Alastair Reynolds was born in Wales in 1966. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy. From 1991 until 2007, he lived in The Netherlands, where he was employed by The European Space Agency as an astrophysicist. He is now a full-time writer.
I've been a fan of Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" novels since I read the first, so my expectations for this book were high; so high I ordered it from Amazon.UK before it was available here in the US. I was not disappointed.
For anyone that has read and enjoyed any of the Revelation Space novels, this is a must read item. For anyone that has not read anything by Alastair Reynolds, this is an excellent choice to introduce you to his style and vision.
Set in the Glitter Band before the Melding Plague, this story really sheds a lot of light on what life could be like if humanity ever manages to get out colonize space as we follow a developing crisis as seen through the eyes of two main characters. It also fills in some explanations around Chasm City and the Rust Belt for those who have read the other Revelation Space books. The story is essentially a police detective story and the author throws the reader into the deep end immediately, creating and maintaining tension throughout.
I've always thought that Mr. Reynolds weaves an interesting tale, but this one surpasses the others by some margin in its inventiveness and interconnectedness of plot lines. I honestly could not put this down, and devoured it on a single business trip; breaking it open on the way out and having finished it before landing on my way home.
I highly recommend this, fan of Alastair Reynolds or not. This is great hard science fiction in the Space Opera genre.
Despite having published a string of heavyweight SF novels totalling thousands of pages, Alastair Reynolds is still experimenting. The tetralogy that made his name - Revelation Space, Chasm City, Redemption Ark, and Absolution Gap - are huge, sprawling riots of technology populated by dozens of characters who are not always clearly delineated. They open a window on a masterfully depicted future universe whose sheer weight of high-tech detail leaves scant room for character development - in other words, classic hard SF of a kind to delight lovers of Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert, Niven and the like. Then, in a departure that pleased some readers and infuriated others, Reynolds swerved into an original blend of hard SF and alternate-universe film noir with Century Rain, before returning to the world of spaceships, nanotechnology, AI, and aliens with Pushing Ice and Galactic North.
In "The Prefect", he modulates perceptibly towards the detective genre, while bowing in the direction of the Tom Clancy school of war novelists and dropping in a little quiet horror that Stephen King would be proud of. The result is a much pacier, focused book with a clear and straightforward plot - although Reynolds still gives us a plentiful dose of technological thrills on the side.
"The Prefect" is set in the Yellowstone system, shortly after the events described in "Revelation Space". The system contains three contrasting human societies, which trade with each other at arm's length: Chasm City, the only major human outpost on the planet Yellowstone; the Parking Swarm, where the spacegoing Ultras dock their vast lighthugger starships; and the Glitter band, a variegated "asteroid belt" of 10,000 human habitats.Read more ›
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The Prefect is a detective story set in the Revelation Space universe. Readers unfamiliar with the setting are well advised to read the earlier novels first as familiarity with Mr. Reynolds past work is presumed. That said, the story involves entirely new characters and the events of the earlier novels don't have much bearing on the plot.
The Prefect is set in the Glitter Band, home of 10,000 self contained communities. The prefects are ostensibly the police force of the Glitter band but are more appropriately protecct and maintain the voting apparatus that serves as the collective government. When one of the communities is destroyed, apparently in retaliation for spurning a deal proferred by an Ultra ship, the investigation leads to conspiracies involving fellow prefects and shadowy artificial intelligences.
The Prefect is an entertaining and fast paced detective story. Where it falls flat is in giving away too many of the secrets early on. While I enjoyed the book, many parts seemed rushed and the characters were not given enough opportunity to develop.
Overall, fans of the prior Revelation Space books should enjoy this, while new readers should start with the earlier books.
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I am a big fan of Alastair Reynolds, he is one of the greatest SF writers of our time. Unfortunately, he drops the ball big time with The Prefect.
What I really like in most of AR's work, that the stories are believable, there are no contrived plot elements just to increase the tension. Everything is logical and makes sense. Well, in this book this is not the case at all.
Characters do not do the sensible and obvious things in the book. Not just once, but major plot elements feel totally unrealistic. In the book there is nano-technology enabling people to conjure up furniture at will. There is also a system-wide computer network connecting everyone. Yet, investigators do not have recording equipment, interrogations are performed without recording and witnesses, prisoners are not under constant surveillance (in one case not even guarded), spaceships do not have tracking devices and can just get lost. There are also obvious solutions to some problems that are not even considered in the book.
IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.
I only read the book because it reveals some interesting things about events that are present in the other book of the series.