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Alastair Reynolds's first novel is "hard" SF on an epic scale, crammed with technological marvels and immensities. Its events take place over a relatively short period, but have roots a billion years old--when the Dawn War ravaged our galaxy.
Sylveste is the only man ever to return alive and sane from a Shroud, an enclave in space protected by awesome gravity-warping defenses: "a folding a billion times less severe should have required more energy than was stored in the entire rest-mass of the galaxy." Now an intuition he doesn't understand makes him explore the dead world Resurgam, whose birdlike natives long ago tripped some booby trap that made their own sun erupt in a deadly flare.
Meanwhile, the vast, decaying lightship Nostalgia for Infinity is coming for Sylveste, whose dead father (in AI simulation) could perhaps help the Captain, frozen near absolute zero yet still suffering monstrous transformation by nanotech plague. Most of Infinity's tiny crew have hidden agendas--Khouri the reluctant contract assassin believes she must kill Sylveste to save humanity--and there are two bodiless stowaways, one no longer human and one never human. Shocking truths emerge from bluff, betrayal, and ingenious lies.
The trail leads to a neutron star where an orbiting alien construct has defenses to challenge the Infinity's planet-wrecking superweapons.
At the heart of this artifact, the final revelations detonate--most satisfyingly. Dense with information and incident, this longish novel has no surplus fat and seems almost too short. A sparkling SF debut. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This distant-past/far-future, hard sci-fi tour de force probes a galaxy-wide enigma: why does spacefaring humanity encounter so few remnants of intelligent life? Excavating the 900,000-year-old Amarantin civilization on its home world, Resurgam, archaeologist Dan Sylveste discovers evidence of a splinter cult that abandoned Resurgam for the stars but returned, only to be swallowed up by a mysterious cataclysm that destroyed all the Amarantins. Aboard the Nostalgia for Infinity, a vast light-hugger ship in interstellar space, the ominous Triumvirate of cyborg starfarers seeks Sylveste to heal its captain, afflicted by the deadly Melding Plague, which turns once-humans into their own semisentient spaceships. In Chasm City on the slum-ridden world of Yellowstone, assassin Ana Khouri joins the Nostalgia's crew intent on killing Sylveste. Clearly intoxicated by cutting-edge scientific research in bioengineering, space physics, cybernetics Reynolds spins a ravishingly inventive tale of intrigue. Hard SF addicts will applaud the author's talent for creating convincing alien beings and the often uneasy merging of human and machine intelligence, depicted here as nearly too frighteningly real for comfort. Others, however, may find these human-cybernetic hybrid characters chilling, dispassionate (except for their built-in drives toward revenge and murder) and foreboding. Reynolds's vision of a future dominated by artificial intelligence trembles with the ultimate cold of the dark between the stars.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
I can't believed I dragged myself through 575 pages of this drivel. It started out well enough, but the plot completely collapsed under the weight of the author's ponderous and... Read morePublished 6 days ago by steven j koebrich
My problem with this book is that the author doesn't care about his characters. They seem to be regrettable necessities for conveying his pet concepts. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
I read it under the assumption that he was hard-science science fiction. Indeed, he doesn't have faster-than-light space travel, but on the other hand includes all sorts of... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Disappointed
I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything amazing. I am trying to figure out if I am going to read any other books in the series.Published 18 days ago by austinmiles
First of the three books and whatever else you want to read them in order.Published 20 days ago by Patrick JC Barrett
One of the best sci-fi books I've ever read. Reynolds' creativity knows no bounds and his book certainly stretched my mind. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Nimrod Scott
Reynolds has crafted an intricate p0lot, peppered with excellent hard science, extremely good character development and in a style that pulls one into the novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by nwmsdoc
A little strange but interesting. The ending doesn't make a lot of sense but the path to it the keeps you going.Published 1 month ago by Perry Phillips