it (and they are called the Threshers, from the word "threshold"), especially where it comes to nanotechnology stuff. You see, in this world our beautiful Earth has been cleared from people by the nanobots who went out of control. What is worse, at some moment all electronic information storage (keeping memories of the past) collapsed, for some reason, so the humanity lost most of the memories about the history. If they want to retrieve some, they have to come down, to a very hostile Earth, and try to dig something out from under the ice there (if the machines would not eat them alive).

That is just a set-up. As the story will unravel, there will be: a snapshot of our world in 1940 where Second World War did not take place, a network of hyperspace tunnels, a love story (it's a space opera after all...) and some war scenes in space, too. There are two protagonists: one of them a divorced woman from the near-Earth world, archaeologist devoted to her job, another of them a troubled man from the alternative Paris in 1959, which is not actually on Earth but in some other world, which look like Earth from the inside, but from the outside is some sort of hermetically sealed sphere where you can only get via an irregular wormhole (interesting description of the wormhole travel there). Naturally, they will meet and do some interesting things together (nothing cheesy, it is rather the spirit of the original Star Wars than the prequel), and... well, I wouldn't put a real spoiler by telling how it ends.

I'd recommend this one, even if it seems to be a bit more sad than I would have wanted (but this is typical for Reynolds anyway). But it is a good story and it has been told lovely.

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